Story 8: Notes

**SPOILER ALERT**

This page contains on-going notes regarding Story 8 and as such may contain some information that a reader may not want to learn if they have not read up to the currently published episode.

Episode Each Day

In composing Story 8 I took the daily comic strip approach. However I did not write an episode each day. I wrote in batches of about six to eight episodes and then scheduled the episodes to be published one each day.

From the beginning the goal was have the screenshot panels tell as much of the story as possible and that I was to use as few words as possible to convey the meaning. When I started I did have a general idea in my head as to what the story was to be about – “a young man’s desire to become the most interesting man in the world” – but I wanted my simmies to tell me how that story was going to unfold. What I did not expect to occur was the direction they would take the story.

Who is in Charge Here?

As a result I did not know where exactly the story was going until about the tenth episode. What direction the story was going in the beginning and where it wound up around the tenth episode are not what I had intended. Although everything was happening under my control, the simmies pretty much began steering the boat early on. For example, I was not expecting Mike and Lisa to break up by the fifth episode and certainly not over something as trivial as two people sitting on the beach watching the stars. I did try to get them back together, but it just was not meant to be.

Then came the incident with Ronnie at the restaurant in the seventh episode. This happened so fast that I did not have a chance to get any pictures of it. What happened was that Mike and Ronnie went to the Bistro to have dinner and within seconds after entering the rabbit hole, Ronnie came running out with a betrayal dagger in her thought balloon. At first I thought that something was going on between Mike and Ronnie. It was not until I saw the story progression notice pop out saying that Ronnie had witnessed her boyfriend flirting with another girl did I realize what had happen. It was not until the tenth episode when Ronnie and Ernest moved in did I fully understand what was going on. I learned that Ronnie and Ernest were boyfriend/girlfriend, that Ernest was much older than she, and that Ernest had a romantic relationship going on with Amanda’s sister, Emily. As Amanda took an immediate disliking to Ernest, the story was starting to gel.

At the end of the tenth episode, school had ended on a Friday for Mike, Amanda, and Ronnie. The three were going to age up to YA over the coming weekend. So I had just the three of them go out dancing to celebrate. I took plenty of screenshots of that night out, but only one picture told the story that was starting to form.

On the right, there is the loner Amanda dancing happily by herself. On the left, Mike is practically on his knees in front of Ronnie and Ronnie has this look on her face as if she’s thinking “What is he doing?!!?”

Okay so I “knew” from the beginning where I wanted the story to go and my Sims were dropping little hints here and there as to where they wanted to the story to go. It became then a question of trying to get the two sides to balance.

Then along came Katherine, Raquel, and Tabitha…

I almost excluded Katherine from the story, but she was persistent. Katherine kept calling Mike asking to see him. The fact that half the time she was a no-show and in the other half something would come up was an annoyance, but it had an aura of mystery about it that I could not ignore. It then became a question of trying to figure out just what that mystery was going to be.

When I started the story, the supernatural sisters, Raquel and Tabitha were supposed to be front and center in the story as part of love triangle involving Mike. A few things happened here that I did not count on.

Since I already had a love triangle going on between Mike, Amanda, and Ronnie, there was not much use for Raquel and Tabitha in that regard. I did not expect that when Raquel turned Mike into a vampire this would cause Mike and Amanda’s relationship to fall apart – I did not fully appreciate the dynamics of Amanda’s childish trait just as I did not fully appreciate Lisa’s commitment issues trait. Also, in episode XXIII where Mike has a chance meeting with his brother at a bar, I learned for the first time that his brother was going steady with Tabitha. So, my simmies had suddenly given me a way to bring Tabitha and Raquel back into the spotlight. What’s the point of creating interesting characters if you have no use for them?

The Revolving Door

One technique that I employed was having minor characters join the household for a few episodes to either contribute in some way to the main plot or create a sub-plot or side-story. In a couple of places I do not think that I handled this very well. For example, when I wrote episode XXIV it made sense to me to introduce the character of Mike’s boss, Valencia and to have it appear that he was fooling around when all he was doing was to try and get a raise or promotion, but having her move in and then trying to figure out how to get rid of her out made things a little awkward. Looking back the whole sequence involving Valencia was either an unnecessary distraction or I should have told it differently.

Stuff on the Cutting Room Floor

One of the hard parts is deciding what to leave in and what to take out. As the story progresses it does get easier to make those decisions. In the beginning as I was feeling my way around the story I was doing a lot more editing and having to decide what to leave in and what to rip out. I don’t remember all what was cut out but two incidents stand out.

In episode VIII where Mike keeps asking Amanda out and she accepts only to not show up, their planned meeting venue was Bridgeview Park. It is apparently a very romantic spot. One of the times that Mike was waiting at the park for Amanda to show up he is sitting on a bench when Ulysses Ringwald comes over, sits down next to Mike and wants to cuddle. I wasn’t sure how to handle that because neither of the characters are gay (I used NRaas Master Controller to check the other guy’s gender preference). Also it seemed to not fit in any way. However I did leave in the incident with Bubbles Goombah to establish that the Goombah family was up to no good. But with Ulysses, I did not know where to go with that… Was he gay? Was he attracted to Mike? Or was he just stoned and being an ass?

Another incident that I recall that almost made it into the story was in episode XXVIII where Mike wanders around all night and winds-up at the Chinese take-out joint. It was around 3 AM and outside on the sidewalk Mike could see Mark and Julia Clemens having a discussion/argument. This went for hours. Later that same day when Ronnie visited the day spa for her back-pain, Mark and Julia were still out on the sidewalk having their discussion/argument. I had to take this out because I could not think up any valid reason for the two of them to be standing on a sidewalk in town talking and arguing for 8 hours.

This is all that I will say for now about the story, but there will be more added to this page as other parts of Story 8 are completed.
 

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