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The Art of Sims Storytelling

Comments

  • hellohannah2hellohannah2 Posts: 591 Member
    @SnowBnuuy wow that's so in depth - and yes, I read the whole thing haha. I can't imagine having to come up with all those answers about your character, some of them being actually quite obscure, like "words or phrases they hate" I'm thinking... wow, I don't know if I've ever even asked myself this question! But it sounds like you really understand your OC Oliver a lot, and probably even more so after doing that.

    A part of me is tempted to try, but another is like "No, girl. You're way too impatient for that" haha. I guess I'll just stick to making up my characters as I go along :D
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  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,744 Member
    @hellohannah2 I definitely get some bits and pieces of dialogue from conversations in real life. And every so often a character I make kind of reminds me of a real person, or a fictional character from somewhere else. I don't intentionally use people I know as the inspiration for any characters, but ideas all come from somewhere, so that happens on its own for sure.

    A lot of my characters draw from aspects of myself. I feel like my own mind is made up of all these little tiny fragments that surface differently in different moments, often completely conflicting with each other. So I pull one fragments out away from the others and let it expand and grow into a character. And then I do that with another fragment and I grow another character that is completely different from the first, but both came from facets of myself.

    Lol. Sounds totally weird and crazy when I try to explain it.
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • Lucy_HenleyLucy_Henley Posts: 2,095 Member
    @SnowBnuuy wow, that character interview was definitely comprehensive! Would you mind if I used it for some of my Sims? I probably won’t use all the sections, but I’ll probably use quite a few of them.

    I don’t actually put “myself”, as such, into my characters. The Mastersons are all redheads, sure, but that’s about it - and hair colour can be easily changed.
    My Stories: Parker Saga (on temporary hiatus), Magical Mastersons
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @Lucy_Henley Sure thing ^u^ I linked the blank one a few posts back on this thread!
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,744 Member
    For anyone who is interested, an update on my progress getting ready to share my simlit story Seventeen & Maldusk...

    I think I've got most of the ins and outs of making and maintaining a website figured out, for my basic needs at least. So now I'm working on making a header-banner for the site main page. Making custom poses is fun for me, and a huge part of how I do my storytelling, so that's the approach I'm taking.

    Here is the pose set I made for the main POV characters.

    In Blender, as I was working on it...

    01-Pose-making.jpg


    And what it looks like with the actual characters...

    02-Testing.png


    Here's some of the other characters, just hanging out, waiting for the photo-shoot. :wink:

    03-Testing.jpg

    Actually, I was testing out their poses. But I didn't like how the guy on the left looked from the straight on front view I will be using for the scene, so I ended up moving him to the stairs.

    04-Revision.jpg

    The cat and dog are missing from this shot, because I'm moving sims in and out of the "household" to have full control over them while I'm testing the poses. Once all the poses are ready, I'll be shooting the scene with everyone in it. Which means quite a few of the sims will be not under my direct control. It can be quite a challenge, but I've learned a lot about sim-wrangling for posed shots as I've worked on this story, and I've done up to 20 sims in a scene. I know what I'm in for. :lol:


    And here is the pose set for a couple more characters on the side.

    Pose making in Blender.

    05-Pose-making.jpg

    Testing in the scene.

    06-Testing.jpg

    I'm not totally satisfied with the pose for the lady in the black blazer, so I'll probably be working on that a bit more before I move on to the remaining characters.


    Just wanted to let you know I'm still working to get this website ready so I can share the story. :smile: Carry on!
    Forum-Banner-01.jpg
    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @GlacierSnow Those poses are amazing! It's really hard to do good expressions without making them a) too expressionless and b) too exaggerated for the scenario I find, and also it's hard to find poses as such, so they look great! And the hand poses ahhhhh ;o;
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,744 Member
    @SnowBnuuy Thanks! :heart::smiley:
    Forum-Banner-01.jpg
    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • RipuAncestorRipuAncestor Posts: 2,326 Member
    Oh, wow, @SnowBnuuy ! That interview is so thorough! I like character interviews as both a characterisation tool and a way to just have fun. I've done a couple for some of my Sims, but none of them have been as detailed as yours. I liked how your interview also had questions about how others see them and how they have changed. It's also a very good checklist for writing your character. Very cool!
    doublebannerpic.jpg?w=676
    My Sims stories:
    The Fey of Life - fairytales in life are few and far between (Forum thread HERE)
    The Chrysanthemum Tango - a story about life, death, magic, and how to be a good landlady (Forum thread HERE)
    Forget-Me-Not - some things just refuse to stay buried; an Ambrosia Challenge story (Forum thread HERE)
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @RipuAncestor That means a lot, thank you < 3 I used to struggle finding character interviews with useful questions, so I ended up just making my own. Also sometimes I struggle with figuring that out for my characters. Like, I know what they're like, and how they feel about themselves, but less so on how others see them so it's something I try to make notes on now. As for how they may change or have changed, although character development in-story is important I think sometimes it's important to think about their development before the story starts as well, and how that might possibly affect things. Depends how deep down the rabbit-hole people want to go though, sometimes it's not always needed : P
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • RipuAncestorRipuAncestor Posts: 2,326 Member
    @SnowBnuuy Yeah, it's important to find the tools that work for you. I like fairly detailed characterisation. Not all details need to be in the text, but it's good that the writer knows about them, at least.
    doublebannerpic.jpg?w=676
    My Sims stories:
    The Fey of Life - fairytales in life are few and far between (Forum thread HERE)
    The Chrysanthemum Tango - a story about life, death, magic, and how to be a good landlady (Forum thread HERE)
    Forget-Me-Not - some things just refuse to stay buried; an Ambrosia Challenge story (Forum thread HERE)
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,744 Member
    @SnowBnuuy and @RipuAncestor Having somewhere outside of the actual story text to keep track of details really is important, I've found, even if those details are figured out bit by bit as the story is being written. I learned this lesson the hard way when I was trying to write my first novel (mostly a disaster). I didn't have any system for keeping track of character or world-building details outside of the story text. At first, I just kept track of stuff in my head. But eventually it started getting to be too much. But instead of realizing I should start some type of "meta-info" files, I tried to keep track of my ideas by working everything into conversations and narration in the story... and, as I'm sure you can imagine, this turned into an enormous infestation of awkward info-dumping that was extremely boring to read. This is where having some formalized list, like SnowBnuuy's guestions guide is so helpful. Not only helps you think, it helps you remember, so you can dribble the necessary info into the story text at a more enticing rate.

    Getting the hang of what that "enticing rate" is, is a whole skill in itself, of course. I'm still working on that one. I have a tendency to say either too much or too little. :lol:
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • _sims_Yimi_sims_Yimi Posts: 1,622 Member
    edited August 2022
    Hi all! I’ve been gone for a while but have finally decided to crawl back out from under my rock. Hope you’re all doing good! Leafing back through the thread now and it seems like you’ve had some interesting discussions 😊

    @GlacierSnow Those poses look amazing! You’ve been teasing your story for a while now and I’m thoroughly intrigued. Let us know when you complete the website, I’d love to give it a read! And I feel you on trying to keep track of everything in your head and just not being able to do it, ha. Sometimes a story becomes so big that even the writer needs an overview of all the tiny little details. Especially in simlit, where we're writing and publishing at the same time.

    @SnowBnuuy that character interview page is so detailed, holy cow! I made an attempt at answering some of it with Arthur this morning, to try and get back into a writing headspace. Thank you for providing it for us!

    Regarding characterisation, I’m definitely the type to keep track of things in detail, but only if it directly relates to the story. I often find that the more details I add to characters beforehand, the harder it becomes to write them. At some point there is so much that needs to be taken into account when writing from their perspective that it becomes a hindrance. That might just be me having limited brain space, though.

    For most characters, I only have a handful of “trackers”:
    - Who they are;
    - What their personality is like (traits and flaws);
    - What they’re trying to “do”;
    - What they are afraid of;
    - What relation they have with the important characters in the story.

    Then depending on what their storyline is going to be, and what has been shown in previous chapters, they get additional information. Mostly for consistency, though I love having small, seemingly irrelevant details become hugely important later.

    *Edit: a word.
    Post edited by _sims_Yimi on
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  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,744 Member
    @_sims_Yimi Welcome back! Thanks for your comments about my poses and website prep. :smiley: I didn't really mean to be teasing my story for so long. Lol. It just took me a really long time to feel comfortable with the idea of sharing it outside of my tiny close friends circle. I joined this thread partly in the hopes that talking to other simlit writers would help, and it did. But it was also hard to participate in the conversations without referring to aspects of the story... and after a while it just felt like I really should make it available for those of you who would like to read it, or at least check out what I'm talking about when I refer to it. I'm excited to share it. I hope you enjoy it.

    I have some irl stuff that will be taking up all my time for the next few weeks, but I'm almost done with the website prep, so hopefully I'll be ready to start posting the first chapters sometime in the second half of September. Thanks for the encouraging words!
    Forum-Banner-01.jpg
    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @GlacierSnow I am very excited to see this story! I too was intrigued at all the posts, but I didn't want to be direct and like 'YOU MUST POST THIS STORY' so I'm glad we will see it soon!

    Okay, so I got VERY bored and felt like making an empty document full of boxes and so I've made a 'story planner' document that's a more pretty, more complex version of my own planning style. It is in .doc form and in .odt form. (Download link is SimFileShare, no AdFly of course.)

    I've tried to make it as clear as possible, and it's designed for challenge and narrative writers alike. Plenty of places to take various different notes, and all organised into table boxes. It's designed so you can ignore/ omit anything you don't want and then just add in table cells if you need extra boxes. I hope this helps some people.
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 1,501 Member
    So here's a question: how do you decide when it's time to end your stories, series, legacies, etc.? For example, do you strictly plan an ending ahead of time and stick to it no matter what or do you have vague ideas and see where things go or...?

    I ask because I think it's time for me to end my legacy. This wasn't my original plan and I'm not tired of it, but I've done enough of what I've wanted to do and it's a lot of work to continue. So after posting the next few chapters that I have in the immediate pipeline, I may stop and move to other ways of telling the story. I'll catch up on everyone's stories here and maybe share my 1000+ backlog of hopefully pretty screenshots in threads on this forum but without any text to accompany them.
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @haneul

    I always try to have some kind of endgoal in mind before I write a story and try to stick to it. It's easier with a prequel, though. Otherwise I will have no idea where to stop and I imagine with legacies that can sometimes be an issue, is knowing what gen to stop the actual story at. With legacies it's probably easy to get over-invested and then never want to stop writing them : P
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • hellohannah2hellohannah2 Posts: 591 Member
    Same here - I always have a rough idea of where I'm doing to end so that the story at least feels like it's heading somewhere. The route that i get there might change or become longer than I expected, but yeah right before I start a new story I make sure I know where it will end. I think it's so easy to get attached to characters and the story you're telling and want to keep writing and writing forever, not always in the best interest of the narrative
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  • MonaSolstraaleMonaSolstraale Posts: 1,210 Member
    how do you decide when it's time to end your stories, series, legacies, etc.?
    @haneul It's a really good question that makes me reflect on my current course :smile:

    I have a place I want to end that is planned in advance. My original plan includes some goals Tusnelda should achieve without money cheats.
    -She needed to be able to afford to buy a house away from the mine in Forgotten Hollow. Check! V
    -She was to be trained as a herbalist. Check! V
    -She was going to start a shop and sell her herbal salves. The shop is obtained, but no sims want to buy salves, so that shop is not a good business.
    -She had to start in the science career and reach the top of that career. That goal has almost been achieved.
    -She had to form a club with aliens and expand it to the maximum number of members. There are still 1-2 members missing.
    Along the way, the characters have gained their own lives that are about much more than achieving simple goals, on a deeper human level.
    Most of my stories have started on the basis of a challenge from a member of the previous Danish forum. She was really good at setting up some goals and sub-goals that were very inspiring.

    My first story in my blog A Turtle's journey, was fairly tight and short.
    My current story has grown completely unexpectedly because I have had so many ideas that needed to be tested (English wording and image-wise). At the same time, several of the secondary characters have sparked a curiosity in me that I just wanted to explore. It is both a freedom and a danger in not following a strict script.
    It has been about two years since the story of Tusnelda got its start. It wasn't my plan for it to go on this long.
    I've got ten more chapters planned and so I'm missing some kind of meaningful phasing out of the story before the final conclusion, so I totally understand your thoughts on when it's time.
    My story may have ended up as a kind of legacy without being a legacy because I play without time and seasons. Most legacies extend over ten generations. This one won't.
    My next project will definitely include seasons and continuous time.

    NB: I'm not sure my long answer made you any wiser, but I wish you the best of luck in your process.
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 1,501 Member
    edited September 2022
    Thanks everyone for the responses. <3@MonaSolstraale I like your listing of items/goals to accomplish.

    I originally intended to stop after my gen 5 (E-generation) ends, because there were goals to accomplish and actually something of a plot and story there. I've played and have the screenshots and ideas for a huge chunk of it already. However, I think I may end with gen 5 just being introduced, which is significantly earlier than my original intention. Writing-wise and SimLit-wise, I think I've done enough of what I've wanted to do, even though story-wise and character-wise, I haven't at all. I haven't even introduced all of the relevant Sims.

    I think I may post a few sample chapters to see how I feel and then just abruptly quit/end it. The story arc won't finish, but I think that's okay... So maybe I'm considering the opposite of how legacies may normally go. Instead of getting to a planned point, I am considering just ending it where I am.
  • _sims_Yimi_sims_Yimi Posts: 1,622 Member
    How do you decide when it's time to end your stories, series, legacies, etc.?

    Fun question, @haneul !

    I thought I’d be in the minority here, but seeing everyone’s answers was an interesting surprise! Mine isn’t a legacy but a narrative story, and the first thing I ever thought about was the ending. From there I wrote the beginning, and now it’s a matter of figuring out the journey to get to the end, as @hellohannah2 said above. I don’t think I’d be able to write a story without knowing the ending in advance, or at least a clear goal to work towards.

    @haneul , it’s always quicker to write-while-playing, or write in your mind, than actually putting it all into a story for others to read. Moving to screenshots-only might be a good way to continue, if you’re tired of writing but still want to share what’s been happening with the Fiers. I don’t know if you have your own thread for them. But there’s multiple general threads where you can share story screenshots too, I believe 😊 Your screenshots are always gorgeous, so I bet people would love to keep up!
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  • HermioneSimsHermioneSims Posts: 310 Member
    How do you decide when it's time to end your stories, series, legacies, etc.?

    I tend to have the endpoint set in mind since the beginning as well (more or less). With my legacy, so that it's the first one I play with, I definitively want to reach the end of generation 10 to say: "Yeah, I finished a whole legacy!" With the played part of the Millers I'm several generations ahead of what I've posted on my blog and everything is (almost) set up for the ending I have in mind.
    With stories instead, I tend to reason in terms of shorter story arcs (anywhere between 10 and 40 chapters) which I plan before start playing and writing, and by the end of each arc I decide whether to go on with another one or not.
    2if86miljyb3.png
    You can follow the Legacy Miller on my blog and on the forum thread, *Chapter 5.16 Updated on 29th January 2023*
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 1,501 Member
    _sims_Yimi wrote: »
    How do you decide when it's time to end your stories, series, legacies, etc.?
    @haneul , it’s always quicker to write-while-playing, or write in your mind, than actually putting it all into a story for others to read. Moving to screenshots-only might be a good way to continue, if you’re tired of writing but still want to share what’s been happening with the Fiers. I don’t know if you have your own thread for them. But there’s multiple general threads where you can share story screenshots too, I believe 😊 Your screenshots are always gorgeous, so I bet people would love to keep up!

    @_sims_Yimi Thanks. If I transition to screenshots, it will be just screenshots without a narrative or context - so not really a way of keeping up with my Sims, but just pictures. :sweat_smile:
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,322 Member
    @haneul Just sharing pictures and the odd commentary line is how a lot of people do their gameplay on Simblr anyway, so I think that could work just fine!

    I forgot to mention earlier, I tried to extend my 3-gen CEA challenge into a legacy. I took too many pictures and got too far ahead, so ran out of ideas for an actual story to accompany it past Gen 5. Instead I carried on the legacy for fun and just kept my screenshots in a folder after that. Trouble is I've lost the 'fun' side of playing TS4 and now I only enjoy storytelling through it and building and such.
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! - QpGHgt3.png
  • Kellogg_J_KelloggKellogg_J_Kellogg Posts: 1,139 Member
    It began with a concept and turned into a soap opera so there's no definite end in sight. I might go through to Sim 70 or Sim 71 but I don't want to go past that and load my game with 70s cc as well.

    My purpose for Sim 66 is to play the game and see what stories emerge from the characters. I want to see how the official Sims world works with the period setting but I also want to explore more of the goings on in that era. As the story moves from 1966 to 1967 there will be changes as the Summer of Love and flower power kick in. Going into 1968 there will be upheaval and unrest and in 1969 the characters will experience watching the first moon landing. At least one character (naming no names yet) will go and serve in Vietnam. I've got another major character to introduce soon, a very different one from the other main ones and plenty of subplots to wrap up, and new ones to begin. I suppose the end point will be when I get too bored or jaded to continue writing Sim 66 and I'm nowhere near that stage.
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 1,501 Member
    edited September 2022
    SnowBnuuy wrote: »
    @haneul Just sharing pictures and the odd commentary line is how a lot of people do their gameplay on Simblr anyway, so I think that could work just fine!

    I forgot to mention earlier, I tried to extend my 3-gen CEA challenge into a legacy. I took too many pictures and got too far ahead, so ran out of ideas for an actual story to accompany it past Gen 5. Instead I carried on the legacy for fun and just kept my screenshots in a folder after that. Trouble is I've lost the 'fun' side of playing TS4 and now I only enjoy storytelling through it and building and such.

    @SnowBnuuy Thanks - that's true. There are lots of posts like that on Simblr. I have the story and the screenshots, so coming up with a story is a non-issue and I will at least post once or a few more times. I move slowly so it's not like I've gone through several generations. I haven't finished one. :sweat_smile: I guess I just feel a bit weird at stopping in the middle/beginning and trying to completely separate the story from the pictures and not posting any more text.

    I hope you're able to refind your joy in the game, so it's not just the storytelling and building that you enjoy.

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