“Hey Constance, I’ve finally come up with an idea for the Short Story Challenge on the Sims forums this month! The theme for September is ‘Vacation’ and I didn’t want to be too on-the-nose with it, so it took me forever to come up with a premise that I liked!
“It’s going to start right in the middle of a fantasy adventure — a ranger and a young lad are riding through a forest, when suddenly they are interrupted by a caped man in their path!
“The caped man says, ‘Finally I’ve found you now, Princess!’
“The ranger denies his claim as obviously he’s traveling with a young boy, but the caped man simply laughs and says he can’t be so easily fooled, because they’ve already found — and killed — the prince, and know now that the King must have passed the throne down to his daughter despite the claims otherwise, because with the prince dead and the King’s body sick with the curse, otherwise the land would be well dead, and it is still alive… for it is linked to her.
“She is shocked and upset to hear about her brother, and about to rush the stranger, but is stopped by the ranger, who is shot down by an arrow from the caped assailent and tumbles from his horse! Suddenly light erupts around her and her horse, a mottled brown mare, turns into a pearly unicorn beneath her! There is a gasp… and the scene cuts out to show a girl reading a book and proclaiming, ‘The princess is a Unicorn Knight?!’
“Then the girl is interrupted by her mother, who is done with her shopping, but the girl says, ‘Mom, can we pleeeeeeeease get this book, please? I have to know what happens next!’ Her mother just smiles and accepts.
“The final image will cut to a corner of the bookstore, where a poster displays a quote by author Charlaine Harris that reads, ‘Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.’ What do you think?”
“Sounds pretty ambitious! Do you think you can get it done in time?”
“I don’t work this Saturday, which gives me one good weekend to work on screencaps before the deadline, which is the most time-intensive part of the process… I think it’s manageable!”
“Uuuuuugh… Mommy’s head is killing her today, Casanova. The Imitrex last night didn’t work, so I’m just going to have to ride this one out… I put extra food out, try not to get into too much trouble while I’m hiding from the pain in unconsciousness, okay?”
*Four Days Later*
“Oh man, I still feel a bit like a zombie after being in bed four days straight with a migraine, but now that it has finally passed, let’s see if I can finally get some writing done!”
“What?! What is this?! The screen is flickering! Uuugh… I can’t write on my computer like this! Or do anything else on here for that matter… that’s just another migraine waiting to happen!”
*sigh* “It’s no use, Casanova! I’ve tried different refresh rates, updated my video drivers, swapped all my cables to the monitor… but I can just tell that this monitor is dying. It’s over ten years old… all things considered, it’s amazing it has lasted this long without the backlight going out on it yet. I’ve ordered a new one, but it isn’t going to arrive for several days… and I can’t use it like this. I won’t be able to play Sims 3 in this condition, so I’m not going to be able to enter the Short Story Challenge this month. I guess this was fate’s way of telling me I needed to take a vacation, huh?”
*The Next Morning*
“Mmm… this Zhushan oolong is fantastic! The light floral notes are so refreshing…
“You know, Casanova, this month’s short story would have been my twenty-fourth written for Short Story Challenge… my two year anniversary! It’s true! I really did want to get a story in this month, since it would be such a big milestone, you know? So it’s a little disappointing… Not that I’m not looking forward to doing some reading, and finally picking back up some of my coloring projects, and at least I can still watch Twitch streams on my laptop until the new monitor arrives so I’m not totally shut off–
“Hmmmmmmm… you know, there is nothing that is stopping me from writing on that laptop…
“Casanova, you are a genius!”
This was written for September for the Monthly Simlits Short Story Challenges thread from the Sims forums, which tasked folks to write a story in 500-1500 words using 1-12 screencaps using the theme “Vacation.” I used 760 words and 6 screencaps, but the story is entered under the “For Fun” category. It is a completely stand-alone story, and features my Simself. If anyone is crazy enough to want her in their game, she is available for download from SilverDaybreak’s Simself Scroll in both Sims 3 and Sims 4 flavors. Casanova is also available with the Sims 3 version!
While I’ve written many stories that were inspired from bits and pieces of my life, this is my first autobiographical piece (aside from Constance and Casanova being fictional, of course!) I came up with my idea for the short story theme late into the month this month, leaving me about ten days left to pull it all together. I got struck with a migraine that lasted four days, and then only had about a week left to do the story. Which normally wouldn’t be a problem, except… my monitor developed a nasty flicker, which you can imagine for someone with chronic migraine made my computer unusable for me. Being a former IT brat, I did all the typical trouble-shooting, but it became clear the 10+ year old monitor was simply on its way out and had to be replaced. By the time the replacement would arrive, I would not have time to get any screencaps for the story.
So I decided to write a story on my laptop, and use images from my previous stories, woven together in a new way, to tell a new story. This idea was actually inspired from the old April prompt Choose Your Own Screencaps. I also felt, seeing as this was my two-year anniversary story, this was an oddly provincial way of celebrating — by bringing bits of older stories together — and, at the same time, after two years fate forced me into taking a vacation — the very prompt this month! — whether I had planned on it or not. The world works in mysterious ways!
After two years straight of writing for the Short Story Challenge, I may no longer be so strict on myself from here on out when it comes to getting an entry done each month, but when I do feel the inspiration, I’m sure I’ll still be tossing in a “For Fun” entry, because I love to challenge my writing with the different themes! I’ve really enjoyed writing for Short Story Challenge for the last two years! That’s twenty-four short stories that were brought to life from feeling challenged and inspired by the fun prompts… thanks so much Carewren123, Spottydog714, Silentwolf101, and Pegasus143, the excellent moderators who have all put time into running Short Story Challenge during the two years I’ve been submitting stories!