Today, I’m bringing you a bit of a special post. See, bloggiversaries have little meaning to my blog. I think I’ve had this particular one for three or four years, but I’ve used it inconsistently. It only recently started to hold any kind of particular meaning to me. However, one thing that does have a special meaning to me is SimLit and it just so happens that tomorrow it’s been exactly five years since i began posting SimLit. You can call this my SimLitaversary or… something.
Though probably not because that sounds dumb.
Whatever you want to call it, I wanted to mark the occasion. The community means a lot to me and has become particularly special for me since last summer. The stories told with the game have meant a lot to me, and they’ve been a constant and a comfort. I’ve developed a lot as a writer thanks to this. I’ve developed a lot as a person. It’s not just due to SimLit (I mean, my psychologist has been pretty important), but I wouldn’t want to go through what I’ve gone through the past five years without SimLit as a comforting presence. In this post, I’m going to list some of my old projects with a few facts. I also want to talk a bit about the current projects and, as a last little tidbit, I’m going to share some details about future projects.
I’m posting it today, a day early, so as to not spam the reader too much tomorrow’s big old Chapter-o-rama. So, here we are, a tribute to my favourite online pastime, to my old
shitty stories, to the current ones, and to the ones yet to come 🙂
Deep, deep within my Writing Projects Folder, there lies a folder called ‘on pause’. Deep, deep within that, you find the Ithaca Legacy. If you’ll pardon me for sounding dramatic: this is where it all began. On the 30th of June 2013, five years ago tomorrow, I posted the first chapter of the Ithaca Legacy to what was then Carl’s Sims 3 Forum (it’s now for Sims 4, go figure).
It came about because I happened upon the dearly departed Ink Legacy by InkWisteria and I read it all within days. Not long before I’d acquired a new computer and The Sims 3. I didn’t truly start enjoying it until I found the Inks. This was a combination of two things I loved – the Sims and writing. So as soon as I had a chance, I sat down and coughed up the first chapters of my first legacy story.
The Ithaca Legacy
The Ithaca Legacy is a freaking messy beast. I wrote four full generations before giving up somewhere in the fifth generation. It was supposed to span a full ten generations, but I wrote about 40 chapters. It started on Carl’s Sims 3 forum, but after a while migrated to a new forum started by a fellow member from Carl’s who found it a little too limited. Carl’s has a very strict policy on violence, adult content, and so on. Nothing is allowed, and I didn’t feel like I could write the story I wanted, hence why the rest of the story can only be seen on old SimmerSanctum (if you have the plug-in that lets you see PhotoBucket photos, that is).
The overarching thing was a naming theme based on Greek mythology. After each new member of the family was added, I would explain the story of the character in Greek mythology. The founder was called Persephone, her daughter Pasiphäe, and so on.
The story ended because it got out of hand. That’s often the case for me. It ended up involving magic, time travel (which was never even revealed in the story proper but only planned), and a villain with a very vague evil plan. It wasn’t… great. I mean, you can read for yourself, but for the sake of my mental health and your respect for me as a writer… pls no.
Facts about The Ithaca Legacy:
- It was the first time I started in Monte Vista (a town I just bought at the time) and the first time I dragged poor Carlo into my twisted stories. Sorry Carlo – at least this time you’re a hunky man-beast and not just… under-developed.
- I had triplets in the first gen and instantly regretted it. Because both basegame Carlo and my founder had small noses, one of their daughter ended up with the tiniest nose in the world, and she wasn’t very pretty at all.
- I had planned a grand finale for the story. It involved, as I said, time travel and the gen six heir’s daughter (so she would have been the gen seven heir) saving her parents’ lives and then she ended up kidnapped to be used for some sort of magic… experiment to create more magic power and bring someone evil back to life… Um. Yeah. There’s a reason I didn’t end up finishing.
- I planned a spin-off using said seventh gen daughter at one point. It had a HORRIBLE title (I’m not even going to say) and never got off the ground.
- When I started the legacy, everything in my game was EA stuff, apart from the hairstyles. I soon ended up downloading custom content. These days, I like to joke that my game doesn’t even look like the Sims anymore.
The Amazing Hollander
After a while of doing my Ithacas, which quickly spiraled into being mostly story-based, I wanted to do something like the observational type stories I had seen elsewhere. These differ in that you basically just play the game, snap a few photos, and insert commentary. Enter Leslie Hollander and The Amazing Hollander.
It was a simple legacy challenge with all the usual, and it was one of those types of deals where I constantly argued with and rolled my eyes at my own Sims. Honestly, it’s the only story I can read these days without cringing hard. It ended in the third generation when it stopped being fun to write. I built the family a terrible house (two floors which I should NEVER do, I hate it), and I had them have a lot of dogs because they were cute. Someone at one point said that they read because of the dogs alone. I hated having all the damn dogs, but didn’t feel I could get rid of them, since they were the only appeal. And that’s when it died.
Facts about the Amazing Hollander:
- In the beginning, I tried to weave in some storytelling. Nobody remarked on it at all, and I dropped it quietly. It’s cringe incarnate to me now.
- When the family started getting dogs, I named them with a pet name generator which was hilariously bad. It popped out names like Baby Bella, Mrs. Skinny, Big Nala, and Mister Lana. I really loved that generator, but I can’t find it now.
EDIT: Magpie found it for me. It’s here. First time clicking into it for ages and it gives me this:
You just can’t make that shit up.
- I briefly considered “reviving” the Hollanders in the form of an ISBI challenge called I’m Surrounded by Hollanders. I just don’t care to play the game most of the time, so the idea was promptly scrapped.
The Hartfields/The Talented
In time, I gave up on both of my first, big stories and moved on to bigger and better… ish. The Hartfields was my next big legacy. I wanted to return to a time of gameplay and that was definitely going to… not happen at all. I planned to have five generations, with the founder being Milena Hartfield. She was a time traveller who came back in time to save Aaron Finnegan (from Dragon Valley) from his murderous girlfriend (because when the guy you want your sim to marry is unavailable, you want to get rid of the harpy).
It lasted a whopping two generations before I scrapped it. The reason I scrapped it? Goddamn time travel. Yes. Again. I learnt nothing from the Ithaca fiasco and decided to base a whole freaking legacy around time travel. Yay me?
When I realised that it was convoluted and dumb and hard to write a time travel story, I reworked it into The Talented. I changed the plot (though the basic premise was the same just without time travel) and the characters a little and created a new blog for it which is still up. So yes, you can read it. I hope that you won’t but it’s not nearly as bad as the Ithacas. That story just didn’t do it for me, for whatever reason. Eventually, I scrapped it and after that, the next big story I started starred Carlo Mancini and Vittoria Nespola… and I think you all know how that went.
Facts about The Hartfields/The Talented:
- Remember that gen seven heir from The Ithaca Legacy whom I wanted to make a spin-off for? Danaë Ithaca, or Dani, appeared in The Hartfields with Janus, another character who briefly appeared in The Ithaca Legacy. They and their daughter played a fairly big role in the story.
- Dani wasn’t the only way that The Hartfields tied into my first legacy. In the time travel version, it was mentioned that time travel was discovered by Pasiphaë Ithaca, the second generation heir. Indeed, Passie was an inventor in her generation and made a time machine. She even appeared in generation 2 of The Hartfields and met Charlotte Hartfield.
- The Talented is another story I tried to revive and I’m still sad that I couldn’t make it work. I actually had plans for it to be posted to the site once Champion of Moonlight was finished, and I even considered setting the two in the same universe. Alas, I would’ve had to post it much like I did first generation of MVS – writing as I went along and accepting any mistakes that brought with it. It made me unhappy to think of, so I stopped it. Maybe some day, because I still really like Milena as a character.
- Aaron Finnegan started out green-skinned in the first gen, then I eventually made him black when I lost my appetite for funny-coloured sims. I later edited his face when I got new sliders and liked it a lot, so much so that a version of him was considered as Regina’s love interest (his name would have been Quentin). Eventually, I didn’t think the character I had in mind suited her personality, and instead I edited him into Vincente Cavalcante VII.
There have been other stories along the way, most of them scrapped for one reason or another. I’ll only mention the ones that I actually posted:
Scarlet’s Asylum: An asylum challenge story that I tried to write for a while. If you don’t know the challenge, basically you control one insane sim and have seven others running around like lunatics. There aren’t enough beds, showers, or seating for everyone, and you have to fulfil your lifetime wish to be released. The story didn’t go far.
The Library: This was a story that wasn’t challenge-based at all. Everything was basically staged. It was about a woman who woke up in a strange library and she wandered the strange rooms and helped various odd people around the place. Eventually it would have been revealed to be her own mind that she was trapped in. After her boyfriend’s (husband’s?) tragic death, she had paid a company to trap her in a simulation of her old life – the simulation glitched and trapped her in a strange library instead. The people there were people who existed in her real life and the things going on were manifestations of her feelings and guilt about abandoning her daughter and about falling in love with her brother-in-law. So uh… yeah. Not a bad idea as such. I just didn’t fancy it so much after all.
The Year of Mimosas: Another non-challenge-based story. This one about an immortal being, Nikodemos, who was challenged by another immortal, Thalassa, to save the Earth before she destroyed it… out of boredom. His only help was a woman, Audrey – also called Mimosa – who had some issues and couldn’t help him until they were sorted out. It was always sort of vague how the planet would be destroyed, how Audrey was supposed to help Nikodemos, and what her issues were, hence why it got abandoned. Honestly, I want to go back to this some day, though I can’t say if it’ll ever happen.
For my current stories, here are a few facts, just because I like random facts and maybe you do, too! Minor spoilers are ahead, though if you’re up to date on the stories, you should be fine.
Monte Vista Stories | Generation 1 – Good Guys:
- For a while, I wanted to include a subplot about Carlo’s dad. In the story, Carlo makes it clear that his dad was a good man who wouldn’t approve of his life of crime – I once planned to reveal that actually his dad, Marco, wasn’t much better. I would have revealed that he wasn’t just an artist, but an art forger. He very much loved the life of crime like Carlo, but tried to keep his son from going down the same path. Because I hadn’t written much about him, though, I didn’t think it made sense to suddenly make revelations about him. The idea was based around the in-game Marco Mancini from Monte Vista. He’s a dead sim in the graveyard, who may or may not be Carlo and Camillo’s dad. He does not have the evil trait, but has a lifetime wish related to the criminal career.
- Vittoria hates dressing up. She was forced to do it when she was with her old gang. At first it was because Alessandro wouldn’t allow her to not look pretty, later it was because Gallo and other members like him expected it. When she dresses up later, it’s exclusively for Carlo’s sake.
- Carlo, in contrast, never dresses down. He disapproves strongly of dressing shabbily and won’t tolerate his men being unkempt. He secretly wishes his wife would dress up more often, but he loves her too much to say it out loud.
- Carlo loves red wine. Vittoria is more into beer, but has learnt to appreciate wine while with Carlo – however, she still doesn’t think that any of his wines have ‘notes of chocolate and sweet plums’ as he likes to claim. She thinks everything to do with wine tasting is nonsense.
- Carlo hopelessly spoils his kids, but especially Regina who has mastered the art of wrapping him around her finger. His weakness is when his kids look or act like their mother – he’s helpless to do anything. Vittoria is aware, and she takes a sterner attitude with them, yet again: especially with Regina. Even though she has been absent for much of her children’s upbringing, her attitude has managed to temper some of Gina’s more spoiled tendencies.
Monte Vista Stories | Generation 2 – Artful:
- Vittoria has taken on her mother’s name, Lucia, after faking her own death. It has raised some eyebrows with you guys, for good reason. She doesn’t call herself anything but Vittoria with her close family and Franco, and the only time anyone calls her ‘aunt Lucia’ is to people not in the know. Vittoria isn’t too bothered by them using it, so long as it’s not to her face. The reason they call her aunt is that Carlo is widely known to have a relationship with her; he’d rather say he’s in a relationship with his kids’ aunt than their grandmother.
- I’ve considered all kinds of possible careers for Regina, mostly before I finished generation 1. For the longest time, my plan was for her to be an actress, specifically a theatre actress. She would be very determined to make her own way without the gang’s influence. The story and her character never really clicked in my head until I decided that she would take over as leader after Carlo.
- At one point I considered having Enzo be the oldest of six, but because that would be a lot of characters, I cut it down so he only has two siblings: a brother, Amadeo, and a sister, Rosalia.
- I wrote 40 pages of a possible story for Gina. In this she was (inexplicably) both a gang member and an archaeologist, even though she hated studying (why, me, whyyyy?). The plot was a convoluted mess where she worked as an archaeologist to find information on another gang. Us writers sometimes suffer from temporary insanity, but thankfully I woke up and realised that it made no damn sense.
- In the present version, it’s canon that Gina studied at university, but she dropped out after about a year and went home to join the gang. She studied art history, which came in handy for her… “job” later.
- Regina has a best friend, Carlotta, who will feature in the story. Carlotta is also a member of the gang. The two are very different and people often wonder why they’re friends, since Gina is… well, Gina, and Carlotta was academic overachiever. They used to hate each other.
Champion of Moonlight:
- Genevieve’s mother, Philomena, never wanted children, but agreed to carry the pregnancy to term in an effort to keep her then-boyfriend, Genevieve’s dad. Eventually, their relationship fell apart and that left Philomena to raise her daughter alone. She raised Genevieve to the best of her abilities and was ultimately happy to have her. However, her and Genevieve aren’t particularly affectionate, and much of their relationship revolves around doing research together. Much like her mother, Genevieve doesn’t want children.
- Nadir is an artist, both a sculptor (the ice sculpture he transforms in the story is one he made himself) and a painter. His grandfather never approved of his non-magical hobby, though Iris Basil encouraged him – she often asked him to make paintings to hang on her walls.
- Genevieve and Nadir are about evenly matched in skill, though they have different strengths. Genevieve is better at dueling and broom riding, Nadir is better at alchemy. They’re about even in transformation and other spell casting. The reason Nadir was a little faster in the obstacle course in the Tournament is that Genevieve gets motion sickness from teleportation.
- Before Celeste joined, the Tournament was very much a boy’s club. When she joined, everyone looked down on her because she’s a pretty blonde who likes dresses and make-up. That’s how she won two years in a row: people underestimated her skill. Genevieve’s winning streak came about because she noticed how skilled Celeste was. In a way, the two are pioneers. The reason a very young witch like Cloris dared to join was because Celeste and Genevieve led the way for more women to join.
- Nadir knew about Genevieve before joining. He used to watch the Tournament with his grandfather. As mentioned in the story, his grandfather would complain that Nadir wasn’t more like Genevieve. Nadir thought she was pretty and was a little starstruck when he met her. He never imagined she would fall for him.
I’m not done writing SimLit, not by a long shot, and for this little bit, I thought I’d share some things to come.
The Ink Charts
Believe it or not, I haven’t given up on the Champion of Moonlight sequel. I’m not going to give you too many details, but I will tell you that I have a title – The Ink Charts – and that the plan is to dive into the story of the Ink Volumes and Nadir’s family. I also want to include one or two view points other than Genevieve’s, and I plan on introducing Celeste’s wife, Atalante, as well as Nadir’s old friend, Iris Basil, to the story. I don’t have any kind of date for it, but I’ll tell you more when I have some more written.
Here’s a little picture to whet your appetite. It’s the first time I’ve posted a photo of Atalante – I think I finally managed to be satisfied with her appearance, so enjoy!
Untitled Monte Vista Side Story
A little more certain is a little side project (apart from the title, lol) that I’ve been working on. It’s a side story to Monte Vista Stories, exploring how Giuliano met his girlfriend, Flora. I’ve written a rough draft for it, and now comes the editing.
I don’t have a date for it. However, I don’t think it’s too much to say that I’ll probably start posting it within a month or two. It won’t be terribly long (we’re talking shorter than CoM), but I hope it’ll be a cute and simple little love story. The draft is 7 chapters, so it’ll either stay like that or be one or two longer/shorter. Obligatory cute picture of Giuliano and Flora – ahoy!
Well, that was… long, so I’d like to thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far. I’d also like to thank you for reading my stuff and for being part of my favourite community. There’s so much love and passion in our little corner of the Internet, and without all the support I’ve had over the years, I wouldn’t have continued for as long as I did.
Here’s to another five years and many more stories. Thank you for being you, friends 🙂
Lots of love,