Content warning: In discussing an old plot point, talk of sexual assault will come up. It’s nothing graphic, but please tread with care.
So, if you’ve been here for the end of other stories, you’ll know that I do these reflection posts where I talk way too much about my own writing and it’s very boring and nobody cares and I’m doing that again. 😀 Yay, great, let’s go!
Okay, in all seriousness, I know this is just sort of a writer talking about their own writing, but it helps me and you know, maybe somebody else who’s interested in the craft will read along and find some value in seeing my (very messy) process and some of my reasoning behind the choices I made. There are many, many things that I considered and scrapped or changed while writing, so I’m going to talk about some of the plots I dropped, some ways the characters changed, and just some random facts about things in the generation. So, let’s do that, starting with plots I scrapped. And while this is mostly about stuff that I didn’t do, I’ll still spoil gen 2, so if you’re not up to date and you don’t want to spoil the story for yourself, be aware of that.
Version 0: Gang, What Gang?
Before I ever wrote anything of the story, I kept thinking about the next generation and how it would go. I didn’t actually imagine that everyone would be criminals. Rather, Gina was going to be first an actress or model, then later on a news anchor. The idea was for her to be determined to make her way in the world without the gang. I’ve mentioned this in my generation 1 reflections, but I also planned for her to have a much worse relationship to Vittoria. If you didn’t read the gen 1 reflections, I’ll summarise: In one version of my story, Vittoria faked her death but only Carlo’s right-hand man, Franco, knew about it and Carlo didn’t. He lived for years without her and eventually remarried a more regular woman whom Gina grew especially close with. Once Franco died, he revealed to Carlo that Vittoria was alive and Carlo went to see her, at which point they started an affair that eventually led to Carlo’s new marriage dissolving.
It resulted in Gina resenting both her parents, but especially Vittoria, because she lost her stepmother. In this version I also considered Gina being a victim of domestic violence. I dropped these two threads for one reason: It was just too dark. Around the time I actually started writing generation 2 I had experienced some problems with my own family and the last thing I needed was to write about a fucked up family – and that’s how the Mancinis became the close-knit, loving family they are now. (And yeah, I know I ended up writing a fucked up family anyway – but the main family is loving and that’s what mattered to me). It wasn’t until I decided to have Gina take the gang after Carlo that the story started to make sense to me anyway.
Version 1: The One Where Gina Was an Archaeologist
I wrote the first version of generation 2 loooong ago. I wrote about 20 pages of a version that, for inexplicable reasons had Gina being an archaeologist. If you’re thinking something like ‘???’ – well, I don’t blame you. I guess since it was a different versions of Gina, anything is possible, but the kicker was this: Gina had studied at university for five years and finished her degree even though she thought it was boring (?), then she decided she didn’t want to work as an archaeologist (??) and instead worked with the gang. At university she also pretended to not be related to criminals (???) and everyone thought her name was Fiore and that her dad was a gardner (????). Then, in the story she went undercover as an archaeologist (?????) among other things because people wouldn’t date a mob leader’s daughter (??????). At this point, Enzo didn’t exist. Her love interest was an archaelogist called Quentin. Since it’s the earliest version, it’s the one that’s the least like what we have now. There was no Carlotta, no shitty rich people, and the plot involved somebody smuggling goods on the Good Guys’ territory as well as a murdered archaeologist. I have no clue how those things are connected – feel free to question my sanity based on this old plot, ’cause I don’t even know guys.
This is the point where I admit that Gina’s love interest was black at this point. If you didn’t already realise, MVS is a bit… white and I wanted to diversify. Of course, then later on I only went and whitewashed my own damned character and we got our milky white rich boy. I don’t think I can ever make enough apologies and I have no excuses. I didn’t feel like Quentin fit Gina, though why I decided that a white man would fit her better, I don’t know. All I can say is that I’m going to strive to do better in future stories, because honestly I’m still ashamed about this decision.
Version 2: So I Guess Lotta Exists and She’s a Redhead?
Okay. So. Um. You know how I just admitted to whitewashing above and then we all hoped that was as awkard as it was going to get? Well, it didn’t get better. For whatever reason, for the longest time I thought that THE WAY to introduce my heir was to have her stop a sexual assault. YUP. Great. A version of this is what eventually led to the version with Enzo and for the longest time you had the story we have now (more or less) with the attempted sexual assault tacked on. In one of these versions is when the first version of Lotta appears. She was a redhead and the victim of this creepy guy that Gina then stopped from assaulting her.
Basically, this assault had no importance to the plot except to establish that Gina Is a Badass and that her boyfriends didn’t appreciate it. At this point, the reason Gina couldn’t find love was her affiliations with the gang and men thinking it was too dangerous. Right after stopping the assault, Gina would have been dumped by her boyfriend, Rico (yes, the one who’s mentioned in the story as it is now).
Eventually, I cut out the assault entirely, because it was pointless and do we really need more rapes used to establish a characters’ badassery? I don’t think so.
Version 3: Enzo Exists and He’s a Cheater
Finally, Enzo came into being and for the longest time I intended him to be engaged to someone else. For a while it was just some random rich woman named Bianca who hired Gina (and that’s how they met again), but eventually I changed it to Lorenzo’s sister, Bianca. (And it’s still canon that Lorenzo has a sister named Bianca, but I never showed her in the story – she was Enzo’s first kiss, though, so there’s that). It was an arranged marriage, of course, and there was absolutely no romantic feelings between the two of them.
It was much like the story you know now – Gina and Enzo met as teenagers, fell in love, and met years later. I had two versions of their meeting: One where they met at Enzo and his fiancée’s engagement party because Gina was hired to steal a painting at that party. And another where they met at Gina’s brother’s engagement party because Flora and Bianca were friends. Weirdly, I think that in one version I wrote Gina and Enzo were pretty cool about meeting again. They argued for a moment and then they just sort of got over it and were friendly enough. But I don’t think Gina got her temper problems until a later version.
Now, one significant difference in this version was that eventually it was revealed that Enzo had been engaged since his teenage years. That is: He was engaged to Bianca even while he met up with Gina as a teen. This pissed off Gina when they met years later. Not to mention that he would have fallen in love with Gina while still engaged to Bianca and he would have kissed Gina while still engaged… thus making him a cheaty cheater. The reason I dropped this storyline was that he was just waaaaay too much of an asshole and it was uncomfortable to write. The very romanceless relationship with Bianca just felt weird to me, so I dropped his fiancée altogether.
After this, you pretty much got the version we have now. Enzo is single and ready to mingle, except when his daddy says no.
The Ex That Became a Thief
At some point, I had plans to include more of Gina’s ex, Rico, hence why he was even mentioned. Interestingly enough, the sim that eventually became Marco Leoni was supposed to be Rico and at one point Gina would meet up with him to discuss their former relationship. When I decided not to include him anyway, I grabbed his sim out of the bin and he became our friendly neighbourhood art thief and, later, Lotta’s man. In pretty much all of my saves, he’s still named Rico Lecce because I didn’t bother to do anything but change his hair/clothes. I thought it was a little amusing how some noted how cute he looked because I think it makes it pretty clear that he wasn’t supposed to be some random background sim – he was, indeed, lovingly crafted to be cute enough that Gina would fall for him. Except then Lotta snatched him up instead.
I’ve had some different ideas for how Gina and Enzo’s romance arc would end and they weren’t all necessarily happy. Here are a few that I considered:
1. Enzo and Gina Try to Make It Work
I once imagined a version of the story where Enzo’s family were less strict (and I don’t think Enzo’s family was broken up when I imagined this) and Gina and Enzo actually tried to make it work. In this version, Enzo actually brought Gina home to stay with his family – of course, it was an absolute disaster. Somehow, Enzo’s dad made her leave or she got upset about something Enzo said/did. Whatever it was, she would have ended up pregnant and Enzo’s dad would have hidden it from him. When Enzo found out, he of course left to be with her. I dropped it because I don’t think the world needs more Oops I’m Pregnant storylines. Especially not in sims legacies.
2. A Version In Which Vincente Sr. Attempted Murder
Yup, at one point I considered a version where Enzo’s dad actually tried to have Gina killed. In a burning building. Yes, seriously. This version would have had Enzo racing to save her with her parents’ help. It also would have ended with Carlo being an absolute badass and making Enzo’s dad regret it something fierce. I really prefer Gina being the badass and Enzo the damsel in distress, though. It didn’t fit either of them to switch roles.
3. Enzo and Gina Break Up
At one point I imagined that Enzo and Gina would have broken up after the chapter where Enzo confronts his dad. They would have decided it just wouldn’t work and they would have separated for at least a few years. Gina would have got with someone else (possibly her ex, Rico), but years later Enzo would come to her again and they would have finally got together. I dropped this because it just felt unnecessary and redundant. With the extra break-up it would be three damned break-ups (counting the one as teens), which was one too many. Once I added in Enzo’s dad’s restraining orders, it also made little to no sense for Enzo to stick around.
4. Enzo Leaves – Lia Doesn’t
At another point, I imagined that Lia would stay with her father, because she was more deeply in than Enzo. He would stubbornly stay in contact by sending letters and photos of his and Gina’s kids through Lorenzo. Eventually she came around and went to Enzo and Gina’s wedding. I decided against having Lia stay because it just made no sense. Her dad never did anything for her and Enzo literally took the blame when she killed a guy. Not going with him would be extremely cold and callous and she’s not the cuddliest woman, but she loves her big brother.
5. Enzo Gets a Little Brother
Yes, I also imagined a version where Vincente Sr.’s attempts to replace his heir actually succeeded (he’s in his early sixties – it could happen). Vincente Sr. would never actually speak to his children again, but his new wife made contact with them (again – at Gina and Enzo’s wedding) and Enzo made a promise to his younger half-brother that he would be there for him. I dropped this idea because I honestly didn’t want to give the old man the satisfaction of getting a new heir. Fuck him. It would also just be… sort of dark to bring a kid into that family after we’ve learnt what a shit-fest it is.
So, I’m not going to talk about all the characters in the gen, but just stick to some of the more important ones and how I developed them.
Obviously, I’m starting with Gina, and despite the fact that there’s been a lot of versions of her character, she’s the one who changed the least – at least from the point where she became a member of the gang. She started out more cheery and happy, so she was more reminiscent of her teenage self, but she still loved toting guns, still loved her daddy, and was still a badass.
At this stage, her love interest was still Quentin, who was a complete nerd, and she actually liked nerds. It was a bit forced, though, and there was no chemistry between the characters. Eventually I dropped Quentin (in the most problematic way possible fuck me).
When Enzo came about, her more cynical, swear-y, and angry side came about and she’s a good deal more negative and grumbly in the current version. I think I’ve known since the early version that her temper would be her problem, but it wasn’t particularly clear and kind of out of nowhere – she would suddenly get angry.
For the longest time, Enzo was supposed to actually be kind of a bad boy. His interest in crime didn’t just extend to learning lockpicking and never doing anything more with it. In one chapter I dropped, Gina actually caught him stealing a painting she was supposed to steal. Yup. It was kind of his ‘hobby’ to run around stealing paintings and he did it with Lorenzo’s help. No. Seriously. I had pictures and everything for a chapter where this happened and some of them were actually really nice. (I released some poses from that version – namely one where a sim is running with a painting). I can’t for the life of me remember where I put the pictures, though. When this was my plan, the blackmail was more about Enzo’s little hobby being discovered… and it was actually his dad doing the blackmailing. So in alternate storylines, Vincente Sr. could have been a murderer or a blackmailer. Can you tell I just love the guy?
I dropped the Being Blackmailed By His Own Dad because it made no. fucking. sense. I also dropped the Art Theft as Hobby altogether, because I felt like Enzo wouldn’t dare to go robbing places. I still completely planned on him being a little bit of a rascal. You can actually see the remnants of that in chapter 12, where Ms. Antonini says about Enzo: “Like I said, he used to get himself into all kinds of trouble…” At the stage when I wrote that, it was totally true, but thankfully I could later write it off as just the aftereffects of the rumours his dad spread about him when he was a teen. It was also implied in how Lorenzo and Lia tried to keep him out of trouble. At one point, I stated outright in a later chapter that Enzo was a bit of a troublemaker, but when boyfriend read it, he said it made no sense – Enzo clearly wasn’t a troublemaker and once I realised that, he became the soft boi he is now. It makes him a better balance to Gina’s rash temper, so it was for the better.
Lotta changed quite a bit as a character as well. Later on, when she stopped being a would-be sexual assault victim, I changed her hair to a strawberry blonde and she became Gina’s good friend. However, at this point she was more of a party-girl who would charm and flirt her way to information. To most people she would seem shallow and like a bit of a dumb blonde, but she was actually smart. What a subversion. Wow me.
I didn’t enjoy writing the character, however, and I decided to make Lotta less of a flirty seductress and more of a cool-headed, no-nonsense type who’s the book smarts to Gina’s street smarts. I changed her hair colour as well because I sort of hated the other one. Like with Enzo, I think Lotta’s change in personality was very welcome because of the contrast she provides to Gina. Somehow, Gina just ends up gravitating towards more level-headed personalities who help her keep her temper in check.
At one point, Lotta’s scolding of Gina was going to include that Gina once gave Lotta a similar scolding. It would have been revealed that Lotta cheated on a boyfriend and Gina went absolutely ballistic on her, which eventually made her change her ways. Turned out it didn’t fit in when Lotta scolded Gina and I’m not sure I can imagine Lotta being the cheating type, not even in her younger days.
Lia, I’m afraid, is the very definition of a character as an object, at least she was to begin with. I literally created her on a whim for chapter and I made her simply because I wanted to give Enzo someone to care for and something that made him seem softer and kinder – caring for a younger sister was it. Her relationship with Lorenzo was also just something I threw in there and I didn’t give it much thought. I’m glad I created her, though, since she’s become one of my favourite characters in the story.
My thoughts on her relationship with Lorenzo has changed drastically since I started writing them. I used to think they would get together because why not. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, a comment on a chapter made me realise that Lia was seriously selfish. To be fair, she is very young (21) and possibly even more sheltered than Enzo. In my interpretation, the reason she cheats on Fabrizio isn’t just that she doesn’t love him (though of course she doesn’t), but because in the wealthy circles cheating is extremely common. Enzo’s dad is actually a rare example of someone who didn’t cheat on his wife. However, Lia still grew up in those circles and considered cheating a not very big deal – that is, until Lorenzo (who did feel bad) broke up with her because he couldn’t cheat and lie anymore.
I could probably talk about Lia for ages, but I’ll leave that to future stories. 😉
When I made Vincente, he was basically just a clone of Enzo that I edited so they looked different while still looking similar enough that they could be related. For funsies, I dug up a photo I have of Enzo as well as a younger version of his dad so you can compare. They’re pretty similar, but I changed a few things about the older Vincente – namely, I made his features slightly sharper, whereas Enzo has a rather soft face.
I made Vincente as his older version first and I basically modelled him after an incredibly unpleasant lecturer I met once – a rather slim, older man with grey hair. I also let him keep some of the less flattering features that sims get when they age from young adult to adult. For adult Enzo you’ll see in later years that he looks less like his dad because I’ve deliberately softened older Enzo’s features.
I know it surprised some that Vincente and Georgette were a love match to begin with but with Vincente’s looks, I don’t think it’s weird that Georgette genuinely fell for him. There’s also the fact that he is friendly and charming to people outside his family. My interpretation of their relationship is also that he did fall for Georgette, though his adoration was perhaps less pure. I based the family dynamic on this post about something the author calls Sick Systems. It describes how abusive individuals set up systems to keep their loved ones with them. They make sure that the people they care about are always too busy and tired to think, which is definitely something that’s true of the Cavalcantes – in the story, I’ve mentioned several times that Enzo is absurdly busy with different activities and he’s stressed and tired as a result. Another thing is Vincente’s insistence on being emotionally invested in the family and their reputation and he had Enzo pretty convinced that it was a very important duty to maintain the family’s reputation.
Needless to say I made some silly dumbs during the course of the story, so now I’m going to embarrass myself by listing them!
- At two points (in chapter 11), Gina gets physical. One time she elbows Enzo out of the way of Leoni’s gun and at another point she shoves him while they’re arguing. It’s… problematic. Obviously, if the roles had been reversed and Enzo hit her in any kind of way, it would have been A Big Deal. It’s the old sexist idea that women can’t hurt men physically so it’s okay for women to slap men around that reared its ugly head in my story. It’s bullshit, plain and simple. I had sort of the same problem in gen 1, where Vittoria slapped Carlo at one point. I wish I hadn’t done it in either case… or at the very least that I had the ladies apologise and/or admit that it was shitty and wrong. You shouldn’t hurt people, no matter your gender. Full stop.
- When I first posted the first chapter of the story, both Enzo and Lorenzo had bright blue eyes. In the chapter, Gina remarks on the blue of Enzo’s eyes and how nice they are. Later on, I realised that the effect of Enzo’s stunning blue eyes were somewhat diminished when Lorenzo had the same eye-colour, so I went back and stealthily changed them to green in the pictures. Lorenzo has had green eyes ever since.
- Similarly, in earlier chapters, Georgette has brown eyes. Now I don’t think it’s impossible for a woman with brown eyes to have only blue-eyed children, buuut it’s maybe a bit of a stretch. Consequently, I later changed her eyes to a light grey. Incidentally, I deliberately picked a fairly non-remarkable colour for both her hair and eyes, because I wanted her to seem a little out of place and kind of mousy next to her family with their high cheekbones, blue eyes, and black hair. Her realising how little there was of her in her children’s lives – even in how they look – is what started to wake her up.
- Chapter 38 takes place the day after chapter 37, that is the day after Enzo leaves his dad’s house. In the chapters before 38, Gina has her hand bandaged and it’s still acting up – in chapter 38, there’s nothing. I could chalk it up to her not needing the bandages anymore and her just ignoring any small pains because she’s so in love… In reality, though, I just plain forgot.
- In chapter 6 we see a little bit of Enzo’s house when he talks to his dad. Except that’s not actually the house we see later. I initially placed them in an EA house from Hidden Springs, then later I wanted a nicer house and downloaded one off of MTS. I’ve wanted to go back for the longest time to change them out and I never managed. It doesn’t matter, since we don’t see much of the Cavalcante house, but it still annoys me.
And finally, a few random tidbits I’d just like to share, just because.
- The reason I included Luigi as one of Enzo’s random names was because of Luigi… as in Luigi from Nintendo, Super Mario and all that. I’m a big fan and also I hoped to make some sort of gag about Italian plumbers. Very, very lame. The closest I got to it is the fact that Ms. Antonini mistakenly believes that Georgette left her husband for a plumber, when it was a mason. Frankly, it’s not even a gag – it just tells you that rich people can’t tell the difference between the peasants who work for them.
- My plan was for Bastien’s name to be first Michele (Italian version of Michael), then when I changed him to be French, Michel, until I realised that’s the name of a character in the Kingston Legacy’s third generation. That’s when I picked some random other French name instead.
- It might seem like I pulled Fabrizio’s older brother, Amadeo’s husband, out of my butt. But I actually had this little passage in chapter 22:
There would be a function soon, and he didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps it would be like when the oldest Aiello boy left home in disgrace. He was disinherited and kicked out, and after that everyone flocked to the Aiello family. They said it was to comfort them, but Enzo could tell they were smug. They enjoyed the drama.
- I mentioned at one point that I’ve hidden things with DOF in my pictures. What I actually referred to specifically was in these two pictures from chapter six where I basically placed Gina and Enzo right on the same street, walking away from each other. Am I surprised nobody noticed? Nope. I realised when I turned on DOF that they were too blurred, but I felt it was too obvious with no DOF.
- At one point I planned on Enzo having five siblings. I wrote down names for another sister and two brothers. It became too much to establish six Cavalcante children, so I picked out the two siblings with the names I liked best, Rosalia (21 years old) and Amadeo (23). I can’t remember I originally gave Lia a twin, but it looks like according to my notes that I did, because the kids I cut out were Fulvio (21 – so the same age as Lia), Silvia (19), and Giuseppe (18). It was for the better as well, because Vincente wouldn’t have had any impetus to keep his remaining son around if he had two spares even after kicking out Amadeo.
- The police woman who comes to Enzo’s dad house in chapter 8 is my (old, ugly-looking) sim-self without glasses.
Thank You For Reading!
If you made it this far I apologise for all of my rambling. I like doing these reflections, mostly just because I’m a writer and us writers like to talk about our writing. It also helps me sort out my thoughts and see the story in a clearer light. If others find it interesting, that’s a nice bonus, but still – I think it’s mostly useful to me.
Thanks to those who made it this far. Thank you even more to those who made it all the way through Artful. Thank you for the likes, the comments, the conversations, the speculation, the raging, and for shaping the story with me. A special thanks to boyfriend (who won’t read this, lol) for being my beta-reader. Artful is way more coherent than anything that came before it and it’s largely down to him and his invaluable help. If it weren’t for him, the criminals wouldn’t be very criminal.
As you know, I’m not going to start posting chapters again right away. I’m playing around with telling Lia’s story at the moment and that’s my next project. Generation 3 – tentatively named Clarity – is also on my radar. But I need a break from all kinds of chapters. My plan is to write the Lia story and slowly start working on generation 3 as well. You probably won’t see any new chapters from me for at least a month or two, though. It’s very possible I’ll have posepacks and other CC downloads before then, though, so keep an eye out for those and I’ll possibly post photo shoots, challenges, character development, and so on. I won’t be completely silent (wouldn’t you just like that?), but no chapters for a while. I’ll tell you when my plans are more clear.
Now then, thank you for reading and thank you for the lovely support and I’ll see you in the next post.