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Voiceovers

Al!

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A Brief word on voice-overs.

Since I’ve started writing for NFW I’ve noticed a few rumblings about the perceived use of voice-overs in my pieces because of the way I state the thoughts and feelings of characters in those pieces.

I first noticed this over at the fwtorch site and later a small blurb at RSPWF. I wrote this off as too minor to comment upon. Yesterday I noticed another writer on the NFW site in an open RP used voiceovers as an opportunity to take a shot at another character, in-character. This is where in game reality starts to break down in my eyes so I opt to post on it.

I want to make it very clear. There are no intended voice-overs in my work unless a “(voice over)” tag exists in the body advising of a voice over. Any references to voice overs without that tag are false.

I expect that the next question will be something to the effect of this. How do I explain the fact that thoughts are known to the readers of the piece and do so in-character? The answer is simple. I don’t make any effort to.

If an explanation is necessary for some reason I suggest that rag sheets or backstage rumors give people an insight into a person’s head. It’s an out.

I know that there’s a strong script-writing base in the NFW and I love that. When I started here a long time ago, I wrote that way. Scripts are intended to be short, sweet and to the point. They can be because they are interpreted and added upon in style by the performance of the actor. While e-fedding we do not have that luxury. It’s either on the page, or it isn’t.

I’m a strong proponent of taking advantage of the strengths of a particular medium. If the WWE wants to sell something, they take full advantage of the television medium. If I want to take full advantage of the writing medium I look to authors who have sold many books. All of them in one way or another captivate the reader. In most cases, it’s because they let you inside the head of the protagonist/antagonist.

Because this is such a staple of modern fiction, I choose to do it here. What I am doing though is not writing a script, it’s telling a story.

Long and short, whatever.

Thanks for reading

Al
 

JLevinson

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Hmmmm

Well I wanted to talk about this at some point, so since you raised the point, I guess now is as good a time as any.

Clearly, the use of a script or screenplay format is to help faciliate how we would use the medium of television to get our point across. Like you said, it's short and sweet.

However, you then go on to say that your narrative style is more about storytelling, which is obviously true.

Before I go on, let me say that I don't have any problem with you, and this is no personal offense meant to you, just my own personal preference.

I don't think there's anything inherently WRONG with using a narrative to express promos and matches (although I don't really like it, I understand it). If that's how you want to write, that's fine.

Unfortunately, the use of the omniscient 3rd person narrator (the God Narrator) is just not a feasible way to write roleplays. Like you mentioned, how am I, the watcher of this TV show, supposed to know all these things? How am I supposed to know the backstory of all this? wthout voiceover, the answer is obvious: I can't.

And therein lies the problem. You say that your "out" is the previous history of the wrestlers and all that. But the question I pose to you is, if the previous history of a wrestler were enough to help us understand what a character is feeling, then why do you need to tell us?

As many writers know, you don't always have to TELL the reader what someone is thinking in order to express it. For instance, instead of saying, "Joe Blow looked down at his fists, these weapons of destruction, and he regretted ever having stepped into that ring... and then he thought back to his younger brother, who died in the armed forces, etc. etc."

You could simply say, "Joe Blow looks down at his fists, his eyes glazed over and watery. He stops for a moment and then walks over to the wall, where a group of medals is on the shelf. One of the medals is a (insert whatever medal it is where the person was killed in service) and shakes his head at the young man in the picture."

You see? You can narrate the storyline without having to tell us everything the character is thinking. In fact, many writers believe that using the omniscient 3rd person narrator is actually a very weak style of writing, as it simply TELLS the reader what to think instead of SHOWING them how it happened.

Of course, it's your RP and your style, so you can do whatever you want. But for instance, when I read the match between Campbell and Southern, I see a line like "And just like that, the tide turned." Except that if you used proper buildup and momentum, or even the announcers, you wouldn't have to explain to me that the tide had turned. I would have already known.

See what I mean? Let me know what you think, as I find this new narrative-style RP to be very interesting, but completely impossible given the standard wrestling show format.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

Hate-mail? :)
 

eyoung

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Narrative

OK, I'm catching on. Since this is clearly over my head I know it's got to be an NFW East RP, but neither of you identify the character speaking. Is it Manson, Strife, Panda or not Hornet.

(scratches head and thinks back to the days he understood all Role Play and out of role play discussions. Those were the good old days he says to himself)

Co-worker: What were the good old days, Ed?

(Oh crap I said that out loud )

Ed: Nothing, just something I read on the PC.
 

PaulNJ21

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I’m a strong proponent of taking advantage of the strengths of a particular medium. If the WWE wants to sell something, they take full advantage of the television medium. If I want to take full advantage of the writing medium I look to authors who have sold many books. All of them in one way or another captivate the reader. In most cases, it’s because they let you inside the head of the protagonist/antagonist.

Because this is such a staple of modern fiction, I choose to do it here. What I am doing though is not writing a script, it’s telling a story.

Long and short, whatever.

The problem is, you are not writing for a written medium, you are writing for a visual medium.

All of these promos are done in order to hype matches for a television medium and you are basically presenting them for the viewer to be seen on television. You are basically destroying the fantasy that what they are seeing is real by using voice overs or a narrator.

I keep on seeing people say that they are in love with prose because it allows them to tell the reader what they think, but if you are a good writer, you should be able to tell the reader that in any medium. In script, you can express how you feel through actions and tones just as well as you can in prose, you just have to work a little harder.

I tell stories too, but I don't have to tell my reader what my character thinks because they know what he thinks.

Paul
 

SouthernBoy

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Just to put my two cents in ... (like anybody cares :) )

The "which style is better" debate has been talked to death really. I've always been a "script writer", but when Al and I had our match, I adapted to his style and found it interesting and fun to give the reader an insite into what's going on inside Southern's head. On the other hand, it makes it very difficult to have a "back and forth" Role-play "battle" when the guy you're facing doesn't give you anything to go off of. I'm not saying you didn't Al, but alot of times with narritive RPs, that's what happens.

In my opinion, there should probably be a mix, but I don't belive anybody has the right to tell anybody else how to roleplay. If the commish of the league doesn't like it, he'll let you know by jobbing you like yesterday's news :) ,otherwise, more power to ya'!

As far as referencing the "voice overs" or the "thoughts" of guys, I don't think that should be done either, but then again, I'm not going to tell anybody they can't. Roll with the punches I say.

But that's just me. We all know nobody likes me anyway :)

Jason
 

PaulNJ21

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As far as referencing the "voice overs" or the "thoughts" of guys, I don't think that should be done either, but then again, I'm not going to tell anybody they can't. Roll with the punches I say.

But that's just me. We all know nobody likes me anyway

Jason

I know from a couple of people I talk that they almost had a heart attack when you started doing prose because they feared you had converted to the "dark side" ;->

You are more loved than you think.

Paul
 

JLevinson

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Heh

I hear what you're saying, Jason, I really do. And like I said, though I don't PERSONALLY care for the narrative style, I don't think there's anything wrong with it either. If you like it, kudos to you.

I just don't like the God Narrator, as I've said before. I think it's sloppy writing, especially if you're going to pretend that this is a wrestling show and you're using wrestlers to cut promos. There is simply no way to keep the fantasy going if you're going to give us detailed backstory and personal thoughts from the omniscient narrator.

As I've said, using the narrative style, you can still show how your characters feels by his actions and his words. Many great writers use the limited 3rd person all the time, and when done well, there's probably no better way to write.

I'm not saying that there's a wrong or right way to RP, I was just offering my two cents about it. I just feel like, if we're going to do the FW thing, and make it a pseuco-competition, as opposed to a more fan fiction-oriented fWo, which is as much about people as it is about wrestling, then I think you should probably avoid using the omniscient third person.

Then again, Katz seems to think I'm just too old-school and set in my ways to change, but I don't really think that's true. I just feel like if we're going to compete in such a dorky hobby, then I feel like we need to do as much to suspend the disbelief as possible and give it a more realistic polish.

If wrestling was in a book, and not on TV, then I'd be with you. But it is on TV, and that's how it goes, so unless you say "OKay, this is all voiceover," then there's just no way I can do anything with it. I, as an OORP reader, can enjoy reading SHane's thoughts, but Shizaki can't do anything about it. I can't just say "Hey weirdo, what's up with the backstory," y'know?

Anyway, I'm rambling 'cause I think I may have smoked too early today.

So yeah, do whatever you want, I certainly don't REALLY care, as this IS just FW. I was just offering my two cents because Al asked, and I wanted to give my honest opinion about the style and its advantages and disadvantages.

Discuss.

-Josh
 

Al!

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Hey guys -

Thanks for the opinions. I appreciate them greatly. My intent was not to start a "which style is better in writing" conversation. It was to tell people that voiceovers are not happening.

Different strokes for different folks is how I'm reading all of this. My point of view on my writing is simply that it's my writing. I don't want people to imagine for themselves what's happening. I want them to know what's happening :)

I understand the point about "writing for a televised medium" and when the NFW gets a real television contract I will be sure to write for a televised medium. As long as we're stuck to words on a page I guess I'm stuck with the inherent weaknesses of prose.

Note: If at any time I'm writing from the point of view of someone in one of my rps watching television you're likely to see some standard script writing stuff. I've done that recently with merchandise ads and commercial stuff, just not in NFW.

The message to take away from this reply is, I respect all of your opinions, and yourselves as players of the same game, but I'm not on the same level as y'all as far as what style of writing I prefer. I just find the style you prefer to be either short and sweet or requiring me to waste a lot of time saying something that I can say much more easily just by saying it my way.

If my way is weak, cool. No worries.

Again thanks and regards
Al
 

SouthernBoy

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PaulNJ21 said:
I know from a couple of people I talk that they almost had a heart attack when you started doing prose because they feared you had converted to the "dark side" ;->

You are more loved than you think.

Paul

Really? Well name names pal, 'cause I just gotta know who cares about little ol' me. :)

Just so that nobody has a heart attack, I'm not converting to the "dark side" as you put it, I just found it a fun, different way to write. I still love the "old way" as well. I mean, hey, the reason we all do this "dorky hoby" is for fun, right? So if something is fun ... I go with it.

I find that I like challenges. I will always try to adapt my style to the guy I'm facing. If my opponent does narratives, I'm more likely to respond that way. If he does a standard "interview promo" cussing my momma', I'm more likely to respond that way.

I guess what I'm saying is that there's more than one way to do this. The constant change and challenges are what makes this fun for me.

You guys do what's fun for you.

Oh, and Josh ... the reason I did a narrative for my first RP in our match is that I wanted to tie up some loose ends from the last match/card, and I thought that would be the best way to do it while introducing the prospect that Shane was thinking of backing out of the match.

I'll convert back to the light just for you man ... 'cause you know, I'm all about makin' everybody happy. :)

Jason
 

Al!

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Figure I owe Mr. Levinson a direct response as he asked me a direct question. Sorry if I missed this, no disrespect meant.

But the question I pose to you is, if the previous history of a wrestler were enough to help us understand what a character is feeling, then why do you need to tell us?

The answer is:

Because my character hasn't seen NFW action since July 2000 and many of the storylines hadn't been fully developed by then. It's nice to think that you'd be able to just go back into the archives and find what you need to know. Reality is most of the build is located in either John's or my old emails from that time period. Contrary to popular belief, this whole Vivian story was not drawn of clean whole cloth two weeks ago :)

Likely I'm the only one who kept that stuff, cause I'm an ultra-geek.

Even those personal considerations aside, I try to write both for the people who know the character and for people who just happen upon the character. I want everyone to be able to enjoy what I write. You may feel that my style is a bit pedestrian. That's cool.

The reality is I have no idea who is reading my stuff. For the most part it's the people in the fed who have a reason to read everything, but if we get one person who's just browsing stuff, I want to connect immediately or at least have a high chance of being read again by someone who doesn't know anything about WC.

I think that covers it, and as you've said to me I return in kind, this is no shot at you or anything you believe or prefer. Hopefully we'll work together at some point.

One last thing: If you think prose is the dark side, you've never met any of my ex-girlfriends . :) Thank god I'm married now.

Al
 

Steve

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Uh

It's just you Tom.

Whether prose has a place in fantasy wrestling has been debated for a while now.

It's a matter of choice. The following would be a lot more fun for me to write narratively, than in present form:

MELTON: Hey Troy, look what I found in my closet today?

(Joey holds up a Members Only jacket)

TROY: Your closet? Come on...that's Ed Young's.

MELTON: Yikes.

In our circle of FW I try to adhere to a few rules.

1) All match roleplay is done in flash format. Writing a TV promo. No narrative. Just (fadein: Melton behind a backdrop) classic wrestling style.

It's up to the league president to say what's allowed and what isn't. For match rp everything should be seen by your opponent and viewers.

2) General/storyline rp is off camera.

This sort of roleplay, IMO, should be kept under "NFW General RP." If it's in narrative format, then it's not for your week 12 opponent to feed off of. And it shouldn't be counted towards whether you win the match or not. It's just thrown up for your personal sastisfaction.

It's also annoying when someone responds in character to your storyline rp, as if they saw it.

That's why it should be made clear before hand what's acceptable forms of roleplay and where it goes.

But in the NFW, yes..I would expect all the week to week rp battles to be on camera and in classic rp format. Otherwise it could get messy.

3) Match Writing. If it's short form, i'm writing narratively. As short form in FW means, "We don't have the time to write the entire card in long form format, so to keep the league moving some of these will be short form. That's cool with me.

Longform however, I'm still a fan of writing for TV.

The Southern/Campbell match was very well done.

You could debate small details like:

"Southern hit his hand on the ring apron, and thought defiantly to himself, "That was a three-count."

or

"Southern hit his hand on the ring apron, mocking the slow count as the crowd furiously agreed."

The difference: writing shows for an audience, or writing shows for your characters.

Both work well. And I don't see the point in trying to claim either way is right (not that anyone was doing that). We're not writing for tv here. We're writing for ourselves, lets be honest. And considering that, hugging to strict rules make for more pain than pleasure.

I can read a narrative match and visualize it in my head, without really being concerned over "Show don't tell."

But I'm sixteen years into PBP.

4) Prose on-card roleplay. In theory if we're 'writing a tv show' everything on the cards should be in teleplay format.

But, to me there's a gray area.

We know WWE style Crash TV is seen by viewers, but the wrestlers are under the assumption it's not.

Jericho rubbing Trish's shoulders building her up for a match later on, plays like the two have no idea there's cameras in their faces. Certainly, they never look in camera. Never talk to the camera.

It's all (wink, wink) you're not supposed to see this.

With that in mind, for on-card roleplay...i dont think narrative breaks any rules.

The Melton/Love Week 11 piece was backstage rp. Was it caught on camera? I don't worry about that. It was character rp, as is WWE Crash TV.

I get into the characters heads, and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you think it's on TV, I'm sure you're smart enough to read and visualize for yourself. I enjoy writing that way more, and I think my writing is better narratively than in teleplay form.

If you think a mixture of narrative/teleplay ruins the cohesiveness of the card, you're probably right. But until Katz says he'd rather me or anyone else not write on-card narrative rp, I'll keep doing it that way.

The big thing is we're writing for each other, not for 'TV.' Yes, we're writing tv shows. But the audience we hope to entertain is our own circle. In that regard, we shouldn't embrace the left or right, but the gooey cream in the middle. :)

Wait..that didn't...

Ahem.

Nevermind. Hostesscakes people, I swear.

If your wrester(s) are talking/looking into the camera it's better to write classic rp style.

But if they're not...write the way you want. And as long as your league president agrees to it, that's cool.

Just my thoughts anyway..

-Stephen
 
Last edited:

Steve

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one more thing

Off the fwrestling main page under the link:

"What Is FW?"

There's a good article by the NFW's own Jamar Nicholas about this very subject, more or less.

Roleplay 101.

While I may not agree with everything, it's a darn good read and is worth by and large ahering to while rp'ing.
 

ShawnHartXXX

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My Two Cents

I think my signature pretty much sums up where I stand in this discussion. Brevity is the soul of wit. I'm not gonna say the night's a ominously grim, black with charcoal glow and shrowded with somber, dusky gloom when I can just say it's dark out. Also, I want whoever's reading, my stuff to love, hate, or laugh at what I'm writing because that is what the words inspire... not because I tell them it's something that should be loved/hated or laughed at. As far as the bottom line with the script-style versus narrative form issue, the way I see it... we are writing wrestling television, not War and Peace. I'm not gonna go tell people what The Phenom or El Segundo or whoever is thinking because you can't show that on television. I think the object is to show the thought process through what the character is actually saying, his mannerisms, etc. Of course, these are just my opinions and I won't fault somebody for following a different train of thought. The point of the game is to have fun, so if you have fun writing narrative... more power to ya. It's only right or wrong if the guy running that particular fed is running under those guidelines.

-RPA
 

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