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The Writers' Block

A place to spoil daily issues for those who haven't had them yet, snigger at typos, and discuss ideas for new ones.

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Panageadom
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Postby Panageadom » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:00 pm

The easiest ways, I find, are to vary sentence length (and the pattern of sentence length) between speakers, register (which is about use of clauses and words - how many subordinate clauses are there? How many syllables do the words have? Often indicates class or level of education), specific language (e.g. a socialist might use conventionally Marxist terms, people using different words unique to their specialities and interests - e.g. difference between a farmer and a biologist describing the same thing) and specific affectations (rhetorical questions, stock phrases, exclamations ("Eh?"), etc.). Phoneticised accents are easy to try, but hard to do well, often looking ugly.

Huzzah on the name!

By the way, a small point on this red-pen issue - I've been using that convention for quite a while. It seems to work better - i.e. is more visible - than bold or italics. I wouldn't mind the same function being added to telegramming, as well as larger window, as it happens, as I sometimes do a bit of a pre-edit for someone else's issues (who's welcome to announce themselves if they wish, but wouldn't want to force it out).

Once this phase of the AIP is over, can we have the same thing, but with a handful of two or three issues per fortnight, continue to run? Giving prompts and specific guidance is always useful to get creativity running.

And lastly, out of interest, why were these, quite precise, topics chosen for the Program in the first place?
Author of Issues:
#273: Is our children learning?
#310: Too Little Talk?
#315: Creative Flowers Withering Under Legislation
#324 "Tourism Tanking" Tells Tabloids
#334: Blot Out Bauhaus
#340: Defending Patent Pending
#365: A Busload of Worry

None at present

If I offer criticism on your proposed issue, I will often write in red: don't think I'm being aggressive, it's just a convention I use!
If I ask a question on a proposed issue thread, then it's because I feel it's one you need to ask of your issue: I'm being Socratic and/or lazy.


Supreme Court Chief Justice for Capitalist Paradise

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Frisbeeteria
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Founded: Dec 16, 2003
Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:05 pm

Mannerisms and locales are my favorites.

Take your basic "That's nonsense", said [x]. (for brevity's sake, let's assume [x] = @@RANDOMNAME@@).) Step one is to take the basic "said" and imbue it with emotion relevant to the speaker's mood. Shouted, sobbed, proclaimed, lots of choices. Pick one, then visit a thesaurus site and see if you can find one that's more evocative of the emotion you're trying to project.

Next, add mannerisms. Find a short but relevant mannerism or description that adds a visual appeal to the speaker. "That's nonsense", said trade adviser [x], waving the most recent issue of Economic Times under your nose.

Most issues assume that petitioners are making their plea in your executive office. Use that as a base. "That's nonsense", said shabbily-dressed fisherman [x], spitting noisily into your wastebasket. With these and all descriptions, you want to avoid gender specific pronouns and descriptions, as the random name generator uses male and female interchangeably.

For more color, move the locale somewhere appropriate. "That's nonsense", shouted radical leftist [x], wielding a bullhorn on the High Court steps. An overused meme is the man-on-the-street interview, but there are places where it's appropriate. Having reporters covering disaster sites or national events is also a good possibility. A number of issues stage their debate in the halls of Congress or Parliament, but I advise against that; as non-US players will be annoyed by the assumption of a Congress, and non-parliamentary nations will be confused by mentions of MPs.

You want to keep it brief to avoid the wall of text. You also don't have to exactly follow the above format. For instance: A beggar holding a cup of pencils sidesteps your security on the way into the office. "That's nonsense!"

Anyone else have suggestions?
Last edited by Frisbeeteria on Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Frisbeeteria
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Founded: Dec 16, 2003
Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:11 pm

Panageadom wrote:By the way, a small point on this red-pen issue - I've been using that convention for quite a while. It seems to work better - i.e. is more visible - than bold or italics. I wouldn't mind the same function being added to telegramming, as well as larger window, as it happens, as I sometimes do a bit of a pre-edit for someone else's issues (who's welcome to announce themselves if they wish, but wouldn't want to force it out).

Interesting. Start a thread in Technical about that, but assume nobody knows what you're talking about at first.

Panageadom wrote:Once this phase of the AIP is over, can we have the same thing, but with a handful of two or three issues per fortnight, continue to run? Giving prompts and specific guidance is always useful to get creativity running.

We'd like to see that, but mods aren't the only creative people on the site. I'm hoping this thread will serve as an unofficial source of ideas. We can gather the good ones and drop them into the second post.

Panageadom wrote:And lastly, out of interest, why were these, quite precise, topics chosen for the Program in the first place?

Sedgistan did some technical analysis on specific stats. Can't tell you more without going into the zOMG Secrit! code basis.

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Dukopolious
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Postby Dukopolious » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:27 pm

Should the issues be written as if the various opinions are in repliance to eachother, or are influenced by eachother's previous stated opinions? I find various issues do this, yet many do not.

Example

"That's preposterous" Bellowed civil rights activist @@RANDOMNAME@@, while pushing your Right Wing Adviser (Let's assume he was 'Option 1', and this is 'Option 2') out of your office and into the hallway "We can't have those greedy belly rubbing corporate goons running around with pockets full of cash while people in Maxtopia are hungry and dying! You have to raise taxes for the rich @@LEADER@@! Think of the children!"

The bolded part is with the second person acknowledging the first, if this were gone and it had a different mannerism than pushing the Adviser away, it wouldn't pay any notice to the first option. Which would be better (for all issues in general), in your opinion?
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Frisbeeteria
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Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:41 pm

Which would be better (for all issues in general), in your opinion?

I don't like generalizations. They make life bland.

The assumption is that all options represent appropriate people responding to the original topic. Whether they respond to each other is author's choice. I do recommend leaving some flexibility, though - even in drafting here in the forums, you can sometimes make a stronger issue by switching some of the options around in their presentation order.

The one thing you must avoid in these "chain" options is a consensus "right" answer. NS issues don't have a right answer. All should be equally attractive and equally unpalatable.

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Frisbeeteria
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Postby Frisbeeteria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:38 pm

Just a note from digging through submitted issues: "banning cars" and "declaring you a supreme dictator" are now officially overused memes.

Let's not include either as options if we can avoid it. Thanks.

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Panageadom
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Postby Panageadom » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:48 pm

Panageadom wrote:Once this phase of the AIP is over, can we have the same thing, but with a handful of two or three issues per fortnight, continue to run? Giving prompts and specific guidance is always useful to get creativity running.

We'd like to see that, but mods aren't the only creative people on the site. I'm hoping this thread will serve as an unofficial source of ideas. We can gather the good ones and drop them into the second post.
[/quote]

My only worry with that is that people are holding out on ideas because of the current existence of the contest. I was thinking about trying out some stuff about either air pollution standards, or the government response to falling agricultural prices (e.g. "Western" solution of subsidy, Peelite solution of free trade, "Chinese" solution of collectivisation...), but the AIP, for all its benefits, means that people aren't half as interested in "regular" issues.
Author of Issues:
#273: Is our children learning?
#310: Too Little Talk?
#315: Creative Flowers Withering Under Legislation
#324 "Tourism Tanking" Tells Tabloids
#334: Blot Out Bauhaus
#340: Defending Patent Pending
#365: A Busload of Worry

None at present

If I offer criticism on your proposed issue, I will often write in red: don't think I'm being aggressive, it's just a convention I use!
If I ask a question on a proposed issue thread, then it's because I feel it's one you need to ask of your issue: I'm being Socratic and/or lazy.


Supreme Court Chief Justice for Capitalist Paradise

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Sedgistan
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Ex-Nation

Postby Sedgistan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:52 pm

That may be the case, but we're not likely to have a contest like this again, so once it's over, hopefully people will start working on their other ideas.

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Dukopolious
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Postby Dukopolious » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:04 pm

Would it be safe to say "Got Issues" is the most under used forum, and the one which people tend to pay the least attention to?
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Sanctaria
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Founded: Sep 12, 2008
New York Times Democracy

Postby Sanctaria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:05 pm

Dukopolious wrote:Would it be safe to say "Got Issues" is the most under used forum, and the one which people tend to pay the least attention to?

Didn't you say this already? :p

Dukopolious wrote:Got Issues is probably the least used forum isn't it? Even Arts and fiction has more threads and posts.
Last edited by Sanctaria on Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dukopolious
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Founded: Jun 17, 2011
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Postby Dukopolious » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:28 pm

Sanctaria wrote:
Dukopolious wrote:Would it be safe to say "Got Issues" is the most under used forum, and the one which people tend to pay the least attention to?

Didn't you say this already? :p

Dukopolious wrote:Got Issues is probably the least used forum isn't it? Even Arts and fiction has more threads and posts.



Opps, yes. but the second one was weather it was under used, and less attention was paid, not least posted. Technically no then, but Yes, same point. Anyways, I think we should change that, issues are an important part of NS.
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Sedgistan
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Postby Sedgistan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:34 pm

There were a couple of years during which barely any issues were added to the game, so it's kind of understandable that the forum wasn't too active. Writing issues also generally requires skills and knowledge that not all players possess - added to that, whereas in the World Assembly, one can at least see the results of a proposal, issues disappear off into the submissions pool, where they're only accessible to mods unless they eventually get added to the game - which happens to very few of them.

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Dukopolious
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Postby Dukopolious » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:36 pm

Sedgistan wrote:There were a couple of years during which barely any issues were added to the game, so it's kind of understandable that the forum wasn't too active. Writing issues also generally requires skills and knowledge that not all players possess - added to that, whereas in the World Assembly, one can at least see the results of a proposal, issues disappear off into the submissions pool, where they're only accessible to mods unless they eventually get added to the game - which happens to very few of them.


Why is it exactly that player's can't know all the fields an issue could possibly effect (not a certain issues, but issues in general)? It's not as if knowing all these fields would reveal the stats of each issue, it would just help issue writers make more accurate stats.
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Sedgistan
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Postby Sedgistan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:40 pm

Issue writers don't need to make accurate stats - the Game Mods can (and do) handle all that. Revealing all the stats would take some of the mystery away from the game. Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what an issue does - or what it could do.
Last edited by Sedgistan on Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nation of Quebec
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Founded: Jan 19, 2006
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nation of Quebec » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:49 pm

Sedgistan wrote:Issue writers don't need to make accurate stats - the Game Mods can (and do) handle all that. Revealing all the stats would take some of the mystery away from the game. Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what an issue does - or what it could do.


So for future drafts do you want us to not list the stats, or would you prefer we only list a couple more important and obvious ones and let the mods figure the rest out for themselves?
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Sedgistan
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Postby Sedgistan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:53 pm

It's your choice really. It helps to include stats, but you're not required to include them. They're probably more useful for the author, as they help them to concentrate on what the options actually do, though Game Mods do consider them when adding stats.

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Frisbeeteria
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Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:10 pm

Nation of Quebec wrote:So for future drafts do you want us to not list the stats, or would you prefer we only list a couple more important and obvious ones and let the mods figure the rest out for themselves?

In the third post of this thread you'll find a list of publicly know effects from stats. Those were listed to give you inspiration for your issues. We're hoping you'll look over that list and say, "hey, I could include an option with a rude, nude, pacifist basket weaver that would really help this issue a lot!" By including stats for all those things in the option stats, we'd have a better idea of what you were thinking when you proposed it.

I can't promise you that all suggested stats will make the final cut, nor that we might decide to edit him into a clothed warmongering furniture restorer. But yeah, go ahead and include them.

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Dukopolious
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Postby Dukopolious » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:27 am

I was thinking, we should work collaboratively and create a basic "Issue writer's checklist", I think it would help writers. It would basically be composed of, helpful tips, essential and compulsory submission formats, and basically anything else that would make any issue better.
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Luna Amore
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Postby Luna Amore » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:00 am

Sirocco's 'How to Write an Issue' covers that doesn't it?

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Dukopolious
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Postby Dukopolious » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:17 am

Luna Amore wrote:Sirocco's 'How to Write an Issue' covers that doesn't it?



Yes, but a mean a literal checklist that combines both the essentials and helpful tips, which authors could LITERALLY check off and show when drafting an issue to show other authors they have looked at this.
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Panageadom
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Postby Panageadom » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:15 am

My personal worry is that it'd veer from advice and formatting requirements (which are less explicit than they could be), to becoming a prescribed list of things that authors have to do, and thus removing the potential for creativity.

Just something Fris (I think) about stats had me wondering: so far, I've generally written things like "economy shrinks, X industry grows" in stats, however useless those might be, implying that by rewarding one industry, the government hurts the economy (of course, if uranium's discovered or whatever, then both could grow, but that's a rare fate). But if industry growth has a positive effect on things like employment, then do those two cancel each other out?

Something's up with the issue submission feature (wrong forum, I know - just waiting to see if it persists before reporting it on technical). Just a heads up.

Lastly, my hunch on the AIP selection was that the data showed that nations who tended to make those decisions had a relatively small potential issue pool - given that's a problem that could well re-emerge or persist (some topics are likely thought more interesting by writers than others - the drafts I've written in the past certainly have a tendency to be issues relevant to my nation), I for one wouldn't mind a technical nod in the right direction every once in a while.
Author of Issues:
#273: Is our children learning?
#310: Too Little Talk?
#315: Creative Flowers Withering Under Legislation
#324 "Tourism Tanking" Tells Tabloids
#334: Blot Out Bauhaus
#340: Defending Patent Pending
#365: A Busload of Worry

None at present

If I offer criticism on your proposed issue, I will often write in red: don't think I'm being aggressive, it's just a convention I use!
If I ask a question on a proposed issue thread, then it's because I feel it's one you need to ask of your issue: I'm being Socratic and/or lazy.


Supreme Court Chief Justice for Capitalist Paradise

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Frisbeeteria
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Founded: Dec 16, 2003
Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:48 am

Dukopolious wrote:Yes, but a mean a literal checklist that combines both the essentials and helpful tips, which authors could LITERALLY check off and show when drafting an issue to show other authors they have looked at this.

Not gonna happen. Everything you need is in "How to Write Issues" and/or the Issue Submission Guidelines. We see a lot of variety in submissions, and we're not going to shut down anyone's creative new ideas.
Panageadom wrote: But if industry growth has a positive effect on things like employment, then do those two cancel each other out?

That's going to remain a mystery, but as we've said in the past, NS code is more complicated and flexible than most people think.

Panageadom wrote:Something's up with the issue submission feature

Send me a TG with specifics if you don't want to go public. We'd rather find out now than worry about you looking wrong.

Panageadom wrote: I for one wouldn't mind a technical nod in the right direction every once in a while.

We'll do what we can, but for now you'll just have to trust staff that we know what we're asking for, and why.
Last edited by Frisbeeteria on Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added http://www.nationstates.net/pages/submit_issue_guidelines.html

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I V Stalin
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Ex-Nation

Postby I V Stalin » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:59 am

I like this, nice.

Ok, so after getting the issue 'Stop the Presses' (#269), I was wondering how keen mods/admins are for issues allowing the creation of new national settings, like national religion, leader, etc. Specifically (in case it's not obvious) I was thinking a state-run newspaper. I have a sketchy outline of an issue 'tree-d' from option 3 of Stop the Presses, which could, if it's something that would/could be done, allow the player to keep and name their national newspaper.

This links to something else I wanted to ask - are tree-d issues going to be more encouraged? The ones in the '@@Issues needed in the game@@' thread are tree-d from existing issues, and I think Reppy posted something a while back about wanting more new issues dealing with the effects of previous ones.
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Sedgistan
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Ex-Nation

Postby Sedgistan » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:05 am

Regarding new national settings, the admins have said they'd be nice to add, but they're not a priority. If you want to suggest them, do so in the Technical forum - but I'm not sure any are likely to be added in the near future.

As for treeing issues, I'm not aware they were ever discouraged - but certainly now, we have nothing against them, and if players want to submit them, we'll consider them. If you want to write some, feel free to do so.
Last edited by Sedgistan on Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Frisbeeteria
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Posts: 23550
Founded: Dec 16, 2003
Anarchy

Postby Frisbeeteria » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:25 pm

Another mod pointed out this article about Buddhist monks using dating services to provide heirs to perpetuate their temples. I'm not sure it would make a sufficiently complex NS issue, but take it for a run if you want to.

Oddly enough, one of the definitions of celibacy is "The condition of being unmarried." It's possible to be celibate but not chaste. If you can find non-offensive ways to slip that into such an issue, feel free.
Last edited by Frisbeeteria on Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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