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This is a gameplay story blog for The Sims 3.

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13: Ashton/McMaster – ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’

Lily Ashton (Young Adult), Mark McMaster (Young Adult)

Mark McMaster was suffering from every would-be author went through–writer’s block. It was an affliction that consumed him, making every single word he couldn’t type like a personal insult. He just didn’t understand it. It was almost as if he’d lost the spark that had urged him to put his feelings into words.

Whatever the cause, he needed to figure it out and quick. He’d finally gotten some interest in his work and he was on a firm deadline now to produce something amazing.

Lily, of course, did not share in his agony. She wasn’t the type to brood or retreat into a shell. If she noticed a change in his attitude, she didn’t say anything outright. Her career was taking off–famous singers were dying to get a hold of her songs. She spent most of her time coming up with new material. Mark was jealous of how easily it all came to her.

“What do you think?” She asked, plucking the strings effortlessly on her guitar. It was a moving ballad about forlorn love and would likely end up as a hit country song in a few months.

“It’s all right.” Mark’s tone was absent. He wasn’t paying attention.

Lily glanced at him. “You need get out of your funk, Mark. I don’t think it’s going to help you write.”

Mark got up wordlessly and went back upstairs. He really didn’t want her advice.

Mark spent most of his afternoons at the local dive bar. He’d taken up a new hobby–day drinking. He hadn’t told Lily, but when he’d been gone after high school, he’d kind of fallen down a hole of endless inebriation and blackouts. It was all kind of a blur. It was writing about that experience that landed him the opportunity he currently had.

He hoped to find answers at the bottom of his glass, but there were none.

The bar tender was a good listener, though she wasn’t a big reader. Mark could talk to her about his frustrations and not worry about unsolicited advice or platitudes. She simply told him that he needed to do something to kick-start his creativity again. Maybe he was one of those people who could only write when they were tortured.

Lily continued to throw parties. They were an important part of her career, she said. Mark hated them. He wasn’t the social type when he was in a good mood, but in the sour one he currently found himself in, he was even worse. At least there was alcohol.

Lucy was always one of the first to arrive. She gave Mark an odd look and asked, “where’s Lily?”

“Don’t know. Probably making balloons appear out of midair.”

“Are you okay? You’re surlier than usual.”

“I’m fine,” he said, turning away.

Even his little sister Catherine seemed to pick up on something being off about him. Of course, by the time she approached him, Mark was feeling the drink he’d had and wasn’t very nice about her prying.

“Shouldn’t you be worried about your frozen tundra of a love life, Cat? I can take care of myself.”

“Geeze,” Cat shrank away, looking hurt, “you don’t have to be a jerk about it. I was just worried.”

“Worry about yourself.” With that, he threw on his coat and headed outside. He needed some air and to get away from the party.

Mark was surprised to see a familiar face walking down the street. She stopped and greeted him, casting a look up at the townhouse which was clearly abuzz with activity.

“Shouldn’t you be throwing down at your girlfriend’s party?”

“Heh, you know me. I love to party.”

Rosalind rolled her eyes. “Depends on the party, I guess.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Scoping something out. Wanna go to the bar? You’re clearly not interested in being here.”

They went to Mark’s favorite spot and got some drinks while playing darts. Mark was terrible at darts, but he wouldn’t admit it. Rosalind laughed as he missed the board entirely.

“Shh, you’re breaking my concentration.”

“Uh huh,” she countered with a look, “I think you’re going to need more than concentration.”

“We can’t all be masters of throwing sharp, pointy things at people, Rosalind.”

“True enough.”

Lily noticed Mark’s absence, but didn’t think anything strange about it. She knew how he felt about parties and with his current state of mind, he probably went for a walk. He did that a lot these days. Instead, Lily focused on her guests. She was always happy to spend time with Lucy. It seemed like their lives had taken off on such different directions that it was hard to find time to hang out anymore.

Mark was surprised when darts was followed by Rosalind making a move. Everyone knew how Rosalind was, especially Mark. She didn’t really have any ties and she did what she wanted with little to no remorse. Mark had hooked up with her before, something he never told Lily.

Still, that had been years ago.

“What are you doing?” He managed finally after she backed away.

“Don’t give me that look. You left your girlfriend’s party and came here with me. Everyone knows you’re going through writer’s block right now. You’re looking for something to jog your creative juices and I’m just offering to help…”

“No, Rosalind,” he said, though it was unconvincing. Her words stung true. “This isn’t the way–”

“Oh, shut up and stop worrying about Lily. She’s a big girl. This is for your career, right? Make sure you thank me in the footnotes.”

Rosalind kissed him again and this time, Mark didn’t push her away. He responded, confused but unable to stop himself. Something else drove him on, allowing himself to be led along. The wheels in his head began to spin and he realized quite suddenly that this was exactly what he needed to get himself unstuck.

That didn’t mean he didn’t regret it afterwards, however. Waking up with Rosalind wasn’t exactly something he’d expected. How much had he drank? Obviously he’d gone temporarily insane. Rosalind, for her part, didn’t say much. She just grinned knowingly. Of course she’d enjoy sticking it to Lily, even though Mark had no intentions of telling her.

No, this was a one-time thing and it wasn’t going to happen again, book deal or not.

By the time Mark made it home, it was morning. Lily woke up when he entered the room looking like complete crap. She blinked at him, still groggy.

“Where have you been?”

“Long story,” Mark replied, barely able to keep his eyes open. He was exhausted and hungover. “We can talk later.”

Lily wanted to grill him, but upon seeing his appearance, thought better of it. She didn’t understand his weird mood-swings lately, but she wasn’t about to press the issue when he looked so awful.

Mark woke up feeling even guiltier. He’d entertained, briefly, thoughts about coming clean. It had all been a terrible mistake. He’d had entirely too much to drink. Of course, Lily wouldn’t buy it. She’d heard the name ‘Rosalind Redford’ and lose it. No, it wasn’t worth telling her about it at all. He’d just have to swallow it down.

On the plus side, he was able to write again. The subject matter hit close to home, making it poignant and deeply stirring.

“What’s up with you lately? I’m glad that you’re writing again, but you’re acting weird.” Lily confronted him after a week of Mark being overly agreeable and amenable.

“Maybe I just feel bad for being a jerk.” It wasn’t a complete lie. He was a jerk and he did feel bad about it.

“Uh huh.” Lily was unconvinced but didn’t push it. “Well, I guess I can’t complain too much about you being so helpful lately. Just don’t spend too much time in front of that computer–your eyes will go bad.”

Mark’s creativity was in overdrive. He was hell-bent on finishing his draft before the deadline. There was no question as to whether or not they’d take it–they would, but Mark wanted it in the best possible condition. He’d gone through a lot for this, he wasn’t about to let it be some sub-par offering. It needed to be brilliant.

Of course, Lily was there, ever the doting girlfriend. She made him take breaks and insisted on helping him relax a little.

“Maybe you should call it night.”

“I can’t. I’m on a roll. You don’t stop when that happens.”

“You writers, so moody and hard to placate. Okay, fine. Stay holed up in here. I’ll just be glad when you’re done and this thing is a bestseller. You hardly ever leave this room anymore.”

“Don’t jinx it, Lily.”

“I’m not! I’m sure it’s brilliant with all the time you’ve spent on it.” She laughed. “I’m almost ready to get a cot for you in here, but then I know you’d never sleep.”


“What?” She asked, smiling as he pulled her close.

“You’ve been great about all of this. I feel horrible.”

“Don’t. It’s ‘part of the process’, remember? I told you, I’m okay with all of this. I’m your cheerleader, for better or worse. Forever.” She laughed, feeling silly all of the sudden. “Geeze, listen to me. Sounding like some sort of creeper. Forever. Like we’re married or something.”

“We could be.”

Lily pulled back and looked at him. She grinned suddenly. “You’re serious, aren’t you? That was a terrible proposal.”

“I told you, I aim to disappoint.”

She launched at him, nearly taking them both to the floor. When she broke the kiss, she looked at him, still grinning. “For someone who writes lovey-dovey books, you suck at it in real life.”

“Don’t believe what you read, Lily.” He joked, but realized suddenly how true the statement was. He swallowed down the guilt and forced a smile. “Is that a yes?”

“Shut up,” she said, kissing him again.

Mark’s book was snatched up and due out relatively soon. It was guaranteed to be a hit, walking the line between romance and tragedy. Reviews were all beyond favorable, with some making comments on how true-to-life it all seemed to be. Lily threw a party for their engagement and in early celebration of Mark’s soon-to-be success. For once, Mark didn’t hide away in a corner.

Rosalind was there. Mark approached her neutrally. “How did you get invited?”

“I guess Lily was feeling gracious. Getting married, huh?”

“Eventually. Look, Rosalind… about what happened…”

“Oh, don’t give me that crap, Mark. I’m not some jilted lover or something. I helped you out. We’re square so long as you remember me when all the fame and fortune hits.”

“Are you blackmailing me?”

“Heh, Mark! You know me and you know what I do. It’s simple, really. You give me what I’m due and I don’t ruin this little fairytale life you’ve got going. It’s a good deal, for the both of us.”

“Ugh. You’re awful.”

“Turn it into your next book, lover boy. I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.” With that, Rosalind sauntered off.

Lily was thrilled with the party, even if Rosalind had dared to show up. She’d invited her only as a courtesy. Thankfully, she’d left rather quickly. Lily was left to entertain her guests. Lucy was there, of course. She congratulated Lily on her engagement.

“I’m planning on keeping my name. Mark doesn’t seem to care either way.”

“Haha, you’re making him take Ashton? That’s hilarious. I guess it doesn’t matter so long as it doesn’t mess with his pseudonym.”

“You’re probably right.”

“He’s been acting weird at this party. Did you see him dancing?” Lucy said, looking quite surprised.

“I’m just glad he’s not hiding. He’s been very… agreeable lately. It’s kind of strange.”

“I wouldn’t jinx it,” Lucy said with a small laugh. “This is Mark, after all.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I just hope it’s not all for me and that’s he’s happy, too.”


Mark got the ‘Affair to Remember’ ROS. I was so torn. WHY? They finally get together and then this happens. Finding a way to make it plausible was the worst part of all. Of course, the only non-related female that isn’t Lily that Mark even relatively likes is Rosalind. They’re ‘old friends’. So I went with it. And Lily doesn’t know yet.

I try to get a feel for sims beyond the confines of what the game allows for. Mark, to me, would be the type to skirt the dangerous line of having a mild alcohol problem. It’s also a male writer cliche. ;) As for Lily, the reason she doesn’t press the issue is because Lily is friendly and trusting. I went to make her argue with Mark and it just didn’t feel right. All the mean interactions had the friendly thing next to them, meaning that a sim wouldn’t autonomously do this, because they’re friendly. Lily is also a Diva, though. So if/when she DOES find out, she’s going to go nuclear. Bring popcorn and a chair.

We can also say that Rosalind is more the town bike now than Paula. Which is hilarious. That girl gets EVERYWHERE. She’s never had a steady boyfriend.

Mark’s book actually is a best-seller. I was thrilled. He immediately made almost 4K off of it. Nice!

11 comments to 13: Ashton/McMaster – ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’

  • Wow, 4K! That’s amazing! I should keep track of how much my sims are making with their books. I’ve had a sim make 4K in TS2 but never in TS3.

    But onto the rest of this update…eek! I’m kind of not surprised Mark got that ROS. We were all so invested in him and Lily getting together and there was just no way it was ever going to go that smoothly for them. I don’t know if I was quite expecting this, although I knew Mark was headed for trouble the second Rosalind showed up.

    I’m not sure what Mark should do now. He’s in a massive bind. It seems wrong to enter into a marriage with such a huge secret hanging over his head but would Lily ever forgive him if he did tell her? Hmmm.

    • Mao

      I know! I spent a lot of time getting his writing up to 10 before attempting the novel, so I wonder if that helped.

      I was so upset when he rolled this ROS. I roll the scenarios first and then it does the households, so I was just completely horrified, lol! I am really wondering if something will come out before the wedding and if it doesn’t, what happens when it eventually does further down the line? Yikes!

  • Josh

    In Olivia Pope’s words, Mark- “WHAT. DID. YOU. DO?” I’m screaming, I love them together and this is so upsetting. Those ROS’ really mess you over, don’t they?

    I can’t wait until Lily finds out but I’m kind of worried she’ll never forgive him. They’re childhood lovers, they’re otp, they can’t break up over Rosalind!!!!

  • Ah I’m so happy that Mark’s book is a best seller, that is truly awesome. I am just so sad about Rosalind! Ugh, I really hope that ROS didn’t just ruin the perfect couple! So frustrated that it had to be him! I really don’t want Lily to ever, ever find out! And I don’t generally feel that way, but I really love that these two are finally together! Stupid ROS, grumble.

    I think it’s all so horrible timing to propose too, because if she finds out before the wedding, it will seem like he guilty proposed, and that is the worst. But to find out after, and she could feel utterly betrayed/trapped and that her marriage life was all a lie. There is no win in this.

    • Mao

      I am really conflicted about all of this, but I’m TRYING to maintain neutrality. I really want this to work, though. I’m hoping it was a ONE TIME thing and if it ever comes to light, it’s too far down the line… but as you said, Lily could react in a way that everything she believes is a lie. x_x

      There really is no winning. Sigh!

  • Oh my. :( Poor Lily, if she ever finds out. I’m really surprised they got engaged! I definitely wasn’t expecting that after his er…moment of weakness. I hope he can keep it in his pants for the long run!

  • *scream* Nooooooooooooooooo! Mark! What are you DOING? You’re with Lily and everything is going great and you’re my OTP and grrr, Rosalind is a ho and you know this and whyyyyyyyy? *cry*
    Ok, meltdown over. Lily is going to be PISSED. Beyond pissed, and I wouldn’t blame her. And now he’s getting blackmailed. You see, Mark? This is what happens when you don’t keep it in your pants.
    I feel your pain on ROS drama. A few rounds ago, Rainne rolled the Have an Affair ROS. Right after she got engaged. Fortunately any romantic action counts, and it didn’t stick, even for One True Sim. Bless you ACR. Probably the only time I’ll ever say that, LOL.

    • And of course, there’s a pic of Mark and Lily at the top of the page and “In Love With a Girl” is playing on my iPod.

      • Mao

        Oh man, Fini. Climb aboard my boat, because we belong in the same one! I AM WITH YOU! Arrghh. Writing this made me want to crawl into a dark hole. I want them to be happy and together, but I don’t want Lily to be deceived. Sweeping it under the rug seems wrong, but if she finds out? Nooooo!

        I miss the One True Sim thing. I wish the woohooer mod had that.

        As for the song, OUR STRUGGLE IS REAL! This OTP can’t fail.

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