Changing focus. Slightly. Again.

So. You probably knew this was coming. I have decided to go in a completely different direction with Gnomesby. Again.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I can never make up my mind. But, after months of struggle, I think I’ve finally figured put my problem. What I’ve been trying to do, rather unsuccessfully, is build a ‘hood like Jade’s. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want their own version of Thyme? Not an exact copy, mind you, but something just as creative and cool and immersive? Every time I read her site, I’m like, “Dayum, woman! Why can’t I do that??” And then I try to do that, and I fail. The reasons are numerous. For one, I’m not Jade. Obviously. As far as I’m concerned, the woman is a genius. There is no one like her in the entire Sims 2 community. And there never will be. She’s like Highlander, you know? THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Secondly, aside from being not-Jade, I happen to be very much ME. And me is pretty much all over the place. I change my mind constantly, I’m terrible at organizing things, I have no discipline to speak of, etc. And I’m not saying all that to put myself down. Not at all. I just know what kind of person I am. Trying to shove my flibbertigibbet brain into a differently-shaped box just isn’t going to work. I’m not patient enough for this large-scale ‘hood-building. I miss writing stories. I miss having just one or two families on which to focus. I hate that I can’t build my perfect dream town because The Sims 3 isn’t out yet.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I make no promises, of course, but the next time I post, I will be posting a story. It will still involve Gnomesby (I refuse to change the name of this site!). It will also involve some characters you might know from my old site. And we’ll just see what happens from there.

23 thoughts on “Changing focus. Slightly. Again.

  1. Umm.

    Well, hon, if you knew the kind of challenges I have sometimes with Thyme, you would get off this genius schtick.

    But thanks! You really made my day!

    You are superbly creative, a wonderful builder, a great storyteller! So go kiss yerself, you rock.

    Whatever you write, I will read it and support you.



  2. “I change my mind constantly, I’m terrible at organizing things, I have no discipline to speak of…”

    Oi, I know how that is. I started a new ‘hood last week that I swore would be country farmhouses and *only* buildings of similar type. A week later, the number of farmhouses have been dwarfed by 1×3 townhouses and 3×2 industrial loft apartments*. It’s a sickness I tell you!!

    * I can’t wait for the next EP to come out!

  3. Hi, seriously, you are the best story teller I know! I’ve been a quiet lurker and I’ve read all your stories from St. Geneva and the legacy (which is my favorite) and no matter what you do, it will be great! I’m like you too. I can’t make up mind easily, which bothers me but I think I’ve learned to live with it. Anyway, I can’t wait to read the story you’re brewing! I’m so excited!

    Good luck, :D

  4. Awesome, another Jen story. I was seriously addicted to your stories on Greetings from Mt. Geneva. Especially the Burrs, I loved them.

    I think many of us are like you, I to drift off into other things. Though I am proud that I’ve stuck with my legacy hood. Its definately come a long way.

    I’m definately excited about sims 3, and finding it hard to focus on sims 2 anymore, lol. I’m having all sorts of idea’s about what I’m gonna do with 3, and its still such a long way away.

  5. This is why I’ve never attempted a Thyme. It just isn’t in me, LOL! Love reading about it and look at it, but yeah. Might as well make myself a fail sandwich and start chompin’ down. You just have to find how you enjoy playing. :)

    I’m quite ADD, too. Boreal Springs has remedied this some… but not completely. I just have to find ways of keeping myself interested. It’s usually the stories my little sims insist on inflicting on themselves, LOL.

    Either way, it’ll be great to see what you come up with. Take your time and have fun.

  6. I am sure that whatever focus you choose, it will be interesting. Some things, like hoods, they grow slowly.. and can be better if they rest a bit, like certain types of dough. And sometimes you just develope them to something different than you started, thats whats make it so interesting.. Follow your heart, thats the clue for fun gaming :D

  7. Awesome!!!

    You build amazing houses, but I love stories. And you’re part of the elite sims story teller community. And I need a Jen story. The last (real) story you posted was on September 4th, 2007. I just checked, and it’s called Presents and Promises and Lots of Cake (Part II) in the Franchesca Diaries.

    Stories! Yay!!!!!!

  8. Don’t go selling yourself short! Jade is ingenious in the ways she’s set up her ‘hood, definitely. There’s dozens of beautiful houses and their interiors, fashion model Sims with detailed accounts of what they do and who they live with, and the odd bits and pieces of events. But to my eye there’re no stories like what you’ve done. I think the difference to me is one of scale: Jade’s got a whole island country set up for Thyme. The individuals living in that country seem secondary (even tertiary) to their positions, however. I.e there’s a Mayor(tm), a Chef of Police(tm), a Journalist(tm), a Teacher(tm) and so on and so forth. It makes me think of a lot of modern art in that way: the individual brush strokes don’t matter as much as the overall impression.
    You, like you said yourself, excel at showing individuals. I have no difficulty recalling any of the names, faces and personalities of your Sims, nor the fates given them in your writing. It’s always the strong characteristics of and empathy towards your characters that lingers, along with the realistic multilayered intrigues. Your art metaphor would be old school family portraits, in my opinion: a handful of characters sharing the spotlight but never blending together. I couldn’t tell you who lives on Thyme, but I can still rattle off the Ravelos, Burrs and of course the Shanleys.

  9. Well, Kay, I can’t let this pass.

    I definitely see Thyme differently. I certainly do not think I have fashion model sims. Harrison Weber is no model.

    And my Sims are certainly not tertiary to their positions, and really Kay, ™?

    Well, Thyme is not your cuppa tea, no doubt about it. Luckily, it is mine, and Jen’s! (Who by the way, remembers most of my characters when we speak. Sometimes more than I do!)

    Perhaps you could tell who lived on Thyme if you actually read it? But I don’t think you could have and come away with the impression you did. But to each their own.


    Anyway, to you Jen, as I said before anything you write would be most welcome to me!

  10. Well Jen, I will say that all your work in Gnomesby is not a waste. I also admire Jade’s site and everything she has done with her hood, but like you I’m just not organized enough for it. That and I don’t have the patience with trying things out. And I admit that I kind of like the Maxian way of playing. That being said, I finally came up with the idea that I would pick the things from Jade’s (and other simmer’s) sites that I absolutely loved AND that I could make work for the way I play. For instance, I love the Maxis townies and downtownies and could never sit down and make every single resident for my town. So I don’t include that part in my game play (even though I think it is incredibly awesome that it works that way in Thyme). But, I loved her college inside the custom hood, so I chose to make one in my hood. So, I’m a picker and a chooser!

    So, in your case…you know you love to build (and you’re amazing at it). So keep building those awesome buildings! The church, the town hall, the park…all those things you can integrate into ANY type of hood you come up with! No matter if you follow one family or a whole town of families. You like how her town has an integrated economy…so you can always make up stories about how the townies and what not are part of the town…you just don’t follow their every move. The possibilities are endless! And you can still have the cute events and holidays and culture that you planned for Gnomesby. Even if you’re just following one family, they still live in Gnomesby and are a part of it’s culture. Right? And I’m saying this assuming that those are all aspects of Gnomesby that you truly love and wanted to play. If not, just pick the aspects that you were in love with, and tailor them to whatever family(s) you decide on!

    I’m sure you were thinking all of that on your own anyway…but just in case you weren’t…there’s my two cents! Either way, you know I’ll always be eagerly awaiting your next update!

  11. Wow, thanks to everyone for the encouraging words. I always expect that when I post “I’m changing my mind again”, people will throw up their hands and be done with this site for once and for all (and maybe some do, I don’t know), so it’s awesome and inspring to get so many nice comments. You all are very patient with me.

    Mao, your “fail sandwich” made me LOL.

    Kay, I’m happy to see you, but I didn’t mean to invite a direct comparison between Jade and myself. The way you worded it made it seem like I’m in competition with Jade or something, and that’s not the case (except in my own head sometimes, when I look at her stuff and go, “That’s so flippin’ cool! Why didn’t I think of that??”). I think Jade and Thyme are brilliant, and I am greatly inspired by them both. Thank you for the encouragement, though. And where the heck have you been, girl? I’ve missed ya.

    Mandie, I like what you said about picking and choosing as far as what we decide to do with our Sims. There are so many awesome Simmers and ideas out there — I mean, everytime I visit MTS2, I see some new download that sparks my imagination. I just try to cram it all in, and that’s not gonna work. ;-) Like you said, the possibilities are endless. But I have to narrow them down, or I’ll go insane. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

  12. Jade, I’ve read from the start and very much like Thyme. I’ve just never commented on it, partially because I’ve been in massive lurking mode for a good while now and partially because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to clearly write down my thoughts without it coming across badly. It looks like I should’ve listened to that instinct. Rereading my post it does come across as snarky in places, and I apologize.
    What I meant is that Thyme to my eyes is about *Thyme*. To use theater instead of art, a stylized play: the young prince, the dying king, the scheming courtier. The mayor, the chief of police, the journalist. They each have a part they play in the grand scheme of things.

    Jen, the direct comparison was meant to be an apples vs oranges thing rather than a first place vs second, but I missed the mark on that one. Thanks for the welcome back. :) I’ve just been lurking (will go back to it after this), I got tired of the dramallamaing in the community and have been focusing more on books and RPGs etc.

  13. Jen, I couldn’t say things better than Mandie since it is exactly the way I play. I’m always looking for good ideas for my sims and I’m not afraid of changing plans because it is just the way you can let creativity live. I read the Kingdom of Lothere too (I’m sure you know it) and I like the way she still improvise about things for a comment or an idea without getting out of the main plotline. I think every project must evolve and so do yours. And you are a great architect and I will continue to read this awesome blog. Good luck and (the most important thing) : enjoy your game and your simmies !

  14. Oooh, I’m so excited to see a story! I’m crossing my fingers that it will involve Fran, she was a riot!

  15. I totally understand! That’s what the sims will do to you ;-) There’s just so many creativity you can put in this game, the buildings, the stories, individual sims and the entire neighborhood. My mind always is all over the place when I’m “playing” the sims. When I’m building a Victorian home, I want to make it a victorian neighborhood with elaborate “age of innocence” type story lines. And when I’m making an asian sim I want to make an ancient asian neighborhood. It never stops!
    I’m glad you haven’t given up yet and I hope you continue to do your own thing. I always love your stories and you make amazing lots. Can’t wait to see more!

  16. I’m looking forward to seeing your town :) I too have just started a neighbourhood story site (after being inspired by The Isle Of Thyme of course) and having a blank slate to work with is a great thing.
    Keep writing in your own style and I’m sure many people will enjoy your work. I for one will keep reading (i’ve already linked… I hope thats ok).


  17. Adding my own to the already numerous words of encouragement…

    From someone who can loose focus like I loose my car keys, I understand completely that you have been inspired to take Gnomesby in a different direction. I’m always impressed by people who can stick with things (not just sim hoods) consistently but, like you, it just isn’t me. A new idea hits and away I go!

    Considering all the creativity you poured into your buildings and lots in the impressively lovely Gnomesby neighborhood, I honestly can not wait to read the stories you devise about the sims you choose to populate your blog.

  18. I perfectly understand what you are going through, because I have been there.

    When the first isle of Thyme was up, I fell in love with the idea of working economy and no townies. After couple of trials, I had to admit myself that I’m not that kind of player. Playing with lots of sims and all those rules was too much for me. It made playing too restricted and boring.

    Now I add slowly ideas I like in to my game and test if they fit in to my play style. I have mostly abandoned the idea of economy. I play with just few families and I use aging off. I use hacks that increase autonomy, because I love surprises. My latest great invention was to build apartments in the top floors of my community lots. I used 4-keyholder doors and gave keys to townie-families. They don’t really live there but I like to think that they live. They feel so much more real now.

  19. Jen, I think I’ve had the same issues as you – I feel quite often that maybe what I’m trying to do is copy Thyme, and so I struggle to try and make it with my own original ideas.
    I think in the end though, you should really be trying to find your own playing style and making that fit your story, not making a playing style and trying to fit your story to that. Did that even make sense?
    I was intending to do a lot of preplanning for my hood, and I did do a lot, but once I got it ingame it didn’t really fit with my characters or their lives, or the way they behaved, so I had to give up on that. Which I actually found myself enjoying a lot more! I think really with creative writing you have to let your characters write themselves, and not try to box yourself into what you think you want from them.
    Anyway, long boring nonsensical rant is over. I look forward to reading your next story!

  20. Hey Jen, it’s been awhile. I haven’t updated Simply Sims in so long because viruses took down my computer. I was forced to start fresh, and wanted to update along with it. So my first post is up! It’s not much but at least I’m back.
    I can’t wait for your next update!