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Prime Reading: Writer's Guide + Character Guide

#1
So, as I am rusty and getting back into the swing of things here as a play by post roleplayer, I have been brushing up on my skills and one of the things that I use to do that is read "CDBZ Roleplaying Guide by Ander"

This was a thread stickied as important on an old community I role played at, many of you know as Chubbs DBZ RPG. As the impending doom is upon that site now , I felt two things. A: This was a nugget of value I didn't want to lose and B: Probably something a lot of people here at The Omniverse would appreciate so I went through the trouble of bringing it here.

I hope you like it as it took me a long time to get it all over here and coded properly. Also, note that most of the links no longer worked, but I replaced what links I could. Enjoy!

o------------------o
|INTRODUCTION|
o------------------o


This guide is for those who seek to improve their role-playing, but either don’t know how or feel like they’ll never get it right no matter what they do. Covered in this are the basics. I’m not going to teach an entire English class—that would take too long. These are the most common problems or situations people confront, countered with the same advice that is redundantly given over and over again. All you need to do is pay attention and put these tips into practice, and you’ll improve in no time! Don’t ever settle with telling yourself you suck. Do something about it! First things first: write in a paragraph format. Never forget that it’s always quality over quantity. People prefer two paragraphs of elegant and inventive rhetoric versus two pages of utter rubbish. Writing takes time. Be patient; don’t force it. No matter how good you are writing must always come from the heart! If you have trouble writing, type up your posts in Microsoft Word or use an online Spellchecker. That’s all you need to know to get started, the rest can be found below.

====================
I. SPELLING AND GRAMMAR
====================


These two are a problem that runs rampant, a seemingly simple challenge that most people have difficulty with. Avoiding bad spelling or grammar is actually easy: type up your role-plays in Microsoft Word before you post them, and use Spellchecker, which is fairly efficient at correcting basic errors. If you don’t have Word, use Spellchecker.net. This tip seems very basic, but it’s golden, and I guarantee it will become one of your best friends. A virtually error-free draft will seem more aesthetically pleasing, and it makes writing easier to read and understand. Honing a sense for spelling and grammar mistakes Spellchecker will not fix (such as most appropriate or convenient comma placing), however, takes time to develop.

-----------------
A. Capitalization
-----------------


This is a very, very simple concept. Always capitalize the first word in a sentence, the first word in a dialogue (there are exceptions explained later down), the words “I” or “I’m” or “I’ve” or “I’d,” and proper nouns. Proper nouns are names, whether they are for people, places, organizations, or even things like attacks and techniques. Examples include: Goku, King Kai, Kamehameha, Planet Namek, or Xero Tolerance. Examples of things that are not capitalized, but often are out of confusion, include: autumn, north, saiyan/saiya-jin, human, or ki/power level. Names or classifications of races/species are not considered proper nouns. Would you capitalize the word “tiger,” for example? No, unless that was the animal’s given name. Many people however, do capitalize racial/species terms, even though it’s not correct.

Dialogue and capitalization don’t seem to be a very good combination for people. You don’t capitalize the very next word after a quotation mark unless it is the beginning of a new sentence that has no relation to the previous dialogue, unless it’s “I,” “I’m,” or “I’ve.”

Quote:Incorrect:
1. “There’s no way he can beat me!” The fighter screamed.
2. “How can you say that...” She began.
3. “This isn’t even close to being over.” He said.
4. “You still don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” He asked.

Correct:
1. “There’s no way he can beat me!” the fighter screamed.
2. “How can you say that...” she began.
3. “This isn’t even close to being over,” he said.
4. “You still don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” he asked.

The only time capitalization after a quotation mark is allowed is if the following sentence is completely separate from the dialogue, and has so reference to it whatsoever.

Quote:Exemption
“Don’t even bother trying.” He charged up an energy blast and fired.
------------
B. Commas
------------

Quote:Incorrect:
1. While he/she was eating a stranger walked into the headquarters.
2. “I don’t understand,” he/she replied obviously confused.
3. He/she slammed his/her opponent into the ground and then blasted them.

Correct:
1. While he/she was eating, a stranger walked into the headquarters.
2. “I don’t understand,” he/she replied, obviously confused.
3. He/she slammed his/her opponent into the ground, and then blasted them.

Commas, commas, commas! You can’t get enough of those damned things. Writers need to learn where to appropriately place them in order to provide the piece with meter and rhythm, which is important for a reader’s interpretation of a sentence. The first example seems harmless enough, but without a comma, the meaning of the sentence is entirely different. Without the punctuation, it seems as though the person being described is eating the stranger instead of eating food as the stranger walks in. That is also a lesson in careful sentence structure! The second one is merely an instance where you would use a pause for effect. Thirdly are compound sentences, which even the best of us get lazy on. Spellchecker won’t pick these up. It is proper grammar to always place a comma before “but” or “and” in a compound sentence, no matter what. The last one is only for real nitpicks. When a comma is not appropriate, use a semicolon, probably the most misused of all punctuation-dom.

--------------
B. Semicolon
--------------


Quote:Incorrect:
1. This was the end, this was the end of it all.
2. Ten warriors stormed Vine’s palace, only two remain.
3. He couldn’t win, he couldn’t beat him.

Correct:
1. This was the end; this was the end of it all.
2. Ten warriors stormed Vine’s palace; only two remain.
3. He couldn’t win; he couldn’t beat him.

This is most likely one of the most difficult punctuations to deal with. A semicolon is used in place of a comma to connect two otherwise completely separate sentences when you want form a single long one. If you put a comma in-between two complete sentences (in other words, two sentences that can stand on their own), it is called a comma splice. If you are uncomfortable using semicolons, you can instead use periods or a conjunction, such as “and,” “or,” “but.”

----------------------------------
D. Possessives and Contractions
----------------------------------


http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif
http://www.angryflower.com/plural.gif
http://www.angryflower.com/itsits.gif

Quote:Incorrect:
1. Your going to pay for that.
2. The demon wrapped it’s powerful arms around the fighter.
3. That sig was made by, your’s truly.

Correct:
1. You’re going to pay for that.
2. The demon wrapped its powerful arms around the fighter.
3. That sig was made by, yours truly.

People seem to have the most trouble with proper possessives and contractions (compound words). Placement of apostrophes and words with multiple uses can trip up even the best of writers. The first example uses the word “your” incorrectly. “Your” in that spelling is always possessive, meaning “your bag” or “your shoes” in the sense of belonging. What the sentence is trying to say is, “You are going to pay for that,” in which case a contraction, and not a possessive, is needed. “You’re” is the contraction for “you are.”

Common contractions are can’t (cannot), they’re (they are), you’re (you are), isn’t (is not), it’s (it is), that’s (that is), I’m (I am), I’ve (I have), must’ve (must have), and many, many more. Some writers use ain’t, but that’s not a proper word. Contrary to most usage, the word “it’s” is never possessive.

This is probably due to the fact that an apostrophe is commonly associated with a meaning of belonging, in the instance of “Goku’s” or “Burter’s.” That word is always a contraction meaning “it is.” The correct word in example two is “its,” which is like the masculine word “his” or the feminine “hers,” but is used when a direct gender assignment cannot be made. In the third example, there was the word “your’s.” Just because there is a ‘s’ at the end of the word doesn’t make it a possessive. It simply makes it a plural; there’s a difference. Putting an apostrophe after the ‘r’ would make it a contraction meaning “your is,” which is grammatically incorrect.

Quote:Quick Reference
Their = possessive; there = place, location; they’re = contraction, they are
Your = possessive; you’re = contraction, you are; yore = meaning “long time past”
It’s = contraction, it is; Its = possessive

--------------------------------
E. Commonly Confused Words
--------------------------------


Speech is a heckuvalot easier than actually writing words out. Most people write down words how they phonetically sound to them, even though several words sound the same but have very different meanings. That’s what’s known as a “homonym.” Some of them don’t sound the same, but are spelled similarly, and just have a different arrangement of letters. However, when these two excuses fail, it just means they really don’t know the right word to use.


Quote:THEN versus THAN

then (adv.) - 1. at that time, 2. next in time, space, or order; immediately afterward, 3. in addition; moreover

than (conj.) - used comparatively

EXAMPLE:

COMPARATIVELY:
“I’m simply better then you.” (incorrect)

should actually be…

“I’m simply better than you.” (correct)

TIME: Back then, things were simpler.
ORDER: We’re going to dinner, then a movie.


Quote:QUIET versus QUITE

quiet (adj.) - making little or no noise

quite (adv.) - 1. to the greatest extent; completely, 2. actually; really, 3. to a degree; rather


Quote:SWEET versus SWEAT

sweat (v) - to excrete perspiration through the pores in the skin; perspire

sweet (adj) - having the taste of sugar or a substance containing or resembling sugar, as honey or saccharin


Quote:EFFECT versus AFFECT

effect (n.) - 1. something brought about by a cause or agent; a result, 2. the power to produce an outcome or achieve a result; influence, 3. a scientific law, hypothesis, or phenomenon, 4. advantage; avail

affect (tr.v.) - 1. to have an influence on or effect a change in, 2. to act on the emotions of, 3. to attack or infect, as a disease


Quote:HAVE versus OF

have (v.) - 1. to use or exhibit in action, 2. to permit; allow 3. to carry on, perform, or execute

of (prep.) - 1. derived or coming from; 2. caused by; resulting from, 3. containing or carrying

(These two are commonly confused due to verbal slang, and many people write out things the way they sound to them. People slur the ?have? until it sounds completely like ?of.? This is one of the few errors grammar check will actually catch!)

EXAMPLE:
“You should of backed out when you had the chance.” (incorrect)

should actually be…

“You should have backed out when you had the chance.” (correct)

------------
F. Dialogue
------------


Dialogue can be either set up or finished off. Meaning, you can begin the sentence with dialogue or end it with dialogue.


Examples
A. Set Up
He said, “Get away from me.”
He screamed, “Get away from me!”
He asked, “Will you get away from me?”

(Make sure you put a comma before the opening quotation marks every time! And don’t forget the punctuation mark before the closing quotation marks!)

B. Finish off
“Get away from me,” he said.
“Get away from me!” he screamed.
“Will you get away from me?” he asked.

(Make sure you put some sort of punctuation mark before the closing quotation marks every time!)


Quote:Incorrect:
1. “You’ll never win, he said.”
2. “He said, you’ll never win.”
3. He used his so-called “special technique”.
4. What exactly is “good grammar?”
5. I would say “butchery”, but that would be mean.

Correct:
1. “You’ll never win,” he said.
2. He said, “You’ll never win.”
3. He used his so-called “special technique.”
4. What exactly is “good grammar”?
5. I would say “butchery,” but that would be mean.

Quotation marks surround the words being spoken or quoted, not the description. They open and close the sentence. That’s how you tell if someone is talking. Place opening quotation marks at the beginning of the dialogue. In the first example, the dialogue starts with an easy, fresh sentence. In the second example, dialogue starts in the middle of the sentence. In this case, you need a comma to separate the word indicating speech, and then begin the dialogue with opening quotation marks. Don’t forget to always capitalize the first word beginning a dialogue! Place the closing quotation marks after the punctuation that follows the last word being said or quoted. Unless it is being used with a question mark or exclamation point in a non-dialogue sentence, under no other circumstance is a quotation mark (whether used for dialogue, quoting, alleging, or making reference to something) to be on the inside of the ending punctuation or comma (e.g., the period, the comma, etcetera)! It may look weird, but it is correct. Again, Spellchecker will not call you on it, but it is not correct!


Quote:Incorrect:
4. “I’m going to be the most powerful fighter in the universe.” he said.
5. “I’m going to be the most powerful fighter in the universe.” He said.
6. “Is there any way I can become stronger,? he/she said.

Correct:
4. “I’m going to be the most powerful fighter in the universe,” he said.
5. “I’m going to be the most powerful fighter in the universe!” he said.
6. “Is there any way I can become stronger?” he asked.

Those are all a big no. Dialogue followed by something along the lines of ?he/she said? should never be ended with a period. Ever. Not even if the “he/she” is capitalized. Spellchecker says it’s okay, but it’s actually grammatically incorrect. End it with a comma, or if you want to set a louder tone, an exclamation point. If it is in question form, unless you split your sentence up (which is very tricky), always end it with a question mark. It is better if you used “asked” instead of “said” as well, but the latter is not technically wrong.


Quote:Incorrect:
7. “I'm going,” he said. “To be the strongest ever.”
8. “How can I,” he asked. “Become stronger?”
9. “I can do it,” he said, “I can become stronger!”

Correct:
7. “I’m going,” he said, “to be the strongest ever.”
8. “How can I,” he asked, “become stronger?”
9. “I can do it,” he said. “I can become stronger!”

Splitting dialogue up can be confusing to punctuate. It’s easiest to avoid this dicey method altogether, but if there is an instance you word your dialogue this way, it’s best to know how to do it right. You don’t place a period after your indication of speech (said, paused, whispered, began, etcetera) if the sentence is being continued, nor do you capitalize the next word within the dialogue. Imagine if there was no island of words in the middle of the dialogue. “I’m going. To be the strongest ever.” Unless you’re referring to a trip and not a goal, that would be okay, otherwise it’s not. “How can I. Become stronger?” That one’s even easier. A period after the indication of speech tells you that the first sentence of dialogue stands alone and is not connected with the following sentence. “I can do it. I can become stronger!” This example is perfect.

Quote:Tip: Don’t clump dialogue in the middle of your paragraphs. It makes it difficult to understand who is saying what in the middle of what action (see, confusing!). Whenever a new person starts talking or separate dialogue is spoken, you should always begin a new paragraph!

-------------------
G. General Format
-------------------


- Tense
Tense is the form of writing you are in with indication to time. While there are actually several kinds in two different categories (active and passive), we’ll generalize them into three types for simplicity’s sake: past tense, present tense, and future tense. Past tense is when you are referring to something that has already taken place, using words like “were,” “was,” and “had.” Present tense is when you are mentioning something that is occurring at that very moment, employing words such as “is,” “am,” “has,” and “have.” It doesn’t necessarily have to be dialogue or self-reference. Future tense is an allusion to something that will happen, using words similar to present tense (most namely “have”), although meaning them for an upcoming event, and it also includes “will.”


Quote:Examples
Past Tense:
1. I was once the greatest fighter in the world.
2. We were just training.
3. I had it all.

Present Tense:
1. Is this what it has come to?
2. I am going to kill you if you don’t get this right.
3. I have every intention of leaving.

Future Tense:
1. Will you come with me?
2. Within a year, I will have finished my training in RoSaT.
A big “no” in writing is changing tense in the middle of a sentence. It can be done, but most people don’t know how (it is usually in dialogue)...so just don’t do it.



Quote:Incorrect:
1. “Okay, it’s now time to train your body to fully withstand the effects of Kaio Ken,” said the Kai as he bandages up his monkey’s tail.

Correct:
1. “Okay, it’s now time to train your body to fully withstand the effects of Kaio Ken,” said the Kai as he bandaged up his monkey’s tail.
“Said” is in past tense, while “bandages” is in present tense. You just need to modify the word and correct it to the proper tense.

- Point of View
There are three points of view: first person, second person (or the “objective” point of view), and third person. We won’t ever encounter second, so mostly, we deal with first and third. First person is where the narrator/writer (you) are describing things from your character’s perspective, actually participating in the role-play, unless it’s dialogue. Third person is where the writer is not involved in the actual post, but merely illustrating things from a bird’s-eye view.


Quote:First Person
1. I slowly stand up and take a breath. (Present tense)
2. We all wore weighted clothing. (Past tense)

Third Person = Correct
1. Goku slowly got up and took a breath.
2. They were all wearing weighted clothing.

=======================
II. DESCRIPTION AND DETAILS
=======================


The spices to any post are your basic D & Ds: description and details! Nobody wants to read bland, boring sentences. A reader craves sagas that are interesting and appealing, something so good they can’t wait to devour the next post. It’s one of the joys of being at an RPG. Despite what you think, it’s not all that difficult to put some zest into your work.

-----------------------------------
A. Boring to Brilliant (at a glance)
-----------------------------------



Quote:Boring:
Goku raised his power level and shouted and fired a Kamehameha at Furiza his power level rising even higher!

Better:
The powerful saiyan Goku shouted as his energy skyrocketed, an aura appearing. He drew back his arms and fired a mighty Kamehameha at Furiza, all the while his power getting stronger and stronger.

Best:
A defiant roar boomed across the sky, tearing the very air with its deafening cacophony. Never before did an ear hearken the detonation of such a dogged bellow. A brawny pair of arms sank deeply at the waist of the extraordinary Goku, stalwart defender of the Earth. Bright azure flames of pure energy caressed his body with its effulgent luminescence as ki of cobalt and white amassed into his pining palms. The power he was emanating was incomparably catastrophic. Chanting the harbinger of Furiza’s doom, the vehement warrior unleashed his vengeful wrath upon the defenseless icer. A colossal, inescapable beam bore down upon the tyrant, sinisterly sizzling with malicious intent. Frozen in fear, Furiza could sense his enemy’s phenomenally increasing strength.

Although some of lesser caliber would consider the first sentence to be exciting and dramatic, it is in fact pure crap. Not only is it poorly punctuated, but it also is annoyingly redundant. It is a classic example that could almost be a constant excerpt from the majority of the joining posts that are half-assed. There is clearly very little thought or detail. The next one is better. It is at least acceptable to read. There is some attempt at being descriptive, with a few minute details. Instead of trying to cram all the information into one awkward sentence, there’re two, and together they still carry out the theme of the first example. The third is the best of the three, although it makes a bigger jump in quality than from the first to the second. One sentence has been turned into a small paragraph. Each action is explicitly defined, painting a visible and imaginative picture. Adding to the theme is the inclusion of emotion and a glimpse of character perception. While this certainly may not be even close to the best presentation of role-playing you will ever see, it is something you could aspire to.

----------
B. Tactics
----------


- Word Choice.
A vast resource, selection of words can make or break a post. They are the stirring stick of the imagination, so it is important how you use them. Description is a pictorial representation of an idea. Words are the colors that comprise the pictures, so use as many and as diversely as possible. Chubbs is a world where verbs (action words) dominate. Supplement these verbs by peppering your sentences with adjectives and (describing word; i.e., hideous, battered) adverbs (modifies a verb, noun or other adverb; i.e., quickly, boldly). Avoid mundane repetition. The simplest remedy for that problem is to get a thesaurus. There are numerous online sources, or you can use your Microsoft Word tool. Synonyms are your friends. Change up your sentences. Try not to overuse names or pronouns (substitutes for nouns; i.e., him, his, her, hers). Instead of always saying “Goku, Goku, Goku” try putting something like “the ebony-haired fighter” in its place. Whatever you do, make your sentences flow as smoothly as possible.

- Components.
Flex your fingers into a fist. It may seem like a simple function, but several things are happening all at once. Your brain is sending nerve impulses to move them. The skin on the back of your hand is being drawn thinner. Blood is being circulated through your fingertips. Much more can be attributed to that activity than just what it seems. The point is, articulate every miniscule detail of an action, exactly how you would imagine it, on several levels. Picture it in your mind and break it down into several different pieces. Now, use the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For example, Dabura is launching a fireball from his mouth in the middle of Hell. What does each individual action he is taking look like? What does his environment look like, how does it smell, what are the sounds? Can he taste the fireball as it’s coming out? How would that feel if a giant ball of flame was spat from your mouth? If you thought that was enough material, you can add in his vantage point. What is he thinking? What emotions is he feeling? How is this attack affecting his body? Ask yourself these questions and then answer them in the best, most descriptive way you can.

- Literary Devices.
These are useful things that are designed to make a sentence stick out and really pop off the page. Some people actually use them without even knowing what they are, but they are better utilized when purposefully deployed. The basic ones are: similes, personification, metaphors, analogies, alliteration, and hyperboles. Similes, which are comparing two things using the words “like” or “as,” are the simplest to understand. Personification isn’t too hard either. It’s describing inanimate objects, such as a rock, with human-like traits. Metaphors are very common. They are symbols and figures of speech, such as the phrase “sea of troubles.” The troubles are not literally made of a sea, it’s just a word used to describe. Analogies, which are often in the form of a simile, are comparisons based on similarities. Alliteration, my favorite technique, uses several words together that start with the same sound, kind of like reverse rhyming. For example, the old tongue twister “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” It’s the “puh puh puh” sound that makes it alliteration. Lastly are hyperboles (hi-per-BUH-lee), which is just a fancy word for “exaggeration.” You use exaggeration for dramatic effect. These all might seem confusing, but are really handy once you get the hang of them. They become even more effective when combined!

--------------------
C. Show, Don’t Tell
--------------------


The “Show, Don’t Tell” rule is probably one of the most violated in all of writer-dom, and probably one of the most difficult to learn. I don’t know of anyone (professional or Chubbsian) who hasn’t at some point or another broken the token.


Quote:Telling

Goku was a young man with kind eyes and a strong, confident, heroic stance. All of his life, he was a fighter, and he was one of the best. His youthful face always had a smile on it. His hair was spiky and black. He always wore the same, classic outfit: an orange gi with a weighted blue undershirt. All of his life, he was a fighter, and he was one of the best. He loved his family: his wife Chi-Chi, and his two sons, Gohan and Goten. Even though Goku could be a gentle family man, he hated any evil-doer that tried to hurt them, because he was raised to be good and righteous as a little boy by his grandpa, Gohan. Anyone that threatened peace, Goku would fight.

That may be a little plain, but I need to be as clear as possible in the distinction of the two. Notice how it reads. It’s almost like a checklist, isn’t it? You can practically see the writer marking each item off in their head as they think: who he is, what he looks like, what he wears, what does he do, a little background, what motivates him and why. The writer thinks they’ve covered all the bases. Well, they’re right, except there’s one little problem: the reader is being completely indoctrinated! In other words, the reader is being drilled like a lecture. Plus, it’s kind of boring.


Quote:Showing
Goku moved with the prime of youth; the result of bodily rigors weren’t going to hurt him today, because he had plenty of years to come. His physical prowess demonstrated the keen aptitude of a superior fighter, but his eyes betrayed the kindness of a gentle soul that resided within. A gust of wind billowed by and ruffled the spikes of black hair that protruded from his head. Goku was nothing more than an orange blur in his everyday outfit as he trained, his body feeling the weight of the blue undershirt. A smile crossed his face, one that rarely ever left, as he thought of his the family he loved so much. Every punch, every kick was empowered by the memory of Chi-Chi, who had stood by him through thick and thin, and the pride that he felt for that of Gohan and Goten. Their very faces were as clear as day to him, even when he could not see them now. Deep down, his heart skipped a beat at the very thought of anything happening to them. He could never forget the values instilled in him by his former masters, and certainly not those of his grandpa. It was a rarity indeed if he could forgive those who trespassed against all he cared about.

Hopefully the distinction is clear. Each detail is explained by action, memory, and insinuation through either/or (with the hope the reader can see between the lines). They’re not blandly slapped onto the page and obvious as broad daylight. This may not be the best example of Show, Don’t Tell, but it should give you an idea of the notion!

----------------------------------------
D. Schoolhouse Rock (for audio/visual learners)
----------------------------------------


You may or may not remember these old cartoons growing up, but I do. I have collected an assortment of shorts for different parts of speech. Maybe this will help you!

- Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?
- Unpack Your Adjectives
- Verb, That’s What’s Happening
- Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here!



==========
III. CONTENT
==========


What are the utmost desires of a reader? They want to be hooked. If a saga does not leave them asking for more, then it has not fulfilled its designated purpose. You have to be original, creative, inventive, realistic, imaginative, and just a little bit crazy. Role-playing is nothing without a character, and subsequently a character is nothing without a plot. Your content is complemented by your spelling, grammar, and description and details, but you need the meat before you can add the marinade.

Quote:Tip: If you have trouble putting your posts together, write your first draft out and then let it sit for a few hours, or even a few days. Then, come back and reread it, so you can get a fresh perspective on it and see what you like or don’t like.

-----------------
A. Plot Structure
-----------------


This is Composition 101, kids. The best kind of story is one that is well thought up. In order to convey your arrangement of ideas, you need to put them in a sequential order that most effectively presents the material. I’m talking a beginning, middle, and an end, people…come on! I know some beginners are so anxious to get to the “good stuff,” which is in the middle or end, that they completely skip the beginning and go straight to the middle, or worse, the end itself. Don’t rush it; these things take time! The beginning is the most important part, because it sets up the storyline and its characters! The introduction gets the ball rolling, so you need to give it a good push. Tell your readers what’s going on as best you can, because this is your hook and first impressions last a lifetime. A clever writer uses foreshadowing and allusion techniques, which is dropping subtle hints as to what is going to happen in the future without actually giving it away. The beginning is one of the best spots for this to take place, especially if the revelation doesn’t occur until the very end. Your juice is in the middle, where most of the conflict happens, which makes the ending a lot more enticing. Conflict or struggle is essential. You must have it! Conflict comes in all shapes and sizes; it’s not just about beating each other’s brains in. There are a multitude of types: mental, physical, relationships, challenges, trials, tribulations, surmounting, desire, denial, need…the possibilities are boundless. It is through conflict that the majority of your build up and plot-development lays. Finally, the ending of a saga is where the beginning and middle all come together in a climactic conclusion. A conclusion can either be a cliffhanger for the next saga, or it can bear the fruits of a character’s labor, whether it is by growth, acquisition, or a realization of something. Keep in mind that not all endings have to be happy ones.

--------------
B. Characters
--------------


- Be Original!
Characters are so moldable it’s scary…they’re like putty in your hands! They can be anything you want them to be! As with plot, your options are limitless. Since we are a crossover rpg, you have a lot of freedom to work with. Make someone interesting, and how you want them to be.

- Define Their Personality
Aside from that note, what make characters are their identifiable quirks. Quirks are things a character is known for, such as stupidity, bravery, friendliness, essentially any kind of dominant personality trait. Quirks must be real and relatable. Characters need to be real. They have so many different dimensions and emotions that it is so debilitating if they are single-minded and poorly defined. Give them a past. Develop them slowly over time. Cultivate relationships. Give them struggles. Ask yourself what their motivations are. Something that is far too garden variety is a warrior who wants to amass a bunch of power and “pwn everyone’s ass,” or someone with a hero complex and boldly runs around fending off those god-damned evildoers…worst of all, having a serious case of revenge. There’s nothing wrong with that, most stories revolve around good ole fashion vengeance, but there’s only so much you can accomplish with extreme ends of the scale. Instead of good and evil, go for the gray. Instill a little humanity and imperfection. Endow them with a mixed array of emotions and moral fibers. A reader should always be aware of how a character is realistically feeling. It helps them relate on a personal level, making your work more interesting to read. Deeply integrated personal flaws always defined Greek tragic heroes, for instance, and how they overcame those detriments…if they didn’t lead to a dramatic demise. A good writer can manipulate their readers into feeling whatever they want them to. If you want someone to feel sad, you spin a somber, morose tale of tragedy. Likewise, to make them feel happy, you plod along on a trail of sunshine and rainbows.

--------
C. Style
--------


Not a difficult concept, style is your personal spin on things. Some people appreciate serious, others like humor (especially the subtle, dirty kind), and still others prefer dramatic soap opera tragedy. Your style is the flavor of your writing, whether it’s passionate, sarcastic, bitter, or even a little arrogant. You can follow any of these tips and change them in a way that best fits your preferences. Writing itself is very loose outside of the mechanics aspect. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, there are several things you can do to get inspired: watch a pertinent movie or television show, listen to provoking music, read other posts, read different books, involve yourself in an activity, whatever it takes to motivate you. Take some risks and be original, don’t be predictable. Analyze your pieces and think of how you can alternate things to make them more interesting and appealing. Be spontaneous. Try new things. Don’t find yourself in a continual cycle. Style is your thing to control.

TOOLS: QUICK LINKS
(Disclaimer: in no way do I take credit for creation or publishment of these sites and their respective material, nor have I plagiarized their contents. They are the sole property of their owners and/or authors. I implement these links for resource purpose only.)

Rules
Join Page
Dictionary/Thesaurus
Download Microsoft Word (Broken)
Spellchecker
How to Use a Semicolon Properly (in case you didn’t catch it in the Commas sub-section)
Writer’s Handbook
Guide to Grammar and Writing (originally provided by Waffuru)
Diana Hacker’s Writer’s Reference (Broken)
Developing a Plot (Broken)
Character Profile

I am adding Verse info as it is just as important as the rules or the roster.

Quote:Verse Info:
The Nexus
Coruscant
Camelot
The Endless Dunes
The Tangled Green
The Vasty Deep
The Pale Moors
The Ashen Steppes
The Frozen Fields

Ending Credits:
I would like to say thanks to anyone who has ever given advice, those especially know who you are. It helped me tremendously in compiling all of this. Because so many people have contributed, and come in and out of this RPG and changed their characters, I can no longer accurately give everyone credit, so I will simply say thank to all of those whom provided inspiration over the months it took to create this and the years I have been here.

Lastly, this guide is not perfect! There is something called Hartman’s Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation, which means, “Any statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling, is bound to contain at least one error.”
Dante's Abyss 2015
   GRAND CHAMPION   
[Image: Sasuke_DA_zpsb4vizgxd.png]       
Mark Twain Wrote:"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
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#2
I just made some quick edits to references to stuff that doesn't apply here.

Other than that, this is, quite honestly, one of the best resources for someone who wants to be a better writer. Even just scrolling through it, it covers so many easy mistakes I see people make here, whether it's about grammar, content, or style. Everyone should give this a read-through if they're genuinely interested in growing as a writer/roleplayer.
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Dante's Abyss 2015
Host
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#3
Bumping this because beast
[Image: -Gildarts-fairy-tail-35651033-300-180.gif]
"I have never met a strong person with an easy past." -Atticus
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#4
Gildarts Wrote:Bumping this because beast
Thanks for the bump ...... this actually helped me allot !
[Image: giphy.gif]
You're naive. We're destroyers, not saviors. - Yu Kanda
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#5
This is a list of tips for those among you who, like myself, have trouble settling on a character and find themselves repeatedly swapping. Remember that each swap entails a pretty huge loss of OM, so if you want to make it up high in the OM rankings list, here's a couple of ideas!

Note: As always I welcome any sort of feedback and ideas to expand on the guide, with credit where credit is due!

Character Selection
Okay, so your account is set up and you're wondering what character to submit to get started. Who shall it be?

1- Don't make a character while riding the hype-wave.
A hype-wave is when you watch/read/play something, especially if it's something new - say a new season of an amazing TV series -, and you're all like "Woah, this is amazing, I love this character! I must make them immediately!"

We all have ridden the hype-wave at some point in time, and it's by no means a bad thing! But, restrain yourself! This is also what Omni notes in the "How to join" post:
"You're going to be writing as them for a long time (hopefully), so you'll want a character you love. I'm not talking about the cool new thing that came out this year - in six months time they'll be replaced. I'm talking about something you've always loved, or an idea you've always wanted to bring to life. Or both!"
It is beyond easy to fall into the hype-wave trap if you have recently watched/read/played whatever thing you now like. Don't give in to it! My advice is to wait for at least 3 weeks to a month before you consider the character. During that time, stay away from that media. Don't go on reddit to talk or read about it, don't watch youtubers presenting their grand theories about the game, don't... well, you get the idea. After that period of abstinence, the hype-wave should have passed and you can consider the character from a more neutral, distanced standpoint.

2- Consider your options from various standpoints before settling.
This is an extension of number 1, but no matter if you have multiple options or just a single character, consider them first. Why do you want to play them? What "advantages" do they have? What "disadvantages" will you have to deal with? How would they fit into the Omniverse?

Depending on how willing you are to stray from the original canon that you pull your character from, things such as their personality, appearance, quirks and powers may come into consideration, but more abstract things may also pop up: for instance, if the character is from an obscure book, there may be very little art of them online, and visual references are always a good thing to have. On the other hand if they are from a well-known game, you might be able to take great screenshots and find lots of art. And don't forget to take the canon into consideration: are there other characters that you wish to pull from it, to give to your character as Secondaries or NPC Primes?

It's never wrong to have a second or third person give you their opinion - you can always ignore it if you disagree with them they might provide valuable input from an angle that you have never considered. Someone of a different gender, nationality, with different interests or knowledge may have a very different view of a character than you do. Maybe there's a reference or in-joke somewhere that you never understood, or they believe that the footsteps that the character hears are not implied paranoia but character2's footsteps as he spies on them, which is how they later mysteriously know where the character was between 9 and 10PM.
Unless that second person is a troll. In that case, ignore them.

3- Is love at first sight a thing?
On the risk of getting a mob of angry Omniversians with pitchforks running after me telling me otherwise, I say: love at first sight is not a thing. At least, not the movie cliché where character A sees character B and spontaneously falls deeply in love with them, then marries them and they live happily ever after. That is "heart" love, not "head" love. It's another form of riding the hype-wave (see #1).

What is possible is really liking a character right away and gradually progressing from that first impression (heart love) to a genuine appreciation (head love). As you learn about the character, their personality, behavior, goals and dreams, their past and present and many other factors you gain a more complete picture. Love at first sight, or heart love, is almost entirely based on the appearance and possibly a little presentation of personality.

What does this all mean for you? Well, you should probably watch more than two episodes of that 50-episode-long TV series or do more than watch the trailer of that new game you want to play before you have a good grasp on the character and can say whether or not you like them. They may turn out very different than what you had imagined - plot twists and heel-face turns happen all the time! And it might ruin a character you were very enthusiastic about, or drive you to love someone that you hated before (Severus Snape, anyone?).


Character Maintenance
Your character was approved, some of those delicious 5000 starting OM are spent on awesome moves and you've written your first couple of posts in the Nexus fountain. Or maybe you're already level 5 and suddenly doubt if this character really is the one for you. What to do now?
If you haven't made a character yet I recommend reading this section as well!

4- Make plans and set goals.
Short-term, medium-term and long-term goals are all super important. Someone (unfortunately I cannot remember the source) once said:
"Goals are very important [in a story]. Frodo had the long-term goal of bringing the One Ring to the volcano in Mordor and destroying it there. Without that goal, he would have just been a guy running around with a piece of stolen jewelry."
Goals are the driving force that motivates the character to go on, what they aim to achieve eventually. Set them.

Short-term goals are things such as small storylines, things immediately in front of you. It could be "win the fight I am in right now" or "complete the quest I'm doing."

Medium-term goals are a bit bigger: they are typically things required to progress towards a long-term goal, and more abstract than short-terms. For instance "become recognized in this verse" or "build up a faction". Medium-term goals are typically made out of several short-term goals.

Long-term goals are where shit gets real. They can be your character's ultimate goal(s), the magnum opus that they aim to achieve, the end of a long, difficult journey, the end of the endgame. Each medium-term goal is just one step out of dozens, possibly hundreds. Long-term goals can range anywhere from "become an established bounty hunter feared by all bountied players" to "become leader of the Underverse, defeat Omni, be #1 on the OM rankings list."

If your character has no goals they will last you less than a bag of Doritos thrown into a room full of hungry CoD players. Make a list, decide on what goals your character would pursue in the Omniverse. Even if those goals are wildly out of reach and might take you years to achieve.

5- Write with people.
The Omniverse has an amazing tool that not all roleplaying forums have: the Chatbox. You can meet people that are online, talk to them, find out what they are doing and socialize. And you can ask people if they want to set something up! But why is it so amazing? Other forums have "looking for group" threads as well, right?

Well, the CBox is a live-chat environment. People who are online didn't post 2 days ago and are so rarely online that it takes you a month to set something up, by which time you've grown bored and moved on to RPing on twitter. When you are both online you can exchange information rapidly almost as if on a conversation, not through snail mail. The experience is far more direct and intense.

CBox is love, CBox is life. Use it.

Furthermore, why are you in the Omniverse and not writing a novel that you could sell to become the next Tolkien or Rowling? Because the Omniverse gives you a community. Seriously, you aren't alone in the game. Find other people to play with and you'll get way more fun out of it.

6- Create conflict and problems, get rivals.
No, I don't mean that you should go into the Chatbox and start insulting everyone, that'll just get you banned. I mean IC conflict.

Let's say, for just a second, that you are watching two TV series. One is about this couple who fall in love, they really like each other, they share all sorts of interests, every day is sunny, they are rich and happy and they live forever together. The other is about a couple who fall in love but then the girl's mother doesn't like the guy and there's tension, and she wants the girl to marry this ugly rich kid and ends up hiring a hitman to take out the guy, who has to escape the country, leaving the girl heartbroken but still loving him. Which one would you rather watch?

If your answer was "the first one", then you probably don't have much fun in the Omniverse. Why is the second one better? Because there is conflict. There are problems. The characters don't fit together like two puzzle pieces, there's issues that need solving, external forces that influence them, there is risk of something happening. And nobody wants to watch a TV series where nothing happens and everything is okay.

Conflict does not have to be fights and disputes. Your character might just disagree with another character. You might both want the same artefact or you might be gunning for the winning spots in an event. Sure you could bash each other's heads in and the loser and their entire family and friends get banished - that's the nuclear option. Or there could be an ensuing rivalry. The losing character later assaults the first character's base and tries to retrieve the artefact in the vault. Or they are later forced to work together and refuse to cooperate because they're enemies.

Remember point #4 - Make plans and set goals? Why not make it a goal for your character to defeat/get revenge on/surpass their rival character? Now that's some great motivation.

Again: IC conflict doesn't necessarily mean OOC conflict - and frankly it shouldn't. You can be great friends with someone while your characters hate each other's guts. Enemies are just as important as friends when it comes to motivation and goals.

7- Moves and powers are of secondary importance.
"But Ammy, I am playing Goku and he would be nothing without his Kamehameha and his Super Saiyan powers!" WRONG!

Because of how moves and powers are balanced on the site, far from all characters can be copy-pasted into the Omniverse. As a result, characters won't work the same.

The main things you need to consider for a character are their appearance, personality, goals and so on that you want to carry over from their canon. Their powers and abilities are of course important, but far more replacable. Sure you might trigger some DragonBallZ purists, but there is no rule in the Omniverse saying that you aren't allowed to make Vegeta with medieval plate armor and a katana and then give him Albus Dumbledore's spellbook. Any character can have any move and any power if they meet its requirements.

8- Don't live "paycheck to paycheck".
This is more of a trick to keep things interesting, but your Spent OM doesn't have to be equal to your Earned OM at all times. Don't sink each point that you just earned with your latest post into a new move or power. Think about it: do you really want that move/power/proficiency/item? Or maybe you could save up for something bigger, more fun? Plus, you'll save a lot of OM from potentially refunding moves later down the line.

One great trick to accomplish this is to have your character acquire their new power or move through its own storyline or in some other form. Instead of suddenly having a new lightsaber, why not visit Coruscant, go to an exhibition about Jedi and learn about the weapon, then have your character summon one? Or maybe they do a quest for some guy and are rewarded with the lightsaber for it.

If it helps, make a wishlist. List what you want and in what order, and stick to it.

9- Create a Writing Calendar
If you do a quest or you join a saga or an event, you might find yourself surprised at the amount of time it takes up in your life. Two months to complete a quest? Dante's Abyss this year takes 3 months? You want to play with someone who is absent for the next 3 weeks?

A Writing Calendar is great to keep track of the bigger picture. You can also note down how many words you've written, if you recieved bonuses and so on, to track the quality of your writing and in the case of quests with word requirements see how long it'll take you to write the amount that you need.

10- Use support characters - Credit goes to Alex for this one!
The Omniverse allows its players to summon or otherwise include secondaries and NPC Primes and has a whole roster of Site NPCs available for players - these options should be used! Characters thrive with interactions and relationships: there's probably not many books or movies out there that are completely about one single character that never interacts with other people. Even Robinson Crusoe meets someone else after a while.

Having other characters also allows you to play "different" personalities, characters that have different goals and interests, if you feel like switching it up (which is why a lot of us swap). You can look at a situation or individual from a different angle and create a more living, breathing world around your Prime.


If you managed to read this far, have this!
[Image: 466d6532ac32caf16ad149f7f6b0ef92.jpg]
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Amaterasu Doge Credit & Hugs to Ruby for the sign, and to Guu for the smileys! Amaterasu Doge

Hide your chicken nuggers, hide your heads, the Sundoge is coming and she'll hat everyone!
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This signature is so overloaded...
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#6
Great guide. As an example, here's the pros/cons I used when deciding whether to switch out Enel for Meruem. I could've easily switched to the 'new shit' but I decided not to, remember why I picked Enel in the first place and all the history I've built up with him, despite how many positives there were for Meruem there were just as many for Enel. In the end I picked Meruem as my third character.

People are often wont to give positive reinforcements in these situations, going "hey go for the cool new thing!" but that's why a degree of self-determination is important when making any decisions. Believe in your own reasons and don't listen to anyone else, except me.

Enel Pros:
-Lightning! (my favourite element)
-Potential lightheartedness/humour
-Malleability and very interesting power set
-Truly evil, the chance to write a character more reprehensible than any other I've ever written
-Insane god complex leads to some very fun and interesting writing
-From my all-time favourite anime

Enel Cons:
-Human
-Hard to justify his ear lobes and giant back-drums in a battle.

Meruem Pros:
-Inhuman
-Nen leads to some very interesting basic strengths
-Potentially interesting take of a character whose main "powers" are just being incredibly strong in all aspects
-Insanely violent, good for getting out urges
-Just a very interesting character
-Highly motivated combined with very few moral qualms lead to some great outcomes.
-Fodder can allow me to take on pretty much any power by feeding on those who have it, or drawing on any of the existing chimera ants.

Meruem Cons:
-Another very serious character. Though that coldness is in a way in stark contrast to Samus's bleeding heart morality. He's quite relaxed and arrogant in a way.
-No crazy powers like Enel has
Curious about me and the characters I play? See the 'Staff' page! See also the rosters for my characters Samus Aran or Enel if you'd like to see examples of well-formatted rosters. Hope you enjoy the Omniverse!
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#7
If I can add something (I didn't notice this thread until now):

Create a cast of supporting characters. A cast that you like. Give them quirks, motivations, interests, and backstories. When you start to lose your muse with your prime, just shift the focus to one of them. Not only will this ensure you remain nearby to your character, but it might also help give you the distance you need to rethink and recenter yourself with them.

Plus, it'll also act to provide your character with a much better mini-world around him, if he's part of a compelling cast of characters.
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#8
Shameless bump for another thread that's great.

If anyone out there has a guide of some sort they want to write for the website, feel free to reach out.
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#9
Bumpity bump bump because during the times of writing competitions I find this thread incredibly useful.
[Image: 2agonyw.png]
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#10
Something I stumbled across. Might help out a bit.


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
In battle it is important to keep a sharp blade

But it is by far more important to keep a sharp mind.
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#11
Bardock lives on

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2016 - 2nd
2017 - 4th


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#12
I also like this [Image: fa77595604443d7c284bbbccae903705.jpg]
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#13
Independent and Dependent Clauses.

Sasuke says:
Something a lot of us can work on is separating our clauses with the proper punctuation. Basically, you have Independent Clauses and Dependent Clauses. An Independent Clause is a sentence that completes the thought on its own.

Quote:Jimmy has a red hat.

This is an Independent  Clause and is fine all by itself.

A Dependent Clause is something like:

Quote:So he doesn't want the blue hat.


That was kind of weak, but basically, it’s something that doesn't work on its own. So what? It needs to be tied to an Independent Clause like this: 

Quote:Jimmy has a red hat so he doesn't want the blue hat.

To correctly join this Independent with this Dependent Clause, it needs a comma.

Quote:Jimmy has a red hat, so he doesn't want the blue hat.

‘So he doesn't want the blue hat.’ doesn't make sense on its own. So what?

Student:
Ohhhhhh!
Wow, that makes so much sense actually.

Sasuke says:
^_^

Student:
So, things that can't stand on their own need a comma to attach it to an already proper sentence?

Sasuke says:
Yes.

Student:
Wait, what about Semicolons? Can I use semicolons? Or is that more for fusing two proper sentences together?

Sasuke says:
Basically, you can replace a period with a semicolon if you have two Independent Clauses that you want to tie together. So, they both work on their own, they are independent, however, you want them to be apart of the same thought.

Quote:Bob and Billy have red hats; Jane has a blue hat.

It works the same as a period, but in your mind, you see them as together instead of separate easier, because its not as finale as a period. It has the comma in it, which means continuation, but a period to tell you, these are independent.

Student:
So choosing a semicolon is largely stylistic?

Sasuke says:
Mostly, that’s correct. It can also be used in place of a conjunction.
You almost never ‘need’ to use a semicolon, but sometimes it feels better than using a conjunction, or a period.

The only exception is with lists of lists. If you are compiling a list of lists of things, using a semicolon is needed to separate the groups of lists.

Quote:At the store we got beef, with mushroom sauce; pasta, with Alfredo sauce; and salad, with French dressing.

Like this, its not stylistic, but necessary. This is rare though and not many know how to use them correctly at all, even the pros! Lots of people use them wrong, so It’s sort of like showing off your writing chops when you use them correctly. Haha!

Let's look at this one:

Quote:To her credit Samus kept pace with me, weathering the constant hail of Jutsu I leveled at her. - incorrect(edited)

Quote:To her credit, Samus kept pace with me, weathering the constant hail of Jutsu I leveled at her. -Correct

"Samus kept pace with me" is the Independent Clause here.

"To her credit" and "weathering the constant hail of bullets I leveled at her." are both Dependent Clauses. They don't stand on their own, so they must be tied to an Independent Clause with punctuation.

Same thing here:
Quote:Persistent like a brick wall she pressed forward. -Incorrect

Quote:Persistent like a brick wall, she pressed forward. - Correct

The Independent Clause is: "she pressed forward." It stands on its own.

"Persistent like a brick wall" is the dependent clause. It doesn't make sense on its own. What is persistent like a brick wall? So we connect them with punctuation. Anyway, I'll stop Daniel-Son'ing you now. Haha!

Student:
So the Independent Clause doesn't have to be at the start, it can be at the end of a sentence?
That makes sense.

Sasuke says:
Yea, it can literally be anywhere, but it stands on it own and nothing else does, so it's your anchor you tie everything too.

Student:
Thank's for taking the time to explain it, I appreciate it!

Sasuke says:
F'sho homie. Anytime! ^_^

You also always need a comma before ‘because’. ‘Because’ is a conjunction that ties two Independent Clauses together in order to express an explanation to the first clause.

Quote:"She must have been a pro baseball player" -Independent Clause.

"because"- Conjunction.

"she smacked it out the park" - Independent Clause that explains the details or the first clause.

Sentences are like building blocks. Start recognizing segments of words as different identifiable parts(or ingredients) and not only will you improve your punctuation, but you'll start crafting superior sentences as well.

Quote:The resulting explosion swallowed Sasuke in a cloud of smoke and shrapnel; which gave Samus more than enough time to scramble up the side of the metal bird. -Incorrect Semicolon.

Quote:The resulting explosion swallowed Sasuke in a cloud of smoke and shrapnel; Samus had more than enough time to scramble up the side of the metal bird. -Correct Semicolon.

By replacing the Conjunction (which) with a Semicolon, both parts are independent where as before only one was.

But its preference:

You can do ', which gave Samus'
or you can do '; Samus had'
Up to you.

Use a Conjunction to keep one dependent, or a Semicolon to make them both independents. Either Way, you get to express the same thing

Student:
Jeeze
That like clears up so much for me, lol!

Sasuke says:
Haha!
Glad to help ^_^
It's not really in the Writer's Guide on Omni because that guide is for like, clearing the basics. This is like, next tier stuff.


Welcome to the next tier.
Dante's Abyss 2015
   GRAND CHAMPION   
[Image: Sasuke_DA_zpsb4vizgxd.png]       
Mark Twain Wrote:"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
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#14
The above descriptions of independent and dependent clauses, and semi-colons, is approved by Deadpool--the semi-colon king.

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2017 - 4th


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