Constitution Writing Workshop 105

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Ahh, can you feel it? Spring has sprung! Spring is the season of renewal, regrowth... and love!

Yes, love and romance are powerful tools in a simming arsenal, but like an arachnid superhero in red and blue pajamas was told, "With great power comes great responsibility". Just as in real life, love and romance in simming can be a minefield rife with danger, but the rewards are worth it as long as you cultivate it and treat it with respect.

First off, the legal fine print: we can never forget the fundamental rules of SB118. That is, always respect the soft PG-13 ratings of our game, and always treat all characters, whether PC, NPC or PNPC, with the respect that they and their writers deserve. Dramatic storytelling is never an excuse for wanton disrespect in any form in our game.

Now, the first and most important question that needs to be asked is, do you want to sim a romance between two characters written solely by yourself, or do you want to be involved with another writer? There are pros and cons to each possibility.

  • Writing By Yourself
    • Pros - complete control over the pace and substance of the relationship; can be fullly realized from start to end
    • Cons - can be exclusionary to other writers if you spend all your shore leave time writing a romance at the expense of JPs; can be boring for the writer because of the predictability
  • Writing With Another
    • Pros - exciting, organic growth of a relationship with unpredictability; great chance for regular and recurring JPs
    • Cons - other writers can take a LOA, transfer, or retire leaving the relationship unfulfilled; writers can have creative differences leading to dissolution of relationship prematurely

This topic was discussed with great effect at the 2016 FallFest event, and was hosted by some of our very own fleet's writers:

The keys to writing believable and engaging romances, whether alone or with others, is to be realistic. This isn't Hollywood, you have much much more than an hour and a half to explore courtship and the start of a lasting relationship. Very few romances start with love at first sight, and they definitely don't lead to a marriage one week later! Yet, in a rush to get from A to B, this type of roleplay relationship is unfortunately common. Let the journey be the goal, and know that your readers will revel, relate and react to a simmering, budding romance that is written with realism in mind.

That's all well and good for us to say, isn't it? Make the relationship realistic. But how? Well, there's no easy answer to that, since every romance, real or fiction, is unique. If you are able, draw off of real life experiences. Use other forms of fiction, such as novelizations, television, and movies, to draw inspiration (but be aware of their limitations, as mentioned before). And lastly, try to be true to your character as you have imagined them and to yourself as a writer. If your character is acting, for lack of a better phrase, out of character, then the readers will notice that. They will also notice if you are uncomfortable with the subject matter you are writing. Take your time, enjoy the process, and before you know it, your character will be happy (or not so happy, depending how vindictive and mean you are to your character, hehe) in a successful and engaging relationship. Here are a few more tidbits for thought...

We would never ask you to go out and start a romance with another PC or PNPC just for something to do, however, think back on other romances you have seen simmed. Did you find them believable, or did they seem false? Why did you interpret them as such, and how might you have written them differently in order to match or improve what you read? And lastly, apply some of these romance writing tips to other relationships your characters maintain. Whether it be friends, family, or even colleagues, how can you examine those relationships to make them more organic and believable?