How Half-Remembered Childhood Memories Got Me Into Writing

This post is going to be a bit different, but I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while now. I know that most people consider pastimes and hobbies to be wastes of time. I’m here to prove why that isn’t necessarily the case, and the story is twofold.

When I was younger, my favorite video game was The Sims 2, for the PC. If you don’t know what the sims are, they’re virtual people you create, dress up, and then you dictate their lives from birth, to getting a job, to getting married, to having kids, to death. It’s basically virtual barbies.

When I was young, I did not write at all. Sure, I made stories up, in the same way all kids make stories up when they play with toys. Barbie and her boyfriend Ken are walking past the spooky haunted house and have to fight the ghost (portrayed by a disembodied Barbie head I had ripped off), or Barbie and Ken get married but have to fight off hordes of evil, flying monsters (portrayed by my stuffed animals). It was fun, but not really the stuff you make a living off of.

The Sims changed that. There was one family I played for probably a few real-world months. It was a family, and the father’s adult daughter from a previous relationship. I had moved the daughter in to help look after her half-siblings after the father died because the mother was working all the time. It was boring, now that I think about it. But the father and the adult daughter were aliens, which made it more exciting. I got to think about why a couple aliens would settle on Earth (or whatever planet Sim-land is set on), and what was going on, and whether they were kept in the loop about alien affairs while on earth. I started writing something of a game journal.

The remnants of that journal later became the rough draft of my very first story, titled Homeworld, about an alien man who moved to earth, got married, and had a few kids, then his adult alien daughter came to live with him after her mother got too absorbed in her work.

It’s a very, very rough draft, and reading it through, it’s such a soft science fiction that it bothers me. But it was fun, and I based it off a video game. Not many writers can say that.

I’m not ashamed that I’m a geek. I enjoyed the game when I was a kid, and it carried through to adulthood. If anything, I’m actually grateful to the Sims series for introducing me to writing. Before Homeworld, the closest thing I’d ever gotten to a finished story was less than three thousand words long and was more of a report about a day in a teenage girl’s life than a story. There was no real conflict, no real character or personality. It was lame, and I don’t remember much about it.

Homeworld, even if I’m not fond of it, was my first step on writing and publishing better, more mature stories. I might even publish it some day. No promises.

The point is that stories can come from anywhere, be it an exciting memory from a family vacation, or something as simple as a video game. I get a lot of story ideas from video games, actually. There’s no such thing as “not good enough” to be a story. Everything can be a story, in the right author’s hands. Because that’s our job; taking the boring, the mundane, the impossible, and making them temporarily believable, exciting, and fascinating.N


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