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The Questions Game - V5 Edition
Question: If neither money nor distance were obstacles, where in the world would you most like to visit?

Alex- I would like to go toooooo... Australia. It looks like a nice place to visit.

Lana- Uh... Disneyland?

Miranda- Paris. It's pretty classy, I hear.

Question: What are you doing after highschool? What career path will you be going for?

How I Spent My Suspension
And suddenly, Sharon Austin out of nowhere.

Alex knew Sharon. She was in the Book Club. She was short with red hair. And most importantly of all, boy, did she have a temper. Of course, Alex herself did occasionally did have a temper, that she knew. But Sharon was pretty well-known for being rather... temperamental, for lack of a better word. Alex, of course, knew about her outbursts. It wasn't a secret, really.

That said, she couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.

Was she seriously defending Alba? Really? Saying they should back off? Well, to be honest, she did have a point that Alba might have already learnt his lesson. Though, he apparently didn't learn after getting kicked off a sports team. You'd think he'd learn his lesson after that point. But apparently not. If he did, he wouldn't have tossed one of her friends onto a table. Maybe it took getting punished twice. But really, you could never tell with Alba.

What did surprise her, though, was the fact that Alba was... surprisingly reasonable. That was new. Perhaps he did learn his lesson. Or perhaps there were four people right in front of him, meaning he was outnumbered. Maybe. She had no clue. Either way, that was an unusual reaction.

Sean mumbled out a response, and Alex felt like she needed to add on.

"Sharon, we appreciate the effort, but please step back."

She turned to Alba.

"As for you..."

Deep breath.

"I'd leave you alone, I'm okay with that. But you know, it's kind of a stupid move, getting into fights with your old team mates. What were you trying to do? Whatever it was, it wasn't worth getting suspended. Trust me."

Alex crossed her arms.

"But you're taking it pretty okay-ish, right? So... I guess we'll be off."

She looked towards Sean and Genie. Well, that was that, she guessed. For now? Maybe. She wasn't sure if Alba was going to do something overblown once again, or if Sharon was going to toss that skeeball at someone if he did. She had no clue if that sort of thing would happen. There was that possibility, though.

Slasher Film Role Play?
Okay! I thought of someone. Jimmy told me you folks need comic relief, so I'm making one. :3

Betty Callahan- A somewhat ditzy girl. She is notoriously clumsy, and as a result she gets the nickname "Butterfingers" after a specific incident involving food class. Betty is on the tennis team, and does okay at it. However, in her spare time she does archery, which she is surprisingly decent at. She is known for having a good sense of humor, and tends to laugh things off easily as well as crack jokes. Generally, she's good natured, and somewhat well-liked in spite of her ditziness.

She's supposed to be the kind of kid that dies and/or gets others killed because she didn't use common sense. *nod*

And that's what I got right now!

The General SOTF Discussion Thread
Alright, might as well share things I like seeing.

Handlers taking risks with concepts- Now I'm going to say something that may or may not be controversial; I would much rather see a well-thought out concept that was pretty ground-breaking but wasn't perfect, rather than a perfectly written character whose handler took no risks with what they were writing and kept in the "safe zone", such as writing a generic player or likewise.

I love it when I see handlers take risks with their characters. What do I mean by "take risks"? Well, it can mean "originality", but it's more of an extensive concept than that. What I'm saying is, they have their character do something that could easily not go over well, but they go ahead and do it anyway. I love it when handlers step out of the "safe zone" and do something that is completely unexpected, something that makes us go "wow". I guess what I'm saying is, these are characters who break the mold of what we expect from SOTF, such as "hero" or "villain", and play around with a concept. I love it when I see someone develop a different take on the SOTF story, rather than go with what's established to "work" already (for example, that romance arc I complained about earlier). I love it when I see people do something out there, and for bonus points? They make it WORK. This is the reason why Hoogz and Liz are two of my favorite characters from v4; they were pretty ground-breaking and, in my view, set a standard!

It's kind of hard to explain, but I guess what I'm saying is, while realism is good and all, I love it when someone develops a concept that is definitely mold-breaking, breaks the status quo of "hero vs villain" character arcs, and do something out there that even if it doesn't go over well, you can't help but admire them for going out and doing that. Bonus points if they succeed at making the character great. After all, many great characters are ones that took risks and then had those risk-taking moments work out in their favor, rather than going with what people expect or what has already been proven to work.

In short? Do not go with what peepz expect or what has been done a bazillion times, or if you must, put a twist on it. I love seeing new ways to tell the SOTF story, and I love new takes on it, and I'm sure others like it too. I love seeing people take those risks to tell the story differently.

Characters being fucked up- I've alluded to this before in the thread, but I love seeing people who are seriously fucked up from what they've been through.

Maybe it's because I kind of like psychological themes in my stories (which sometimes pops up in my kids), but I love it when a character either has some kind of psychological issue develop as a result of the island or intensified because of it. I personally love seeing the psychological side of SOTF, and seeing how that changes people. I love seeing characters who clearly are messed up after watching a bunch of people die and perhaps killing a few themselves. I love seeing psychological themes, as I said, and I like seeing people who are... well, not well, especially after the events.

I like seeing villains who are clearly fucked up in the head, but you can still tell that if things had gone differently, they could have been normal, perhaps even a great person to be around. Like, if things had gone differently, they could have been someone who was really nice, or someone who could easily be your friend. But because of what the island did to them, they get... well, they get twisted into what they once were, and as a result they are now villains. I love seeing villains who just have problems, but you can still see a scared teenager in there somewhere.

And same applies to non-villains, believe it or not! Non-villains can be plenty fucked-up too. It's a lot more interesting to me to see someone who is clearly scarred for life by what they've been through, rather than see someone who isn't. I love seeing characters go through psychological issues, have complex internal conflicts, go through moments that show just how fucked up they've become after what they've dealt with, and just... show the psychological side of SOTF.

And as I said. If you show gore, there's just gore. But once there is a clear reason for it, and it makes sense, then it becomes much more disturbing. Because we know why, and oftentimes, the "why" is more disturbing than the "what". Thing is about gore, it loses its impact after a while. It's shocking the first time, but once we get used to it it loses the touch. Heck, it may not even work the first time, since we live in a society where violent programming is the norm (SOTF the site is itself an example!). However, once we get a peek inside the character's head while they are torturing someone and justifying it to themselves, and everything makes sense and is consistent, then you are close to guaranteed to have your readers lose sleep that evening.

Heck, character dynamics can be pretty dysfunctional too. Which is kind of sad, since we don't see too many fucked-up relationships between characters too often. I love seeing characters that, looking at it objectively, there's a clear dysfunction to how they act around each other, even if they like each other and want each other to live, and they were the bestest friends before the island. Like, one person becomes overprotective of another to the point of obsession, or perhaps they start to dislike each other after what's been happening but stick around anyways. I also kind of wish more people wrote romance arcs where there's actually relationship problems based on the environment, as I said.

So yeah. I love seeing characters with psychological themes and/or clear fucked up-ness going on, especially if it's subtle. I just love seeing some psychologically horrifying stuff, and I feel in some spots SOTF needs more of that. Maybe that's just my personal tastes, but you know.

Calm, relaxing scenes- Believe it or not, I actually like threads that aren't drama filled from time to time. Yes, you read correctly.

A lot of handlers forget that threads don't need to be drama-a-minute. Sure, there's the whole "classmates killing each other" thing, but sometimes, you, your character, and your reader needs a breather. So why not create a thread that isn't particularly drama-filled? That's right, DON'T create a drama-filled thread.

I love drama as much as the next person, but I love seeing the occasional subdued thread. A thread can be great without a fight scene, someone getting murdered, a revelation about who kicked who's puppy, and so on. Sometimes, what you need is actually something pretty calm, such as two friends talking to each other, no one is freaking out, and it may even be about something trivial.

After all, too much drama can wear thin on a reader, so this gives both the character and reader a chance to relax a bit. These are also great for establishing characterizations and such. Like, maybe they could talk about something they liked from before, or tell a funny story about something that happened before they were abducted. This gives a bit more depth to your kid, especially if they mention they wanted to, say, eat a grilled cheese sandwich, and if they ever made it home the first thing they'd do is eat a grilled cheese sandwich, since they miss them so much. There is so much potential for having a pretty calm moment in a thread, rather than "FIGHT SCENE FIGHT SCENE DRAMA OVERLOAD OH GOD I'M BLEEDING" every single thread.

I actually remember reading an RPing guide a long time ago (don't have a link, since it's so long ago. Sorry!), that referred to starting drama every which way as "firestarting", and it was something to be avoided, pointing out that sometimes, people just want to read a thread/scene where nothing particularly dramatic happens. So yeah! Calm moments are actually pretty awesome when done well.

Flaws are actually pointed out!- I love seeing characters bitched out!

No seriously, I do. I love seeing characters point out other things about characters that aren't necessarily... well, they're definitely not virtues. And the thing is? They're right! No seriously, I love it when I see characters bitch to people about things that are true. Which are easy enough for villains, but I don't think heroes and at least lighter shades of gray characters get this too often. We hardly see heroic characters have their flaws pointed out to them by other characters, and it would actually be interesting to see anyone get bitched out for something that is correct. For example: a player hunter being told that "killing people the way you are, what makes you any better than the people you're going after?". Or someone who has been diligently been protecting his girlfriend being told- by her, no less!- that he has only been protecting her so much because he thinks she is weak, and thus might have a low opinion of her, in addition to completely ignoring the well-being of other people for her sake.

I love seeing handlers put their characters in scenarios where they might get bitched out, even if they're supposed to be pretty good by SOTF-standards. Sure, there have been times where it hasn't been done well. But when it's done by someone who'd the bitched-out person would listen to, it's completely true, and it makes sense in context, I love seeing it. It shows that the handler is willing to admit the character isn't a perfect person if it was planned between the handlers, and it shows that people both in and out of universe are willing to admit that the character isn't who they are cracked up to be. Plus, oftentimes the reader is thinking the same thing, and it can be very cathartic to read a scene where a character vocalizes what they've been thinking all along. I can think of so many characters that I felt like someone needed them to bitch them out, but no one ever did.

So yeah! I love seeing personality flaws being pointed out by other characters, even if it's just an armor piercing statement sort of pointing out. Especially if it was planned from the beginning, and it's completely true and makes sense within the context of the thread.

Playing around with the setting- I love seeing little hints indicating where the kids are from and what game they're from.

Like, for example, if a v5 character references a group, place, or likewise from Seattle that's only found in Seattle. Perhaps they reference the Archie McPhee Seattle Store, even if offhandedly. Or perhaps they mention going to Pike Place Market. Or heck, even a reference to Seattle's well-known weather patterns, such as seeing it drizzle in a thread.

Sometimes people don't really think about where the kids are from, and as a result it comes off it could be taking place anywhere, and leads to weird things where people completely forget where they're from and how that'd effect them. I love seeing little things in pre-game that acknowledges "This is taking place in such-and-such a city, and the kids are natives there". Sure, most of the time you won't be writing as a native, but I like seeing people go out, do the research, and try to figure out details about their kids' hometown and how they'd feel about it. Someone's hometown can actually impact a lot (for example, clothing. Someone in a cooler climate isn't very likely to run around wearing a short skirt and a tank top, and it would be more practical for them to wear something more warm. If your kid's been living in the city this entire time, being tossed onto an island may be a bit of a shock to them. And so on).

I also like seeing things that make it clear which continuity it's from. I feel like there aren't enough hints on the main site that the kids are living in a world where teenagers have been abducted repeatedly. Sure, it may not be a good idea to go "OMIGOD KIDS GOT ABDUCTED" every other thread, and there hasn't been enough info for us to toss out something that might be slightly different due to the abductions (for example, presidential campaigns, since it'd probably be a discussion point in some way during elections). However, if someone manages to make a reference to the whole "kids got abducted" thing in pre-game, I actually like that! Or in Program, where a scene clearly takes place in Programverse as opposed to any other of the continuities (for example, a reference to guns being banned, mention of the four year terms, or signs that character may or may not be racist). Or in TV, where kids allude to the show in the Sandbox. Overall, I like seeing little hints of what continuity this is happening in without it being too blatant!

In short? I love seeing little details about the setting, both in terms of hometown and what continuity this is happening in.

I'll probably add some more later when I think of more.

Slasher Film Role Play?
Are you folks still open?

Because I would like to participate in this. I haven't thought of a person yet, but I shall think of some ideas for peepz. :3

Stars and Bucks
((Lana Torres continued from Par Course))

Lana wandered down the streets of the Waterfront, in thought.

She was supposed to meet Dave here today, at the Starbucks. He seemed really excited about something. What, she didn't know. Hopefully something great was happening, had happened, or was about to happen. Whatever it was, it made Lana curious. In any case, having a coffee with him should be pretty good.

Oh, here the Starbucks was.

Lana opened the door of the restaurant, the scent of freshly made coffee hitting her nose.

She managed to bring that Starbucks gift card left over from her birthday as well as some money. She didn't think it was nice to let Dave pay for everything, after all, and she still had money on the card, having never used it so far. Lana didn't go to Starbucks too often; it was kind of expensive. However, some of the coffees were pretty good, she had to admit.

Lana spotted Dave and pulled out the chair across from him, sitting down.

"Hey Dave", she said. "How's things?"

Spooky Little Ghosties
It was a blast.

Needless to say, Alex had fun. Silly movies, fun costumes, snacks?

Who couldn't enjoy that, especially with their friends? Honestly?

Once everyone had left and her parents and Nathan had returned home, Alex had fallen asleep on the couch. The cardboard pieces had been set aside next to her on the floor, but she was still in her cat ears and tail.

She was tired. But she had a good night.

((Alex Ripley continued elsewhere))

High Fashion, High Prices
Eliza seemed trapped, the same way a wild animal would be if their leg had been stuck in a bear trap. Her voice stammered, and she slowly backed off. She heard Finn ask what she was doing, but it was obvious.

It worked. Eliza was now leaving.

And just like how she entered, she exited just as quickly.

Miranda couldn't help but frown a little bit as she watched Eliza leave. Well then. Normally she'd consider this a victory, but Frank's words had stuck with her.

For a second, she just stared at the exit, like some soldier.

She heard Finn say something, and she snapped out of it.

"Oh. I'm... kind of done with Runway. There's nothing really striking my inspiration." Her voice seemed far off, as if in thought. Her finger touched her chin.

It was nice of Finn to come back. But part of her wondered if it was for appearance's sake, rather than... she didn't know. Perhaps it was just what Frank had poisoned her mind with just now, like a weed's seed swiftly growing and developing. Maybe she was just being paranoid again. But it still made her wonder why exactly he came in again.

He explained, though, saying that it was simply getting boring and that everyone else had run off.

She fished for her phone, wondering if she should text the other girls to let them know that Frank and Eliza had left, and that she really managed to irk him.

"Well, wanna go get something? You know, like... food", she said as she gazed at the phone's screen.

Miranda was still a little jarred by Frank's rant, but she was doing fine. She was sure of it!

The General SOTF Discussion Thread
Nope. Didn't have an after prom thing. I just left, went home, took off my dress and went into my jammies, maybe said something about it online, and went to bed. : D

I was just thinking. In this thread, we tend to complain about things we dislike. How about we talk about things we like seeing? Like, surely there are some things we like seeing in scenes, rather than dislike? So you? What details, traits, or moments make you smile whenever you see it on SOTF?

I'll just leave that here for now. My brain's kinda fuzzy right now, and I'll let you guys answer first, since it's interesting to see what folks have to say before I say it. :3

The Questions Game - V5 Edition
Question: What was the last "snack" you consumed?

Alex- Cup 'o Noodle. Chicken flavor. Wasn't bad, though I kinda overcooked it and it took a while to cool down.

Lana- Granola bar?

Miranda- Why is the word snack in quotey marks? Are you implying something? Urgh, fine, baby carrots and ranch dressing.

Question: Do you believe in anything paranormal/superstitious/supernatural (like, for example, ghosts)? If so, what?

Scarlet Darlings
Miranda bounded up to the Montalvo door.

Well, wasn't she fashionably late? Sure, it was fashionable. But lateness wasn't exactly a virtue. Miranda knew she couldn't be late all the time. But here she was, late. And that wasn't a good thing. Miranda prided herself on being right on time, or perhaps even earlier. You could never be too early. That was a fact.

Miranda had taken a while to get ready. But she was ready now. She had found a nice dress a few days ago. Black, ankle-length with a slit on one side to show off her leg, strapless. Once she tried it on, it made her feel... deadly. Like a femme fatale? Yeah, like a femme fatale. Miranda felt like she was going to go into some private eye's office with sax music playing, asking for help on who killed her wealthy husband. And that's why she picked it. She had always loved the idea of femme fatales, actually.

Plus, you could never go wrong with a little black dress.

She had found the right shoes, and she had found the right makeup. Heck, she even found a pair of long black gloves to go with it. Some part of her wanted to find a cigarette holder at One Man's Trash or somewhere, so she could complete the look she was going for, but she had the feeling it wasn't allowed, even if there was no cig in it. She had left her hair down and styled it.

And she was gorgeous, she realized.

So why was she late again?

Gah, whatever. She had to say hi to Mara and co., right?


Miranda reached to knock on the door.

God, she hoped she wasn't shunned too much because she didn't have a date, barring last-minute stuff...

The General SOTF Discussion Thread
I think one big issue (and one that I was actually discussing with another handler recently) is that people seem to sometimes know each other a bit too well.

I'll provide an example, using my own girl Miranda Millers. Now, Miranda's whole schtick is that she holds up a public facade. While she acts all bitchy in public, in private she's actually pretty subdued and nervous. Okay.

Now, let's consider the details about Miranda which are not common knowledge in-universe:

- Her love of anime and video games
- Her sleeping with and having a(n unrequited) crush on Dolores
- Her lesbianism, period
- Her implied daddy issues
- Her general insecurity/anxiety problems

Now, let's pretend that I make a thread with Miranda in it. She's just minding her own business, and then she runs into someone to be a bitch to. Okay. So far so good. The conversation goes on, and *somehow* that someone knows about one of the above. Which is problematic for two reasons:

1. Personal issues aren't usually tossed about publicly. If it's someone who's a close friend of Miranda, okay, they can figure out that she's kinda insecure! Heck, they could probably put two and two together and figure out she kind of likes Dolores and is embarrassed about that if they know her REALLY well (and it was discussed between the two of us). But if someone who only knows her on a passing basis goes "Miranda, that bitch. I bet she secretly likes girls and anime", it kind of goes "wha?". Because they don't know her that well. Heck, even the insecurity can be something for people to not figure out initially in some cases: I believe an initial reaction would be "What a bitch!". Mind, it could be inferred based off her behavior, but it may take a while (and someone observant) to come to that conclusion right away. So, generally, it comes off as "Where did you get that info?"

2. It's a form of godmodding. Miranda isn't willingly tossing that info out, and most likely, the handler didn't discuss it with me that they know for some reason or another (for example, finding a profile on an anime site with a username they know to be hers). It just comes off as the author using OOC knowledge to do something IC.

Yes, there have been a few times where this has happened, not just in v5, but elsewhere as well. Generally, if someone has a personal issue/backstory detail/something otherwise not commonly known and your character doesn't know them very well, don't bring it up in your posts, either in dialogue or thought. If someone has been, say, going to therapy sessions, then guess what? Classmate #102195 isn't going to know that. They're not going to sit down with that person at lunch, and go "That's my classmate! He's been going to therapy for depression!". They're more likely to go "Oh hey, there's that guy on the baseball team. He's a pretty nice guy, perhaps he would allow me to sit here? Wonderful! He's such a nice person~".

Mind, it's *usually* nothing as extreme as any of the Miranda examples, but that's the only example I could give as a hypothetical.

As I said, it makes sense if they are buddy-bud, or at least know each other well enough. If it's someone they've barely talked to, though... yeah.

Again, I know it comes off as something that doesn't need to be said, but trust me, sometimes this does happen and people do know these sort of things about a character right off the bat when they logically shouldn't. I'm guessing this is an attempt to avert the whole "Hey! Who are you peepz? Oh, nice to meet you!" thing that people hate, except it goes in the other direction to the point where it comes off as GMing and kind of takes people for a loop.

So yeah! Guys, please do realize that certain details wouldn't be common knowledge for the common person. :3

The Questions Game - V5 Edition
Question- If you only had one day left to live, how would you spend it?

Alex- Oh boy. That's... kinda dark? Uh... I would spend every single second with people I love and care about. Like, you know, my parents, my brothers, my friends, everyone. I'd probably give them all a big hug, and try to just... you know. Spend time with them.

... This question kind of depressed me. *sad face*

Lana- Talk to everyone. Maybe spend some time with my parents, say hi to my friends and wrestling team mates, and... do something that makes that last day matter. Like, I don't know, something that people will remember me by. It's a good day to do something you've always wanted or to leave an impact on someone, right?

Miranda- That doesn't sound good. Uh... honestly don't know what I'd do. Perhaps I'd do something really badass for my last day. Like, something that everyone will remember long after I'm gone. Or maybe just something I've always wanted to do. I honestly don't know what that would be, really! Just... something.

Question: Some people eat certain food weirdly (for example, eating pizza differently from their friends). Have you noticed this with yourself? What is the food, and how do you eat it?

The Questions Game - V5 Edition
Question: A stranger approaches you, thinking they know who you are. The address you by an incorrect name, and then tell you that you've gained weight. Reacton?

Alex- I honestly kinda doubt that would happen, but I guess I'd say that I'm not who they were looking for?

Lana- Just tell them I'm not their friend. Simple.

Miranda- ... Gah, I feel the urge to say "Deck them", but that's not very polite, right? I guess that means very firmly tell them I'm not their weight-gaining friend and then bolt right out of there.

Question: Do you participate in any fandoms?

How I Spent My Suspension
Alba raised his head in response, and he didn't look too happy. Oh boy. He wasn't saying anything "bad", but she knew of the chaos that was about to start. Alex could only watch from where she was standing. No one in the group seemed to notice her, or at least she thought. Alex could only frown as she examined Alba's face from her distance. The guy looked like an angry monster that had been woken up, or interrupted while feasting on some prey. Skeeballs weren't good prey, but still, the point remained.

Alba? Looked dangerous.

Alex tilted her head slightly to the side, as Sean called him out further. Of course, everyone knew what Alba's problem was. He felt like he had to demonstrate his masculinity to everyone, so he hit on girls and harassed pretty much everyone (not even the poor referee was safe!). Oh, and he had a godawful first name as well. No wonder he had to demonstrate his manliness. She wouldn't dare say that aloud, though.

She saw Genie gently gesturing towards Sean, as if trying to pull him away.

At that point, Alex decided to step forward.

"Sean, you know his problem", she gently hissed. "He feels like he has to show off how manly he is in the most overblown ways."

Okay, that wasn't a good way to say "hi". But still.