Friday, February 13, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen

Kats Beach

... Kats Beach (click for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc. website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

UPDATE: It's amazing when someone, especially when a good friend like Qt, feels inspired by something I wrote (that is the purpose of these monthly columns, to inspire!) and adds a bit of inspiration of his own to write a story! Drop by his blog Qt's improbable blog and read Running to the Sea. Enjoy!

Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.


Kats Beach

Night time at Kats Beach welcomes us as we arrive to a pleasantly quiet and somewhat melodic seashore. The sound of waves bursting on the sand and the seagulls screeching in the distance invite us to explore.

I, as many others, have been visiting this location for a long time. It is, after several years, a favorite location for photography and fashion bloggers. If you have been following this column, you know that I firmly believe that many sims portrayed for their beauty by photographers and machinima makers alike are also a very good resource for writers.

The owner, Kat Chauveau, states in her profile that she is a passionate educator with a love for professional development and personal insight through innovative and creative experiences in Second Life. Kat also states that her passion is life; that it is important to find something beautiful and stretch our imagination. I fully agree and I think she has done an amazing job with this location.

Considering that February is the month love, I thought exploring Kat’s Beach would be a good option for a love story. So, let’s go for a walk and collect a few ideas for our story waiting to happen.

I decide to take you first along the beach. I spot a few sit-down areas and dance balls. While the shrimping boat bounces against the waves just off shore, I imagine a few couples enjoying the cover of night to exchange secret vows and stolen kisses.

A loud group gathers for a barbeque, interrupting the quietness lovers yearn for, however, no one complains. The boardwalk of wooden planks takes me to a waterfall that signals the entrance to a tunnel, the floor paved with cobblestones and the way dimly lit by wall lamps. Are any of our characters here?

A few market stalls open the path to a small port where the fishing trawler is waiting. Fruit, vegetables and fresh fish draw the attention of a cheeky seagull, especially the fresh fish, flipping its tail, trying to avoid an unavoidable destiny.

Perhaps this will be the story of two lovers. He is a fisherman, who has just arrived from a fishing season several months long. She is waiting for him, back at the village at the top of the hill.

We walk up the stone ramp, and suddenly we have to decide whether to go left or right. Curious about going further up the mountain, I choose to continue to the right. Let’s see if this is a trail we can use for our story. Steep steps made of stone, framed by wooden posts linked by an old rope lead us all the way up to a plateau from where we can see the beach we arrived at earlier. An apple tree and an olive tree, as symbolic as they can be, we imagine, have offered shelter from the merciless sun many hot afternoons during which our female character sat here, longing for her lover to come back. Perhaps this is a good location to inspire a flashback in our story, perhaps a moment to show how they met, how they came together and how a silly argument over something they couldn’t even remember anymore, drove them to make irreversible decisions that led to our male character to go away.

We go back down and up the small ramp, into town. A cozy plaza greets us with a refreshing fountain. Il Messagero, the local newspaper store, offers an array of magazines, books and postcards as well. A newspaper is always an interesting way of conveying a turning point in our plot.

Holding a magazine, I head to the Bar. Yes, a coffee would be good; it’s a bit chilly tonight. As we flip through the pages, the phone rings. The owner covers the mouth of the phone and lowers his voice. It was something about the cargo. I couldn’t quite make what he was saying.

Determined to find our female character, I pay for my coffee and I decide to take you, dear reader, with me to explore farther. That’s when we stumble upon a Libreria, a bookstore. I think we have found where she works. She loves books, she loves giving books away, she loves lending books and she is quite famous in town for not making too much money simply because ultimately she wants people to read and dream.

The restaurant, at the end of the alleyway, looks promising, but as the owner sees me approaching, he closes the door and picks up the phone. These phone calls are slightly suspicious.

I walk left and right, aimlessly, through the narrow streets. Here and there, someone comes to the window to hang some clothes or shake the dust off of a rug. An elderly lady waters her flower pots generously.

Suddenly, I find myself at a central area where a church, with open doors, invites any tired visitor to sit down and rest a bit. Our characters are not particularly religious, I think, but, as it often happens in small villages and towns, the priest becomes a friend and a confident. Perhaps he could be another one of our characters.

This central area also has a Fiori and Piante shop, a flower shop. I think the owner of this shop will also be a character in our story. She is always busy, attending to her flowers, but she sees and hears a lot more than people think. For instance, from the side window of her shop, she sees a strange group of men arriving at the terrace. They sit underneath the pergola, right next to the barrels of fresh wine. While some pretend to busy themselves with the crates filled to the brim with grapes, the others look around anxiously. To the left, they can see the beach and the lighthouse; to the right the port. There is something happening. Could it be that our male character got himself involved in smuggling contraband, in an international net of drug dealers?

I exit the plaza, southbound, through a narrow street and come across a Pizzeria. It smells deliciously. I try to engage in a friendly conversation with the owner, but he soon suspects my intentions are twofold, being nice and finding a bit more about this couple of our story and the mysteriously self-conscious men that populate the town in silence. The owner shrugs and offers me an extra slice of pizza for free. I’m sure that means I should ask no more questions.

As we approach the end of our visit to Kats Beach enriched with the very first ideas for our story, a few characters suggested, a few mysteries put forward and a complex love story as the backdrop of this month’s column, I can honestly say that this sim is utterly fascinating.

Walking through the cobbled streets and getting lost in the twists and turns of an absolutely gorgeous Southern European town, is a strong inspiration for any writer, whether you choose to consider the whole sim or one street only.

I have presented nothing but a small fragment of this location. There’s so much more to see. I invite you to visit the sim and draw inspiration from it, because… there’s a story waiting to happen at Kats Beach.



A Story Waiting to Happen is a series of monthly articles about sims in the virtual world of Second Life®. The goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. If you write a story prompted by this post, do consider leaving it in the comments or a link to it. Thank you.


Disclaimer: Virtual Writers Inc. and I are in no way affiliated with any shop located in the sims featured in this column nor do we intend to promote them.

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