Lucas, Mel, and Krysti Celebrate Toddlers

Finally ❤

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Anniversary Week Discussion

Hello everyone!

Today kicks-off D2D’s anniversary week! 🙂

To celebrate, I am hosting some discussion in my D2D thread over on the sims forums that I hope you guys will check out!

I will be posting some reflection-type posts over there throughout the week (there’s one up already!), and I am encouraging others who’d like to look back and talk about D2D to join in too 🙂

If you do not have an account on the sims forums, I totally welcome discussion or comments here on this blog post as well.

Thank you for all your love and support! ❤

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Anniversary (November 24th)

Hello all!

I just wanted to throw a quick reminder out to everyone that November 24th will be the one year anniversary of the day I finished Dust to Dust. I almost can’t believe it!

I know I dropped the ball with my reflections back in the summer (real life and my legacy got in the way!) but I’m hoping to bring them back this month if I can 🙂

I’m also encouraging anyone who wants to to consider re-reading D2D this month 🙂 I plan on doing it myself! 

Thank you all for your love and support, as always ❤

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Happy D2D-versary/Reflection Two: Beginnings

I can’t believe it, but today marks one year since I first started posting Dust to Dust on this blog. I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing at the time, but I am so grateful I started this journey and got to share this story with everyone!

Joining the world of SimLit has opened my eyes to my own creativity and imagination, introduced me to other amazing works of SimLit, and has helped me meet so many amazing people who I now consider friends!

I will always be grateful for 7/11/15 and for everything Dust to Dust has given me.

This is so silly, but I’d like to give a special shoutout to Lucas, Evelyn, Mel, Krysti, and all the other characters from this story. They truly had lives of their own and I miss them every day ❤ But they live on forever in my heart and my mind 🙂

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of D2D, I am officially bringing back reflections, and will hopefully have them to share with you for the rest of the summer. Enjoy!

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Reflection Two: Beginnings

Some people may not realize this, but I actually played through the entire story of Dust to Dust before I ever wrote anything!

As I’d mentioned in my first reflection, I never really wrote any sim stories down before, just played them for myself. When I started my Dust to Dust save file, I had no intention at all to write it as a story.

A few hours into my gameplay, when Lucas was a teen, I took the first ever screenshot from my save (which never appeared in my story… Here it is!)

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Ah, young love 😛

Anyway, sometime around this point, I started to play around with the idea of actually writing this story. I’d vaguely heard of SimLit before, and had peeked at a story or two. The more I thought about the “story” I’d planned for my new save file, the more I started to think “Hmm… Maybe I could write this!” I used to love writing, and hadn’t written anything major in years. It was the beginning of the summer and I had a few months free. So why not?

I aged Lucas back down to a child (including his poor brown hair, thanks to that perfect patio hair glitch!) and started my “story” over again… This time screenshotting as I went!

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The original version of the “Lucas confesses his feelings for Evelyn in the hot tub” scene. Note the full garden in the background hahaha this was because I’d already played through the entire story at this point 😛

My plan was to play through the storyline first, take some screenshots as I played, and THEN write. As I played, unexpected things started happening, and I started changing and developing my plot more and more. I figured out I would need to go back and re-do/add a TON more pictures. I will talk about this later in future reflection posts!

The best example of this. Lucas happens to run into Grimmy at the park! Seriously like half of my plot came from this chance meeting. Thank you, random dead townie. Your sacrifice helped my story :P

The best example of this. Lucas happens to run into Grimmy at the park! Seriously like half of my plot came from this chance meeting. Thank you, random dead townie. Your sacrifice helped my story 😛

Anyway, let’s talk a tiny bit about the very beginning of this story.

Though cliche, I felt like the best way to begin the story was by having a family move into a new home. Why else would their house suddenly be haunted? When I had to figure out Lucas and Evelyn’s first meeting, I quickly decided that having him try to run away late at night made the most sense. It all tied together kind of well. The family was in a new home, their kid was homesick and wanted to leave, the discovery of a ghost in his backyard made him want to stay.

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The first shot I ever took of Lucas with Evelyn’s grave. Note that the walls are down in the background. I was such a terrible screenshotter back then. Look how far I’ve come haha!

Because I was going the “imaginary friend” route, I had to make sure that Lucas was the only one who could see Evelyn, and that they became best friends. When developing their personalities, I made sure that they meshed well together. The friendship (and eventual romance) had to feel genuine… but the friendship more than anything, as that is the true heart of this story.

Looking back, I do wish I’d spent some more time on Lucas’ childhood years. I almost used those first 7-8 chapters as a prelude of sorts to the rest of the story. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I think I would have spent more time on Lucas’ childhood and how their friendship developed in the first place.

But as soon as the seeds were in place — their friendship, and Lucas’ desire to bring her back to life — I was ready to move on to the teen years, where the romance would begin!

More on that in the next reflection 😉 Thank you for reading! 😀

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What Happened to the Reflections??

Hello all!

I want to apologize for the lack of reflections since my first one! I am a teacher, so the end of the school year had been a bit crazy to say the least! Crazier than I’d anticipated when I decided to start the reflection posts. But I haven’t forgotten about them… In fact, the next one is done, just needs screenshots!

I still plan on posting them, but instead of leading UP to the one-year anniversary of D2D, it will probably continue throughout the summer (even after the anniversary) 🙂 I still have behind-the-scenes tidbits and memories about writing the story that I’d love to share with you guys! I just haven’t had as much time to devote to writing the reflections as I’d wanted.

Now that I’m on summer break, however, expect them to continue! Thanks for your patience, and for being a supporter of this story I love so much! 😀

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Reflection One: Origins

Welcome to my first reflection post! Though I’d originally said I was planning on doing seven of these — one for each week up to the anniversary of starting D2D — I think it will likely end up being longer than that… So I may end up posting two reflections on some weeks, or post after the one year anniversary date. So apologies in advance for not sticking to the promised schedule!

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Reflection One: Origins

I’ve been playing The Sims games since the very first game was released, back when I was 11 years old. I loved it from the very first time I played, and have loved it ever since!

As a very geeky child who was raised on tabletop RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons was my first. Thanks to my older brother haha), I’ve always been kind of “role-playing” with my Sims. I was always telling some sort of story. But it was never for anyone else, just for me. And I didn’t mind. I was having fun with it!

When The Sims 3 Generations EP came out and introduced Imaginary Friends, one of my favorite “stories” to play-out with my Sims was having a child sim fall in love with their imaginary friend, work hard to bring them to life, and then live happily ever after with them.

I think this was partially inspired by me reading the (very cheesy) book Sundays at Tiffany’s. That story is about a little girl whose imaginary friend “leaves” her when she is too old for him, but she sees him again when she’s an adult, and they end up falling in love. In the end, he becomes human and they are together.

Something about that plotline stuck with me, and once we were able to do the same in TS3, I jumped on the opportunity to re-create similar stories for myself.

I had a lot of fun digging through my TS3 screenshots folder to find some examples of this! Forgive how awful the pictures are. I was just taking these pictures for fun/for me, at the time.

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The above little girl brought her imaginary friend to life very quickly! Haha. I don’t have any shots of her when she was older, unfortunately. But I assure you she married her imaginary friend! I always had that sort of an ending… I am a romantic at heart!

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This girl above is one of the only actual pictures I have of the sim being romantic with their imaginary friend once they were brought to life. I’m sorry I don’t have more examples… I didn’t take that many screenshots until I started writing SimLit!

The below screenshots, though horribly quality (oh goodness, why are the walls down?!) are two of my favorites, because they were a big inspiration for Dust to Dust.

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I always loved the feature of being able to click away to another sim in the household, and having the imaginary friend disappear. So clever! I took a screenshot of this for my own personal enjoyment. But as you can see, this was a huge inspiration for similar moments in D2D:

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(Oh wow, giant Easter Egg! Look at the top of the bookshelf in the above picture… Angelfish 😉 The above scene was screenshotted after I’d played through the entire story before, so the Angelfish had been caught long ago. But more on that in a future reflection hehehe)

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When The Sims 4 was released, I continued my tradition of telling stories with my sims. As I’ve said, Imaginary Friends had always been my favorite in TS3, and I’d dabbled with ghosts a bit as well:

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(Oh man, that “story” was tragic. This little girl’s father died when she was a toddler. His ghost haunted their house throughout her life, but she was the only one who could see him or interact with him… or at least, the only one I’d let interact with him haha).

Anyway, I’d done a bunch of little “stories” in TS4, and last summer, I decided I wanted to try to bring back my old favorite storyline of having a child fall in love with their imaginary friend and bring them to life. Knowing there were no imaginary friends in TS4, I instead decided to alter the story so that the child’s “imaginary friend” was actually a ghost. And thus the idea for D2D was born!

So I guess the whole point of this first reflection post is that Dust to Dust probably wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for a cheesy James Patterson novel and Imaginary Friends in TS3!

The next reflection post will focus on the actual beginning of Dust to Dust, and offer more behind-the-scenes info on how the story developed the way it did 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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Announcement: Anniversaries & Reflections!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Believe it or not (I know I don’t!), today (May 24th) marks 6 months since the Epilogue of Dust to Dust was posted. I still cannot thank all of you enough for your support, including new readers who have found my story during that time! Knowing that people are still enjoying and being touched by my story even months later means so much to me.

We also have another “anniversary” coming up — 7 weeks from today, on July 11th, it will be the one-year anniversary of the day I published the first chapter of Dust to Dust!

As a way of “celebrating” a bit, starting next week, I will be doing weekly reflection post leading up to the one-year anniversary! 🙂 Each reflection post will focus on a different section of the story, and I will share some behind-the-scenes info, as well as thoughts about the story as I look back nearly a year later!

I am planning on doing these posts every Monday, and readers are welcome to comment/share their thoughts too, and also participate in the discussion on my Dust to Dust thread over at the TS4 forums. 

Thank you again for all your support, and I look forward on reflecting back on this story with all of you!

-Amanda

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