Most simulations have a defined format for their posts. However, some allow you to choose how your posts are formatted. There are two basic styles of formatting: script format and novel format. Both are defined in detail on this page.
Script format is a simple format often used by new role players or those who aren't confident in their language and grammar skills. It is by no means a bad format; in fact, it can take a poorly written novel post and make it a post that is easier and more fun to read. The basic idea is that you start each line with a character's name, followed by a colon. Their actions are denoted inside parentheses or asterisks while speech is in plain text. An example follows.
Sarah: (tosses a PaDD toward John) Here! This is the report I promised you earlier.
John: (tries to catch the PaDD but drops it) Whoops. (picks the PaDD up from the floor) Thanks for finding that for me. I really owe you one.
Sarah: (grins) You sure do. You can buy me a drink later.
This type of post is often preceded with an “on” tag and followed by an “off” tag. Many simmers and role players start off by using this format, and it's a great, simple way to get started. Some simulations still use this format as their default posting style.
Novel format is a little different. In this format, writers act as though they're writing a novel (hence the name). The post is organized into paragraphs, with actions detailed out and speech contained in quotation marks. Some role players see this style as more elegant than script format, as it tends to flow a little better. However, it does require a stronger grasp of language and grammar, which is off-putting to some newer writers. An example follows.
Susie stretched and yawned as she sat up in her bed, giving the alarm clock a dirty look. It was far too early to be waking up, let alone going to work. “Why can't I just sleep for another hour?” she asked no one in particular as she climbed out of bed. To her surprise, she heard an answer.
Novel format is becoming more popular across many types of simulations. Some simulations will precede these posts with an “on” tag and end them with an “off” tag, but it's not strictly necessary.
These are a few things you can do to improve your writing or maintain its quality.