Sims Writing Challenge

Writer’s block is tough to break through. Sometimes you just have to ride it out, especially if it’s from being burned out. Other times, you can find a way around it. When I’m stuck and also lucky, I manage to find a way to do something else that triggers an idea or a surge of energy to do something. Lately, I’ve been super burnt out, so I’ve been doodling and designing sticker sets on my laptop. Another thing I do is people watch. When I was using my school’s transportation, I would watch people out the window of the bus. Now, I go to my favorite café, grab a window seat, and it’s like lunch/dinner and a movie. I was able to find a way to fill the gap between one event and the climax of one book this way. Then it hit me.

What if I watched people, but through the Sims? Sims is one of my fallbacks for when I’m burnt out. I can easily lose hours just making the sim themselves, not to mention their house, family, and life. I have Sims 3 and 4, but I’ve been playing around with 4 since I’m still actively buying game packs and expansions for it. The autonomous function is always interesting to watch, or at least, look back to after a small break while letting it run. With my love of Sims and writing, I decided to make a writing challenge.

At the end of this blog post I will have the rules and potential lists to use for your own use. The point is to randomize everything as much as possible, and have very little control. One of my downloaded items glitched out so I had to randomize an actually usable sim to do so, but it’d be interesting if I had used that character. However, I worried if it would crash the game. I’d say getting a job is optional, but it can give you more of an idea of their personality and some flair for the character too.


The first character I generated was a girl by the name of Peyton Cronin. She had long pink hair like some sort of anime character and had an interesting set of outfits. Her main set was a pink shirt (that miraculously didn’t clash), some jeans, and some tan boots. Her aspiration in life was to be a city native and have the best turf to own. She was a painter, which could explain the artsy choice of pink hair. Her traits consisted of being a goofball, hating children, and being erratic. The erratic trait used to be the “insane” trait, so likewise the sim will talk to themselves, change outfits randomly, and be unstable. She was a great first character and would be an interesting main character for a book maybe. Noted.


I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have a second character or not, but I added one and I fell in love with her design immediately. Her name was Tiara Masters, and she had short black cropped hair and matching black cat ears. Alright, anime town it was. Tiara’s outfits made more sense than Peyton’s for the most part. She aspired to be a mansion baron, which goes almost hand-in-hand with Peyton’s. Tiara’s traits were that she was jealous, ambitious, and a bookworm, generally normal traits. She wound up being a detective, which I wonder if she’d be able to hide her ears with the hat.

Randomizing relations, they became a married couple, and they wound up living in Brindleton Bay, a nice little town that was from the pet expansion. For the main event, however, they wound up going to Skye Fitness in San Myshuno, a city which is inspired by modern cities like New York, San Francisco, and even Tokyo. The gym itself is connected to a patch of land outside of it, which provided some more leeway for interactions, albeit not too many.

As an observer, the first idea I got was from Peyton and Tiara watching a female street performer for hours. They never tipped her or anything, they just stood and watched. They didn’t even talk. The performer eventually left. It was odd how they didn’t interact, even though they were doing the action together. The oddness could provide a way to try to explain such a thing via storytelling. It wasn’t my speed, so let’s move on.

The second idea was from Peyton and Tiara playing basketball together, alone on the rooftop. They were talking together privately until this male gym trainer came up. Tiara left, and perhaps because of her jealousy trait, but otherwise I could apply that as the reasoning and use her trait in that way for inspiration. Tiara went downstairs to go use an exercise machine that I believe is just a weight machine. In this case, Tiara would be the main character of that story.

The third idea was from Tiara and Peyton having a conversation. They’re sleepy and hungry but were otherwise doing okay. Peyton is feeling flirty, and Tiara leaves to take a shower. Peyton goes to use a weight machine and Don Lothario waltzes over, having a flirty conversation with Peyton that goes well. He did this another time before this specific instance. This could be dramatic; is Peyton cheating on Tiara? Or was Don a past fling? Or was she just being polite since this guy is clearly a musclehead bro who could probably bench press her.

The fourth, and last idea was when Peyton was having an erratic moment and was arguing with herself in the corner while three other people in the area were exercising. Initially, I didn’t think much of this until I was reviewing my game footage. How weird would it be if someone was just having a dramatic conversation with only themselves in the middle of this rich area’s gym? That’d be wild! Two people were on the treadmill, and one guy was boxing right next to her.

Overall, the last two ideas intrigued me, but I’m almost leaning towards the fourth more. Now the hard part is writing it, or rather, finding time to focus and write it. It definitely helped me generate ideas, which was the ultimate goal of this challenge, besides producing something. I plan on writing one of the ideas, however, I’m not going to upload it because if it turns out well enough, I might try to shop it around the short story ring of submittable.

Let me know if this challenge helped you generate any ideas of your own! I’d love to hear how it turned out.


-Must Randomize at least one sim.
-Sims must be autonomous.
-Completely random choices, use and with the lists to determine details.
-If it comes down to a 1 or 2 option, or yes or no answer, 1 is yes, 2 is no. Modify the integer list as accordingly.
-Randomize relationships in this fashion, also depends on how many characters you’re using.
-You can choose where they live within a randomized town, but try to restrict yourself to their amount of money if you want to add anything to the house. (I say try because TV’s and computers are expensive, and realistically they would be in a house. Sims could wind up in the house as well and watching tv is a normal action, which is why I mention this.)
-EXTRA CHALLENGE: Number your ideas. Randomize which one you go with.

Here are the base lists I made below, and I added +’s to everything I had as an expansion pack or game pack.




Art Lover
Music Lover
Loves Outdoors
Hates Children
+Cat Lover
+Dog Lover


1. Sim’s Home
Oasis Springs
2. Burners & Builders (Gym)
3. Desert Bloom (Park)
4. The Futures Past (Museum)
5. Rattlesnake Juice (Bar)
6. The Solar Flare (Lounge)
Willow Creek
7. The Blue Velvet (Nightclub)
8. Magnolia Blossom (Park)
9. Movers & Shakers (Gym)
10. Municipal Muses (Museum)
11. Willow Creek Archives (Library)
+San Myshuno
12. Mysuno Meadows (Park)
13. Waterside Warble (Karaoke Bar)
14. Casbah Gallery (Arts Center)
15. Planet Honey Pop! (Karaoke Bar)
16. Stargazer Lounge (Lounge)
17. Skye Fitness (Gym)
+Brindleton Bay
18. Brindleton Pawspital (Vet Clinic)
19. Club Calico (Lounge)
20. Deadgrass Discoveries (Museum)
21. Pupperstone Park (Park)
22. Salty Paws Saloon (Bar)
+Magnolia Promenade
23. Paddywhack’s Emporium
24. JF&S Clothiers
25. The Roadstead


Secret Agent
Social Media
Tech Guru

Writing Sprints Experience

This July, I challenged myself to finish a book I was writing and write 6 pages a day. I treated them as separate goals, considering I know I wouldn’t be able to write on one subject alone for a month straight. That’s just not how I work at all, and in order to encourage me to write every day and keep track of what I was writing, I found that there as an app for it called 5KWPH, created by a writer by the name of Chris Fox. (This is not any kind of sponsored post; it’s just what I learned by utilizing the app.)

The app was easily accessible, and efficient even in its free version. I was only able to keep track of one project at a time, and once discovering that, that’s where I got the idea to test out writing my book with it. I began with 20 minute sprints that I’d separate with about 5-10 minute breaks in between.

In my first couple of sprints, my average was around the rate of 1,860 words per hour (wph). As time went on, I could do more words per hour as I went on, naturally. My highest rate (and definitely an outlier) was 2,442 wph. I got more and more into the challenge of seeing if I could get close to 5,000 wph while I wrote my book. What can I say; I like pushing my limits and seeing what I can do.

I got a lot more done as I wrote, quite obviously. Numbers are encouraging to me. The science of keeping track of my own progress reinforces my confidence in my abilities and –at least for me—is encouraging to continue my passions. I could reach about six pages in an hour, and at the least that meant I could write one hour a day and reach my goal.

Something else I noticed while doing writing sprints was that the more I did them in shorter bouts, the more I didn’t want to write. It was the most unexpected and weirdest effect of this activity. I’d spend so much intense energy focusing on writing that it’d be exhausting on my breaks. I felt like I wanted to spend more time taking breaks than to continue writing.

However, there are a certain number of other factors that if I changed, I wonder if I’d still feel the same. If I switched between projects with this method, whether it be every other day or maybe even every other sprint, would I still feel exhausted? I’ve never had immense difficulty with focusing on certain tasks, but if anything I wind up hyper-focusing and then getting burnt out before I go to do something else.

In order to combat this feeling of intense exhaustion, I decided to see what would happen if I extended the sprints to 30 minute sprints. My rate of work was roughly the same, and at times, even higher than the average rate of 20 minute sprints. I produced about the same results and feel less significant pressure by just adding on ten more minutes, thus only needing one break between sprints instead of two. Additionally, I had gotten used to doing three sprints a day and wound up falling into the habit of doing an hour and a half of writing per day easily, contrary to just the one. I’d be able to get the third sprint in and only then would the exhaustion start to creep in.

The app was certainly helpful. The only two issues I had with the app itself was that it was occasionally buggy. If I paused the sprint sometimes the app would launch myself back a couple of minutes when I resumed it, and others it just stopped the sprint altogether. Usually that happened if I hopped to another app quickly or answered a phone call. The only other “issue” I had with the app (which isn’t really one at all) was the layout when receiving your sprint results. It’d list the project, wph, sprint duration, daily words, and then finally the sprint words. It’d be much more efficient to have the sprint words before the sprint duration, or even the words per hour. That’s the first thing I want to know when I finished a sprint; how many words I did and then the rate. Considering I’d wind up writing past midnight, when I’d try to calculate my own daily words it got confusing to find the right numbers. That’s just my own thoughts on the design, however. Functionality-wise, the app works near-perfectly.

Overall? I’ll definitely be doing writing sprints again, probably for NaNoWriMo. Considering on most days (except like, two) I was able to accomplish the minimum for NaNoWriMo, I am confident with this method I’ll be able to win my first attempt as well. For writing as long as I have, I’m surprised I haven’t discovered this sooner. I’m glad I have!


King Challenge 2017

Last year I did my own writing experiment. I didn’t know if I’d be able to accomplish my goal, but I knew I wanted to try. It stemmed from a writer’s event that had Steven King and George R. R. Martin talking about their craft. About 50 minutes into it, one of my favorite exchanges between writers was made. (Here’s a link right to the exchange, but I’ll summarize it here too.)

They were wrapping up their conversation, and Martin asked King, “How the fuck do you write so many books so fast?” with a chorus of laughter following behind. King explained that his writing process involved writing six fairly clean pages a day, 3-4 hours every day that he’s working on a book. Therefore, he could have a manuscript of about 360 pages in two months. Martin asked him if he regularly hit six pages a day, and King said he usually did. Martin then further asked, “You don’t ever have a day where you sit down there and it’s like constipation and you write a sentence and you hate the sentence and you check your email and you wonder if you ever had any talent after all?” And King answered with a no, explaining that spontaneous life events pop up but he still tries to get those six pages in.

That exchange made me reflect on my own writing habits. On a good day, I could get about 6 pages in. Then the thought occurred to me: If Stephen King could do that, then I could do it too. It’s possible, and I was going to do it. I already had a novel planned with its major and minor events, and I decided it’d allow me the perfect opportunity to try to follow that standard of writing.

I had a week to myself with no other distractions in my cabin home, and I had 10 days to see what I could do. Much to my own surprise, I committed to the six pages. In fact, my total page count was 75, and my total word count was 20,817 words. The only downside is that there are some parts that will need more revising before sending out to beta readers, but as far as progress goes, I’d say it worked out fairly well.

This year I’m going to see if I can do it again except instead of a week, I’ll be using the month of July. I have a small 4 day vacation one weekend, but otherwise I’ll be writing every day. I’ll be working on the same book, seeing as I haven’t finished it yet, so my goal first and foremost is to finish that book. With my other two books that I’ve written, it’s taken me years to finish them with agonizingly clear shifts in skill level ridden throughout that I’ll have to rewrite completely to maintain a consistent voice. I refuse to fall into that happenstance again, so therefore, my second goal is to write six pages a day. That way, I’ll be able to finish the book itself within the time frame I have set.

At the end of July, I’ll post an update where I explain my experiences with what I’m going to call the King challenge. See you then!