RP Pro Tip 30:
Improvisation in roleplay is coming up with action on the spot, rather than planning it out. Most RP is improvised. Therefore, it pays to know a thing or two about how to improvise. Fortunately, we can take a few pointers from the classical art of theatre.
1. Don’t block. Blocking is when your partner tries to take the action in one direction, and you deny them— either because you don’t recognize the direction they’re headed, or because you have your own ideas of where it should go. Here’s an example I see all the time: one character will ask another, “What can I do for you?” This is a fantastic opening for roleplay which is almost always denied. Most characters will say, “Nothing, thanks.” And suddenly you’re left with nothing to talk about. Instead, come up with something they can do for you. Take into consideration what your character might be doing that they would need help with, or what area of expertise the character you’re interacting with might be able to contribute.
2. Don’t put yourself above your partner. It’s not a competition, it’s a collaboration. If you’re open to new directions and give your partner a chance to shine, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. When they look good, you both look good. Never try to take RP in a direction that feels unnatural or forced.
3. Tell a story. Give your interaction some structure. Assign a purpose to your character— it can be as simple as “I was just stepping out for some coffee!” or as complex as, “Oh my god Darth Vader has invaded Narnia!” The more material you give to your interaction, the easier time you’ll have keeping it going.
As with all tips, keep in mind that these are suggestions— not rules. There are a lot of fantastic roleplayers out there who do just fine without regard to these guidelines. But for those who find themselves struggling, this may help.
Suggested by shieldagentmorgan