What is selling ?
A simple action/writing tool at heart. Selling is basically just working well with other peoples interactions. It encompasses responses to psychical attacks mainly but it also covers verbal responses as well to some degree. When somebody interacts with you they effectively pitch an attack/ verbal statement, your duty as a fellow writer and member of the section is to take that pitch on board and work with it. Selling is making your work incorporate the work of others well.
A good seller shows equal respect and time to dealing with opponents attacks as they do writing out their rebuttal.
The purpose of selling is two fold
1) To enhance the characters involvement in the story by having some jeopardy, alterations via damage to the body or mind as a result of the conflict
2) To showcase writing skill by carefully detailing your opponents attack and its effects from your characters point of view.
Why should i sell?
You want to write with others?
You want to battle?
Then you HAVE to sell.
Even a superman level character fighting a street leveler has to sell. If you don't respond to an opponent properly or trivialize their work by shrugging it off, people wont work with you for very long. Selling certain things can be tough some easy but you must sell them none the less. For the sake of your fellow writers and your own reputation as writer i implore you to sell as much as you can as to the best of your ability. You maybe a master of prose, a grammar Jedi or some sort of vocabulary deity but the different between a good and a great writer around here is their ability to sell.
Guidelines/Rules you should follow
1) Its not optional. If an opponent hits you with three attacks in a post you gotta sell each of them in some way.
2) Just because an attack shouldn't hurt you doesn't mean it cant. Mistimed counters, environmental factors surprise etc.
3) Selling covers more than just physical damage,E.G a great martial artists being humbled/surprised by a hit by could respond emotionally to said strike. Doubt confusion admiration etc.
A Simple/Good sell
The Pitch- Fighter A pivots on their standing foot swiftly and precisely aiming a snapped shin kick at opponent B's body.
The Sell- Fighter A'S kick shot unexpectedly at B's chest leaving little time to respond. B tensed the muscles within their abdomen and trying to turn away, rolling with the impact doing their best to absorb the force behind the blow. The sheer power causing B to loss their firm footing as the strike flowed through him.Recovering composure as the string of the strike spreed across the gut a painful lesson had been learned, avoid the kicks.
Why was it good? the sell followed the pitch's flow. The response used the highlighted words from the pitch and worked them into the reply. The kick was meant to be fast and accurate so it was sold as so. Even if your faster/stronger or have various other abilities that over shadow your opponents you should ALWAYS make the attack look good at the very least.
The pitch- Fighter B draws his pistol and fires 3 shots at Fighter A his targets the heart lungs and stomach
The sell- Fighter A Simply stood and laughed at the bullets striking him. For he had a healing factor and this was but a simple delay.
Why was it bad, no selling of damage, Makes opponent seem trivial( you should try to make your opponent look good) no mention of pain.(look at wolverine unless you have no pain receptors everything should still hurt) said it a few times already selling is more than just the physical damage, what did you character think/feel in response to attack.
Power level/Skill level gap selling
Here's a way to sell something from a much weaker character. Say Prime Lady Liberty was fighting Shadowknight and he tried shooting her. Realistically, that bullet would never hit, and if it did, it wouldn't affect her. But lets continue. LL dodges the bullet but has her character comment on how inhumanly good SK's marksmanship skill is, and praise him for it, even claiming that it almost hit her, and that it was far more like a super-power than an actual skill. That would be some way of selling that attack without making LL look like a jobber ( making yourself look weaker than you actually are). environmental effects could come into play to somehow weaken a powerful character.
Lets say someone creates some type of intergalactic martial arts master such as Gamora who feels that everyone on Earth possesses pathetic H2H skills compared to hers. Lets say this space martial artist is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone on Earth but she gets into a fight with the Last Arashikage. She's picking him apart but selling his attacks because she was caught off guard or surprised by how good he was and that she had underestimated him, causing her to sustain more damage than she should have, allowing for a more even match than it realistically would be. She may also be humbled by the experience, that she was wrong and that an Earthling had surprised her.
1) The focus of the sell shouldn't be how little damage you can take,
2) The more detail and description you use in your sells the clearer they are for readers and opponent
3) Consider the external and emotional factors to the fight and how they will influence your attack and defense
4) Read your opponents post carefully, the difference between a decent sell and a good sell is in the details
5) Treat your opponents as you would wish to be treated, the better you sell them the better they will sell you.
6) Mix it up, use your imagination unexpected sells done well are some of the best ones.
Please add your own examples of good selling to help educate others. Only attach Good sell please this isnt a name and shame thread. Any submissions of sells should be be summed up with a little critique where possible to help clarify what makes the sells note worthy.
Hope the thread helps
PS. thanks to Andres for the section on selling vastly different levels of powers or skills.