The purpose of this guide, admittedly written late, is to allow you to understand what Hannah and I look for specifically when reading and reviewing applications. For the most part, this is intuitive, but we felt that it would be easier to write the application if you knew what we were looking for. This list is by no means the end of it, and we always give lee-way when reading applications (we understand it can be hard to get a grasp on your character from the get-go).
In essence, we expect a basic grasp of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Although a few errors are fine, we're basically looking for something that's readable and understandable.
The character's history and personality should be believable, at least in theory - we recognise that because of the nature of the plot, it can be difficult to have a character who's 100% average, but we're looking for a character that's still nuanced and has depth. This isn't only great for the character, but for you- a character with depth is a lot easier for members to plot and thread with.
Although the application style is freeform, that doesn't mean that we disregard looking for a history and personality. You can describe these in any way you want, depending on what you're trying to portray; for example, an application told in first person will naturally have a personality whereas an application in third person is more likely to have a focus on history.
4. WORD COUNT.
Lots of people panic over this, so I'll say it here: we only have a minimum word count in order to ensure that we get enough detail. There is no upper limit, and there (hopefully) will never be. If you need 3000 words to get your character across, feel free to do that. What matters most to us, as the readers, is that you're comfortable with your character.
These are the common pitfalls that occur when reading and reviewing applications. In general, this isn't the whole list and sometimes we even let these things slide if everything else is acceptable, but we figured it was important to know.
1. LACK OF CREDIBLE FLAWS.
This is the main one, to be honest. In this case, credible flaws count as anything that works against your character, usually on a personality basis - for example, anger issues, perfectionism to the point of obsession, insecurities, etc. It can be difficult to admit that your character has flaws, but they're there and they give a character a lot more depth. Also, notably, certain things can count as a weakness but not a flaw (for example, phobias).
2. OVERLY TRAUMATIC PASTS.
Not every character has had a perfectly normal history, and that's perfectly okay. However, generally, there's a difference between a conga line of trauma and things that have made a character unhappy or unsure in the past. When writing your application, consider what elements have affected your character and in what way; sometimes, subtle is better.
3. LACK OF PERSONALITY-HISTORY MATCH UP.
Some of the best characters have a history that influenced their personality and vice versa; the two are tied together. When writing your character, every event that they deem important should have affected the character in some way, and that can be reflected in any way you wish. (The simplest way to think about this is, "X happened so my character became quiet," etc.)
4. MISUNDERSTANDING THE SITE LORE.
We recognise that the site has a lot of lore and a lot to understand about each member group, so we try to let things slide more often than not. However, it's best, if you're unsure, to keep the right member group topic open when writing your character to understand the little details (for example, witches wouldn't have used magic before training, the vampire incubation period, etc).
5. REFERENCING OTHER CHARACTERS.
Your character should be able to 'stand up on their own', that is, have no egregious mentions of other characters. There's nothing wrong with, say, referencing a sibling, but they should be able to played without the sibling there, if it came down to that.
Hopefully that offered a little bit of insight into what we look for! If you have any questions, of course, feel free to ask and we'll always do our best to help.