Morning, folks. Let's Plays are about to turn a year old here on Broken Forum -- ZekeDMS started Let's Play Rig N Roll back on January 9th. In the following eleven months, we've had 433 threads start and almost 100,000 posts go up. We've laughed, we've cried, we've looked weirdly at games and we've had a ton of bizarre in-jokes pop up. But unless I've missed it in game-specific LP, we haven't talked much about the format of the Let's Play. This thread serves two purposes -- talking about how we each individually write our LPs, and then things about LPs we like and don't like. What I'm hoping to gain here is a better understanding of how everyone else writes, because that interests me as a writer, and everyone's tastes in LPs, because that interests me as a reader. Nothing negative here is aimed at an individual writer, unless I'm talking smack on myself. 'Cause I suck. What I've Written Ancient Japanese Demon Vampires And The Women Who Love Them: Let's Play Hakuoki! The Shinsengumi At The Spine Of The World - Hakuoki X Icewind Dale II Katanas and Cannons: Matt and Nate Play Co-Op Fall Of The Samurai (with Nate as my co-op partner) How I Write I don't have a schedule or any planning. I play the game I'm playing, take a ton of screenshots, and then a few days later I sit down at my PC, pull the screenshots up in one window, my notes (if any) in another window, and Google Docs in a third. And then I write. Every now and then I'll think of a joke ahead of time that I want to use and I'll jot that down, but most of it is just whatever comes to mind right then as I'm writing. I do it all in Google Docs, then edit my images to 012.jpg, upload them to my blog, and then post the updates. I think my average Hakuoki update took about two and a half hours to write, mostly due to length of updates -- I'd often have sixty images across seven posts as an update, and filling that much time with pithy one-liners takes a while. Icewind Dale II takes about as much time, thanks to the increased amount of text that I'm writing each update, plus fitting two narratives in. I tend not to even think about the game in between updates -- as I've said elsewhere, I feel like I do a lot of stuff, between stupid fantasy football awards, a three-sessions-every-two-weeks tabletop roleplaying game, a book I'm trying to write, a full-time job, two full-time cats, and this whole marriage thing. I switch gears pretty quickly and mentally check out of something once I'm done, which causes no end of problems when my wife wants to talk to me about Icewind Dale plans and I respond with, "I'm on the session now, and I don't have any plans!" I don't think I've ever made three updates in a single week, though the final Hakuoki update was a double-length post because I was flying through the endgame. Things I Like About Let's Plays I like that I have no idea who most of you guys are, and I'll explain that. Angie Gallant, Nate, Kalle, Adam B, sinfony, Mind Elemental, I know you guys, I've fought alongside you, we tight. I know who you are. Soli-Chan, Joie de Combat, Randissimo, Ozzo, Kasumi Tsukiko, I don't know who you are, and that's awesome. We've had a ton of new people come on, I'm really happy about that, and I've had some great conversations with you guys on gender roles in videogames and the differences in the protagonist on different routes in Hakuoki. That stuff? That stuff is gold. I like that I'm getting to read about games that I don't have any interest in, or wouldn't have heard of otherwise. I've read a few dating game LPs, I've read some of the Crusader Kings LPs that show me more of how that game works, and I read the Wargame: EE one that helped me realize that I liked reading about that game a whole lot more than playing it. I like gimmicks. A general in Pokemon Conquest, a grown-ass woman playing Call of Duty, a tonberry trying to get this girl hitched -- that stuff is great. I try and do this myself. All three of my LPs do something that I hope makes them interesting -- a straight white man playing a dating game for young girls, Icewind Dale II with an extra narrative put on top of it (plus further writing from Rapunzel for interludes), and my faffing about in Fall of the Samurai as a contrast to Nate actually knowing what he's talking about. I like audience participation. I like being a soldier in XCOM, I like when people pick a route in a game that has defined routes, and I like party-based RPGs where the people in the party pick the general course of action. I like when games surprise me, and then surprise other people. Things I Don't Like About Let's Plays I don't like pages of reaction gifs. I chuckle at some of them, and I've used a gif here and there for comedic effort, but when an update finishes and there are 10-12 posts of various gifs of people freaking out, it's too much. We have a "Like" system for "this was awesome!" feedback, and if there's more feedback to be had I'd like it to be something constructive. Use them sparingly. I don't like LPs that are just "here is this game, I like it a lot, now watch me play it." This is strictly personal, but I like something extra to my LPs, be it a journey of discovery ("Let's Play this weird game! I have no idea what it is!") or doing something specific and unusual. Would I read an LP of someone playing Final Fantasy 1? No. Would I read an LP of someone doing the White Mage Challenge in Final Fantasy 1? Yes. I don't like LPs that overdo audience participation. I don't want to see every dialogue option put up to a vote -- you're telling us a story, just tell us the story and go with what happens. I trust you as the writer to make it interesting, and I don't want to vote on how we respond to X character, I want you to respond to X character and GO. I don't like it when I can't figure out what's going to happen on the other side of your link from your title. This doesn't happen very much. Descriptive titles help a great deal. (As do the tags, of course.) I don't like when LPs that don't lend themselves to frequent replies/reactions get knocked off the first page of the forum in less than a day. I have no idea how to solve this, really, but it's still something I don't like. In Closing None of this is "I think you're dumb and your Let's Play is also dumb." My top two games of the year are a dating game/visual novel and some outright Japanese madness (Hakuoki and Asura's Wrath), and I enjoyed Hakuoki so much that I crammed it into Icewind Dale 2 and made my life super-hard in writing this LP. I'd just like to talk some about how we all write. I'm interested in how often you guys work on this, how your writing process goes, what gives you trouble, what doesn't give you trouble, et cetera. And what you like, and what you don't like. I'd like for us all to be better writers when December 2013 rolls around.