Hello, readers! Thank you for joining me as I interview one of my favorite blog authors, BMIT04 (also known as Jesse). She writes the amazing story called Isle of the Midnight Sun.
As I was working on the latest chapter, it occurred to me that I had no idea how other authors come up with their content. As I continued to think about this, more questions arose that I wanted answered. If there is a good response to this special feature, I would like to occasionally interview more sims blog authors.
Okay, on with the interview!
Jesse, how long have you been playing The Sims and what got you into it?
My best friend was moving out of her parents’ home (she is 11 years younger than me) as they had sold it and I was helping her pack up her room. She had this bag of Sims 2 games she was going to donate to the library. She said I should take them and give it a try. We hadn’t been friends for longer than a year and I didn’t want to seem greedy so I only took the ones she said I definitely couldn’t do without. She then moved on to Sims 3. I played Sims 2 for a little over a year. I began Sims 2 Fall of 2011 and moved up to Sims 3 January 2013. After she pestered me so badly to move up, I finally gave in. I used my Christmas money to buy the game which was on sale. Then never stopped buying. *LOL* By the time I was done, I had all the packs available at that time.
Why did you begin blogging your Sims story?
I heard about these challenges people were playing and I was beginning to get a bit bored with the game. I thought since I am a goal oriented person, a challenge would be a good thing for me. I started looking around and found the Isle of the Midnight Sun Challenge. It really appealed to me so I downloaded the world and began giving it a try. I started posting short journal like chapters in the blog space on The Sims 3 site, just as a record to say I had done it and to show I didn’t break the rules. I also was posting custom memories and friends started to catch on. They wanted more story. So I started looking into blog sites. (Was terrified doing it!) I moved my blog over to blogger and started to expand my story.
How do you come up with your story ideas?
I began playing and found just how boring it was having a guy living alone on an island. How did I come up with the story? Imagination, I guess. *LOL* A lot of sleepless nights for sure, mulling it around in my head. Plenty of sticky notes on a board as well. I think it truly came from my desire to give everyone a great story. So I started to think how I could make it different from any other MSC story you could find on the net. So that is what I am trying to do, while still keeping within the rules! It’s hard!
Do your sims actions help create new ideas or make the story go in a different direction then you had intended?
I like to sit and watch my sims to see what they are going to do. I take a ton of pictures as well. I mean a ton. So some of the story comes from what they do, some is from me directing it where I want it to go.
Which is your favorite character and why?
My favourite character? Wow that is a tough one. I’m fond of them for all different reasons. No, I don’t think I have one. Although I am really looking forward to little Jade. So perhaps it will be her. Plus I have three more generations to go after this so we shall see.
What chapter has been the most difficult to write so far, and why?
Oh by far, losing Ian and Maya chapter 2.23 “The Heart Was Made To Be Broken.” I loved Ian and I tried to write him like the perfect gentleman but still a man. Maya I started out wanting everyone to hate her and then just switched roads to turn her into an honourable person. They were so much in love, if you could actually see the game play, always in each other’s arms. It was really sad to see them go.
Is there anything you wish was different about your story?
Not about my story. But perhaps myself. I am looking for courage to write characters that aren’t necessarily the good guy. I find it hard because I’ve never even played an evil or insane sim, nor even a vampire. I’m looking within myself to find that courage, but I am also getting support from my best friend who helps me by listening to the story line and urges me on to what I need to do.
Do you have any advice for other writers who may just be starting out?
Have a clear plan when you start out. I always say that everything in my story means something so pay attention because you never know when it is going to come back around. Readers want to be surprised. They don’t want to figure out the plot within 5 minutes of reading. Its okay to have some fluff chapters to get you through but it won’t fly if you do it for every chapter. I compensate by using cliff hangers, but I am working on not doing that so much anymore. Set realistic goals. Writing a blog story is a lot of work as any popular blogger will tell you. It can consume your life if you let it. It really can!
What are the challenges of bringing your characters to life?
You will hear me and other bloggers say that we struggle to get into the characters head. But its not just finding their voice, it’s also immersing yourself in the emotional state of the character. When Maya was in university going thru all that turmoil and the few chapters with Ian, little Jin seeing his mom that one chapter, then losing her again; it takes a toll on your own emotional state. Jin being angry with his father, loving Sun but having to not love her that way….. I had weeks where I really had to fight to not be grumpy or emotional with my own family because I couldn’t get out of being in the character’s head so easily once I was in. I essentially become them. (I don’t know if that is the mark of a good or bad writer?)
Would you like to share an excerpt from your story or a summary of your story?
The Midnight Sun Challenge is a world where you have only an island and nothing else as far as the eye can see. The challenge? To live on the island for five generations, only leaving to find a mate. Now I did cheat a bit, by plunking down a larger island instead of the little “pimple” of an island that is provided for you. I am serious! The island is 4X4 squares in shape with a dock so you can build a boat. I found though that there are many glitches with the world especially with going to and from the island to the boat. So I eliminated the boat and plunked down a bigger island. It also helps to expand the story some more.
This is an excerpt from one of my favourite chapters: “The Pink Full Moon”
The night of the first full moon was the most eerie night we had experienced, and left us feeling like strangers on an island we knew so well and had made a home. The slightly cloudy sky was tinted a pinkish red, that reflected the same onto the water and gave the impression the moon was resting on a very foggy horizon. Never had we seen a moon like that, nor so big-anywhere. It was mesmerizing, yet ominous, to say the least.
The moon and the sky should have just been a beautiful moment in our lives that we captured on film and perhaps hung on our walls to remember this one night we were almost in essence, visited by the moon. Yet it was what came after, that brought the sense of eeriness under our skin and a quickening to our heart and senses. Fear took over the island.
On any normal night, the wild life on the island became alive, foraging for food, engaging in friendly social activity or sleeping soundly and peacefully under the bright sky filled with stars. Yet outside under the glow of the pink sky, the animals became restless, darting this way and that looking for, what seemed to be a safe place to hide. With their ears perked listening for every sound and noses to the air, their every movement was clearly on alert. It was almost as if the animals knew what was coming, knew danger was on its way.
*Update (May 3, 2016):
Jesse has moved her blog to WordPress.com!
Here is the link to the blog which features Isle of the Midnight Sun and much more!
Author’s Note: If you are a blog author (it does not necessarily have to be The Sims related) and would like to be featured in an interview, please send me an email using my contact form! I would love to interview you, too!