ROLEPLAY PARTNER GUIDE How to Find Partners Roleplaying is an inherently collaborative endeavor with every story becoming a literary journey – choosing a writing partner is akin to choosing a traveling companion. With this perspective in mind, the question is less about how to find a partner versus how to find the best partner. Like any relationship, strong writing partnerships instill positive energy and have a chemistry that elicit the best from us creatively. Request Thread The Greek aphorism, “Know thyself,” offers one key to cultivating enduring relationships with writing partners. Be honest about who you are and what you like. Exposing such intimate parts of your creative personality – whether it be a unique kink or love of the plotting process – will give prospective partners a clear glimpse of what makes you tick. For maximum effectiveness, you may refer to the Writing an Effective Request Thread Guide to help ensure that the request thread you create avoids common pitfalls. Even roleplay veterans can benefit from reviewing pointers and breathe life into otherwise stale expressions. In the event that a request thread yields interested writers, learn to be selective – instead of launching head-long into stories, take time to converse via PM and establish a rapport, as well as determine if the respondent is the right fit. Hunt Prudently Learn to research members like a pro. Engage in targeted searches around members that you find interesting and like-minded. Not all members advertise themselves via request threads – reading their story threads and assessing how they engage in public can reveal insights into the tenor of their personality. Don’t be afraid to contact someone via PM. Conduct the conversation like an informational interview, complete with specific/engaging questions to be answered. People love hearing that their writing is being read, along with efforts to socialize. Be prepared to be assessed: fill out the “Information” tab on your profile and have a request thread and/or writing samples handy. This information could be located in a signature -- make it easy for prospective partners to learn more about your work and writing style. Bear in mind that some partnerships are not meant to be. Lack of chemistry is no one’s fault. Short of being difficult or disrespectful, failure to connect does not reflect upon you, as a person. Genres & Fandoms People harbor passions just waiting to be ignited. Find fellow writers who share a thirst for story types or genres. Love the writing in a Sci-Fi thriller? Seek out the author via PM and tell them you like their style. Same holds true with fandoms – simply browse the catalogue of fandoms HERE and commune with like-minded geeks. Passion is primary – regardless of genre or fandom, writers want to invest themselves when they are drunk with inspiration. Don’t hold back! How to Keep Partners You found yourself a partner? Great! Now, comes the task of creating and growing bonds that endure the tests of time. There are numerous concepts that factor into long-lasting partnerships. Chief among these is personal responsibility: we are only in control of our own actions. Endorsing this mindset helps create positive outcomes through solutions, rather than excuses. Potential partners are more likely to remain with people who spend time solving issues and less time complaining about them. People over Plots Stories come and go, but partners endure. A positive mental approach can be to appreciate the human dimension in your partner. One can easily slip into an aura of detachment, viewing partners as abstract providers of posts. Remember, partners are people with responsibilities and real-life struggles. If they need time to address problems on their end, afford them every ounce of patience and understanding. No one can control the future, but kindness can resonate when people are dealing with challenges. Be supportive. On the flip side, if you become the partner asking for leniency, be worthy of the care and consideration offered by your partner. Be honest about the length of your hiatus and provide updates about your status. Refrain from being the writer who says, “If I don’t reply, let me know” … thereby making partners feel insignificant. One way of managing responses is using the NotePad on the Black Dahlia Roleplay home page (sees spoiler below) -- everyone has access, so give it a try! Spoiler Communication Open and transparent communication is the benchmark of viable and sustaining partnerships. Honest and frequent correspondence helps assure that expectations are in alignment and that the narrative is progressing smoothly. Do not be afraid to voice a concern; such issues should be raised respectfully and addressed with equal respect. Be sure to convey to partners if you plan on taking an extended break – nothing can replace the personal touch imparted by a PM. Respecting Style, Kinks, and Limits Partnerships are two-way streets – expect to offer what you expect to receive. Avoid being insistent on a single way of collaborating. One example is how much plotting should occur: the story architecture versus organic writing debate. Finding a partner with identical preferences is ideal, though a combination can make for a strong team provided respectful accommodation takes place. In a similar vein, become thoroughly familiar with your partner’s kinks and limits. Some people may announce kinks openly, others may be more private. Be respectful of what sexual mores your partners value. Write them down, if you must. Be clear about your own limits and recognize when they are being breached. Silence equals death, and not addressing infractions will lead to festering frustration and ruined trust. Please refer to Black Dahlia's Guide to Erotic Content for more detailed information. Maximum Effort Strive to put forth your best each and every time you post or engage in collaboration. Partners feel valued when one invests themselves into the success of stories. Avoid being “submissive” in the planning process and offer ideas over opinions – it is crass to judge the ideas of others when one exerts little to the effort. If you find yourself losing interest in a roleplay, be honest and communicate. Perhaps the story needs to be put on pause? Valid partnerships can be stronger than speed-bumps a story might experience. Cherish your partnerships, and hopefully by adhering to these suggestions you can enjoy the fruits of collaboration that endure the test of time. If you ever need direct help finding partners, you can always participate in Black Dahlia's upcoming Match-Making Service. Happy Roleplaying!