I'm having a moment and I need to get this out while it's gnawing at my head.
I see a lot of people on my various roleplay platforms complaining about how they want ships, and how nobody's playing with them, and how much that sucks. And it does suck, but almost every time I see somebody whining about this there is something the situation has in common.
These people are passive roleplayers.
Listen. When you're RPing, particularly in a text based game, you can never lose sight of the fact that you are, at least 50%, writing for other people. You cannot just walk into an RP and flop down and be like 'entertain me' without bringing anything to the table for the other people. No one in a multiplayer text game wants to be the NPCs for your protagonist, okay? They aren't going to give you anything if you aren't willing to give a little in return.
And they're right.
Particularly in romance.
It applies to everything, though. At the D&D table, there is one DM generating fun for all of the players and typically that person isn't supposed to play a PC. Yes, okay, that's fine. When you're going text based, though, everybody has to be the DM.
If someone just gave you a problem to solve, solve it and realize that next it's your turn to give them one. In a multiplayer game, don't always target the same person with a problem, move between several people--if you keep going to one person it's going to start feeling creepy and uncomfortable to them and other people will start feeling left out.
So you get a little plot, you give a little plot. It shouldn't always be about you, even, make it personal for them (with player permission, of course).
If your character is sitting with another person's, and trying to get their flirt on, don't just sit there and be like 'yes, okay, whatever you want to do is fine'. Suggest things. Be entertaining. If you don't know how to be entertaining with your character's own wit then let them have some friction. Let them disagree because I promise you that is far more interesting and less dangerous than boring your partner with simply responding to what they wrote and not adding anything.
Add things. Add a lot of things. Take the RP places you never expected it to go before. I know you have ideas; don't be afraid to use them! Recently I was in an RP with a guy (if you know me and you're reading this don't worry about it, it wasn't you, this was on an open platform) who as a player I was a little iffy about, and was openly new to the whole text-based scene.
I presented him with a problem (my character was gravely ill); he fixed it with gusto, and then introduced a new problem on top of that (he used a spell to cure her; that spell then proceeded to take a lot out of him and now we need to work on that). It wasn't perfect. Ordinarily the problem I had was something I'd have preferred to have solved over several sessions, but to be honest? It was the most fun I'd had on that particular platform in ages.
So even if you're new, even if you're worried, don't be afraid to take point a little bit. Don't be afraid to play like you're the Dungeon Master. Do a quick OOC "Hey do you mind" if you want, but cause conflict and bring stuff to the table.
Megan R. Miller