Saturday, May 7, 2011

My notes on Paula's Story

I didn't expect this story to be so long.

In the primary outlining and original drafting of Paula's story, I just had it be a story about her life adapting. That's all it was going to be. The story was meant to be short, like Michael's and Edith's, and an introduction to the "outside world."

I don't know what happened really. I remember talking about how difficult it was to pin down back in the beginning when I first started. This story kept going. I thought I would find an ending, and I actually wrote an ending several times. I had it ending with Brandon stepping up to take his rightful spot, which meant showing one of the rank fights. And also, all the side characters that we met (Angel, Kyrene, Maria, Mike- who we sort of met) were basically his posse, all leaders themselves.

But that ending didn't feel right. So I tested out continuing the story. And before long Alex wandered in there and asked to see Paula (because in my head they knew each other once- Alex is actually one very old character for me). What the hell do you tell a character who asks to meet another? "Hi, that's crazy. Thanks for making me insane."

Oddly, it worked out. I didn't plan that second part at all. After writing a lot, the plot became clear. And it's still not what I was intending. Mostly there, but with lots of room for improvement.

So, let's talk about clues, shall we?

First up, the most recent ones that I can remember.

Most everyone got distracted by Alex in this shot. I didn't want it to be too obvious, but I did want it to be there as an easter egg. Which was probably rather unfair of me since I didn't have many hidden easter egs this time around.

The other issue could also be that the picture was just too dark. On one computer monitor, I can't see them but one the two others I tried, I could see them. Jimmy and Kyrene are hanging out in the back, behind Paula and Alex.

There were other clues in that second part since they took off. First off, the distance covered. Alex had them nearly out of the city in a day while carrying her. That must have made me seem crazy. But I don't imagine Alex carried her. Kyrene probably did with her power.

All of Alex's suspicious behavior on the trip-- he knew Jimmy was right behind them. That's why he insisted that they leave the way they went in at the Labs and how he knew for sure that the Stranger wouldn't be getting back up again. Maybe that was a little dig even at Jimmy since Alex was already doing his dirty work dragging Paula off. He wasn't about to kill a man in front of her too so he left that for Jimmy and Kyrene.

Henri's power. He has a Fridge attached to a battery and electric lamps with no cords. Hints of his power. Paula has a memory of a man being electrified on the morning Henri gets up and makes bacon. Her mother also doesn't like bacon or cooked meats very much. As in-- at all. Maybe I'll get to that story someday as soon as I figure it out.

Jimmy's super side story and the tipping point. Jimmy is generally a quiet man, so he surprised me by speaking not once, but twice, to get his own posts. And in those posts, I found him watching Paula. Not just how Alex behaved around her, but he was watching her each time he encountered her in the second part. Possibly trying to decide if he could go through with it?

The tipping point happened to be the most confusing part. When he finds her in the old apartment. It is his old apartment, and her walking through it, violating his past that way is what causes the next part, where Alex appears at her door and puts her to sleep. Kudos to the people who got that intention from the muddled mess I made of it.

Jimmy has his own story somewhere in my head. He's a hard character to get to speak sometimes.

The Ending:

The ending kept shifting the closer I got to it. Every time I thought I nailed a piece down, the ending shifted.

At one point, the ending was going to be that Cheryl didn't make it. This was the original ending. I kept seeing Henri, Brandon, and Jimmy coming to tell Paula. The act of the three of them doing anything together would have been a sign. The truth is the three of them are always working together, but rarely seen in the same room working together. (Unless you count meal times where Brandon and Jimmy are passively working against Henri.)

I even wrote this scene out. Partially. It's in one of my notebooks. I don't think I ever typed it out. It seemed like the way to go. You know, you get a thought in your head and you think, "Well it can't end the other way, or that'll be too happy." So I was determined not to let Cheryl live.

But then one afternoon as I sat writing, Paula said, "This isn't supposed to happen. This isn't the way a story like mine is supposed to end." And I could feel the joy and grief behind the words. The strangest thing was seeing it taking place by Pat's house and with Jimmy in the background.

So Cheryl got spared, and I have yet to find out what she'll do in Wildlands. (Though can you imagine what she'll say if she ever meets Alex? I can already hear her in my head. "You let go of that?")

That ends Paula's story. No more crazy long stories I hope. I'd prefer to do them short and sweet! I'm intent on taking a month off, and then the first story I want to do will be a Rita story. That's the plan at least. See you here in a month! (Otherwise, I have a lot of reading to catch up on. So I'll be seeing you all at your blogs. *goes stalking*)

Edit to add: Oh, I did forget one thing, and while going through my files, I stumbled over it again.

Laura noticed this on Stephan's profile. Someone has a little crush. And just to add fuel to the Jimmy and Paula rumor:

The full picture.

Just a chance animation (as pretty much all the animations were in this shot except Jimmy and Paula's hug), but funny because it's something I somewhat see in my own head. I think Stephan might be a tiny bit jealous/worried.


  1. I did not pick up on those two in the background in the first picture (possibly because of how dark it appears on my monitor) It just shows how easily you can miss certain things, not that I'd have been able to work out who they were though ;)

    It's surprising how a story can run away and grow into something you never imagined, like they take on a life of their own and defy you. The alteration to the ending was the most interesting for me, especially since you stated that it changed more and more the further you got into it. I'll admit, I do want to see the original ending, mainly because I'm a fan of the bittersweet, victory with a cost type story, but still, you did a great job.

    Once again, terrific story mate, and a rather interesting insight into the workings of what went on behind the scenes, well done.

  2. It's so cool to hear how this story grew into something so big, when you never intended it to be that way!

    I can't remember if I spotted Jimmy and Kyrene in that shot originally. It's really doubtful, given how unobservant I can be sometimes!

    Somewhere along the line, I picked up that Alex knew Jimmy was behind them but I didn't realise that he'd been there all along. Or that Kyrene would have been the one to help get Paula to where they were going.

    And for some reason, I never, ever connected the pictures with the electricity to Henri. I think I went through just about every possibility except Henri!

    I really love those chance animations that just happen to fit in perfectly with the story. They're my favourite kinds of shots sometimes.

    I'm excited to read what you have in store for us after your well-deserved break!

  3. poida, I was just wondering if anyone would pick up that they were being followed. There's no way anyone would have known who it was though, lol.

    Yeah, like it gets it's own personality. I sort of love it when it does that. Then I don't have to really do anything other than guide it home.

    I don't even know if I can write out any of the original endings because they weren't the right ones. And in the new version, the ending is changing a bit again.

    Thanks, poida.

    Carla, it had a mind of its own.

    I figured that everyone was thinking I was crazy with the way Alex was acting during that whole second part.

    Really? Some people put the electricity and Henri together at the end there. I didn't realize that you hadn't, lol. I was being rather subtle, and it's a side side thing, it's really not that important. It was more important to know that Henri did know about Paula and was there for her at least once before.

    Thanks, Carla!

  4. Hi, it's MDP.

    I want to invite you to my new forum Hell Has Spoken.

    It's kinda like the old VSS, but new and improved. And I would really really like it more if you were there. :)

  5. Oh wow! I totally didn't see Jimmy and Kyrene in the background in that picture! It's Alex's fault LOL.

    Henri's power! That's right...I never thought of that at all...but that does give a little more insight into Paula's memory.

    Gosh, I hope you tell all these stories and more! There are so many characters and all of them are intriguing!

    Stephan's crush is so cute, but I wonder if she could ever be wish someone so normal and simple after her experience with Alex. I wonder if we'll ever find out?

    I hope so. :)

  6. Hey, MDP. I'm still thinking about it. I did join Sims Writer's Guild recently. I am probably at my social limit right now. :( I've been exhausted lately.

    Rachel, Alex was looking rather cute in that picture. I was so focused on Jimmy and Kyrene in the background that I didn't notice it, lol.

    I'm sure I will get to Henri's power again someday. It's not too important here, but in his story it probably is.

    Thanks. I have a lot more to go. I have the next three lined up, and two of those written, plus extra books already being planned.

    Stephan and Paula are a pair. I'm sure it won't be easy for her to move on after someone like Alex. I don't know at the moment if we'll see that here or in some other stories, but there's something there. I keep getting flashes of scenes...