So here I am about to make my first 'official' entry. In r/l, however, Samantha Bradshaw arrived in Richmond over a month ago, when my gameplay reached the point when I wanted to start writing... I started creating unpublished blog entries at that time, knowing that I could tweak the necessary details according to the circumstances of her departure from Kayton. It turned out that there was a lot to tweak.
After conferring with Billy I learned that Samantha leaves Kayton at Christmas - I had her arriving in April! Rather than have to explain away a four-month journey (steamship, anyone? :) ), I re-wrote a little of my hood recent history, and the hood had an unexpectedly long winter as we re-lived the subsequent months.
I've also discovered that, although I've maintained that my hood story will be very gameplay-driven, these first entries are actually probably 75% storytelling. I've got to introduce the characters and relationships. As I've been playing this hood for over a year, I also need to work in enough of its history for the story to make sense... without the entries getting bogged-down and boring with so many introductions. The story starts in the wake of one major event and the build-up to another random event-induced one (which is why I started at this point - plenty to write about :) ). And, of course, there's Samantha, the 'ROS on legs' to work into all that. And I have to work all this in under pressure of time - normally, it won't matter how long it takes for me to complete a round, but Samantha needs to move on to the next hood in reasonable time and we need to get through a lot if her story will play out the way I imagine it.
I usually play in rounds of two sim-years, July to June two years later. Its December 2023 Richmond time when I start blogging, and I have decided that, due to all of the above, I'm just going to abandon my usual round for the first 6 sim-months or so, call this an 'introduction period' or prologue and focus only on the sims directly related to Samantha's story and the ROS (which are interrelated). When I get to June 2024 in the story, I'll just pick up the second half of the round, since the major stuff will be settling down by then anyway, call it a half-round or something, then get back to business as usual.
I've realised that the intro focuses heavily on my older sims, partly a consequence of who is affected by the random event... in some ways that is appropriate for the introduction, too... these older sims are the foundation of the hood, as you meet them, you'll meet their families too, and the younger characters will take over with their own stories, as we get back to the round proper.
So, yeah... here goes! :)