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Ever since I was a kid I have always liked writing. Back in Iran, my composition teacher made the students read their weekly compositions in front of the class. By 7th grade, I had learned what other students liked and what they didn’t care for. Most kids would look at the assignment as a bore and would slap something together just to scrape by. But after writing one story, reading it to the other kids in class and watching their reaction, I was hooked. Bringing a smile to their faces and hearing them laugh was very gratifying. I continued to write comedies, or satirical shorts that made fun of current events happening in Iran, sometimes — alright, most of the time — to my teacher’s dismay.

To day, I wish I had stuck with writing a little more and made something more of it. I did try in the early 2000s by writing a blog — before blogs were a thing — about my favorite childhood author, Samad Behrangi, but improper backups — tsk tsk me — and lack of time lead to the blog waning and vanishing forever. By the time my last kid left our nest in 2013 to go to college, I found myself with a little more time on my hand.

I upped my time playing computer games. At the time, I was fully immersed in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Today, Skyrim is still considered the best Dungeons and Dragons RPG to have ever been created. The mods — software that adds or changes functionality — for Skyrim are staggering, standing at over 56,000. Assuming that some of these are duplicates — newer versions — I’d conservatively put the number at 35,000. One genre of the mods allow you to make the game as fully immersive as you’d like to, making it more life-like, with functionality like real needs and diseases, features that did not exist in the original game. To say that I immersed myself in Skyrim for a few months is an understatement.

After playing a heavily modded Skyrim a few times, I moved back to Sims 3 for a month. While developing my character in Sims 3, I directed my character to write a novel in order to boost his well-being. When my character finished the novel, I imagined what it would be like to write a novel in real life.

A one hour commute by car each way to work left me with plenty of time to think up a story. By the time I sat down behind the computer after dinner on Saint Patrick’s day 2014 with the mission to write a novel, I had the shell of a story in mind. It took about 6 weeks of 5-6 hours/weeknight and 12 hours/weekend day to write the novel cover to cover, a story I’ll tell in another post.

Ross Naheedy

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