How Playing Sims Inspires New Book Ideas

Sims3 Logo

EA is a gaming company known for it’s realistic character designs and game features. The Sims games are my favourite out of the EA games that I own because for a change I am able to create my own characters.

Not only do players get to create how their characters look, they are able to pick personality traits for their characters, decide on their characters favourite food, colour and music, and even their characters voice.

Some aren’t a fan of “playing God” when it comes to this game, however I’ve never thought of that until it was pointed out by my teacher during a class discussion. I think of this game as a tool for character and story design.

You can create up to eight characters of your choice and then send them out into the Sim world to live and interact with one another. Because each Sim has their own unique personality it gives you a chance to watch how your characters react to different situations.

For example, I had Sim who was a coward. When someone in their family passed away the Sim fainted from shock. For all you Romantic novelists out there (though the Romantic period has been gone for some time), a character having a fainting fit due to a shocking situation might be exactly what you’re looking for. This reaction reminds me a lot of Victor Frankenstein as he often grew ill when he was in shock.

When it comes to the story line, sometimes people have a hard time including subplots. Will your character fall in love? Will they get a new job? Will they break off their engagement?

Sims 3

You can play around with these different scenarios throughout the game and see which one works best for your novel. The possibilities are endless.

Sims also inspires many different novel ideas. Especially ones that I may not have considered on my own.

I once made a random family of a single father with two young children (a little boy toddler and little girl child). This family did not have much money at all and could barely afford their home. The father paid babysitters to watch his children while he went diving in dumpsters for items that he could sell. The family slept on the couch or in sleeping bags on the floor. Their only shower was broken, the children’s only toy was a stuffed bear that their father found in the trash and their father barely had time to eat himself while trying to make ends meet.

I actually felt a slight pain in my chest when this Sim father died while trying to get food for himself. After his long struggle he passed away, leaving behind two children who ended up being taken by the social worker.

Never would I have thought about writing a novel about a struggling single parent with multiple children. Honestly the idea wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

Note: I know that I’m able to just use cheat codes to give the Sims a ton of money but I decided I didn’t want to do that because it takes away from the game play.

The game has given me many new ideas like that one, which I on my own wouldn’t have thought of writing either because the idea was too sad, or because I myself had never experienced something like that. I’m now starting university and I only know that I should expect a lot of reading and new memories. However when I started a novel about a university student, I knew absolutely nothing about what it was like being a university student, and I still won’t until I get there.

My younger sister, who introduced me to the Sims games got Sims3 University Life for her 15th birthday.

Sims3 University Life

I learned from the game that students were required to attend both classes and lectures and that they didn’t have a class each of the five days of the week. I realized how important caffeine was to the average university student, and how university was not all about throwing crazy parties and using your yellow Camaro to pick up girls.

Transformers 2. Sam and Alice.

I also got to see different settings with the towns that came with the expansion packs like Sunset Valley and Isle Paradiso. I even got to get an idea of what it would be like for a celebrity to rise to fame and then get bashed by the media.

I could even build the houses from my novels (which I have yet to do) and have a 3D view of it for reference.

If the novel consists of several years of a persons life, I could start off the Sim version of that character as a child or teenager and watch as the events happen (you can change the life span settings for all of the Sims so you don’t have to wait a month for them to age up…you could already have a good start on your novel in that amount of time).

The game overall is a really cool and fun way to get ideas for a novel, or even just to get an idea of what your characters (both main and secondary) look like and how they react to different situations.

Sims 3 Seasons

Videos on Writing

creative-writing-summer-course

I really wanted to share this video Unusual Writing Tips that I found on YouTube. Throughout the week I tend to do research for my novel or check out articles, books and videos on how to improve my writing (or just to make sure I’m on the right track).

This video is short and simple and some of the tips in it I use myself, such as the giving your characters faces tip. However, I draw mine…maybe I’ll share some of these drawings sometime soon, I’ve got a whole pile.

Anyway it’s worth watching it’s almost 5 minutes like but some of these sorts of videos are 12 – 20 minutes long.  

This video, also by Andrea is on Characterization. A lot of the tips that she gives here in this video are things that I myself do. I have done blog posts in the past on characterization and the importance of your characters name. I tend to put a lot of effort into my characters because I want to know them like we’ve been friends for over ten years or something.

Okay so here is another video on Villains. I really enjoyed this video, it had some very interesting tips and insights on how to create a good villain for your story. A couple of the things that Shadevlog mentioned I hadn’t ever thought of however I was really happy when she said her point about how one even in reality does not make someone turn super evil or decide to do something because instantly I thought of Batman.

In so many Batman comics and films and in the cartoons, Bruce Wayne and almost all of the villains have one traumatic incident that makes them decide on whether or not they are going to become good or evil. In my opinion there’s got to be more to the story than that. I’m sorry but Brucie, your parents were killed and in many different scenarios you came across a bat…or several bats. But why did that make you become a 40 year old man that drives around at night looking for crime?

Is this what it means to have a mid-life crisis..? 

I don’t know. I never really got into Batman anyway. 

This next video is called How to Write a Great First Chapter. This is an excellent video to watch because Ellen Brock as an editor knows a lot about what it is that writers should and should not do when it comes to their opening chapters. In this video Ellen talks about introducing the catalyst, types of conflict (internal was her example), and setting the tone and she goes over the basics of writing your first chapter in a straightforward way. 

So I might share so more of these tips of videos later on, since I love to share my findings with fellow writers. 

Hope that everyone is having an awesome week so far. Also feel free to let me know of any books or videos or articles that you really enjoyed that have to do with writing. 

 

Poll: How Often Do You Write?

I made this poll out of curiosity.

 


 

Feel free to share how you get yourself to write and what gets you motivated when working on that novel, essay, poem, script, blog post, etc.

The Problem With YA Fiction

Some might argue that young adult fiction is not a good form of literature. They might say that it lacks quality or that the novels are simply written to please the audience.

Others would say the complete opposite. They would probably remind us not forget that some of the most popular YA novels have also reached adult audiences.

Now I’m not exactly a fan of “sitting on the fence” but in this case I will as I do have valid points for each side of argument.

I do feel as though YA novel is a real form of literature, though I’ve heard many of my teachers scoff at the novels we teenagers are currently reading especially those involving vampires and werewolves. I also cannot deny the fact that I too have turned up my nose many times at a vast amount of the novels being produced for this age group. However it is not because I think the novels are poorly written but because I find them to be fake.

fake

As you may or may not have noticed the word fake has been overused by us teenagers recently but I am going to use it in this case simply because it is the first word that comes to mind when discussing YA fiction.

The problem with young adult fiction is that the characters and what they go through is fake. Some of these authors write novels for teenagers thinking that they know so much about us without actually doing research.

Sorry folks there is no guide on How Teens Act and What They Are Going Through in 2014.

These authors have not been teenagers for some time and their children (if they have any) are either too young or too old for them to get some sort of idea of what teenagers are up to these days. This makes it hard for them to connect with their audience.

Sometimes I read these novels I picture a woman in her late thirties, with a pen and notepad sitting in her living watching Disney Channel on the T.V making a list of what teenagers are like.

  1. Teenagers are angsty.
  2. Teens are brats who talk back too much.
  3. Always rebel.
  4. Hate parents.
  5. Defy all authority.
  6. Over obsessive relationships.
  7. Snobs.
  8. Popularity is the most important thing in life.
  9. Nerd wear glasses and have braces.
  10. Mean Girls is a realistic representation of the life of average teenage girls.

While they create this list I also picture them drooling like a mindless zombie….

zonedout

If anyone actually believed anything on that list, you might want to stop watching today’s so-called popular forms of entertainment featuring teenagers (I don’t have cable so I don’t know what’s on these days).

That entire list can be found in over half of the YA novels that I have read between the 6th and 12th grade. Now in the 6th grade I didn’t know better. I thought that in middle school girls and boys dated and that dating was really important because like anyone who’s anyone is dating. Then I got to the 7th and 8th grade and realized that was stupid. Only two of my friends dated and the relationships lasted a couple days. If they were lucky it lasted two weeks tops. However I then formed an idea of what high school might be like, however I realized before I arrived (thank the Lord), that what these books and what T.V told me about high school was nothing like high school at all. The other 9th graders hadn’t figured it out so quickly, but they did by October.

The young adult novels that moved me the most were the ones where the characters acted their age. I’m not saying that there aren’t mature thirteen year olds out there but most thirteen year olds are at a point in their lives where they are now trying to decide on whether or not they want to make a change in who they are or if they’re happy with themselves. Unfortunately many of them are unhappy with who they are because they think that they’re losers due to the idiots who write television for that age group.

Anyone ever watch the show Drake and Josh or maybe the show Unfabulous?

Don’t watch those if you want an idea of what teenagers are like. Please…I’m begging you.

When I was glued to a book it was because I knew the character and I could trust them to be an accurate representation of those around me. When I got to the point where I could no longer relate to the majority of the books I was reading I began to create my own characters who were like those in my age group.

I hope that this post will encourage YA authors to take into consideration that when writing for a young adult audience, the characters are extremely important. If your character is fake, your book won’t be read. If your character is relatable and someone that your young readers can truly connect with, then your book will remain with them even after they’ve read from cover to cover.

reading

Little Donnie and the Big Black Clouds

rain-cloud-15642888

It was a gloomy day on Rosemary Avenue.

Little Donnie sat near the window with a scowl on his face, watching the big black clouds loom over his house. Donnie would have preferred to have been playing outside with his friends but Mother had said, “A storms comin’. You don’t wanna be caught in a storm, do you?”

To which Donnie replied with a, “No Mum.”

And so he sat and he scowled.

Moments passed and no rain came.

Donnie grew frustrated.

“The clouds just don’t want me outside!” He thought. “They’re making fun of me! It’s never going to rain!”

Well that was it for him. Donnie hopped up off the floor and stomped over to the shoe rack. He slid on his rain boots, slipped on his jacket and marched out the front door.

Donnie looked up at the sky and stuck out his tongue. “No clouds ever scared me!” he shouted. Suddenly he heard a loud roar. It sounded as if someone…or something were very, very upset with him.

Crack! Went the lightning.

Boom! Followed the thunder.

Donnie’s eyes lit up as the flashes of light zipped across the sky. He hurried to the door, stumbling in his boots. He nearly lost balance when he heard the next Crack! He twisted the knob and flung open the door.

Mother tilted her head and gave him a half-grin.

Donnie ran to her and gave her a hug. “Oh Mum, I think the storm is angry with me!” the little boy sobbed.

“Actually, I think it’s saying, ‘Listen to your Mother and stay indoors’.” she chuckled, kissing the crown of his head.

 

 


Author’s Note:

Thanks for reading my short story. I was inspired to write this because I came across an old children’s book of my fathers, and started reading from it. The book was a collection of short stories about children. I found it to be a really nice book, something that the whole family could enjoy (if you have small children). The pictures are very nicely illustrated and the stories are only about a page long. There are poems, and songs created by the children in the tales as well…I hope that I can get (or write) a book that fun and engaging for my own children (and for other children as well).

 

Hoping that you’re all having much better weather than I am,

 

Orion.

Goodbye High School

Yesterday I finished my final exams and all I could think was, “Boy did time fly.” It feels as if moments ago I was sword fighting with my cousins by the lake, and then in a blink of an eye I’m an eighteen year old kid sitting on my bed reading all of the short stories I’ve written over the last two years.

I’ve said this many times in the last month that I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. I’m ready to try and do things on my own without my parents coaching me along the way (though their coaching does help me come to a decision faster…). I told my sister multiple times, “High school is done and I have no regrets.” I’ve forgiven the people that hurt me, left behind those that weren’t the right company, and successfully finally figured out which studying methods work best for me (insert props/daps here).

If there was anything that I could have changed, it would have been to get the nerve to ask an old friend of mine, “What did I do wrong?” Though I’ve told myself after not speaking to them for two years that I am over it. There is still this pesky little voice in the back of my head saying, “Ask! Just ask! It’s a simple question!” but I feel as though there is nothing to ask anymore. Two years is a long time…or so it seems.

They surprising spoke to me first…which I tried to be casual about. I didn’t say, “What the heck is your deal man? You ignore me for two years and then you come to tell me that your ‘boo’ wants me to wait for them? Yah…NO!”  I could never see myself saying that in reality, however if I did speak like this to people it would be very gutsy of me….I simply said, “Oh okay. No problem.” and that was the end of the conversation. Yes my friend hurt me, and yes we aren’t friends anymore but I let it go….

Okay why did I have to say that? Now that song is going to be in my head all day! Stupid…movie. Okay I actually like the movie. I’ve watched it three times with my niece. I think Hans is cool and I like Olaf because when I mimic his voice my niece gives me “warm hugs.”

Anyway! That was really off topic…so if I were to go back in time and change ONE thing it would be that I would straight up ask my friend if they were alright during that first week when they started avoiding me. And if they claimed that nothing was wrong and continued to ignore me then I would simply let it be. I wouldn’t fuss about it or let myself get hurt by it (and trust me it feels like getting stabbed in the chest when the kid you’ve known since the 5th grade suddenly starts to push you out of their life). I wouldn’t have dwelled on it for so long or spent the summer going, “Maybe I should go see if they want to get a slushie?” and never bothering to get off my butt out of fear that they might say no.

I’m just happy that the two years of silence were broken…and that I didn’t have break it.

Well that’s the end of this post because apparently my computer needs to restart in exactly 4 minutes!

Hope everyone has a great summer!

I’ve watched St…

I’ve watched Starwars so many times now that I’m able to say nearly every line in the movie one after another. I also think that Obi-Wan has the best lines out of everyone. “You were the chosen one!”
His face…his face…I’m laughing….it hurts…I’m cry-laughing.
How was your week?

Orion is still kind of tired as it is Friday and Orion has had a busy week.

For My Baby Sister

Tomorrow my baby sister will be turning sixteen years old. So I thought it would be fun to make a list of 16 things that I both love and dislike about her.

Image from Google. Not my own.

Image from Google. Not my own.

  1. She giggles A LOT.
  2. She makes very unlikely but funny jokes.
  3. She acts tough…and she is.
  4. She knows who she is.
  5. She sings bad on purpose (which is hilarious).
  6. She does really cool and cute illustrations.
  7. She wears headbands and ponytails almost everyday.
  8. She likes her blue hoodie.
  9. She has a room filled with butterflies.
  10. She hits really hard.
  11. She has a fan club of 4-5 year olds who think she’s the coolest person ever.
  12. She leaves her stuff lying around the house.
  13. She is my closest friend.
  14. She is a very, very, very, very picky eater.
  15. She once said she wanted to marry an orange.
  16. She tries to hug me even though I’m uncomfortable with hugs.

Happy Birthday Sis-tur. Hope that you enjoy the gift I got you.

….I need to pay her back two bucks….

 

Love,

R.