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Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau
Potential New Student Social Tutorial
Sun Aug 18, 2013 16:20

Welcome to the second tutorial for new first years. Tutorials are here for your enjoyment – they are not mandatory, and you are welcome to post at this tutorial if you have not attended the class tutorial.. You are also more than welcome to show up and post when term begins even if you have not attended the tutorials.

This post is intended to address some common questions and mistakes that occur in posting social threads – that is, any thread outside of a class or Quidditch game where one or more characters are interacting. They can be about anything, from the latest bit of news from home to what homework they've got due that week.

Who said what and in what order?

Sometimes, when characters start chattering away, the conversation can seem slightly out of order, or like they're talking about several things at once. A good example is this pair of posts by Effie and Isabel. In Effie's post, she talks about her midterm and then about Isabel's family and then the end of term celebrations. In her reply, Isabel also talks about all these things. In reality, the natural turns would have been taken and it is assumed that they would have been (e.g. Effie comments on midterm and Isabel's family, Isabel replies about her family. Their conversation moves on to the end of term celebrations).

Social Discussion Thread

How long does a post cover?

As with the class tutorial, this is hard to answer. Once again, the answer is 'until someone else would want to say or do something.' For example, let's imagine Joe Bloggs comes into the Hall and wants to sit down with someone... He is writing in response to an open thread (i.e. the author hasn't tagged anyone in the subject – they are not claiming to be waiting for someone specific).

Obviously both posts would be longer than this overall – these are excerpts.

Scenario a – the person is a friend of John's. He is on good terms with them.

Joe strolled into the Cascade Hall and spotted Ed sitting at table. He grinned to himself, glad he'd caught his friend.

“Is this seat taken?” he asked, as he made his way over. Once he knew that it wasn't, Joe sat down, helping himself to pancakes.

“Have you finished your Potions homework yet?” he asked, “I don't think mine's long enough...”

In this scenario, carrying on the post is perfectly ok. There is no reason to think that Ed will tell Joe not to sit with him. If Joe ended the post with asking to sit down, he would have to wait for a reply telling him to. This way, the post moves on to what Joe was aiming to get out of the thread, i.e. talking to his friend about their homework.

Scenario b – the person is a friend of Joe's but last time they posted together they had a massive argument and she hasn't been speaking to him since.

Joe strolled into the Cascade Hall and spotted Kate sitting at a table. His stomach clenched and he considered turning around and walking straight back out. But he wanted to make up... Life was so much less fun without Kate around.

“Is this seat taken?” he asked hesitantly.'

In this case, it's better to stop here. Maybe Kate is still mad and would tell Joe to shove off, or would walk out of the room. If he sits down and starts talking, it makes it hard for her author to react if she would still be so mad that she didn't want to speak to him.

What happens if I'm not sure or get it wrong?
If you're not sure whether someone would or would not want to intervene before you do something, then err on the side of caution (i.e. don't do it). If you get it wrong, one of two things will happen. The person will either have to work around what you have written and change how they would have reacted slightly. If they cannot do this without it going against their character, they may put an OOC note on the post, saying something like “OOC – Kate would have walked out. Sorry, there isn't a way I can work around that, so I'm treating your post like it stopped at the point where Joe asked to sit down. Hope that's ok.” They therefore stop your post at the point where they would have done something, and the remainder after that post is assumed not to have happened. This is to be done as a last resort.

How many people can be in a thread?
This applies to classes too. The answer is any number, although most threads tend to be between two people and this is easiest to manage. If more people join a thread, you continue to take turns and post in the same order. The main exception to this is Quidditch, where posting in any order is allowed.

Your character is not a mind-reader
As an author, you get to see lots of information that your character isn't privy to. You get to read all about what is going on inside other people's heads – what their feelings are, what their motives are. Try to keep these things -i.e. what you know and what your character knows – separate.

The two key questions are:
What outward signs has the other person given of how they are feeling? (blushing, sweating, keeping a calm face)
How good is my character at picking up on these things (highly sensitive and in tune with others, more preoccupied with their own problems, as emotionally dense as Ron Weasley).

If a character writes 'Joe was nervous but he didn't want anyone to know. He had always been good at hiding his emotions, and he put a brave face on as he greeted his friends' your character should not be able to sense his nervousness. If he writes something like 'Joe was nervous. He really didn't want anyone to know but his hands were trembling and his voice shook as he addressed everyone' then it is far more likely your character will notice, if they are that sort of person. When writing about emotions, try to convey how obvious they are to an outsider in order to help other writers react appropriately.

As usual, please post any questions you have below, or check the FAQ.

There is also the opportunity to get IN CHARACTER. Imagine your character walking into the library. What do they see? What are they after? The first person should write a post that could start a thread in the library. The second person should reply to them. As usual, feedback will be available. (Please note that this tutorial was prepared by Professor Skies)

    • Re: Potential New Student Social Tutorial - Eva Winters, Thu Jul 31 17:49
      Eva Winters walked in awe into the library, gray eyes wide in excitement. She thought her schools library was huge, but this was incredible! The Wizarding world just kept getting better, how did she... more
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