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They'll all fall

Monday, April 18, 2005

Routines, improv, and styles of pickup

Just to make it clear: I use "improv" as short for improvisation, making up what to say in the moment.

I just visited Yoshi's blog, and found him discussing material vs improvisation - with the presupposition that either you use structured game with routines (Mystery style), or you go pure improv, with no structure.

Now, though I think his post is a worthwhile read, I disagree with that presupposition.

First, all really successful socializers use routines. They don't necessarily pick other people's routines - but they socialize so much, with so many people, that the same stories naturally come up, and become routines for them.

Second, structured game - tracking states and phases of the interaction, and trying to go through the phases - can be done without routines, it just fits very well with routines, as you can have material available for each phase.

Third, the difference between improv and routines is somewhat floating anyway.Almost everybody change their routines a bit as they use them, and it's possible to just go out with ready themes to have something to talk about. I like talking about vacations - and I've got some routines around this, but it all spin off as we start talking.

Fourth, one common use of routines is to have a routine stack that the seducer runs until he's gotten the girl to the "hook point", and then ad-lib from there.

Fifth, some of the really good people (Tyler Durden comes to mind) advocate switching between a routine stack and improv, as it train different parts of your skillset.

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