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A Quick Guide to SimLit - Sims Story FAQ

Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
If you are new to SimLit and this part of the Sims Forums, you might have a lot of questions. What is SimLit? How do I do it? While there are no clear right and wrongs on SimLit, this guide tries to explain a bit of the adventure to you and give you a few opinions on popular questions. Just remember that these are by no means „rules“ that you must adhere to. This guide merely offers a few opinions and explanations. In the end, it's all your choice. You can do whatever you want with your SimLit and no one will call you out on it. Also note that this is a guide to the concept of SimLit, not for creative writing. I hope that you will find this guide helpful and that you will share your SimLit story with us soon!

Topics covered in this guide are the following:
SimLit FAQ
Tips for Wordpress users
Useful and interesting threads

SimLit FAQ

The questions discussed in this post (and the next) are the following:
1) What is SimLit?
2) How do I post stories?
3) How do I post pictures on this forum?
4) Which blog should I use?
5) Do I write first and then screenshot or the other way around?
6) How do I get the perfect screenshots for plot-driven SimLit?
7) How long should my posts be?
8) How many chapters should my story have?
9) How often should I update?
10) How do I stay motivated?
11) How do I edit my screenshots?
12) How do I make a signature/banner?
13) How do I best advertise/promote my story?

What is SimLit?
SimLit is an abbreviation for Sims Literature, meaning written stories about your sims! SimLit usually includes your creative writing as well as screenshots of your sims. Many sims stories are based on challenges for The Sims, which challenge you to change your style of gameplay. But there are a lot of stories which are not based on challenges as well! If you need a few examples just browse the threads in this forum, you'll find plenty! Or check out @mastressalita's Story Index for an (alsmost) exhaustive and expertly maintained list of Sims Stories. SimLit comes in many different forms and can be posted in various ways. For more on that, check out the questions below.

How do I post stories?
There's no right or wrong way to post stories, but usually it's done in one of two ways. You can decide for yourself which one you prefer.
  • Post your story directly to the forums. Create a new thread in either this forum or the general „Stories and Legacies“ section and post your writing and screenshots in that thread. Forum posted stories have the advantage that readers don't have to take another step (clicking a link etc.) to read your story and it's easier for people who aren't comfortable with setting up a blog. A disadvantage of forum-posted stories is that once you get more comments and pages, finding your story updates can be tedious for new readers as they will have to do a lot of scrolling. Also, if you have multiple updates with a lot of pictures on one page, it will take some time to load before a reader can check out your new update. You will also need to be a full member to post forum stories with pictures (See below on how to post pictures).
  • Post your story on a blog and link to it on the forums (see below on which blog to use). People who post their stories on blogs usually also create a forum thread and post links to their blog updates to keep readers informed. An advantage of having a blog is that you can easily set up a table of contents and link from one chapter to the next, which makes it easier for new readers to overview and read your story. Another advantage is, that you don't have to be a full member on this forum to post your blog updates. Simply remove the „http://www.“ from a link and you can post it, even as a new member. A disadvantage is that readers will have to take another step (=click a link) to access your story updates.

How do I post pictures on this forum?
To post pictures on this forum you must be a full member. Check out this thread for information on how to become a full member. If you are a full member, you have to upload your pictures on an external image hosting site (e.g. Imgur.com, tinypic.com, photobucket.com, etc.) and copy the IMG-link to your post, which is a link to the picture surrounded by IMG-tags (you must copy the IMG-Tags also). On most image hosting site it will say something like "BBcode for forums and bulletin boards" above this link. It will look like this (without the *)
[*IMG]YOUR PICTURE LINK HERE[/IMG]

Which blog should I use?
There isn't a rule on which blogging site you should use if you want to create a blog for your sims stories. However, there are a few popular options which are presented here. Most blogs are easy to set up but you can also find many tutorials on the internet if you're not as tech savvy.
  • Wordpress.com
    @Julyvee94 says:
    "I use wordpress because it's probably the most popular blogging site on this forum. I can follow other people's wordpress blogs for updates and easily comment on other wordpress blogs, all with one account. Updates from blogs I follow come directly to my Wordpress reader so I never miss any chapters! Wordpress has various „plans“, which range from a free blog to a paid yearly subscription. You can also upload pictures to wordpress (like an image hoster) if you wish so, but I never use that because the space on the free version is limited. I use other image hosters instead. For normal writing means, the free plan is more than enough. You can choose from a lot of free themes and you can easily customize them. You can schedule posts to post at a certain time if you're on holiday or something like that. I love that, too! Also, I love the country stats page, showing what countries your readers are from. It's so intriguing!"
    (See post below on how to include externally hosted images into wordpress blog posts)
  • Weebly
    Another free blog website
    @Iheartdinosx3 says:
    "I use Weebly because when I was starting to write Simlit I knew I wanted to branch off into other stories and even make some Sims available for download so I needed something where I could have different pages and I am ALL about customization! So when I figured out you basically could do any sort of customization you wanted I was sold. Making a website layout is so easy to understand and it's drag and drop based.You basically have all your options on the left side of the screen and then you just drag and drop whatever you like on to your screen!"
  • Tumblr
    Also free, and more in the style of a blog than a website with usually short posts.
    @Ojenn says:
    "My reasons for choosing Tumblr were the community and design.
    The people I have encountered through the Sims Tumblr Community, also known as the Simblr community, have been so kind and inspiring. Typically if I have an issue or need help there are a few people I know I can message personally or just post on my blog to get assistance.
    The biggest and probably the more determining factor was design. Tumblr is said to be a site for micro blogging and I really never understood what that term meant until I made the switch. Designing my blog just the way I wanted to on Tumblr affords me endless options. I often change up the look of it occasionally to fit a holiday or the theme of my site. I have options for music, and I can even change the cursor that you see. (Which I still think is pretty darn cool) The formatting allows me to really make it my own, so that when people come to my blog they really get a sense of my style and my stories."
  • Blogspot
    This is another free site for creating a blog.
    @cully_c says:
    "I chose [Blogspot] for various reasons. Firstly I started blogging long before I started blogging for Sims, and blogger (as it was known then) seemed the best option. And I haven't been disappointed. It is google based which means it ties in with my email accounts, Google connect etc. Which also means that any blogger blogs I follow come up on my reader too!
    It uses Picasa for hosting the photos on the blogs which means ample storage space - great for my now picture heavy Sims tales.
    The sites are fully customizable and it can be as easy or as complicated as you want. It has great pre-loaded looks that can all be customised (colours, fonts, sizes, spacing) as you wish through and easy interface. Or you can get more into it with direct access to it's coding. There are also loads of sites offering free downloads of designs. Adding and removing of widgets is a simple drag and drop affair.
    It has the option of static pages or blog posts. Easy scheduling and labelling. You can have multiple people signed on to put up posts/admin etc good for collaborations. And there is basic page and individual post stats for those who are interested in their traffic."

While all of these blogs offer options to schedule your post to come out at a given date and time, Tumblr also has another interesting feature, @MDianaSanders explains:
"Tumblr allows you to both queue and schedule. When you schedule, you set the date and time you want a post to come out. With the queue, you add posts to the queue and it will automatically release the next post in x hours.

For example, my current settings are 2 post a day between 12am and 12am, which means it post one at 8am and one at 4 pm in my timezone. If you want it to release at a different time, you have to either increase or decrease the release frequency. It's a sort of auto-scheduler so to speak, you skip the step of actually scheduling because that's done for you."





Do I write first and then screenshot or the other way around?

This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to SimLit. Writing first and then screenshotting to match the writing is often referred to as "Story-Driven" or "Plot-Driven" SimLit, because the Sims are there to illustrate your story/plot (of course you can also take the screenshots first even if you have a particular plot in mind. This is just an explanation but not the one and only one). The other way around, observing your sims and then writing about the screenshots is often called"Game-Driven" or „Sim-Driven" SimLit. There is the approach of 100% Game-Driven SimLit, which means writing in observer/documentary style. There is also a middle ground between game-driven and plot-driven: Observe your Sims and spin a plot around their actions. Approaches are not mutually exclusive and you can combine them however you like. All of them are equally legit and fun!

@CitizenErased14 on Plot-Driven SimLit
"Plot-driven SimLit is when you, the player, control the plot/story, and use your sims as "actors" to illustrate the scenes that you want. One way to describe it is that with game-driven SimLit, you (the author) are telling your sims' story. In plot-driven SimLit, the sims are telling YOUR story.

This is my preferred method of SimLit because I have always considered myself as as a writer first and a simmer second. I come up with complicated and drama-filled plotlines that simply cannot happen on their own within the game, so I manipulate/control my sims' actions for each screenshot to match the story that's in my head. The process can be difficult and frustrating, but I feel the end result is worth it."


@ThePlumbob on Combining Game and Plot-Driven SimLit
„As far as approaches go, I would say my writing is 80% sim-driven, meaning that for the most part, I let my sims determine their own story and only interjetct occassionally. I tend to just observe what happens in game and then find the meaning behind it. You'd be surprised what interesting stories can come out of that approach.

Writers may fear that the sim-driven approach leads to boring, plotless stories. But that hasn't been my experience. Some of the most dramatic parts in my story were entirely my sism doing. While some try to inject drama into their stories, I feel like I'm running around my sims like a panicked mama hen telling them to tone it down because my readers can't endure so many dramatic chapters in a row."


@Julyvee94 on Game-Driven SimLit
"One of my stories is a neighbourhood rotation which is 100% Sim-Driven. I observe my sims, their autonomous actions, their speech bubbles, their relationships and only occasionally interfer. Then I write about it. I often tend to highlight the more riddiculous moments and actions of my sims. I also use this approach to explore the game to the fullest and share new experiences with my readers, e.g. my first trip to granite falls or my first Get To Work business. And believe me – it does not get boring. In fact it's loads of fun watching what my sims get up to!"

How do I get the perfect screenshots for plot-driven SimLit?
If you write the plot and use your sims to illustrate it, you will want the perfect screenshots to show what you're writing about. One of the experts on this topic is @CitizenErased14 and she says:

"There are two tools that I recommend for setting up your perfect screenshot. The first is the Enable Advanced/Debug Cheat Interactions Mod which, among many other things, allows you to directly manipulate your sims' emotions with one click, versus having to type out long cheat-commands. This will allow you to get the right facial expressions and idling animations for whatever feeling you need your character to convey.

The second is the pose player. This allows you to make your sim perform any in-game animation (including idling ones!) at your will. All you need to do is install the mod and download the list of animations. Then, use the search feature (control+F, if you're on a PC) within the pose document to find whatever pose you're looking for, and copy and paste its name into the pose player. The only poses that do not work are seated ones. Otherwise, this mod is an incredibly useful tool for setting up the perfect shot!"

(Also check out this video where she talks about how to set up screenshots and use the pose player and this video about advanced screenshotting tips)
(Also check out this page from the offical sims blog that collects a few tips on screenshotting)

Note: The Advanced Debug Cheat Mod works for games in English language only.

How long should my posts be?
Again, this is something that you must decide for yourself. Choose a length which feels comfortable to you. You shouldn't stress yourself to meet a certain wordcount but also don't feel the need to restrain yourself if you are on a creative roll. Your writing will reflect it! If you want a more detailed opinion on chapter length,
@CharmingMaruska says:
„The popular answer to this questions is: post can be of various lenght and whatever feels right to you is fine. Which is, of course, very true and I fully support it. But I think unexperienced writers sometimes don't 'feel' when it's time to end the chapter, so that advice can be a little tricky (it would be for me, at least.)
So are are a few ideas of mine:
I think that, especially in the beginning, it's better to have shorter chapters to 'lure' readers. Speaking of my experience as a SimLit reader and a very busy person, I prefer shorter chapters with more screenshots, simply because I don't have enough time to read through long texts - so I sometimes abandon a great story because of it. However, once the story unfolds and reader are interested in the plot and your characters, you can get to longer, wordy chapters.
So in my opinion, 800-1500 words is optimal for me as a reader. It's possible, though, that this only works for legacies and other game-driven stories. But I also think no one should hold back - if you have a lot to say, say it! I mean, if you have a super-interesting backstory for your founder ready or a dramatic introduction or a unique approach/character, it can be even 5000+ words and people would still get hooked, I believe.“


@ra3rei says:
"Posts could either be as long as a single scene, or a series of smaller scenes that create an arc or chapter so it's hard to say. That being said, I usually aim for 1500-2000 words for longer story driven works. If I'm writing more off the cuff and conversational then I aim for 1000. I've seen and enjoyed longer works, but I find I often have a natural post "end" at those points."

@Jes2G says:
"Posts should be as many words as it takes to say what you need to say whether it is 50 words or 2000! I don't believe in limiting one's self or having quotas. I've had chapters with less than 100 words and chapters with 3000 or more words. I try not to have too many long posts as I know a lot of people including myself can't handle the long ones. But some people love the long ones. I never had a long chapter for the sake of it being long. There's always action going on or some heavy drama. I bet most times people don't even realize the chapter was that long--I hope lol."

@pammiechick says:
"I honestly don't think length matters, it's how you're moving the plot forward or pace that matters. If you're too wordy and not saying much or not much happened for a lot of words, the pace is too slow and you'll lose readers."

How many chapters should my story have?
@Blackrain95 says:
"However many it takes to tell your story. Never should you limit yourself to only a certain amount of chapters or words unless its a writing challenge you took on to test yourself. If you feel in 20 chapters you were able to tell your story to the fullest of your ability, then congratulations! You finished a story, a generation, or entire legacy and that something to be proud of! Writing is a boundless hobby, so don't create any for the sake of what you think is right."

@CharmingMaruska says:
"This depends on what kind of story you write.
For legacies (and possibly for neighborhood rotations, too) there's no limit - just write as many chapters as you need to get through it. It's infinite. For other stories, again - I prefer less. Sometimes, when I see a non-legacy serious story with hundred of chapters, I feel intimidated and it looks like so much work to me, that I decide not to read it at all. (I'm a terrible lazy person, I'm sorry. I know I'm missing out.) On the other hand, the second I fall in love with the writing, I just want more, more, more of it. So it's really hard to tell.
But again, while shorter stories can be slightly more attractive even after they are finished (this is again based solely on my personal preference - shorter stories are easier to read through in one or two sessions and my prefered reading style is to read it all at once), I believe that no one should be holding back with the creative process. If your story simply asks for more chapters, if it grew bigger and more complicated with time, if you feel the need to explore certain themes and characters - I would say, go for it!"


How often should I update?
This again, is of course a matter of taste. Some people update daily, some weekly and some on more irregular schedules. The general guideline is to update whenever you feel comfortable. Don't pressure yourself, your readers will understand whatever approach you choose. If having an update schedule (fixed days of the week when you update) helps motivating you, you should give it a try, but always consider this:

@JoieWilder says:
"Making an update schedule is difficult and sticking to it is even more so. Though it is important to keep in mind that readers appreciate having a regular schedule that they can count on, as the writer, you need to do what best fits your schedule. If you miss an update or two, it’s okay. Your readers will understand. They will even understand if you go on hiatus for a while – they all have real lives too.

However, if you really want to keep up with a schedule, you should take into consideration your real life needs and the needs of your story. You don’t want to set a pace that you can’t keep up with; readers love daily updates, but those aren’t always feasible for the writer. For my main story, the Thoreau Legacy, I like to update three to four times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and an option for Sunday). But sometimes if I can get ahead or want to keep a particular plot arc together, I will move to daily updates for a week before returning to my regular schedule. I have another story that posts twice a week and a third that posts just once a week; that lets me keep my focus on the legacy and my real life responsibilities.

Above all, do what best suits you."


@ra3rei says:
"I prefer posts weekly when reading. More than that and I stuggle to keep up with my busy life. Less than that and I forget to check back in. If do prefer a schedule when possible, or at least a place I know I can go to see when updates occur if it's irregular."

Post edited by Julyvee94 on

Comments

  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    edited March 2017
    How do you keep motivated?
    When attempting a large challenge or a longer story, it might be hard to keep going after a while. When things become repetetive, stale or you just don't feel the story anymore, you might need a few tips on how to keep going.

    @Blackrain95 says:
    "I fall in love with something about my story in particular. Something that makes it hard to stop thinking about even when I'm struggling to continue or I feel like throwing in the towel. Be it the theme, the characters, a certain scene I want to use later down the road, I always find something and it helps me keep it on my mind. That way, I'm constantly thinking about the story and therefore I'm adding new details, revising old twists, improving the characters, and deepening the plot one step at a time! Motivation is just like the story in that sometimes we have to take baby steps to get where we want to be!"

    @Jes2G, a well known SimLit-Writer who has finished an entire 10 gen Legacy with over 400 chapters, elaborates even more on the topic of motivation:
    Write a story that is entertaining/moving to you:
    Being emotionally invested in your story is helpful because not only will you be motivated to keep it going, but the feelings you feel will be contagious, and your readers will feel the same way.

    • Stay in control:
      It’s ok to ask your readers for their opinion on the story, but the final say should come from you. The moment you begin writing what you think everyone would want to read is the moment you’ve lost control of your story.

    • Know your characters:
      When you are familiar with a character, they are easy to write for because you know how they should/will respond in any given situation. A character that is difficult to write for is probably the result of one that is not known well enough, and you could begin to lose motivation.

    • Have fun:
      Don’t be afraid to try new things. Writing should be fun and not feel like work. If it feels like work, take a break before you lose the motivation.

    How can I edit my screenshots?
    There are many free programs that can be used to make your screenshots look top notch. Decide for yourself whether you want to invest the time to edit all of your screenshots, but if you do, here are a few options. For all photo editing programs or websites, you can often find detailed tuturials on youtube or through google.

    @JoieWilder says:
    "I use a free photo editing software called PhotoScape. I’m definitely not the most talented, so I am probably not using it to its full capabilities, but I’m very happy with it. It has a range of filters to create different effects with your screenshots (I particularly use the sepia tone filter for flashbacks, but I have also used the option to decolor pictures so they appear more faded). Another neat trick is editing the backlight of a screenshot. It can make shots in dark rooms easier to see, and also tweak what time of day it appears to be in your story, in the event your screenshot happened in the evening but it was supposed to be earlier. PhotoScape is also great for making story banners – it can even make gifs."

    @Blackrain95 says:
    "For a free program you can use offline, I recommend GIMP. It has similar tools as Photoshop and very easy to use. It is also fun to play with! It has a variety of filters that allow you do things such a segment your photo, create light glare, add video lines, or even turn it into a mosaic! You can even create gifs! It also has typical editing features such a changing the hue, saturation, or contrast as well as adding borders. If there is a certain way you want to edit your pictures (such as only highlight one color in a B&W picture), using your default search engine to find out how to do so in GIMP almost always brings up easy to follow tutorials to help you."

    Other free photo programs/websites are: picmonkey, paint.net

    How do I make a banner/signature?
    To make a banner/signature you can use the same programs that you can use to edit your screenshots. Make sure your signature banner adheres to the rules of this forum and then click the gear wheel at the top right of this forum, next to your username. Select „Preferences“ and then „Signature Preferences“ on the left. Now you will have to upload your banner to an image hosting site and copy the IMG-Code into your signature window (see above "How to post pictures"). Click save and voila! Your banner will now show up under all of your posts (only on desktop, though, not on mobile devices).

    How do I best advertise/promote my story?
    When you start a story you will, of course, want people to read it. So how do you best get your story known out there? There are different ways of advertisement for your story, some more likely than others to make people read your work. For example, if you are very pushy about your promotion, only post your links, beg people to read and never participate in other community activities, people will most likely avoid your story. This behaviour is called "Hit and Run Link Dropping" and in most threads it is viewed as rude (the exceptions I know of are the Sims Storyteller Group and the Writer's Hangout, here a hit and run is totally acceptable). On the other hand, if you are polite about your promotion and engage in the community, it is most likely that people will read your work! Also, don't get discouraged if you don't see amazing view/like statistics on your story straight away. It takes some time to get your story known out there. Many readers also value consistency and will wait until a few chapters are published before they start reading to make sure you won't abandon your work halfway through (I realize this is somewhat of a vicious circle, but unfortunately, it's something you need to take into account). Just always remember that you are writing for fun and for yourself not only for the likes of your readers. The readers will come if you're having fun - your writing will reflect it! You should also read these tips on advertising from other writers:

    @rednenemon says:
    "I'm generally open to any kind of advertising/promoting. Usually, though, I'd opt for putting a link/banner up in a forum signature, and the occasional link posting. There's also commenting on other's stories, to have yourself be known a bit better in the community."

    @CathyTea says:
    "Read other writers' stories and leave thoughtful comments on the stories you really enjoy! Often, those whose stories you especially enjoy will also like your stories, so when you take the time to read their work and comment on it at their blog, they will often follow you back and read your work, too.
    Becoming involved in the SimLit community is another great way to find readers. Simbook (simbook.co.uk), Twitter, Tumblr, and the EA Forums are places where SimLit writers gather. We often host community events, such as the Book Club, the Short Story Contest, and celebrations of completed stories: joining these activities is a great way to get to know other writers who might enjoy reading your work."

    (See list of useful threads below for links to book club, the short story contest and the celebration of completed works)

    @ra3rei says:
    "I only post in the forums occasionally although I am quick to follow those links to my current favorite stories. I'll usually click on a 'new' story as well and then add it to my wordpress reader for later. Banners are also really good promotion. I've stared at someone's banner for days and then finally clicked on it and was not disappointed. The more unique they are they better at drawing me in. What makes your story unique? Of course, you have to remember some folks turn off banners and on mobile, you never see them.
    My one advice is to make sure that your links out to your story work on mobile. Sometimes I click on an image that would work just fine on my PC, but when I'm on my phone it just goes to that picture and then you've lost me and I have to remember to go back later to read it."


    @Spottydog714 says:
    "I'm not one of the best known, so please don't solely use my advice, but, I have a few tips.
    • Join the Writers Lounge, talk and get to know the awesome people and post links to your updates there!
    • Make an interesting banner/put a screenshot of your Simlit for your signature with a link so, inevitably, someone will like the look of it and click it.
    • If you have a blog, have a thread with your updates here on the forums so people without blog accounts can give you their feedback!
    • Read other peoples Simlit that you enjoy, so, as ridiculous as it sounds, people know you exist!
    Hope that helps!"
    (see "Useful and Interesting Thread" below for a link to the Writer's Lounge)

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in this thread and they - and their answers - will be added to the above list :)
    Post edited by Julyvee94 on
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    edited December 2016
    Tips for Wordpress Users

    This post shares helpful tricks and instructions for wordpress users (since it's the most popular blogging choice on this forum). If you know about an issue on wordpress, that people often ask about and you have a solution, share it! Others might have the same question. You can also ask wordpress related questions in this thread and if we find a solution, I will add them to this guide. Also check out this site by @SilentWolf101 for helpful wordpress guides. If you are a wordpress beginner and want to ask a lot more questions check out this thread where you can ask any wordpress question you want and it will be answered step by step.

    Questions discussed in this post are the following:
    1) What do I do if I run out of media storage space?
    2) How do I include externally hosted images in my blog posts?

    What do I do if I run out of media storage space?

    Don't panic! There are many ways to free storage space on your wordpress account without deleting pictures or buying additional space. The easiest solution is to use an external image hoster instead of uploading the images to wordpress. There are many external hosting sites that offer unlimited storage space for free (e.g. Imgur or Flickr). See the question below on how to include externally hosted images in your blog posts. However, if you don't want to use and external image hoster here are a few tips on how to save storage space:

    @mastressalita says:
    "One trend I've been seeing a lot lately which has been quite sad for me as an archivist is people deleting their stories off their blogs, and I'm thinking this may be due to Wordpress image limitations. [...] I'd certainly be willing to provide information on how to insert images using HTML code into blog posts so folks don't feel they have to rely on inserting directly from Wordpress. Or other tips like simply resizing their screencaps from game (I notice a lot of people don't do this, and they are huge and would look just as good at half the resolution!) could save them space on their accounts. It has just been heartbreaking lately to see so many stories being deleted left and right... often completed works! [...] While I myself prefer to have all my stories on a single site, if you just simply won't go the external image-hosting route, consider opening another Wordpress and moving the story you are about to delete in order to free up space over to the new Wordpress and then informing your readers from your main site where you've relocated it. Don't just delete it (especially a completed work!) to make more space on your account!"

    Check out this post by @ValoisFulcanelli to see how much space you can save by converting and resizing your images.

    @CathyTea says:
    "One approach I've started using for Wordpress is that I have multiple blogs. One of them is for a "picture-less" story, so I've started using that to store images for my main blog (which is just about out of storage space). I just upload all my images to the other blog, insert them into a dummy post (that I never post), grab the HTML code from HTML view, and paste it into the real new post on my main blog. Works like a charm!"

    (If you have more tips on how to save wordpress storage space, feel free to post here or to contact me)

    How do I include externally hosted images in my blog posts?
    Since wordpress wants you to use their storage system (so you'll eventually run out of space and pay for more space), wordpress will not assist you with including externally hosted images. However, it's not as difficult as you might think. Click the spoiler tags below for detailed instructions.

    When adding a new blog post, you will first see the visual mode, which looks like this:

    hm8sBUq.png

    But notice that there is also another tab on the top right which says "HTML". When you click it, the visual mode bar vanishes and it will look like this:

    1gAYOYd.png

    HTML is something that helps you with formatting (such as putting text in bold like in the above picture). Why use HTML when visual mode does this for you, you say? Well, HTML mode allows you to use any sort of HTML code, while the visual mode is restricted to the formatting options that are presented to you in the bar. You can find HTML code options through google, if you want to achieve a certain formatting. But the nice thing is, you can also insert images! Now, as you can see, wordpress offers no assistance in HTML mode. But don't worry, we have you covered. Type this code fragment into the html mode at any place in your text where you would like to include a picture.

    6Lj9lnV.png
    <img src=""/>
    (for easy copy-paste)

    The next step is uploading your image to an external image hoster. I'm using Imgur.com as an example here, but you can of course choose any other image hoster - it's the same process. After uploading, you will see something like this:

    2haZu5i.png

    You will need to copy the direct link (not image link) and insert it into your html code fragment.
    Note: Imgur has recently removed the direct link from their share links bar. What you have to do is right click your uploaded picture on imgur and select "Copy image address" which will give you the correct link.

    BV0lZdu.png

    Then, when you switch back to visual mode, you will see your picture there! Yay!

    2vvLBwT.png
    Post edited by Julyvee94 on
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    edited December 2018
    Useful and interesting Threads


    Helpful Guides for the Sims Forums
    If you are new to the sims forums or haven't been around for a while, you might feel lost and ask yourself: How do I use this forum? This guide by @SilentWolf101 explains the sims forum in detail and gives you basic guides on what you can do here.

    Writer's Lounge
    The Writer's Lounge is a relaxed place for sims story writers to hang out and chat. This thread moves fairly quickly, like a group chat on your phone. You don't have to keep up with every single post, just pop in and say hi whenever you feel like talking. Topics mostly involve stories and writing, but can also drift off topic sometime. This is a good place to make friends and get to know other writers from this forum.

    Sims and Friends
    Sims and Friends is a thread similar to the Writer's Lounge; it's located in the general stories and legacies section. This thread is also a great place to make friends with other writers and post links to your story updates.

    Sims 3 Challenge List
    Sims 4 Challenge List
    These are regularly maintained challenge lists for both Sims 3 and 4! If you're looking for story or gameplay inspiration this is the place to go, there are hundreds of interesting challenges to try.

    Stories and Legacies Index
    The Stories and Legacies Index is a great place to find new stories. It's a link collection run by our awesome librarian @mastressalita and strives to list every sims story related site, thread or blog - even youtube channels! If you are looking for stories, you should check it out. Also, you should submit your own site for listing. It doesn't matter if you're new or seasoned if your story is long or short, whatever: Any sims story can be submitted.

    It's Done
    If you enjoy reading stories at your own pace and not worrying about keeping up with new chapters, this thread is for you. It lists complete stories! If you have a complete story, you can submit it here, too.

    Monthly Short Story Challenge
    If you are looking for challenges to your writing, you should check out the monthly short story challenge. Each month there is a theme which challenges you to create a short story within certain word and picture limits. At the end of the month the three winners are determined by a community vote. Any Sims version is allowed!

    Book Club
    Each week, book club presents one story nominated by someone from the community which you should read/sample. Throughout the week, everyone shares their thoughts on the featured story. On Friday, it's Coffee Hour, which means that the coffee hour host asks more in-depth questions about the story and the readers and the author answer them - which results in a great discussion about the story that is being read. Anyone can nominate stories to read or volunteer as coffee hour host. It's great fun!

    Helpful Guides for Wordpress
    If you are having trouble with setting up a wordpress blog, this sites by @SilentWolf101 offers helpful guides for beginners.

    Reading Circles
    In this thread you can sign up for reading circles. A reading circle is a group of five to ten Sim writers who pledge to be each others' readers, reading the posts that each member of the circle makes that week. Benefits include being guaranteed of having your work read by several readers. As you will also be reading their work, circles of inspiration, support, encouragement, and friendliness also grow. This creates a nice friendly sense of community and team-building, fostering collaboration and motivation.

    The Kindness Bench for SimLit Writers
    Kindness benches are inspired by the Buddy Bench movement which is in practice in many schools. With Buddy Benches, children who need someone to play with or talk to at lunch sit on the bench, and then others come around to ask them to play and offer friendship. The Kindness Bench for Writers and Storytellers is a thread where writers can go when they're feeling discouraged, frustrated, or in need of a shot of inspiration and encouragement. Just stop by if you need or want to share friendly encouragement!

    What happened in your game today? (Sims 3)
    What happened in your game today? (Sims 4)
    In these two threads you can share the little surprises and interesting situations that happen while you play the sims! It's the perfect place to write some casual game driven simlit or just read through other's posts and get inspired.
    Post edited by Julyvee94 on
  • Jes2GJes2G Posts: 13,009 Member
    Vee! This is amazing!! Excellent work on orchestrating this!
    forum_final.png

    Read Delicious Dishes & Dreams and more Stories By Jes2G!
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  • ThePlumbobThePlumbob Posts: 4,145 Member
    This must have been so much work July! Well done, what a fantastic resource!
  • JLBDreamerJLBDreamer Posts: 622 Member
    Thia is great but it would be nice for you to mention that there are some authors, like me, who combine sim driven and plot driven elements in their stories. Its not mutually exclusive. If you want a quote about that I could type something up on it.
  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 11,965 Member
    JLBDreamer wrote: »
    Thia is great but it would be nice for you to mention that there are some authors, like me, who combine sim driven and plot driven elements in their stories. Its not mutually exclusive. If you want a quote about that I could type something up on it.

    @JLBDreamer I think July does mention that this "middle ground" exists in her introductory paragraph about Plot-Driven vs. Game-Driven :blush: But you're right that she doesn't really have a quote about it!
    BxWTgGk.png
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    edited April 2016
    thanks so much for your feedback guys :) I'm glad you like the guide.

    @JLBDreamer I think the plumbobs quote is a middle ground to me, but you're right, I could have formulated it better :) I will edit the post to better clarify that it's not mutually exclusive. I'd also love another quote on middle ground. The Plumbob says hers is 80:20 so maybe something with another rate of game vs plot would be nice :)

    EDIT: I think I even used the word middle ground in my post :D
    There is the approach of 100% Game-Driven SimLit, which means writing in observer/documentary style, but there is also a middle ground between game-driven and plot-driven
  • JLBDreamerJLBDreamer Posts: 622 Member
    JLBDreamer wrote: »
    Thia is great but it would be nice for you to mention that there are some authors, like me, who combine sim driven and plot driven elements in their stories. Its not mutually exclusive. If you want a quote about that I could type something up on it.

    @JLBDreamer I think July does mention that this "middle ground" exists in her introductory paragraph about Plot-Driven vs. Game-Driven :blush: But you're right that she doesn't really have a quote about it!

    That's what I meant. It sounds like a footnote the way its presented like not many people use this "middle ground" approach but I know quite a few that use it:

    There is the approach of 100% Game-Driven SimLit, which means writing in observer/documentary style, but there is also a middle ground between game-driven and plot-driven: Observe your Sims and spin a plot around their actions. All of these approaches are equally legit and fun!

    I think that approach gets kind of lost in the middle of the sentence.



  • ThePlumbobThePlumbob Posts: 4,145 Member
    JLBDreamer wrote: »
    Thia is great but it would be nice for you to mention that there are some authors, like me, who combine sim driven and plot driven elements in their stories. Its not mutually exclusive. If you want a quote about that I could type something up on it.

    I don't think July ever said they're mutually exclusive :) I consider myself something in between anyway, she just presented a scale to show people a range :)
  • JLBDreamerJLBDreamer Posts: 622 Member
    @Julyvee94

    I mentioned above one of the ways I think a format change would improve the post. Labeling the Plumbob's quote clears up the confusion. If you want another quote its fine but I think those couple of changes work just fine.
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    @JLBDreamer Sorry if I offended you ^^ I use the middle ground myself so it was never my intention to throw it under the bus or say it's less good than the others. As I said, all approaches are equally legit and fun! I hope the changes I made helped clear up the misunderstanding :)
  • JLBDreamerJLBDreamer Posts: 622 Member
    @Julyvee94 @ThePlumbob @CitizenErased14 I didn't mean it as an attack or feel it was an attack I just thought it could be improved to highlight the third version better. I explained myself poorly.

    @Julyvee94 Yes those changes made the difference! The post reads a lot more clear now.
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    @JLBDreamer that's good to hear! :) and thanks for mentioning it. This is supposed to be helpful and informative for new people after all so it's no use if one approach gets drowned out :)
  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 11,965 Member
    @SimGuruDrake (or any guru!) I think this is the sort of thread that it would be very useful to sticky! :blush:
    BxWTgGk.png
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    Thanks @CitizenErased14 ! :) I also feel this would be helpful if stickied, so hopefully one of the gurus will notice ^^
  • BBQPenguinWingsBBQPenguinWings Posts: 3,773 Member
    edited April 2016
    Great job! It will be so great to direct any of our new kids to this post. Maybe a mention of the short story challenge for those that are new, to practice their skills and get comfortable sharing etc.
  • mastressalitamastressalita Posts: 2,874 Member
    I think it looks awesome, @Julyvee94 !

    One trend I've been seeing a lot lately which has been quite sad for me as an archivist is people deleting their stories off their blogs, and I'm thinking this may be due to Wordpress image limitations -- something I've never had to consider because I use an external image hosting solution (a private server from my friend). I don't really know much about "free" image hosting solutions (due to my unique situation) but if there are folks out there with good information on that, it may be a good thing to add to the guide. I'd certainly be willing to provide information on how to insert images using HTML code into blog posts so folks don't feel they have to rely on inserting directly from Wordpress. Or other tips like simply resizing their screencaps from game (I notice a lot of people don't do this, and they are huge and would look just as good at half the resolution!) could save them space on their accounts. It has just been heartbreaking lately to see so many stories being deleted left and right... often completed works!

    Another thing I notice often is new SimLit authors wonder where to promote their stories. Maybe a section with tips like creating an update thread for their work on these forums, pointing out threads they can make friends with other writers like Writer's Longue and Sims and Friends: Share Your Stories!, or that they can submit their sites to the Stories and Legacies Index. And also mention to not get discouraged and just abandon a story if you don't immediately see amazing stats -- write for the love of writing and stick with it! -- and you can never go wrong.

    Just suggestions of things I notice often from the archival-perspective in the SimLit world, perhaps not important enough to include here, so if not feel free to ignore!
    sali_adbanner3.jpg
    Have a Sim story site? Please submit your link to the Stories and Legacies Index!
    Check out my Simlit at Sim Stories: Hijinks from the World of Sims 3!
    My Simlit Discussion/Updates | The Fringe | Short Story Challenges
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    I think it looks awesome, @Julyvee94 !

    One trend I've been seeing a lot lately which has been quite sad for me as an archivist is people deleting their stories off their blogs, and I'm thinking this may be due to Wordpress image limitations -- something I've never had to consider because I use an external image hosting solution (a private server from my friend). I don't really know much about "free" image hosting solutions (due to my unique situation) but if there are folks out there with good information on that, it may be a good thing to add to the guide. I'd certainly be willing to provide information on how to insert images using HTML code into blog posts so folks don't feel they have to rely on inserting directly from Wordpress. Or other tips like simply resizing their screencaps from game (I notice a lot of people don't do this, and they are huge and would look just as good at half the resolution!) could save them space on their accounts. It has just been heartbreaking lately to see so many stories being deleted left and right... often completed works!

    Great suggestions, Alita!

    One approach I've started using for Wordpress is that I have multiple blogs. One of them is for a "picture-less" story, so I've started using that to store images for my main blog (which is just about out of storage space). I just upload all my images to the other blog, insert them into a dummy post (that I never post), grab the HTML code from HTML view, and paste it into the real new post on my main blog. Works like a charm!
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited April 2016
    I used Photobucket for years. Had a paid account, but I've let that lapse. Now I just hotlink from the posts on Tumblr, although you do have to watch because sometimes Tumblr will change the address of the pictures.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,529 Member
    Thanks for your Feedback guys! Great ideas @mastressalita I will add it to the guide once I'm home (currently at work) ^^
  • Spottydog714Spottydog714 Posts: 2,518 Member
    Cool! Bookmarked! :)
    EkpFDaf.png
    Stories: Looking For Mum's Murderer | The Bachelorette | Fifteen
  • remi_narrowremi_narrow Posts: 478 Member
    Thank you @Julyvee94 for the wonderful tips. I've started my own legacy story. My site is remiwritessimstories.wordpress.com
    Would love if you take a look at it and send me your feedback. Thanks!
  • remi_narrowremi_narrow Posts: 478 Member
    Unfortunately I can't submit my story in the Stories and Legacies Index because I'm new here and I don't have enough points to add a url to the comments *sigh* :(
  • VanityHighVanityHigh Posts: 1,298 Member
    Well done @Julyvee94 a great idea and well thought out and executed :heart:

    @remi_narrow keep posting and being active and you'll get that member status in no time :blush:

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