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The Art of Sims Storytelling

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  • DaniRose2143DaniRose2143 Posts: 5,503 Member
    SnowBnuuy wrote: »
    I try to comment where possible and where I have time, since there's no point in me preferring written comments and then not extending that same effort to other writers (which some people in creative circles seem to do, sit there and not interact with the community and wonder why no-one is looking at their stuff. Thankfully that's not a common attitude here on the forum.)

    This is something that I find can be really hard to do at times. Like you I try to comment and follow all of the stories that readers who follow me post. I feel guilty if I can't keep up with all of their stories, especially when they're here every time for mine. I do like to read what others think about what I write. I'm so new to this and I absolutely love it, but I don't have a good feel yet for when I've done a good job or not. I write and share because I love the expression, but if people are following the story I want to keep them entertained too. If they've committed the time to read one of my chapters I want them to feel like it was time well spent. I keep notes about not only what's happening in the game, but also on the feedback I get. If somebody mentions a specific element, or way I phrased a line of dialogue I make a note of it so I can work those things in again where it makes sense. Likes and awesomes feel great, but they don't shed any light on the things people liked or didn't like or on areas where I can do better.

    My Gallery ID: DaniRose2143
    Under The Tartosan Sun
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 29,220 Member
    have a question too! For everyone doing romance, how do you build suspense and tension between the two characters? Do you prefer a slow-burn kind of romance or something quick and intense? Do you have any tricks up your sleeves to help the reader to feel invested?

    my simcouple wants a divorce. so i guessthey went off the rails relationship wise
  • MonaSolstraaleMonaSolstraale Posts: 1,172 Member
    Very interesting thread to read :) I confess, I only did read last few pages, sorry :p
    I wish there would also be a thread like what us readers love to read. though Im not sure would it be very popular :)
    I believe we shared this topic in this thread several months ago. Otherwise, I would say that quite a few of the authors I follow via WordPress Reader have some in-depth recommendations on their website.
    I have mostly been inspired to find new stories by researching some of the readers who comment on stories I read. They often write simlit themselves... and this leads me to your question.....
    *comments aka feedback. How do you like to receive those or do you? You prefer people leaving only hearts, likes, awesomes, or actual written comment?
    I have read simlit for several years before I tried myself as a writer. As a reader, I was probably too shy at first because I thought all those who commented seemed much smarter than me or seemed like they were part of a closed society.
    At one point I met some stories that touched me so much that I thought... why should I hide the thoughts and feelings a story evokes in me without passing it on to the author who has invested both time and heart in their project?

    As a writer, I would say that I like comments because, in addition to being encouraging, they are often really inspiring.
    It has happened more than once that a character has grown in my story because the readers find them interesting and this arouses my curiosity to delve into the personality.
    I often let myself be guided by my intuition and several times a comment has made me more aware of my communication. It is definitely a help in getting to know my tools.
    Perhaps it is because in an English-language context I am a fairly new and inexperienced writer.
    The fact that I have developed over the past two years is solely due to all those who have asked questions, commented and inspired me with their completely personal expression.
    So from my point of view comments are very welcome <3
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member
    edited November 24
    Wow! This is great. I love all these questions and responses. It's really interesting the different approaches.

    Here's my quick catch-up answers:

    Chapter length

    My story is (sort of) comic book style, so the pictures are a huge part of the storytelling. Lots of pictures makes the chapter physically longer, but it can still be a fairly quick read because I don't always use a lot of words. I have a soft limit of 60 pictures and a hard limit of 80 pictures. Most of the early chapters are shorter (I've only posted 8 chapters so far, but I'm working on chapter 44).

    Romance

    It does somewhat depend on the characters involved, but in general I am a slow-burn romance type. I enjoy subtle romantic tension way more than overt romance. And I'm perfectly fine with the unfulfilled tension going on for a very long time. I'm even fine with them never getting together if it's done in a way that makes sense for the characters, world, or story. I do also enjoy established partnerships that were there from the beginning if they have an interesting way of interacting.

    Reader responses

    I like getting comments. Particularly I like hearing what readers are noticing in the pictures and what they think of the characters (not just do they like them, but speculating about their behavior/motives etc.) Every once in a while someone makes a joke about something going on with the characters, and I love that. I like it when readers are playful with my story.

    That brings up a question I've been wanting to ask: I love interacting with the readers, this is the main reason I decided to share my story, but I do find it hard sometimes to figure out how to respond in a fun and meaningful way without giving away spoilers. So, do any of you have any tips or experiences to share about how you handle this?
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • _sims_Yimi_sims_Yimi Posts: 1,585 Member
    edited November 24
    • How long are your chapters or posts? Do you limit yourself to a certain number of words or screenshots?
    • What do you try to cover in each chapter? (ex. an event, a day, part of a plot arc)
    • In addition to having chapters, do you break your story down into seasons or parts?

    Mine follow a formula of 3 scenes per chapter, for a maximum of 3500 words (though I have some scenes that are just pictures). Everything after that, in my opinion, is too much to take in and remember at once. Each scene progresses the plot for at least one character, usually multiple. ToC’s is broken down into arcs, and sub-arcs within those. It took me a while to reach this flow of storytelling, with many misses in the beginning, but I really like the shape that each chapter has taken now 😄


    Romance takes a backseat to the rest of the story for me, and I’m struggling with answering that one early in the morning, so I’ll let that be for now 😅


    comments aka feedback. How do you like to receive those or do you? You prefer people leaving only hearts, likes, awesomes, or actual written comment?
    Written comments are my favourite, too, as it gives me a look into how the reader is interpreting my story. My absolute favourite moments are when one reader comments viewpoint A, another comments viewpoint B, and they then start a discussion around it. Hasn’t happened much but when it does, it makes me smile for days.

    I don’t write for the comments, though. I mostly write for myself, because I like the story I’m making, and if other people do too, that’s the icing on the cake. So likes are fine, too, and so is a silent reader who you never actually hear from. Creating a story is fun either way 😊
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  • Kellogg_J_KelloggKellogg_J_Kellogg Posts: 1,070 Member
    Reader's comments

    Yes please! I used to get quite a few every time a new chapter was released but I understand people get very busy, some go away from Sims 4 for a while and the amount of comments has dropped. I still get likes and awesomes and the average reader count for Sim 66 is around 8 so I have a core of followers and fans but it's always nice to interact with the readers. Sometimes they guess where the story is going, sometimes it sparks ideas I can develop in future chapters. It's fun to get comments and respond to them.
  • hellohannah2hellohannah2 Posts: 503 Member
    edited November 24
    On comments:

    Yes please I love them! The greatest feeling of all is knowing that someone has really thought about what you've written and taken the time to leave a comment to let you know what they thought about it, especially since there's so many other stories to catch up on and it always takes that little but of extra effort to say something. It means a lot, but of course, any kind of interaction is great. Likes, reactions, I love it all.

    I think that I joined the community at a weird time, because it took ages for engagement to pick up on my story which was a little difficult haha. I DO write for myself first and foremost, and I would have continued to tell the story anyway, but I also can't say that I don't care at all about who's reading, because if I didn't, the story would have never left my Google Docs. I wrote stories years ago using sims 3 to illustrate, and back then there seemed to be a larger community of writers and readers. It was normal to see 15 - 20 comments per chapter on people's stories, which I kind of took for granted, but that was a different time. 2013 - 2014 was the peak. I suppose people move on and do different things, and at certain times of the year people are busier. I'd be curious to see if after the holiday season and into the colder, darker months (In the northern hemisphere anyway!!) we'll see an uptick in new stories and new readers
    Post edited by hellohannah2 on
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  • EllupelluelluEllupelluellu Posts: 3,909 Member
    Thank you all for replying my question :) I'll most definetly try to comment more. Those might be short comments, why I have often just left an awesome instead, as it felt there is no use for my short remarks :)
    My love, my love, my fearless love, I will not say goodbye..
    Sea may rise, sky may fall, My love will never die..
    My heart, my heart, My drowning heart, Oh all the tears I've cried
    Oh I may weep forevermore, My love will never die..
  • _sims_Yimi_sims_Yimi Posts: 1,585 Member
    @hellohannah2 I agree with you on the TS3 vs TS4 forums observation. I was around during that time too, and there definitely seemed to be a larger writer base around back then. I sometimes wonder where everyone has ended up, and whether they're still writing 🙂
    From what I've noticed on TS4 forums, it seems to be a bit of a seasonal thing. Stories and comments pick up at the end of Autumn and during Winter. That's when most new stories pop up, too. Then at the end of Spring activities die down a bit, and during Summer, I don't see a lot of activity at all. That was only for the last few years, though. It might have been a coincidence 😆
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  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,194 Member
    Thank you all for replying my question :) I'll most definetly try to comment more. Those might be short comments, why I have often just left an awesome instead, as it felt there is no use for my short remarks :)

    Don’t ever feel pressured to comment on anyone’s stories though, and don’t ever feel pressured to leave detailed comments either. ‘I really liked this chapter, liked the part where*thing happens*’ works fine, as does a like or a react. It’s absolutely fine not to interact, if you don’t feel like it or don’t have time. Commenting and engaging with authors should be fun, not a stressful thing. < 3


    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! -
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  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member
    @Ellupelluellu I agree with @SnowBnuuy . From the writer's perspective, it's really fun to get the comments, but from the reader's point of view it can be hard sometimes commenting on every chapter. Even if I am really enjoying the story a lot, sometimes I don't have much to say. Sometimes I just say something to the effect of "still enjoying it", because I want them to know that. And sometimes I don't say anything at all because I am just having one of those days. Has nothing to do with the story or the writer. My brain is just on low-power mode at the moment, and I've got no words.

    I think commenting on stories would be best though of as "appreciated, but not required". Everyone is welcome, but no one has to participate if they don't want to.

    That being said, those of you here who have been commenting on my story, thank you so much! You really make my day, every time. :smiley:
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • MonaSolstraaleMonaSolstraale Posts: 1,172 Member
    edited November 24
    Wow! This is great. I love all these questions and responses. It's really interesting the different approaches.
    I love interacting with the readers, this is the main reason I decided to share my story, but I do find it hard sometimes to figure out how to respond in a fun and meaningful way without giving away spoilers. So, do any of you have any tips or experiences to share about how you handle this?
    If you have created a good cliff hanger, it can be difficult because it can feel like it is burning on the tongue.....
    I would say enjoy the moment :lol:
    You don't always have to give a funny answer if it doesn't feel natural. It is ok to answer questions vaguely or say that you cannot answer without spoiling.

    NB: To my great pleasure, I see that you are working on episode 44...that means we can look forward to more entertainment in the future. I admire your ability to work so determined and structured.

  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member
    Thanks @MonaSolstraale ! I'll get the hang of this eventually. I've been starting to realize that I can just pick and choose which parts of a comment to respond to. Of course... that means if you say something really interesting and I don't say anything about it, you're probably too close to the right track :lol: But I always overthink these things.

    I love all the comments I have been getting. It is so fun to see what readers are reacting to.
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • HermioneSimsHermioneSims Posts: 241 Member
    That brings up a question I've been wanting to ask: I love interacting with the readers, this is the main reason I decided to share my story, but I do find it hard sometimes to figure out how to respond in a fun and meaningful way without giving away spoilers. So, do any of you have any tips or experiences to share about how you handle this?

    Ouch, that's something I've really messed up badly a couple of times... So now, every time I see a risk of spoiling what comes next to the readers, I often write things like "who knows", "maybe it's important, maybe is not", or "let's see what happens in the next chapter"...
    To me it's definitively easier to interact with readers when discussing about what already happened in the story, while for the hypotheses about what is coming next I prefer to sit, observe and not give detailed answers until the relevant chapter is posted XD
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    You can follow the Legacy Miller on my blog and on the forum thread, *Chapter 5.3 Updated on 27th November 2022*
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,194 Member
    @GlacierSnow I've already spoiled so many things to Yimi XD but what I usually do is say something super vague. Acknowledging what's been said and no further.

    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! -
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  • lilypadmeulinlilypadmeulin Posts: 1,485 Member
    I agree with what's being said here - reader comments always make me smile!
  • SnuffyBucketSnuffyBucket Posts: 546 Member
    edited November 27
    @GlacierSnow
    I love interacting with the readers, this is the main reason I decided to share my story, but I do find it hard sometimes to figure out how to respond in a fun and meaningful way without giving away spoilers. So, do any of you have any tips or experiences to share about how you handle this?
    I can't say that my responses are fun and meaningful, as you are are about to find out, but dodging spoilers in my comments is one of my favourite aspects of sharing my story. I have a couple of really dogged readers who will stop at nothing to wheedle out answers, and my initial 'maybe...' replies just weren't cutting it. My responses nowadays consist of a mixture of hints, jest and spin with a hearty dose of misdirection and sarcasm. Works for me.
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    Almost Eternal
  • lilypadmeulinlilypadmeulin Posts: 1,485 Member
    I can't say that my responses are fun and meaningful, as you are are about to find out, but dodging spoilers in my comments is one of my favourite aspects of sharing my story. I have a couple of really dogged readers who will stop at nothing to wheedle out answers, and my initial 'maybe...' replies just weren't cutting it. My responses nowadays consist of a mixture of hints, jest and spin with a hearty dose of misdirection and sarcasm. Works for me.

    Oh, that's always one of my favourite ways to respond, too! It's always fun, and it gets me thinking of how better to spin the story too!
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member
    @HermioneSims @SnowBnuuy @lilypadmeulin and @SnuffyBucket Thanks for your thoughts on this. I suspect I'll develop my own style of handling it with some practice.

    It's honestly not the direct questions that trip me up. It's the observations. When readers notice something that I genuinely was hoping they would notice, because it's actually important, I feel inclined to confirm that the thing they noticed was actually an intentional thing (as opposed to just some odd interpretation they have that was not my intention), but doing so feels like it's giving too much away. Maybe it's not though.
    My responses nowadays consist of a mixture of hints, jest and spin with a hearty dose of misdirection and sarcasm. Works for me.

    This is my dream version of how I would like to interact with readers. :lol: Alas, I do not usually have the level of quick wit needed to pull that off. So, "vague" it will probably have to be.
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    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • lilypadmeulinlilypadmeulin Posts: 1,485 Member
    @GlacierSnow

    Whatever works for you! Take the time to figure out your own style.
  • DaniRose2143DaniRose2143 Posts: 5,503 Member
    Answering comments without revealing everything is a struggle. I try very hard to tease upcoming events and storylines but it’s not easy. I’m usually very excited and trying as hard as I can to not just blurt it all out. I’m just like that when I’m happy and I’m very happy after almost every chapter. I have the same problem when my characters do something unexpected that opens new and exciting possibilities.

    I have come back and reread the replies to this question a few times. Hoping maybe I can absorb something to help, if not curb the urge, make it so I can release that pent up energy instead of the plot.🤣
    My Gallery ID: DaniRose2143
    Under The Tartosan Sun
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 1,354 Member
    edited 4:04PM
    Answering comments without revealing everything is a struggle. I try very hard to tease upcoming events and storylines but it’s not easy. I’m usually very excited and trying as hard as I can to not just blurt it all out. I’m just like that when I’m happy and I’m very happy after almost every chapter. I have the same problem when my characters do something unexpected that opens new and exciting possibilities.

    I have come back and reread the replies to this question a few times. Hoping maybe I can absorb something to help, if not curb the urge, make it so I can release that pent up energy instead of the plot.🤣
    @DaniRose2143 I like your comments because you provide a lot of insight into your characters and your writing process. Your enthusiasm also comes across, which is fun.
  • DaniRose2143DaniRose2143 Posts: 5,503 Member
    @haneul That's sweet of you to say. I've learned so much from you and others giving little glimpses into how you create characters, worlds, and stories that I want to pay back and pay it forward.
    My Gallery ID: DaniRose2143
    Under The Tartosan Sun
  • MonaSolstraaleMonaSolstraale Posts: 1,172 Member
    I really think it's some instructive topics we exchange in this thread :)
    I think it was both @Haneul and @DaniRose2143 that made me consider my amount of photos. I have therefore tried to cut much more to the bone when I published my latest chapter. I think that was helpful, so thanks <3
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 29,220 Member
    Reader's comments

    Yes please! I used to get quite a few every time a new chapter was released but I understand people get very busy, some go away from Sims 4 for a while and the amount of comments has dropped. I still get likes and awesomes and the average reader count for Sim 66 is around 8 so I have a core of followers and fans but it's always nice to interact with the readers. Sometimes they guess where the story is going, sometimes it sparks ideas I can develop in future chapters. It's fun to get comments and respond to them.

    this made me laugh cause i comment on your posts i just don't read them.
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