I am kaitco

a writer's log

Simmin’ vs. Storytellin’ Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Filed under: Coding,Reading,The Sims — kaitco @ 5:23 am
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I’m getting into a bad spin. I wrote a little on Saturday and a little on Friday as well. I was definitely in a “I just don’t feel like it” kind of mood today, but I was still able to read loads from The Stand. What I love most about The Stand is that it’s been able a decade since I’d last read it, so it’s like reading it for the first time…only, there are bits and pieces that stand out to me, like a bizarre foreshadowing.

Even though it’s 5AM, I did have a bit of an excuse in writing because I had to take down my braids, but for the most part, I blame my increase in Designing and Simming.

I’m going to take another stab at a rather simple Flash effect and see if I can bring a sketch into a full creation. A lot of my time today, though, had been taken up by taking pictures in the game to fully tell the tale of my favorite sim family, The Wests. I’ve been playing this family since 2004 when I didn’t really know how to take pictures or even how to play the game, so many of the originals I’d taken are small and blurry and just don’t cut it. I won’t be going into the extreme lengths of making sure all my walls are up and etc., especially since I’ve got five years worth of pictures that involve mediocre lighting and view of multiple rooms, ie: they look they way I play the game.

I just want to retake some of the small and blurry pics and add some shots that I’d neglected to take when the sims of the first generation were raised. The best thing about all this was creating a new neighborhood where I could move around sims and divorce and un-age them as I needed to “get the shot.”

My first sim family included Mason and Tara Bramble. I’d made them when I was about 20 and I’ll admit that they were made with Mulder and Scully in mid as I created them. Mason had dark hair and green eyes and Tara had red hair and blue eyes. I let them pass away about year or so ago, maybe two, but I was really, really upset when I did. I just miss them a lot even though they’re just sims. I guess it’s because so much of my neighborhood’s story comes through them and their offspring.

I found a way to replicate them in the game and got to “see” them again, after they’d been gone for so long. I’d also been able to un-age the parents in the West family and view them in all their beauty and splendor once more, which gave me all sorts of chills and happy memories.

There is something so wonderful about The Sims 2 that it’s difficult to describe. The game is intrinsically designed to tell stories; I’ve even attempted to write full short stories revolving a sim and her family drama. I do intend to write my sim Jill’s story in the near future because I just can’t not write a story about a black female raised by her two gay white dads with her other three adopted siblings. With many of my sim households, I just start with a few sims without having any real direction, but allow a story (a good story, too) to develop from there.

I’m also very amused at how my sim neighborhood manages to reflect American life. Most of the black people live “Downtown” (I realized I was doing this while it was happening, but it was when I was attempting to “blacken” my game and I only had one place to put all of them.)  Most of the college graduates are starting families in newer, start-up communities. There is a shortage of “suitable” black men for all my black females and, biracial families are on the rise as are teen pregnancies.

The fact that the game manages to mimic real society gives it that extra edge that not only makes it fun to play, but gives me an everlasting outlet for storytelling. Many sims storytellers go through a lot of trouble in creating something that is visually pleasing, but I’m not one to create a picture book; I focus on the story first and hope that the images match what I’m trying to do.

I’ve some general stories in the works based off of my simming, but I’m not sure what excites me more: the sim stories or the sim-based stories…


A weird kid Thursday, June 4, 2009

Filed under: Artwork,Coding,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 11:35 am
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I haven’t been writing at all lately.

I haven’t even looked at the notes for Damen since at least Monday. I guess I’m in some kind of slump or the old bipolar monster has reared her head again and I’ve been too low to think creatively.

Anyhoo… Even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve coding and designing the crap out of my site. I completely finished my About page and made it a little more asthetically pleasing and hopefully it makes a little more sense than the list of words I’d had there previously.

I’ve still got to create the “Dorienne Presents…” page and redo the links page before I’m ready to “launch” version 3.0 of the site. I suppose another week of heavy coding and designing should get me ready.

Also, I’ve been simming a lot in between all this coding. I’ve been playing a lot of sims that I hadn’t played in probably close to a year. It has been wild fun re-discovering some of the dormant stories in the game. I think I’m ready to bring the neighborhood to a new generation, but this may be a result of the BPD monster working her magic, so I’m not really sure.

In the midst of the coding and the simming, I have been trying to rescue my Geocities pages. It took about an entire day to get through all my sites because I’d definitely abused their services by creating about a half dozen names and linking them all together to get a site that was close to a small site with about 50MB of space total. I’ve not really made use of Geocities’ services since 2004 when I’d created Dorienne Smith.com, but I wanted to keep everything for posterity sake. My hope is that they allow a redirection service for all those sites that have owners that continually log into their accounts, but I doubt that is going to happen. I had to save a Japanese writing site that had a mirror through Geocities as well and that took a couple days by itself, but getting all my own site was a chore that really wasn’t necessary and if Geocities when just went a little extra mile, they wouldn’t have to close the service in the first place.

What got me writing, though, was that in my zeal to recover my Geocities’ pages, I had to search through this pile of papers and notebooks in a shelf that I have just moved from my parents’ house to the dorms to two different campus apartments and to my current house without having gone through all the crap that was in those papers and notebooks. Most of the stuff were just notes on sites I’d planned to make and the preliminary stages of Dorienne Smith.com, but a good many of the pages were old things I had written in the past decade.

I found my first attempt at a novel that I had started when I was ten years old, Twelve Years. I remember quite clearly that the original title was Seventeen Years, but since I was only ten at the time, I reasoned that I didn’t really know enough about being seventeen to write a book about seventeen years of life, so the obvious action was to only expand the book for twelve years because surely by the time I finished the book, I would be at least twelve years old and would be able to write accurately. The fact that I remember thinking something like this just made me realize that I must have been a really weird kid when I was younger.

In the mess of paper and notebooks, I found a spiral-bound notebook that contained the beginnings of an X-Files’ story that I had first created when I was fourteen years old.  The opening scene was rather disturbing, even for an X-File, and it got me trying to remember what my middle and high school years were like. Whether I’ve blocked them from memory or not, I can’t really doing much more than writing, drawing and making lists to categorize how I was changing. I remember knowing a lot of people, but honestly, I had very few real friends, and after viewing that old X-Files story, and I’m surprised that I’d had any at all. I was definitely a weird kid.

As a kid, I wrote zillions of notes for stories, some of which have materialized (albeit subconsciously) into Damen, I created the beginnings of many stories from those notes and I sketched all the time. I’d gone through college looking back at my high school years as someone who just followed the popular crowds and was real bitch for much of the time, but finding all these notes and writings tells me I was far different from how I’d imagined myself.

I sat down to write my first novel when I was ten years old. It wasn’t like I wanted to create a long story or just write something for my mother. At only ten years old, I had it set in my mind that I was going to write a novel and would someday be able to publish it for others to see. I had actually hand-written 98 pages of this novel before I realized that it wasn’t much more than a thinly-disguised fanfiction and, at twelve years old, I began my first real novel, one that contained characters that were wholly my own. I remember writing it off and on over the next few years and, in late 1999, I finished A Ten Minute Speech. I created a sequel to it, The Martin Drama, and finished it before I went off to college in August 2002. Just thinking about it intrigues me: I had began three “novels” and completed two of them before I was eighteen years old.

Now, while neither completed novel is even remotely publishable in their original forms, I still hold the desire to fully complete them and make them into something that someone without a learning disability could read and enjoy. The fact is, I have been doing this “writing” thing for more than a decade and I can’t believe I’d been trying to do other things with my life for so long, when one look at the piles and piles of notes and story ideas could tell any passerby what I should be doing.

I have been writing novels since I was ten years old. I was a weird kid.


The writer’s log Thursday, May 28, 2009

Filed under: Coding,Writing — kaitco @ 2:04 am
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In revving up DorienneSmith.com into Version 3.0, I’ve finally decided what I am going to do with this blog. “I am kaitco” is going to be my writer’s log, that is, a daily descriptor of my writing and other creative activities.

I had intended to do this with my LiveJournal, but that has turned into a more casual non-political and more secularized version of my Dorienne’s Log and I would like a little more “freedom” to feel like I’m starting fresh with something. Also, unlike with my LiveJournal and Log, this is not going to have any specific goal or direction. Simply put, when I write something (poetry, fanfiction, progress in a novel) I’ll blog about it to have a record of my creative process. The same will go for all things creative, so some days I’ll have uber-long posts while there may be days where I’ll not have much more to say other than Sim X had a baby whom I’ve named Y because I’ll have spent all my time simming instead of doing “productive” things.

I’ll be using a lot of code names for my novel projects, many of which I’ll never take the time to explain seeing as how this is mainly for my own purposes, but I suppose anyone reading for any length of time could get the gist of what I’m saying. I’ll probably also refer to many coding and art projects in the same light. In fact, I may be referring to characters and scenes that may only be fully understood by myself for years to come, but again, this is really a Dorienne project, so anyone reading will just have to take this as-is.

Eventually, I’ll merge this blog with a specified subdomain on DorienneSmith.com, but life here on wordpress.com will suffice at present. Again, I’ve no real goals with this other than to see how this progresses and if I’ll end up something meaningful on which I can look back and see how I’ve “made it” to whatever point.

All that said…let’s begin:

I’m wicked late with my fifth-year “celebration” for DorienneSmith.com. It’s taken me close to three days to figure out how to create a scrolling background in Flash and have some stuff floating on top of it, but I’ve finally worked many of the kinks out of my header and may even have an update for the site by the end of the month.

I’ve not actually written anything in Damen for close to a week. I think it’s because my darn sleep schedule has been so erratic lately, but I’ve at least e-mailed my most recent copy of it to my gmail, so I’m at least marching in the right direction. The goal for tomorrow is to really dig into the scene where Jessie “confronts” him. I’ve hit a brick wall with it for some reason, much like I had with Damen and Anthony taking a drive to the hood. I like to think the wall is something more than simply procrastination, but I’m suspecting that’s all it is.

I’ve been thinking/dreaming about Luka a lot lately. It may be because I’m feeling rather powerless right now and the story is not too much more than a glorified version of a world takeover Dorienne-style, but Luka and Elia keep popping in my mind far more often than they had in recent months. I’m still trying to stay focused though. If I let a diversion like Luka step in between Damen and I at this point, 9/26 will be here before I blink twice and then I’ll really be in trouble.

Anywhoo…I probably won’t get too much of Damen and Jessie’s scene done tomorrow since I’m still in coding overdrive, but if I can just sketch out a little bit more of them, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something.


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