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A quick question on the size of game apps

A quick question on the size of game apps

First, I'm not trying to make this a whine-fest about getting into a game.

I've been trying to get into a few games, none of which I've been picked, but I'm curious is there's a 'minimum length' and/or a 'happy middle ground' where you have maximum quality for your app but a minimum time/effort to create your app else you'll be ignored/rejected off-hand?

Normally writing a large app isn't too big a problem for me as I'm a decent writer, but there is a game I'm looking at with two apps which have I'd guess close to 10,000 words in their full write-up, which is huge and I'll admit very intimidating to enter. I can write that much, but (guessing here) let's say it takes me 40 hours (based on recent apps which failed, plus I work full time) to duplicate that; that's a ton of time I'm wasting not getting into games.

Now, I get it, if there are X open spots and X+Y entries, then Y entries aren't getting in, but at the same time I don't want to literally waste my time building up a char then having it sit in notepad waiting for a game it might be able to enter either. How do I make both sides happy?

10,000 words? That's not an app, that's an entire fanfiction.

Um...I haven't written a character app for a few months now, so my advice will be just making stuff up, buuut...

With a backstory, start with where the character grew up. Not as in his/her whole life story from the beginning, but a few sentences about their lifestyle, wealth, etc, and their familiaral/social bonds.
From there, think a little about where your character learned their skills; self-taught, professional instruction, were they pushed to learn it or was it natural talent or...?
Then, after that, describe the cause of their primary motivation, whether it's a big disaster or repaying a debt or seeking to solve a mystery, with a tidbit on how it drew/draws your character into the adventure and meeting the other PCs.

On top of that, include a little about appearance and personality. Not a complete description from head to toe, but some traits (Scruffy? Tidy? Perpetual frowner? Fidgety? Prefers to dress in red?), that you can include in your posts to make them more fun to read, and give clues to other players on how to interact with your character.
Oh, and include a bit about how you envision your character working in a mechanical sense; what they're good and bad at, what role they'd play in a party, stuff along those lines.

It probably helps, outside of the app, to talk, too. Chat in an OOC discussion thread, ask questions about the game setting and tailor your character's backstory appropriately, make suggestions if someone else asks for ideas...

I’d strongly suggest PMing the GM to ask what they would prefer, since it sounds as if it’s not spelled out.

Yeah, you should find out how much the DM wants to read. For all you know, they might think those two apps are the worst of the bunch.

I know that if someone applied with 10,000 word backstory to a game I was hosting, I'd probably reject them out of hand because no way am I reading that much. If they can't get their character across to me without that many words, then they probably aren't nearly as good at writing as they think they are. But if you can knock my socks off in three paragraphs of focused flavorful prose, then that actually helps me imagine what your character would be like during actual play, and that's what would get me to pick you.

Yes, asking the GM is the first and best route to take.

Otherwise, I just started a game with six players. Only one reached 10k words, and that was juuust barely. Remove the required text and it might even dip below 10k. One was a little over 6k. The other four didn't reach 5k.

The accepted minimum is usually "enough to get the point across", in my experience. I just got into a game with barely 3k words.

I will say:
If I see an overly-long app, my brain shuts off. It could be the next Harry Potter novel and I wouldn't have noticed unless it hooked me immediately and was well-formatted. And even then, halfway through I'd probably be skimming. I've usually got at least a dozen others to read, dangit. I can't speak for all GMs, though.

I'll also offer this massive piece of advice:
Never be discouraged by other people's apps. My record number of applications in a game I was GMing for was 73. Less than half even finished. And even then, it was extremely easy to instantly ax a dozen of those complete for a variety of reasons.

Suck in your gut and write what you want to write given the houserules and expectations. A character you want to play will always be better written than the guy desperately trying to please the crowd. Especially if he refuses to do what he's familiar with because someone else has a similar app in.

Lots of words doesn't necessarily mean good stuff. In fact, it might mean there's a lot that an editor would chop off. It could also mean that there's a lot of useful good stuff in there a GM would love to sink their teeth into. It depends! But I have also seen groups where they had a maximum word count. I feel like those people had had a lot of extremely long apps they didn't want to deal with anymore...

Of course, there could be GMs that ask for word minimums, too. Up to you if you care to try to join such games, especially if you'd personally rather type less. Or feel that you'd rather not bloat something with words after you've gotten your point across and still come short.

I am hoping GMs pick character they feel would be the best fit for the game. I assume that's what's happening, at least. You could write an amazing character, but it might not work for the game, the story or the GM. And overall, try to have some hooks that GMs could latch onto. Story bits, family, weaknesses, etc, that would make for a pretty enticing character the GM can pull into trouble! The character should fit the world like a piece of puzzle that was always there.

And if you show that you're very interested as a player (assuming there is a chance to do so), you might get in over the types of players who feel like they might flake.

This is basically just down to the individual DM. I would typically say that quality is more important than quantity, and actually for so DMs, too much writing might be a drawback - they have to read it, after all. Ultimately, though, the whole apps thing is just a popularity contest for that particular DM, so there really are no hard fast rules.

I am no DM so I haven't seen it from that perspective, but I also had a really odd experience so far that is likely not the norm.
It might be because I still make writing mistakes, or because I'm somewhat of an oddball or even just a string of weird luck. For me it never worked with advertised games. Either I wasn't accepted or the game didn't last long when I did. What turned out to work for me was when I made connections with people and poked my head into the game idea thread where people ask if there is even interest for an idea. I'd almost say it's cheating because that way I got into games before it comes to competing with others. Weirdly many of those games also ended up pretty stable and I'm still playing in them.

So in conclusion, I'm really bad in normal applications, regardless of size or wordcount, but being active in the ooc area, talking with the other players and GM might get you more remembered and as weird as it sounds, your applications doesn't stand by itself, people always associate you to it automatically, if they have something to associate it to.


10k words? That's a lot. After the 1st thousand words of backstory, unless it's a short story meant to help flesh out the character (I've done this in the past, see the second post), it's too bloody long.

Now, this may depend on the GM in question, but most I've dealt with ask for maybe 3-5 paragraphs of backstory, and even then that's considered a lot. I feel it's a matter of 'write as much as you feel is required'. If your bio is a single paragraph (which is often the case for 1st level characters in D&D), excellent!

That all said, the real advice to give you is to look into other systems that aren't so popular. It's easier to get into them when they're recruiting because there isn't the massive influx of apps.

The answer to getting rejected from games with too many apps is to come back to our Anima game! We're always short on players.


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