Tips for Telling Stories: Make ’em Miserable

I live in the Midwest, in the state of Missouri…or “misery” as folks sometimes joke. That’s a horrible joke. There’s really nothing miserable at all about the state. Well, except for the fact that in the summers we have scorching heat in excess of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and then in the winters we have frigid temperatures far below zero Fahrenheit, and in the spring we have rainy spells that go on for days, along with the occasional tornado and hailstorm. Other than that, it’s a beautiful place to live. Autumn is nice, at least.

Seriously, all joking aside, there’s nothing really wrong with the “Show-Me” state of Missouri, but when you’re telling your sims’ stories — or writing stories of any sort — you might want to keep my Midwestern home in mind. Why? Because the more miserable you make your characters, the more your readers will enjoy your stories.

We know all about conflict — about the importance of giving characters goals to strive for and then putting obstacles in their way. But there are other ways to make fictional folks miserable, and good storytellers never miss a chance to make their heroes and heroines suffer. Just a little, at least.

I remember reading a novel in which a young woman stopped for the night at a roadside inn. This was in the earlier days of America, so accommodations weren’t what we’d expect to find today. But even by 19th century standards, the room at the inn…well, it sucked. It was a cold, rainy night — hmmm, maybe it was somewhere in Missouri — and the roof of the inn leaked. Their was no dry firewood to burn, and the blankets on the bed were threadbare. The bread was stale, the soup tasteless, and what little meat she could find in the bowl was too tough to even chew.

Poor girl! She was miserable. Even though this stay at the inn wasn’t a major plot point, the author skillfully used the setting to add environmental conflict to the story. Think of environmental conflict as a secondary source, another implement in your writer’s toolbox by which you can make your stories and characters more real — and more interesting, too.

Misery
Make your characters miserable, and you’ll make your readers happy.

We all have experience with environmental conflict, that is, unpleasant things around us. We live in a very imperfect world, and when we bring those imperfections into our stories, readers quickly identify with the miserable situations we create.

Show a character shielding his eyes from the sun, and chances are your reader will probably start squinting. Describe the taste of a sour lemon, and your reader’s lips will pucker. All the while you’re throwing major conflicts at your characters, keep hitting them with environmental conflicts, too.

Make your characters as miserable as you can.

As you do, remember again this great state in which I live. Its nickname is the “Show-me” state. Nobody knows how that came about, and nobody really cares. It’s not important. What is important — in fiction, at least — is showing, not telling.

Don’t tell your readers that it was a rainy night. Show flashes of lightning streaking across the sky. Show your character’s wet clothes and muddy shoes. But don’t stop there! Instead of just getting her shoes dirty, show her slipping and falling face down into the mud.

Ah, yes, misery.

We’ve all experienced miserable moments, and as readers, we’re drawn in by stories where misery abounds. Been there, done that. Indeed, we all know how it feels to be in stuffy rooms, to have things break down around us, to endure many, many little miseries that are part of our environment.

Make them part of your characters’ environment, too.

It’s said that misery loves company. Maybe, maybe not. But readers do love misery, so when you write your next story, think of me and where I live…right here in the Show-Me state of Missouri. Let that remind you to always show a state of misery. Your readers will thank you.

 

Graduation Day

Graduation DayIt’s the day that Jonathan and Kat have both been waiting for. They’re donning graduation caps and walking across the stage at the Academy of Performing Arts.

Jonathan is proud to have earned his Bachelor’s degree — with honors — in Violin performance. Fiona has earned her degree in Piano performance.

What’s ahead now for the young couple? Neither is quite sure. Jonathan will start sending out queries to symphony orchestras, but despite his degree, his honors, and his talent, it’s hard to get auditions. And even harder to land a chair in a major orchestra.

Katherine isn’t setting her sights so high. She’s happy being Jonathan’s wife, so she’d prefer spending her time at home, taking care of the house, cooking meals…and maybe setting up a nursery? She and Jonathan had agreed they wouldn’t start a family under after graduation day.

Well, Jonathan? Are you ready now?

Kat would love to have children, but sometimes she’s not sure how her husband really feels about it. He’s been a bit distant at times, but maybe that was just the pressure of final exams, long rehearsals, the stress of the performances he’s given, and all the worries about finding a position.

Kat hopes that there’s nothing seriously wrong in her marriage. She still harbors a few suspicions about Fiona Patterson. Now that they’re all out of school — Fiona graduated, too — there won’t be many opportunities for Jonathan and Fiona to cross paths.

Having a baby would be a great way to get Jonathan’s full attention. Kat’s hoping it will happen soon.

 

Big Blue Divider

 What do YOU think? Should Kat and Jonathan start a family now?

 

 

 

 

 

Peaceful Music for a Springtime Day

I have quite a busy day planned today, so while I’m working on art projects and tending to other tasks around the house, I’m going to enjoy a bit of beautiful music. Instead of posting today about sims, I’m just going to sit back and share this music. I think Jonathan and his musician friends would approve, don’t you?

A Fun Find – Variable Relationships

If you’re a regular reader of this blog — and I hope you are — you know how much I love randomness in my simming. I create sims with randomly-chosen features in CAS. I randomly assign personalities and careers, not only to my CAS sims but to my townies as well. I keep a die next to my computer and roll it often to determine many different “random factors” in my game play.

This morning I found a wonderful little mod that will allow me to bring a new level of chaos and unpredictability into Sims 4. It’s the “Variable Default Relationship” mod by scumbumbo, and I can’t wait to try it in my game.

MTS_scumbumbo-1472599-VariableDefaultRelationshipsThanks, scumbumbo, for making this fun mod!

Here’s how scumbumbo describes the mod:

Everybody in a new household gets along by default. HOW UTTERLY BORING! Want a change? Want a challenge? With variable default relationships, your next household might be completely disfunctional!

This Mod will vary the starting sim relationships when a new household is created. The relationships can range anywhere from outright hatred to the very best of friends.

Both friendship and romance relationships vary. A married sim’s love may not be reciprocated, or perhaps both partners hate each other and it’s purely physical, or they could be great friends but the romance has gone stale!

The variance is not purely random. For those who know about probability, the resulting relationshps are based on a gaussian distribution centered on the default relationship values.

This mod will be great for the “townie” families I create for my game. It comes in three “strengths”, ranging from low to high.

  • The default version creates the highest level of variance
  • The medium version is somewhat less variable
  • The lowest strength will generally create relationships near to the default

I’ve downloaded the “high level” version, and I know I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.

Scumbumbo also says:

Since the results are based on statistical averages, even the lowest strength can on occasion create sims that utterly despise each other. It will be rare, but it is possible. BTW: I generated a lot of families during testing to tweak the results, but I am interested in any opinions as far as the tuning of the variances. Too much? Too little? Let me know!

This mod also affects newly generated “townie” sims households. Relationships in existing households will not be changed.

The Great Guilt Trip

When Sims 2 came out, the first sim I created for the game was a young woman named Amelia. I had a plan, you know. I was going to create a male and female — all young adults — for each letter of the alphabet. Next, I created Andrew. The idea, of course, was that each “matching set” would become a couple.

I put Amelia in a nice little starter house, and I moved Andrew in next door. Even though I chose careers at random, it turned out that Amelia and Andrew were both pursuing medical careers, so they quickly began carpooling to work each day. Soon they were taking time to chat a bit after work each day, and before long Andrew’s “wants” were all about the girl next door. He wanted to chat with Amelia. He wanted to call Amelia. He wanted to flirt with Amelia. All was going according to plan.

As they spent more and more time together, they naturally grew closer. They had dinner together each evening, watched television, put on music and danced, or just sat and talked long into the night. Finally Andrew decided it was time to propose. Amelia accepted, of course, and the newlyweds moved in together.

It wasn’t long before Andrew wanted a child. Amelia wasn’t quite sure she was ready for motherhood, but soon the stork was on the way. Their son, Zachary, arrived nine months later, and that’s when the problems began.

Amelia had taken time off from nursing school, and since Andrew was doing well, he convinced her she should quit school and be a stay-at-home mom. She agreed, but she wasn’t happy. Amelia, you see, had always been very ambitious, very driven to have a meaningful career and make a difference in the world. She soon became very depressed.

Of course, she wanted to be a very good mother, so she devoted all her time to Zachary, shutting her husband out. Andrew did his best to keep Amelia happy, but each day the distance between them seemed to grow.

Now, all the while I was watching Andrew and Amelia live out their lives, I was playing other sims, as well. I’d created Belinda and Brett, Chelsea and Collin, Darla and Dave, and Erika and Evan. My original plan of “matching up” couples wasn’t happening quite as I’d intended, but that was all right. I was having fun following the lives and loves of these young adults as they made their way in the world.

And so it was that one bright, sunny Saturday morning, Brett and Collin came strolling by while Andrew was doing a bit of yardwork. “Hey, Andrew, why don’t you come over to my place?” Brett asked. The three young men were good friends — a bit like the “Three Musketeers” — always getting together to hang out and do “guy things”.

Andrew knew Amelia wouldn’t miss him — they barely even spoke much anymore — so he went off to spend a little time with his buddies. All was well…until Collin’s girlfriend, Erika, showed up.

Now, thanks to the Nightlife expansion pack, we had an “attraction” system in the game, and was it ever powerful! When Erika walked into the room, Andrew took one look at her, and wham! There was a “4-bolt” attraction between them, and an attraction that strong could not be ignored.

Andrew and Erika started flirting shamelessly. Never mind that her boyfriend was right there! She quickly informed Collin that he didn’t own her and that she could do whatever she pleased. Collin walked out, Brett tried to smooth things over, and all the while Erika and Andrew kept flirting. They couldn’t help themselves. That’s how powerful their attraction for one another was.

Back in the 1970’s there was a song by England Dan and John Ford Coley called “It’s Sad to Belong to Someone Else When the Right One Comes Along”. Here’s how it begins:

Met you on a springtime day
You were mindin’ your life
And I was mindin mine, too

Lady, when you looked my way
I had a strange sensation
And, darlin’ that’s when I knew…

That it’s sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along…

I felt Andrew’s pain. I realized what had happened to him was a common experience. He’d done all the “right” things in life, following the expected pattern. School. Dating. Marriage. Family. Amelia had been the first young woman he’d ever had a serious relationship with. Of course he’d thought it was “true love”. It was only when he met Erika that he realized what love was really all about.

I hated to see it happen, but nothing can stand in the way of a 4-bolt attraction, and soon Andrew and Erika were embroiled in a heated affair. Night after night, Andrew would slip out of the house — he was an intern “on call” at this time — and he’d head to Erika’s place. Amelia never questioned him, but he did feel a little pang of guilt each time he lied to her.

But not enough to break off his relationship with Erika. He couldn’t stay away from her. She was always on his mind, and he couldn’t wait to see her.

One night, when Andrew was at Erika’s place and the two were engaged in some serious woo-hoo, I was horrified to see Amelia strolling past the house. Oh, my goodness! She’d followed her husband. She knew of his affair. And I knew that Andrew knew she knew.

What an awful mess! I hated to see anyone hurt, but how else could it turn out? I quietly returned Andrew home that night and exited the game. I just wasn’t ready to deal with the inevitable confrontation that would soon come about.

For several days, I avoided playing Andrew and Amelia’s household. I didn’t want to face Amelia’s wrath. I felt so awful for her. How angry would she be? Would she immediately throw her husband out? Would their marriage be over? And what would happen to little Zachary?

Finally, I could put it off no longer. Holding my breath and dreading what was about to happen, I loaded Andrew and Amelia’s house. I was shocked when Amelia quietly got up and chatted with Andrew. She came up with a “want” to fix his favorite food, and the two of them had a pleasant breakfast.

What was going on? Why was she being so nice to him?

Later, after Andrew had gone to work, Amelia called a nanny to come watch Zachary while she went shopping. She headed to Cold Issue — I loved that store — and bought a few new things for Zachary, and a few new things for Andrew, too.

She returned home, cleaned the house, fixed a special meal and put on a bit of soothing music. By now, I was beginning to see her strategy. She had no intention whatsoever of confronting her wayward husband. She knew what he was up to, and he knew that she knew. Of course, she knew that he knew that she knew, too, and instead of making matters worse with a huge fight, Amelia cleverly let Andrew torment himself with guilt. The poor guy was a mess! He’d expected argument. He’d expected tears. He’d expected to be tossed out on his ear.

Instead, he got his favorite foods, new shirts in his favorite color, an immaculate house, and a smiling wife. Yes, indeed, she’d set him off on a great guilt trip that ultimately brought about the end of his illicit affair. He saw Erika one more time after that. She’d just installed a romantic new hot tub and wanted Andrew to share it with her. He did, but then he thought about Amelia. It wasn’t worth it, he realized. He got out of the hot tub, said good-bye, and hurried home.

That 4-bolt attraction remained between Andrew and Erika, and there was always a touch of sadness in his life. Truly it is sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along, but as the years went on, his affection for Amelia deepened and became the enduring sort of love from which strong marriages are made.

It would never have happened though without Amelia’s quiet understanding of how to best handle the situation. From that day forward, I saw her in a new light. I’ve always admired her for her wisdom and patience. I doubt that many women could have dealt with the situation as calmly as she did, but in the end, she did what she set out to do and saved her marriage.

Storytellers, Are You Cheating Your Readers?

If you’ve been following the quick updates to Jonathan’s story, you know he’s been fooling around behind his wife’s back. I certainly wasn’t happy when I saw Jonathan and Fiona kissing in the corner. I’d never expected him to be a cheater after he married Kat.

By the way, this might be a good time for me to point out that I’m not really the author of Jonathan’s story. He is. All I do is follow him around in the game, watch what he’s up to, and then put it all into words. I have no idea what he’s going to do or how his story will end. It’s a fun challenge for me to write a story that has neither a plan nor a plot. In fact, I don’t think of it as a story. It’s more of an on-going look at Jonathan’s life.

But, I digress. Back to the topic at hand. Cheating. Now, I’m not talking about cheating in the game. I’m not talking about cheating in love and marriage, either. I want to take a moment today to discuss cheating in the stories we write.

Are YOU cheating your readers?

When we write a story, we’re making a lot of promises to our readers. We’re asking them to trust us as writers. Keep reading, and I’ll give you an entertaining story. Keep reading, and I’ll give you drama and suspense. Keep reading, and all your questions will be answered.

Even though we don’t say these things directly, whenever we sit down and begin telling a story, we need to deliver on a reader’s expectations. It’s an implied promise we make.

One of the worst things a writer can do is to cheat the reader out of suspense. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most frequent mistakes writers make.

Shilah
This was my best attempt to capture a “frightened” sim.

Imagine this scene. It’s late at night and a young, innocent girl can’t sleep. She gets up, goes outside, and strolls into the garden. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a man jumps up and grabs her.

Scary? Well, maybe. If we were watching this happen in the movies, we’d probably jump out of our seats, especially if we were watching a film in the horror genre.

But, reading and movie-going are two different things. If we’re reading about this young girl and a man jumps out of the shadows and grabs her, we’ll be surprised. That’s all.

Now, imagine another scene. Once again, it’s late at night, and our young, innocent girl is tossing and turning, unable to sleep. Meanwhile, outside her window, a dangerous man has just slipped into the yard. Now, when our girl gets up and decides to stroll through the garden, we have good reason to worry about what might happen. Will the man see her? Will he assault her? We don’t know…and if we care about this young girl, we’ll most likely keep reading to find out what’s going to happen.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to show the man in the garden, so to speak. If we’re using a limited point of view, we can’t show things that the character isn’t aware of. So how do we put the man in the garden?

We use the character’s five senses to suggest that something isn’t right. Maybe she hears — or at least thinks she hears — sounds outside her window. Maybe something awakens her from sleep, and she can’t figure out what it is. Maybe she sees — or senses — a shadow moving past the window. Maybe she glances outside and notices that the wind’s blown the shed door open. At least, that’s how it appears to her. Or maybe she just has a “bad feeling” that something’s wrong.

Be careful here, though. We don’t want the suggestion of trouble to be so strong that our girl would be a fool to check it out. There’s a term used for young heroines like that. “TSTL”. Too stupid to live.

Next, we ease back on the tension. It turns out that the noise was only a tree limb brushing against the window. She discounts the eerie feelings as only imagination. She walks outside, latches the door of the shed, and returns safely to the house. All appears to be well.

Now the man in the garden appears. By creating tension, then drawing back, we’ve hit the reader with both suspense and surprise. We’ve done this by using a technique known as forewarning. We’ve planted suggestions in the reader’s mind, essentially promising that something is going to happen. We’ve then delivered on that promise.

Careful use of forewarnings will build suspense throughout the story. The trick to using them successfully is to start off with small suggestions and then build them into big problems that eventually lead to a crisis.

Consider this example. Our story is about a husband and wife on a wildlife safari. On the first night, the wife nervously asks the guide if lions ever come around the campground. “Absolutely not,” the guide responds. “You’re perfectly safe here,” he assures her. The second night as she’s ready to fall asleep, she hears a lion roaring in the distance. She hurriedly goes to the guide. “Are you sure we’re safe?” He nods. The lion is far away, and it’s very rare than one ever comes close to camp, so rare, it’s nothing at all to worry about. The next day, reports come in of a lion prowling around a nearby village. A day later, there’s word that a lion has killed a man in that village. Hours later, someone reports seeing a lion nearby.

You get the picture. Nobody is going to be sleeping that night. Everyone will be wide-awake and fully armed, ready to protect the encampment.

But suppose the writer hadn’t given all these forewarnings. How would a reader respond? Most likely the reader would be shaking his or her head. Having a lion suddenly attack the campground without warning wouldn’t make sense. Rather than the “shocking surprise” the writer hoped to create, the reader gets only an unconvincing incident. Worse still, the writer has cheated the reader out of a lot of suspense.

The corollary to this is in not making false promises. You’ve no doubt heard this advice before through the principle known as Chekhov’s Gun. The famed author once explained:

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.

Making a false promise to a reader means suggesting things that never happen, setting up problems or dangers that never occur, or leaving a reader hanging with unanswered questions. Suppose in our African safari story, we built up all those forewarnings about a possible lion attack — and then nothing happened.

Nope, that’s cheating the reader.

Here’s a practical way to use forewarnings in your stories.

  1. No apparent threat. Whatever you’re introducing — whether it’s the main villain of the story or another problem situation — it should appear innocuous at the beginning. There’s no danger, no real threat. The lion, remember, is far, far away.
  2.  Potential threat. Next, show that the element — the villain, the lion, the problem — could become a problem under certain circumstances. There’s still no real danger, but…well, if the lions can’t find food, they might attack, but nothing to really worry about, right?
  3. Possible threat. By this stage, we let the reader know the threat is real. Danger could still be avoided, but it’s really only a matter of time before trouble comes. With the lion analogy, the nearby village has been attacked. How long before the lion comes to our encampment?
  4. Real threat. Now, the danger is real. The lion is at the camp, and it’s time to grab that hunting rifle you showed earlier. You did show the gun, right?

If you keep these two hand-in-hand principles in mind, your readers will never feel they’ve been cheated of the suspense they deserve.

Always forewarn the reader of threats and dangers to come.

Never make false promises by hinting at things that don’t come.

 

 

Looking Ahead

I’ve been in a nostalgic mood recently, and I’ve shared a lot of things from the past. Today, though, as a new week begins, I’m doing an about-face and looking toward the future. What’s ahead for our sims?

Last week — and here I am looking backward again — was an interesting one on the Sims 4 Forum. The discussion boards are always filled with rumors and speculations along with pleas to Electronic Arts to divulge a little information or answer a few player questions.

Forum members were excited when word came down from SimGuruDrake that EA would soon be sharing information about new content “in the works” for the game. That brief message was quickly spun off into talk of a “big announcement” coming. As usual, folks turned on the “hype machine” and countdowns were underway, ticking off the hours until the big event.

If you checked the message board on Tuesday morning, April 19 — the promised day — you probably saw the “leaked” video. A quick 15-second clip showing screenshots from a restaurant-themed game pack, and from a children-themed stuff pack.

Oh, but that was from Sims Latin America. That meant nothing! That couldn’t be right. Once again, rumors were flying, but SimGuruDrake stepped into the fray and posted the simple truth. Yes, that was the news.

I want to make things clear: I stated you would get information (not an announcement) regarding content in the next couple months (not a year). Also this was supposed to be a surprise, I simply informed you earlier due to incidents out of my control. – SimGuruDrake

The official “news” post is here:

A Look Ahead for Spring/Early Summer 2016

Of course, if you’re an avid simmer and forum member, none of this is news to you. You’ve probably followed this story all along. Maybe you’re excited about the new content that’s coming up, or maybe the entire “announcement/trailer/news” was a big disappointment.

Either way, this little incident once again shows an ever-widening gap between EA and the players. While players beg for information, the game developers remain closed-mouthed, uncommunicative at worst, condescending at best.

It’s devolved to a horrible state with players pitted against the gurus and developers. Who’s to blame for the mess? Is it our fault — meaning we, the players — for wanting not only new content but some input on the game we love? Are we responsible for the anger and disappointment on the boards when we share our thoughts about toddlers and other “missing content”? Are we wrong to be disappointed when EA ignores not only our wants but our questions, too?

Or should we put the blame on Electronic Arts? Don’t they owe their players something? Wouldn’t they gain greater player loyalty — and win new Sims fans — by being more open about their plans for this game?

When questioned, they become defensive. They speak of legal restrictions and give reasons why they’re not allowed to speak out about upcoming game additions. Meanwhile they seem to think it’s fun to “bait” the players with teasers, hashtag games, and hints — all of which lead to rumors, speculation, and hype.

A vicious circle? Indeed.

The situation has become so divisive that a lot of players are falling away — from both the forum and the game. When I look ahead to the future of the sims, I sometimes wonder how much longer the franchise can endure. The frustrations are growing. I worry that unless EA is willing to listen and respond to player concerns, there won’t be enough players left to make it worth the time and effort it takes to keep the series alive.

What do YOU think?
When you look ahead to the future of The Sims, what do YOU see?

 

Sharing an Old Favorite

Jonathan’s little antics behind his wife’s back have given me a perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite “oldies but goodies”. It’s How Long Has This Been Going On” by the British band, Ace.

The song came out in 1974 and reached the #3 spot on the US and Canadian charts. Lead singer Paul Carrack composed the song when he learned that the group’s bass player, Terry “Tex” Comer, had been secretly working with several other bands. Comer did play bass on the recording.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

OnoHey, what’s going on between Jonathan Evans and Fiona Patterson?

He’s happily married, and she’s happily in love with Benjamin Brooks, right?

So why were she and Jonathan slipping into the corner for a few quick hugs and kisses during a recent concert?

 

 

Maybe Jonathan’s marriage isn’t quite as happy as he’s led folks to believe…and maybe Fiona’s love for Benjamin isn’t all that true.

How long has this been going on?

Kat will be devastated if she finds out. So will Benjamin.

Can Jonathan and Fiona keep their illicit love a secret? Or will the truth come out?

 

 

Big Blue Divider

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back in Time

I’ve been in a bit of a nostalgic mood lately. Maybe it began when I returned to my old hometown to visit with a childhood friend, or maybe it’s just a natural part of the process of growing older. My nostalgia has carried over to my sims. I recently shared the theme music from the original game, and in several posts I’ve recounted a few favorite memories from Sims 2.

If you’ve been reading my blog posts here or if you’re active on the forum and have seen my posts there, you probably already know that I didn’t play Sims 3. Oh, I gave it a try, but for my playing style, Sims 3 just didn’t work. I kept at it for a while, searching for a way to play that I could enjoy, but between the game’s inherent incompatibility with my style, the lag, the bugs, and the computer crashes, I finally gave it up.

But how could I give up simming? Of course, I could have gone back to Sims 2, but I chose not to. It’s difficult to explain, but I’d mentally moved on. I’d ended the game with the birth of my original sim’s first grandchild, and that felt right somehow. It was time to move on.

Note: I played nearly a hundred different families in Sims 2, so my game play was very slow. Unlike legacy players who quickly finish generation after generation, my entire game consisted of a single generation.

So, there I was, stuck with a sims game that I couldn’t play without getting frustrated and angry. What was I going to do?

I continued visiting the Sims 3 forum, reading posts from other players, and browsing through the gallery. In time, I got involved in “sim modeling” and found that I enjoyed creating sims for other players to download almost as much as I’d once enjoyed playing the game.

Serena was one of my most popular sims. She's still on The Exchange.
Serena was one of my most popular sims. She’s still on The Exchange.

Yesterday, I went back. It felt a lot like stepping into a time machine, but there it was: my old “User Page” — I had a different forum name back then — complete with the sims I’d created and shared on The Exchange.

It was actually fun to remember each of the sims, to recall the old CAS program, and the upload process.

I found Serena. I found Andre. I found my “Romeo and Juliet” sims.

If you still play Sims 3 and would like to download Serena, here’s the Exchange link:

SERENA

You can also visit MY STUDIO to see my other creations. Yes, the name is different, but it’s still me. Just looking at my old creations brings back a lot of memories. I hope over the last few years that the sims I created for Sims 3 have had good lives in the games of other players. And if you should happen to download Serena or another of my creations, please let me know! I would love to hear their stories.