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The Sims 4: A Writer's Game

Play with life. Play as you write.

By Bianca WilsonPublished about a year ago 5 min read

Imagine being able to create something that only existed in your mind finally on a digital platform?

You don't have to be a writer to play the Sims 4, playing it will turn you into a storyteller, writer, control freak, lover of architecture or all four.

Creating a sim or building a house can take up to hours, much similar to the writing process. Using the Sims 4 serves as a visual aid.

Digging deep into your mind to unearth an image that feels right, thoughts of how the sims will live, who they'll love, and what they'll do will naturally bubble up to the surface. The same thing happens during the writing process when brainstorming for a character.

Not every writer is the same.

Everyone has a different process, I'm a little bit of a-

pantser: ex. A writer that takes a vague idea and starts from there and lets the rest flow, they don't have an outline.

plotter: usually after winging it and writing something wonderful more ideas flow but then I get lazy and begin to plot so that the next time I'll know where to pick up or have an idea or desire of where the rest will go...

escapist: I daydream, I probably spend more time daydreaming about my stories before I write them. I think, because I am a visual person. More than I realize. I draw inspiration from dramas, anime, and even pictures, art, and ESPECIALLY music- sometimes I make myself playlists. And when I'm in the car travelling hearing a song, my mind goes places. It's really bad.

There are times when I write or try to, I do so to escape from reality and to get out of my comfort zone and write something that clashes with my own beliefs and upbringing. Mostly even just writing about characters outside my own race. For the longest time I think, as a person of color I felt odd as a black American person finding I could relate more to the socially awkward introverted anime boy/girl than I could my own race and issues... which isn't to say that I'm ashamed of being black, I never have been but I've had issues writing about them and their perspective I think because I couldn't relate at times even though I grew up watching mass media about the struggle and the tough family structures. I didn't grow up in the hood, my parents were divorced but my Mom had joined the Army, I was constantly being moved around here and there, watching families that loved each other but never me and my sister. We were always outsiders. Removed from our real family and relatives. Even if the others were nice, we could sense it. And when some weren't nice at all I think it made it even more evident.

I had life experiences that may have overlapped with the typical black struggle but I think one of the main reasons I have so much mental push back is romance. Healthy romance. I had no experience in that field even at this age, I've seen it but couldn't even begin to wrap my head around it.

I would always imagine myself and I think it always held me back. It was more easy to think of another race, white, asian, half-black and mixed. And even if I could whip up romance it was never with a fellow of my own race(actually that's a lie, I do have one story but I just didn't know how to write the love interest so I just left it).

I think it's because I don't want to be reminded of my race's issues, bad habits, and struggles. I've spoken to guys of my own kind and even befriended them but I've noticed different cultures have different... relationship dynamics and mannerisms. It was easier to write about another culture than to decipher my own.

But when I played the sims, a black male character came to mind naturally, he had a personality, he had interests, he had a personal struggle... he-he had a life, that didn't revolve around his race. He had a voice, his narrative - the main character was another character, but his narrative became the first chapter. He usurped the story, screaming that he was here and his story was just as important.

And it was beautiful and I loved him. I realized sometimes as a writer to break through that personal wall of dissonance you just sometimes need to make it a face.

Sometimes you just need to create a sim. To play the sims.

The Sims 4 is not perfect, probably the lesser version of its incarnations just more... visually pleasing(personally I prefer it's sims over Sims 3, even though Sims 3 was still far more incredible) and the world is still very limited. There are a lot of things you can't do that you should be able to in a life simulator game.

But building buildings is a very creative process and I found out that when you build you can map out something in your brain. The locations you have in mind for your stories and it is SO much freaking fun!(of course you have to shop for mods when you do this, kudos to those who can make it work without mods and subject yourselves to buying the packs).

When writing about locations and the positioning of rooms or objects being able to actually set up a scene that only existed in your head versus having to google a picture of a scene or draw it out yourself on paper is a breath of fresh air. No longer will it feel as if you're reaching around in the dark. Far more fun than simply drawing it, you have a huge 3D freaking thing in front of you!

That aside a BIG story may not always come when playing the sims right away but it always does eventually.

Sometimes your sims will meet your expectations, other times, they'll surprise you, maybe even disappoint you. It's completely random. It's completely inspirational. For writers who have a hard time writing about their character's personality, this could be a tool used to give you ideas when you find your mind as blank as the sheet of paper/screen in front of you.

Whenever I play the sims I always end up becoming inspired to write about my sims or something. I'd journal and document the lives of my sims and the challenges they'd face.

The Sims 4 can be a distracting game, it does steal... a lot of time. So pace yourself. You can make a few sims and call it a day- you'll find too many hours flew by anyway.

Whenever you find yourself hitting a wall during your writing, try playing, it works wonders.

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About the Creator

Bianca Wilson

A college student studying Creative Writing. Webnovel writer, sims 4 simmer, poet and daydreamer.

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