1. Choose. Imagine you’re writing a story taking place in medieval times and you live in a modern city that is as far from being medieval as you can possibly imagine. What do you do? You check history books, videos, photos and online resources. Does this research help you build a medieval world? Sure! Can you do better? Yep! In a virtual world, you can find all variations of medieval environments you can possibly think of. And this goes for any sort of environment, cities, the countryside, tropical beaches. The trick will be choosing what fits your story needs!
2. Visit. Once you’ve chosen a sim or two (and don’t forget to be picky), teleport there. Allow everything to rez so you can see where you’re going!
3. Observe. Take a stroll around the sim (it could be a parcel and not an entire sim; there are some examples of absolutely amazing places created in small bits of land). Don’t worry about writing or taking notes, enjoy the place. Notice the buildings, the different structures, the colors, the lights and the shadows. Become aware of details you may find useful for your story.
4. Listen. Many locations have a very immersive “soundtrack”! Try visiting a sim depicting a snowstorm. If you live in a place, like I do, where snowstorms are unheard of, this is quite an experience. Wind and thunder, the sound of the ice cracking under your feet… impressive.
5. Write. Find a nice spot and sit down. One of my most memorable experiences in Second Life® (SL) was floating in a lake and trying to translate the images and sounds into words. As writers are crafters of intricate webs of words and sentences, so are SL sim builders and designers. Make use of all the effort put into those locations and turn it into material for your writing.