This is the posting guide for Expedition fleet. While we are lenient compared to most other simming groups, we have a rough format for posting, mainly to make reading easier and to increase the quality of posts.
I. Posting Format
The way we post is as if we were writing a book. You must use proper spelling in your posts. For example, we do not want to see thru or tho, it doesn't look good. Write it out full, through or though; it takes maybe a half a second more time and makes it look so much better. Also use proper grammar. I want periods at the end of sentences, commas where they are needed, quotation marks when someone is speaking, etc.
Of course the nature of simming does call for several changes to this. Probably the most major change is tagging. When we post we only write for our characters and NPCs (as long as you have permission if necessary). When your character has an interaction with another character put .
For Example: Here Commander Vares Antonius talks to Fleet Captain Sayid Jarrah
Vares walked into the command pit. "So what's the plan sir?"
You can put several tags in at once, to speed things up. If you do this try not to script the other character.
Example: Commander Antonius talks to Fleet Captain Jarrah again.
Vares walked into the command pit, "So captain what is the plan?"
Vares nodded, it sounded good enough. "So when do we arrive?"
Now that was the proper way to do it. Vares started a conversation and made it vague enough to give Jarrah a little space to maneuver. Next is the wrong way to do it.
Vares walked into the command pit, "So captain what's the plan?"
Vares shook his head, "I don't think we should land marines so outside the facility. We should beam them directly inside to save some time."
"I'll go inform the MCO of the changes." Vares walked to the turbo lift.
You can probably see why this one is wrong. Vares forced Jarrah into making changes to his plan that he may not have wanted to make. Short of editing the post Jarrah has no place to maneuver. Of course there are times when scripting is ok, usually when the CO needs something done and lets you know he is going to script you to speed the plot along.
As you can tell it can sometimes be difficult not to script. That is why you should limit tagging to two or three times before letting the other person respond. If you are going to have a long conversation, it would probably easier to do a joint post. A joint post is where two or more simmers contact each other using IM and make a post in real time. The benefits of this is that the conversation generally comes off a lot naturally since you base your response off of what the person just said rather than the more vague things you say when you normally tag someone.
Another difference between simming and just normal writing is the presence of special forms of conversation. The most common of which is COMbadge conversation. There are two things you can do here. The first one is where you say something like 'Vares taps his badge, "Commander Antonius to Lieutenant Elliot."' The reason I like this is because it says you are activating your communicator, so people know what you are doing, and it looks more like professional writing. The other way is by making the little commbadge sign. Such as '=/\=: "Commander Antonius to Lieutenant Elliot."' This one is fine, but since we dropped the whole TV script format I don't think it fits as well.
Another form of special conversation is telepathic conversation. There are many ways to do this one. My personal favorite is to use normal quotation marks and just say it was telepathic. Such as '"It is now my time to leave," Tor'nashel said telepathically.' There are several other ways. Some people use italics or apostrophes (''), though these are also used commonly for a character thinking so if you use them please specify that it is telepathic. The only one I've see that doesn't need to be explained is using ~ at the beginning and end of a telepathic message.
There is also thought. As I mentioned above apostrophes and italics are the most common. I would prefer you use them, as it makes things simpler. Never use quotations for thought, because it is far to easy to see the quotes and assume the person said it out loud, and that causes so many problems.
There are only a few more miscellaneous things needed for the format. Number one, always start your post with your location in some form of parentheses. For Example [Deck 1, Bridge USS Broadsword]. Number two, use the ON:/OFF: markers. When you are making an IC post, and you want to say something OOC write OFF:, leave your comment, and if you want to add more to your IC post, write ON: and continue. Whenever you start a post put ON: at the top and at the end put OFF:
[Deck ## Location Ship Name]
You should edit your forum signature to include the names ranks and positions of all your characters in the following format:
Commander Vares Antonius
Chief Intelligence Officer
You can put the Rank/Name, position, and ship part into your forum signature to make things easier.
That is all for the format.
II. Quality of Posts
We want the writing quality in the fleet to be high. This does not mean you have to be a professional writer, but we do like the writing to be good. So when you make your posts, try your hardest to make it easy to read and interesting enough to follow.
The easiest way to do this by far is to have details. Details are the most important thing in writing, they are the backbone of the book/post.
Here are two examples.
Vares was sitting behind his desk. He was getting tired so he got up and replicated a cup of coffee. Just then Tellari walked out of the corner and said "Long time no see Vares."
"What do you want Tellari?"
"Just here to tell you the Captain is on to you."
"What are you talking about?"
"He knows about your plan."
Tellari laughed and backed into the corner, where he disappeared.
Vares was sitting behind his desk. It had been a long day, with several people showing interest in his conspiracy against Jarrah. He was tired, and it felt as if someone tied lead weights to his eyelids. He got up and replicated himself a cup of coffee, black. The bitter taste would probably shock him awake more than the caffeine would. As he turned around he saw a figure move in the shadows behind him. He instinctively spun around, hand reaching for his phaser. He realized in an instant that it was Tellari. Vares collapsed back into his chair. "What do you want Tellari?"
Tellari smirked that arrogant smirk of his, "Just here to tell you the captain is on to you."
Vares frowned, "What are you talking about?"
"He knows about your plan," he said it as casually as if he was telling Vares about the weather.
Vares became very pale. The punishment he would be severe if what Tellari was saying was true. "That's impossible!"
Tellari laughed a cold, hollow laugh. Vares could see in his eyes then that he was telling the truth. Then the agent backed into the shadow of the corner and Vares knew he was gone.
Anyone can see that #2 is the better post. All you need to do is add some detail and it makes it so much more interesting. It helps build mood, gives a better look into the character's personality, and adds emotion. If you learn anything from this guide let it be this, use detail!!!
There are also several things you can do to add a little spice to the reading. Foreshadowing is a good one, though only those who are running a story arc can really do that. For those who don't know foreshadowing is leaving hints to what is going to happen later in the story. Things you probably won't notice the first time through or if at all, though they do add to the story. Another one is motif (recurring theme), which I really have fun using. An example is in mission 9 of the Vendetta where Vares is planning a conspiracy against Fleet captain Jarrah. I used several subtle little things indicating Vares' position. One was how in the Intel code he uses with his contacts he calls Jarrah Caesar, himself Mark Antony, and all his contacts the members of the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Another was in the senior staff meeting, instead of sitting near the captain as he usually would being one of the highest ranking crew members, he sat on the complete opposite side of the table. Allusions, metaphors, and all those things you learned in English class will be very helpful in simming. My last bit of advice here is to find some books by you favorite authors, Steven King and Michael Crichton for me, and read a couple of your favorites carefully. Analyze the writing carefully and try to figure out the tricks the writer uses to make the book more interesting. I do this and I think it has helped me quite a bit.
If you have any questions or comments on the posting guide just contact me or the EFCO.
Never hesitate to PM any member of any crew to ask them any questions you might have.