How To Use The Sims As A Tool For Creative Writing

In this episode, I explore how The Sims can be used as a fun tool for creative writing. I shares tips on using the game for character development, plot experimentation, relationship dynamics, and overcoming writer’s block. If you’re a writer looking for fresh inspiration, tune in!

Listen to this episode if:

  • You need to visualize your story before you can write it.
  • You’re looking for story prompts you can interact with.
  • You want to know how you can re-frame playing The Sims as ‘working on your novel’.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


[00:00:00] Gloria from Yellow Llama Co.:

Welcome to Sentimental Simmer, a podcast made for emotionally attached simmers and storytellers with wild imaginations. I’m your host, Gloria, and I run Yellow Llama, a planner shop made to help simmers play with purpose. Every week, I talk all about things, sim life planning, storytelling, and memory keeping. I’ll also brainstorm new ways to obsess over our pixel people, whether they be in the Sims or another life sim game. And now, let’s get into it.

Gloria [00:00:35]:

Today, we’re gonna be talking about how we can use Sims as a tool for creative writing. I actually got this suggestion from ribbon kitten7577 over on YouTube, and, of course, I’m happy to oblige. So one of my hobbies is actually creative writing, so I very much can relate to seeing the Sims not only as a place to have fun and and just play the game as intended and just as a player from a player’s perspective, but also from a writer’s perspective. The Sims is a playground where we can play with story without any pressure for it to be any good. The Sims is also super goofy, and I think it’s a great game or tool that we can use as writers to loosen up and take off the pressure. Writers can explore stories in the Sims. They can do this just to warm up or even to come up with ideas for their own story. I think there are a lot of ways in which the Sims can be used as a tool to help writers with their creative writing.

Gloria [00:01:30]:

I think the Sims is a great tool for character development, especially in the Sims 4. Cas is so easy to use, and it’s so easy to quickly mock up what a character might look like to really get their vibe before you actually start writing about them. It can make it easier to envision that character and and really imagine who they are. And it also helps you create characters that are distinct from each other, at least visually for sure. And I think that can really be a great starting point to then think of, okay, what’s their background? What’s their backstory? But if you have the visual in front of you, I mean, I’m personally a visual person, it definitely helps to inspire further ideas about what that Sims could be all about. You can also just randomize a sim and then brainstorm your character based on, you know, the looks and their outfits, which can sometimes be funny. I mean, you could just go around walking in the world of the Sims and then brainstorm why is this Sims wearing these sunglasses and this hat. Sometimes they’re walking around pretty funky.

Gloria [00:02:27]:

But, also, the traits sims have the different combinations. From that, you can use that as, like, little writing prompts, so to say, but for character. And a proper writing exercise that can come from playing the Sims is if you take that sim that you found randomly in the neighborhood or that you’ve created in CAS, if you take that sim and you write a blurb or a scene for that Sims, but for different genres. It’s still just an exercise. You’re not necessarily gonna use any of the material that comes from it, but it can help you explore that character. I found some really fun genre specific prompts on inspiration garden on the website. I’ll link that in the show notes. For example, if you’re writing a romance scene or or a blurb, it can be about how the character or, you know, that sim is preparing for their first date with somebody they’ve admired from afar, or if it’s a fantasy genre that you’re now writing, you can write about how your character or, you know, your in this case, your sim is experiencing their magical powers for the first time.

Gloria [00:03:31]:

These are exercises made for writers, but since you’re bringing everything into the realm of the sims, it’s a bit more relaxed. Right? You you’re in the goofy realm of the Sims. So keep it goofy. Keep it light. For example, coming back to the fantasy, there is actually a supernatural aspect in the game. So knowing how witches and vampires and when I work in the Sims, you can build that into your little blurb or scene that you’re writing about that Sims, as it would actually happen in the game. And that just keeps everything a bit more chill and less formal because you you definitely not gonna use that scene in a real book, unless, of course, maybe writing fan fiction or, you know, a a little Sims stories and simming it. But if you’re using this from the perspective of a writer that just wants to develop a character that they have in their mind, and they don’t know quite where yet where it’s going, and they they feel that pressure of of needing to know that before they can move forward.

Gloria [00:04:26]:

They’re blocked by it. Well, just keep everything loose and silly, and I think that can help also with the writer’s blockage. I think, at least for me personally, it can be a lot of pressure to want what you’re putting down on paper to be the right thing. And if you just let go of the fact that it’s not gonna it’s just it’s just an exercise. Right? It’s just you’re just playing around, and that’s what we do in The Sims. Right? We play. We play with story. And so if you treat it as just play, the perfectionist in you won’t get in the way.

Gloria [00:04:55]:

Another way you can use the Sims to help your writing is for plot experimentation. So you can get into the game and maybe roughly set up the scene you have in mind, and then you let the game decide the next action based on the ones and fears of that sim. And whatever happens next, you can use as like little mini story prompts for your own story. I think the Sims 2 and the sims 3 were particularly great for this out of the box, but in the Sims 4, I feel like the wants and and fears are not always unique to the Sims personality, but to add more dynamic and meaningful wants and fears, you can use mods. And so Pleasant Sims actually wrote a great guide on this, links to the mods that are best for this type of gameplay. So I’ll link that in the show notes. Another way that a writer can use the Sims as a tool is as a tool to play with relationship dynamics. So I feel like I think relationships are definitely very important in a good story, and they can add their own type of conflict.

Gloria [00:05:59]:

Why not create a club full of characters that you have in mind, and have them hang out with free will, and just watch what happens. Just let go and see if arguments happen, and you can see the little thought bubbles coming up. That’s actually another thing you can do. You can imagine what’s actually being said in that moment. Obviously, it’s all Simmer, and for the most part, we just get these little speech bubbles with icons in them, with little images that are hinting at maybe what the conversation is about. And we see also, based on reactions the sims are having, the expressions, we don’t know exactly what they’re saying. But as a dialogue exercise, you could actually write down what the conversation is. In life by you, which is an upcoming life simulation game, we’ll actually be able to go a step further and actually legit write down the dialogue and add it to the speech.

Gloria [00:06:52]:

Bubble and even add percentages of success and failure for certain interactions. And so I think that’ll also be a pretty interesting tool for storytellers. For now, I think, just as an exercise in both dialogue writing and relationship dynamics, and just exploring what could be the meaning behind an interaction between 2 Sims, is to write down any real words that you think could be spoken there. What what what’s the conversation actually? What’s happening here? I think we naturally already do that when we’re playing the game. We already kind of imagine or assume, interpret in our head what is being said and play based off of that. I think it’d be a fun exercise to actually write it down. The sims can also be used as a tool to stage our ideas, to act them out. We can design environments, anything we can imagine to help visualize the setting in our mind.

Gloria [00:07:40]:

It can also make it easier to describe those settings. Again, I’m a more visual type person. If I have a space in front of me drawn out, or in this case, built out in the sims, it’s easier for me to imagine where a Sims is in a particular moment or in in my story, maybe a character in a particular moment, how they would move around in a home. Like, what’s the floor plan? Is it realistic? Do they hear somebody yell if they’re in the bedroom? Because now I know where the bedroom is to in relation to the place from where the person’s yelling. Do they actually hear them? Like, I don’t know if it’s a murder mystery, or can they see somebody from where they are? It can really help you to to also describe those scenes because now you actually have a visual of where the plant is, what the lighting is. Especially if you have, like, a fantasy or, like, a supernatural kind of story, you can bring those imaginary locations to life as well. Not everybody can draw or is great at explaining what they have in their mind. So I think if you have it in front of you, and you can use a bunch of CC and whatnot, and to really create this fantastical world, or even if it’s just a space, it can really help put you in the moment that you’re trying to create for that character, and in turn, help you write it down and and bring it to paper.

Gloria [00:08:52]:

The Sims is also, I think, would be a great tool to help writers overcome writer’s block and also to help them warm up their writer mind. There’s this really great book called Improv for Writers by Georgina Marie, which is a great resource for writer’s block and idea generation in general. And I actually found an exercise in this book that I think would work really well together with the sims. Georgina describes that you should choose your character and write a diary entry about them. And so in this case, let’s choose a sim and write a diary entry about them. What are they currently most preoccupied with at the moment? And this doesn’t necessarily have to be a sim that you’re that’s from the story you wanna write or anything like that. It could just be a random sim in the in the world that you just not picked up. And it’s like, okay.

Gloria [00:09:39]:

What is their purpose in life? Where where are they headed to? Where are they walking to and why? Just based on who what they look like. Maybe you use a mod and you click into their their information and you find out, okay. They’re married. They have this job. They’re this age, blah blah. This is in their inventory. Yeah. Check out their inventory.

Gloria [00:09:57]:

I can also prompt ideas. So write a diary entry about them. Write maybe what the next 5 minutes looks for like for them in the game. Write a day in the life of that sim just for the fun of it, just to warm up your your writer chops. Right? Or play would you rather or would they rather with your character. For example, would the character you’re writing about, would they rather hang out with Bella or Bob, and why? Or would they rather have a vacation in Solani or Granite Falls and why? If they were then actually in Solani, if that’s their less preferred place, what would they do there? Like, how they act? Would they rather work hard or slack off at work, and why? Like, what’s the background behind this? Like, it helps you get to know your character better, And this could be, you know again, this could be just any random character just to get your juices your creative juices flowing, or it could be legit a character you’re working on, and you’re trying to tickle more personality, more information out of them, you can do it with these just silly exercises that are gonna not find their ways back into your book. I mean, they might. I don’t know if you want to, but it’s unlikely.

Gloria [00:11:00]:

Right? But it’s it’s it’s silly and goofy, and I think that’s what makes the Sims also such a great tool for writer’s block is because it removes that perfectionism. It removes the need to be perfect and correct because it’s the sims. Right? It’s supposed to be wacky and off the wall. Or you could also think, so you have your character from your book. This is somebody you wanna move forward with. And if they were a Sims so ask your question. If your sim was a if your if your character was a sim, what traits would they have? What job would they have? In which world would they live? Who would be their friends? And by answering these questions, bit by bit, your character begins to take on more form because you can also ask yourself the same question. So you chose the traits cheerful, ambitious, for that character.

Gloria [00:11:44]:

And why did you do that? Because now you’re learning more about your character. Oh, yeah. You know what? They are that type of person, and it just helps create that three-dimensional type of of character, right, that you need that that would actually help drive a story. And last but not least, I think the Sims is a great playground, a great sandbox to just explore story just for explorative observation. So you just let your Sims loose, you give them full free will, and you sit back and you will watch what happens. So many stories, like, within Simmer, for example, or even your own gameplay, are created based off just letting the game do its thing. Like I spoke of a few episodes back where I was playing in the Sims 3 with a a mod that introduced the mafia to the game, something happened in my game that I hadn’t thought of myself in that moment. Co, basically, that the father would kill the the fiance of his son because it was part of the assassination task that he had.

Gloria [00:12:41]:

I had not thought of that myself. And Co, why not add a few mods to your game to even add more spontaneity and more realism and more opportunities for things to go away? Let the game play and just see what happens. And, of course, you don’t have to use things 1 to 1 in your own story, but it can really get your your mind, your creative juices flowing, and and you might actually end up finding something that you can use in some way or form in your own stories. So to summarize, I think the Sims is a fantastic tool for creative writing, and I think any writer should definitely pick it up. I mean, it is free to play, so why not? I think it’s a great tool to develop character, to play around with character, to experiment with character, but also with plot. It’s a great tool to play with relationship dynamics and see what happens when you make 2 Sims that are absolute opposite of each other collide. It’s also fun to imagine what they’re actually saying to each other. You only have the images there as little prompts to give you, like, an idea, but you have to interpret yourself.

Gloria [00:13:46]:

You can use that as an exercise, right, to understand the characters and and create that dialogue. And you can also use the sims as an a stage to act out your ideas and your the scenes in your mind. You can also use it to help warm you up for your next writing session, to overcome writer’s block because the Sims is so easygoing, so chill and silly. The perfectionist is out the door. Right? They they’re not staying around for this, so it’ll let the creative side of you really run free. And last but not least, the Sims is a great sandbox tool for just open explorative observation, where you can just let things go and see where the game takes things. And then take what you want from it and use it as inspiration for your own story. So I hope if you’re a writer, this has shown a new tool that you can use or how you can use the Sims as a tool for your own creative writing.

Gloria [00:14:38]:

I hope it inspires many, many, many stories, even if they’re just for yourself, just for fun in the game, or even maybe little seeds that you can use to build your own story. If you wanna share your stories with others, you’re very welcome to join me in the Llama club, which is hosted on heartbeat. You can find more information about this little club online at Yellow Llama Co. I hope to see you there. Until then, Happy Simming.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *