Pillar 1: Getting Started/Structure

One of the most important aspects of roleplaying is consistency. However you style your roleplays, you need to stay consistent in order to achieve a realistic, believable character.

So how do you stay consistent? You need to decide on a basic structure of your roleplays. Now, if you've never roleplayed before, this may take you some time to find a format you like. Work with it, change it up a bit, and find out what works best with your writing style. There are several different options. The most basic form is to start out by setting the scene and then moving on with your point. However, you can also open with dialogue, revealing the scene later.

Myself, for instance, begin with a opening description of either the scene or what has recently transpired with my character. After that I usually use dialogue between my character and whoever is involved that I've made up around him. Lastly, I tend to end my roleplays with a clever cliffhanger or tie it up into something meaningful via a description. Others prefer a good amount of simple action, interaction, and movement within a setting before beginning with their dialogue. Whatever you choose, choose the format that works best with your style.

Also, consider typing your roleplays in a word processor (MS Word). Make use of the spell check. Proper grammar and spelling are essential to a successful roleplay. If you talk in run-on sentences, or your words are misspelled, it is hard to take you seriously. It's quite easy to use a spell checker, so be sure to use one if you aren't confident with your spelling. Spelling errors just how a lack of care and passion for creative writing. I sometimes have to google a word to make sure I've spelled it correctly. No one is perfect.

Pillar 2: Setting the Scene

Vivid description is highly valued in roleplays. Many people choose to go with a simple description of their surroundings, and then move on. While this may prove to be acceptable if your writing skills make up for it, vivid scenery and complex interaction with that scenery can be a great compliment to your roleplaying. When setting the scene in your roleplays, be as descriptive as possible. Use words that evoke visual images in a person's mind. Use the full extent of your vocabulary.

Bad Example:

[Shawn Rossdale is in his room. He is wearing a shirt and pants. He seems angry. He turns to speak.]

All that does is establish that he isn't naked. But that leaves no room for interaction with his surroundings. Is he just sitting in a bare white room? Is he sitting on his bed, in a chair, on the couch? When he speaks, does he look forward, or down at his shoes? Be careful not to over think your description, however. You don't want to go off describing the type of wallpaper and how it was hung, or the color of your shirts in the closet etc. Don't bore us with things that don't matter, but be sure to include things that impact the scene.

Good Example:

[As the scene comes into focus, we see Shawn Rossdale sitting quietly on his living room couch. It's silent before the crackling and low popping of the fireplace. In his refined hands he's holding a copy of Plato's The Republic. He slowly turns the pages as he reads, soaking in what he sees. The fireplace provides a low hue of dim orange and yellow, and a small lamp next to him are the only light.]

See? That didn't take much longer to write, and it sounded much better. Now we know where he is and whats around him, as well as what he's doing. Of course, it would help to describe what he's wearing and such, but that in itself is quite effective in setting the scene. Be sure to include all the elements of the setting in your roleplay, such as:

Place, time of day, surroundings, appearance/apparel, movement, action(s), and the atmosphere or mood of the scene.

Pillar 3: Moving and Talking/Action

After setting the scene in your roleplay, you need to worry about content. We'll discuss insight and the deeper meanings of your spoken word later. Now, however, you need to worry about putting it together. Be sure to "move around" in your roleplay. Many people just set the stage, and then stop worrying about movement. They make their point and are done with it. However, to allow for a truly effective roleplay, which is easily visualized, you will need to describe your character's movements and facial expressions. People don't sit still, unmoving, as they talk. They use body language, gestures, and they adjust.

Insert your movements in separate tags or paragraphs than your speaking. Be sure it looks neat and can be told apart; don't mix them up. In these tags, also include description of tone of voice, volume, inflection, and the like. Allow readers to get an idea of how your character is speaking, and what he is doing when he speaks.

Bad Example:

[Shawn Rossdale sits in his room. He looks mad as he talks. He starts yelling.]

Shawn Rossdale: I'm going to hurt you, Keegan O'Donneldl! I hate you! You suck! You think you're good? You're not good!

Good Example:

[The scene glows into focus, we see Shawn sitting quietly on his living room couch. It's silent before the crackling and low popping of the fireplace. In his refined hands he's holding a copy of Plato's The Republic. He slowly turns the pages as he reads, soaking in what he sees. The fireplace provides a low hue of dim orange and yellow, and a small lamp next to him are the only light. He finally turns away from his book and brushes his curly long hair to the side of his face, and begins to speak with his usual elegant british accent.]

Shawn Rossdale: Hello there, Keegan. It seems that you have once again decided to interject yourself in my business.

[Suddenly, Shawn leans towards the camera. A cold stare reveals itself from his piercing amber colored eyes. His voice becomes quiet yet crisp and firm.]

Shawn Rossdale: I don't appreciate that.

In the first example, your character simply sits there and talks. However, in the second example, it is quite easy to picture the character as he speaks and moves. The character becomes more lifelike, and therefore is much more interesting and animated.

Pillar 4: Closing

The closing of your roleplay is important in that it will be the final points your reader is left with. If you make all your big points at the beginning of the roleplay, and then just trail of at the end, the big ideas you had won't last in your reader's mind. Your closing should sum up the contents of your roleplay, and also include some action. But don't use a summary in a narrative sense. You don't want to deliberately run through a list of things you said and repeat yourself. But do touch on them again, bring up the topic, or just allude to them. Also, an effective way of closing is to use a catchphrase, but make absolute certain that it is original. Stealing a real wrestler's lines will kill the entire roleplay, and will most likely get you fired. As in everything else in your character, be original.

The last line of your roleplay can either be spoken or action, but either way it should be powerful. You need to leave your reader thinking about it, give them something to gnaw on. Don't just make your point and leave. Be sure to end the roleplay with some powerful words, an entertaining catchphrase, or a significant action or motion or simply something that will make the reader wonder and ponder and come back later for the next piece of the cake. Make some sort of impact in the closing.

Pillar 5: Psychology and Insight

Now that you know how to structure your roleplay, it is important to fill it with meaningful content. After all, a textbook roleplay may be perfect structurally, but without anything said, you have wasted your time. The most important influencing factor on this aspect of writing is, in fact, reading. You must know your opponent in order to react to them. Read their roleplay once through, then take it apart piece by piece to respond. When reading, don't just see what your opponent has said. Ask yourself why they said it. Have some idea of where their character is coming from, and what they want to achieve. Be sure you know your opponent's character well. If you need to, e-mail them and ask about certain things. For regular matches, this kind of insight isn't necessary, but for long running feuds it will be essential to know your opponent's past, present, and what they hope for in the future. Check out their roster page or profile within the site for help.

Also, you will need to know the same things about your own character. You'll need to be consistent with your character's past, and know what they might say and why in certain situations. Your character will also need to know his strengths and weaknesses. Some people create a character with no weaknesses, but that character will ultimately be unbelievable. But knowing your weaknesses doesn't mean you have to show them. If your character is dependent on having a belt in order to be confident, that's fine. But make your opponent figure that out for themselves.

When beginning your roleplay, you can start with some idle chit-chat (but not too much) to loosen things up, have a conversation with another character, recite a poem, sing a song, or make an accusation. Just about anything you can think of. But be sure it has a point. A good roleplay will have plenty of good points and insights, but a great roleplay won't waste a single word. A great roleplay will have every word working for a purpose, every action, sentence, movement, all working towards making the point work. This can take some time to be able to do on command, so don't strain yourself trying to pull it off right off the bat. Your ultimate goal should be to use every aspect of the roleplay to your advantage. Don't waste time and effort on things that are just trash talk or insignificant.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use plenty of description; it just simply means that you shouldn't throw in fifty lines of nonsense to make your roleplays seem longer. Quality over quantity, is what we're looking for. In other words, a fifteen line roleplay won't get the job done, and a ten page roleplay is a pain in the neck to read. Balance all of these factors out, and you'll have a winning combination.

Pillar 6: The Five W's

Here's a quick reference list of some things you might want to ask yourself when writing. If you run out of things to talk about, consult this list for some things to consider.

Who: Who are you? Who is your opponent? Who is in the room with you? Who else associates with you or your opponent? Who might be involved in your situation other than the two of you? Who else might be a threat in your situation?

What: What are you doing? What are you thinking? What point are you trying to make? What do you want from the situation? What do you have to gain? What do you have to lose? What does it mean to win a championship? What does it mean to win and lose?

Where: Where are you now? Where are you from? Where are you going? Where is your opponent? Where do you want to go? Where have you been in your life?

Why: Why are you saying what you're saying? Why did your opponent say what they did? Why are you moving/gesturing as you are? Why are you where you are? Why are you doing what you're doing? Why do you want what you are after? Why did you join ICW?

When: When are you seeing your opponent next? When did you last see your opponent? When did you arrive at your location? When are you leaving? When did your confrontation begin? When do you plan on ending the feud? When do you see yourself as champion or a contender?

Pillar 7: Staying Fresh

So now that you've found your strategy and you've put together some impressive roleplays, you're all set. Lets say that you've been roleplaying with this strategy and form for a while, and the effect is starting to wear off. Some signs of an aging character or style can begin to show. This is perfectly normal. In reality this is the biggest challenge for an e-wrestler. If you get to the top, staying at the top is always harder than getting there. So you'll need to keep yourself fresh in order to continue with your winning ways. This means you'll have to change your character a bit. The most obvious and frequent form of this would be a heel or face turn. If you've wrestled as a face for a while, and things are starting to slow down, try becoming a heel for a while. The same goes for the opposite. Heels and faces have very different approaches and views, and can definitely get you back into the game with some fresh material. Also, they make for some fun angles if they're timed well enough, and a solid angle can be inspiration for some new ideas.

However, don't change your orientation without making some hoopla about it. A heel or face turn can be quite big, so be sure to milk it for all it's worth. If you happen to be a tweener (someone in the middle or fades back and forth from face to heel) then you would want to turn strongly to one or the other.

Also, slight character changes can be useful. Try changing things up a bit in mood, tempo, persona, etc. If your character has always been dark and brooding, lighten him up a bit and give him a sense of humor. If your character has always been silly and an oddball, try giving him an aggressive edge. If your character has always been a high-flying flashy wrestler, try grounding him and making him a brutal technician. There are many ways to change things about your character.

In the end, it is all on you and your mind. Creativity can flood our minds. It's important to make sense of that and use it the best way you can in the form of E-Wrestling.