Happy timezones! Today, you are in store for a special treat! Recently, I interviewed Jes2G (Stories by Jes2G) who is one of my favorite writers! Many of you are already familiar with her stories, but for those who aren’t, let me tell you, there isn’t one I don’t like!
Through her writing, she has made me laugh, cry and kept me on the edge of my seat! Honestly, I don’t know how one person can be so talented. My favorite stories are Keeping up with the Jonses which is a neighborhood rotational story, and Discovering Juliana. But all of her stories are delightful and well worth the time!
So, let’s get started!
How long have you been playing The Sims and what got you into it? I’ve been playing The Sims since day one. My siblings and I claim to be the creators of The Sims. We’ve always loved and played Maxis games. One day, we were playing Sim Farm, and I yelled, “HEY! They should do this with people!!” Years later, behold…The Sims. You’re welcome.
Why did you begin blogging your sims story? The first sims story I wrote was my legacy challenge, Pruett Family Legacy. It was my first experience with writing SimLit and doing any kind of sims challenge. I didn’t even know SimLit was a thing until The Sims 4 came out though I had heard of legacy challenges. I decided I wanted to try one, and by that time I had discovered the Stories & Legacies section of the forums and was amazed by all the stories. At the time, I was writing a novel and hit another dead end. I needed a break from it but still needed a creative outlet. So, I decided to write a story to fuel my creative energy and ensure that I would keep myself interested in the challenge.
How do you come up with your story ideas? Oddly enough, many of my story ideas come to me in create-a-sim. I spend a lot of time creating sims. I like to make them look unique, and many times I’m left staring at them and wondering what their story is. For example, when I made Juliana Sepulveda of Discovering Juliana, I noticed her eyes. They looked sad, and I wanted to know why she was sad. In the process of trying to figure out why she was said and how I could make her happy came the basis for the story.
Many of my other stories are spin-offs of the legacy because I loved the characters and do not want to let them go lol. Other ideas come to me at random. One day I decided I wanted to write a story called Keeping Up With the Joneses because I thought it would be cool. I had no ideas for the story until much later lol.
Do your sims actions help create new ideas or make the story go in a different direction then you had intended? Absolutely. I like my game-driven stories to be mostly guided by the sims, and I love it when they do things that make me change my mind. Most of those stories have a very loose plot. I play the game and interpret their actions based on the said plot.
Which character is your favorite and why? My favorite character in Discovering Juliana is Harold! He is a crotchety old man and very set in his old school ways, but I love him. He doesn’t talk much, and he never says what he feels deep down, but there is no false pretense with him. He is a conflicted character who is like an onion. I love peeling back his layers as the story goes on.
Do you have advice for any other writers who may just be starting out? Write a story that entertains you. Don’t worry about stats or how many people aren’t reading your story yet. The enthusiasm you carry for your story will be infused inside the words, and when people finally get around to reading it they will love it and share it with others. Also, there is nothing wrong with promoting your story. Afterall, no one will find it if they don’t know it exists. Self-promotion is necessary, but don’t be a jerk about it.
What are the challenges of bringing your characters to life? If I don’t know the characters well, they tend to be very flat and I find it difficult to bring them to life. I had to put Discovering Juliana on hold for more than a year because I was stuck. I realized the reason was because I didn’t understand some of them as well as I needed to. Kevin was the worst offender. I actually spent two months getting to know him and his past. Once I got him figured out, the story became easy to write, and I got started again. Much to my delight, my readers seem to think Kevin is anything but flat. 😀
Would you like to share an excerpt from your story or a summary of your story? Or both? Oh, could I? 🙂 This is my favorite opening ever!
Kevin had never been so nervous to arrive at Umbrage Manor. He sat in his car for a few minutes with his eyes closed, psyching himself up for the overdue conversation. The plush leather headrest cradled his foggy head as he tried to sort out his thoughts. Three weeks had gone by since the slip. Two weeks since he let go, and forever and a day since he embarked down this winding road with Juliana. He had to tell her. It had to be done. He was almost certain she would feel the same way, so why was it so hard?
With a quick sigh, he turned off the purring engine, got out the car, and mounted the stairs of the house. His heart raced, and his breaths got shallower the closer he got to the door. Usually, he kept his emotions steady, but his nerves were frayed that night. How did this girl manage to make him so unglued? He needed a deep, cleansing breath before knocking.
No turning back.
After a minute or two, he saw his love bounding down the stairs with her hair waving like a majestic flag. The fear didn’t dissipate, but her presence warmed him like a soothing cup of hot tea. Her bright eyes and dazzling smile comforted him for he knew she welcomed his presence. They hadn’t communicated at all while he stayed away, and he wasn’t sure what he would walk into. She hesitated before opening the door, though. Was she just surprised, or did she have concerns?
And here’s a summary of the story: A foreign girl is forced to emigrate to Willow Creek shortly after her 18th birthday in order to escape the poverty and violence of her homeland. She does not speak the local language and must learn how to survive on her own. This is a coming of age story about Juliana Sepulveda’s journey toward independence and confidence in a brand new world.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? I am energized by ideas, but writing exhausts me. Some weekends I’ll wake up around 8 to begin writing. I’ll wrap up around 11 or 12 only to go back to sleep and wake up around 3! Every chapter doesn’t wipe me out like that, but it happens more often recently. I’m not exactly sure what happens in my body during those times, but I think it takes an emotional toll on my brain. I’m very introverted, so I tend to be a low energy type anyway. Many of my characters a different from me, so I have to think how they think and feel what they feel to make sure I write them accurately. Apparently, that’s a lot of work. 🙂
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I try to always be original. I love my readers, and there are some I hold great respect for, and they give me excellent feedback and insights I just don’t have. I’ll take what they say into consideration. But, I cannot give the readers everything they want. I firmly believe that the moment you begin pandering to the readers is the moment your story ceases to exist. I think writers write because we have something to say. We give our voice away when we start writing according to what other people want. At the same time, however, the story does need to be palatable for the readers! I think we always need to keep in mind what the readers want so we can write a story that has a satisfying ending. But, that doesn’t mean we need to write the details exactly how the readers want to read it.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? I actually don’t find it hard to write male characters. I actually prefer them! They typically don’t talk as much as women do, have basic reasoning, for the most part, can be very predictable, and typically do not get terribly deep in their feelings. Writing males is less work for me! LOL I tend to be a very observant person, so when I’m writing male characters, I think about the kinds of men I see and know and write them from what I see (given I know the character as well as I know my friends, of course).
Do you believe in writer’s block? I used to, but an author I respect and learn from has a perspective that makes perfect sense to me. He doesn’t believe that there is something out there that blocks the creative flow. He says it doesn’t make sense because why would writers be the only people who experience a block in their profession (or hobby)? He believes we experience blocks because we are telling the wrong story. To get over the blocks, he recommends rewinding a bit and seeing where we went wrong. Once you see where that is and make the necessary changes, we’ll find the story very easy to write. I think it’s true! When I was stuck on Discovering Juliana, the story was definitely not going in the direction it’s going in right now and I was telling the wrong story for sure. I did have to rewind and figure out what went wrong. In my case, it wasn’t something that went wrong in the story but in future arcs and the journey to get to them. I changed up the plot a bit, created new arcs and deleted some, and finally got to a place where I could write again. I haven’t been stuck again since.
Do you proofread/edit all your own writings or do you get someone to do that for you? I do all the editing and most of the proofreading. I think being a good editor strengthens our skills as writers. Sometimes, however, I need a second set of eyes and I’ll let trusted friends proofread for me when I’m not sure the point gets across or some meaning is lost.
What’s more important: characters or plot? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here, but I personally think it’s the characters that make a story strong. I think people tend to remember characters more than what a story was about. People like to identify with characters. That’s why I spend so much time fleshing them out and making them as real as possible. I also think a story with a weak plot but amazing characters could make for a good, memorable story.
Wow! Thank you, Jes2G, for such an insightful interview into your writing process. I’m so glad you were able to share your thoughts with us!
Author’s Note: If you are a blog author (it does not 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!