Now that you’re aware of how simming works, now it’s time to learn about how to sim well. As with anything, your ability to sim well is based on how much you practice. So try and write as much as possible — even if you don’t post all of it, at least you’re practicing getting stuff down on paper (or, in our case, getting stuff down on the keyboard!). Also, be sure to pay special attention to the sims of the higher ranking officers on the crew you are posted to. They’re in those positions because they sim well, so pick up any good habits you see in them.
Writers vs. Characters
It is important to note a distinction between the WRITER of a sim, and the CHARACTER in a sim. You, the person sitting at the keyboard, are the writer of the sim. The person you are writing about is the character. This is especially good to realize when it comes to character interaction. For example, suppose Cadet Bloggs has a strong dislike for Klingons, because his father was killed by a Klingon. But there’s a Klingon cadet in his training group! Ensign Bloggs makes the remark that he thinks Klingon’s are “smelly scum of the galaxy.” In this instance, the WRITERS should understand that although Cadet Bloggs dislikes Klingons, the writer of his character does NOT necessarily dislike the writer of the Klingon. Simply be advised that if someone insults your character, that it is “part of the game” and not to become insulted or hurt by this. Have your CHARACTER react appropriately to these things.
“Omniscient” means “having total knowledge.” As a writer, and not a character, you are omniscient because you know everything that’s going-on in the sim. To ensure that everyone can equally take part in the story, it is normal for everyone to see all the sims that everyone has written on the ship. Even if you are in shuttle bay 2, and another character is on the bridge (and thus, could not possibly hear what you are saying), you’d still allow them to see the sim. Without this, we’d have a hard time writing parts of the plot which are surprising or entertaining for our characters. You can think of yourself as an actor in a play: the actor know what the entire storyline is going to be, but their characters do not. And as actors, they must make the audience believe that their character doesn’t know what will happen. But it is important for us, as writers, to know this information, because we may be able to incorporate it into our sim.
Take, for example, a fire in engineering. Cadet Bloggs might be in engineering, trying to fight the fire. The computer will no doubt have realized there is a fire in engineering, and notified the bridge officers. Although the officers on the bridge may not know immediately, their writers must know, so that they can have the computer send the message.
There is an exception to this rule. If you have a private question to someone, you would contact them, and only them. It is not necessary to send an e-mail to the entire group if you just want to know how one character is feeling about something.
A Good sim
Here are some guidelines for what a good sim might include:
- Use correct form: Make sure you write “Cadet (your name), (Your Location)” in the subject header. Also use the appropriate action symbols (which were posted in Tutorial #1), and that you show what’s speech in the appropriate manner.
- Be responsive: A good sim will answer any questions asked of your character.
- Move the plot along: All the action in any good story is moving us towards the resolution of the plot. So be sure you’re contributing something useful, even if it’s just insights into what your character is thinking.
- Incorporate others: Whenever possible, have your character involve others in their actions. Remember, we’re a community both in, and out of character.
- Show personal insights: Give the readers an indication of who your characters, what motivates him or her, what interests him or her, or what bores him or her. You’re showing us the world through your character’s eyes, so don’t forget that!
The best sim entries don’t necessarily contain ALL these elements, but they should be at least part of the sim.