Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen: StoryBrooke Gardens

Originally posted at the Virtual Writers, July 20 2015.

This month we’ll visit the wonderful StoryBrooke Gardens, a small plot created by Lauren Bentham above Baja Norte’s beach.

I must admit I’m not sure I’m the right person to write this month’s column. I have never written children’s stories and I know them only as a reader. Yet, being absolutely mesmerized by this gem, I couldn’t resist. The fact that Lauren has done an impressive job will definitely make my task easier.

Upon arrival, the visitor is greeted by two friendly bunnies. Now, which way should we go? The warm welcome makes it difficult to decide. Ok, southbound.

A child jumps merrily, followed by his dog. Is he going on a trip? He looks happy, but he’s carrying a bindle. Is he running away from home? Or is he simply embarking on an adventure?

Within spitting distance, a fairy talks to a giant bee. Her small little feet splash playfully in the water of an old fountain. Nearby, a magical bicycle waits. It’s propelled by colorful balloons and if a dreamer sits on it, it will take him on a magical journey.

A track of colorful stars leads the way into a big tree trunk. It’s hard to resist, so here we go.

On the other end of the trunk, we turn left and almost trip on a gardener tortoise who insists that we must read the Book of the Butterfly. “The best is yet to come.” A few flowers grow from one of the pages. It must be magical too.

The tortoise then urges us to talk to the magician. The initial plan was to find ideas for a story with lots of fairies and bunnies and… Oh, well, let’s go talk to the magician.

Tea is brewing and, at the tempting offer of a cup, we spot a cauldron filled to the brim with incantation books and a skull on a stack of novellas guarded by a doll plagued with a mysterious pestilence. Umm… Caution is of the essence.

In the meantime, the magician foretells a rather eerie and enigmatic future at the sound of a haunted music box and the cawing of crows in the distance. He sends us off to search something. He means characters and stories, most likely. In doubt, we hurry away.

Back on the main track, let’s follow the flying ladder. White balloons are always a good omen.

Right around the corner, a white fox and a family of mice seem to be extremely busy – happy mouse, mommy mouse, two mice in love, a few sleepy ones and Excalibur. Excalibur likes to fly, something his family and friends find totally preposterous. A mouse was not made to go around flying, especially not holding on to such a fragile leaf. After witnessing an endless family argument that follows with Excalibur throwing a tantrum and defiantly flying away, we move on.

Oh, gosh, Humpty, what happened to you? He doesn’t reply. He wiggles his legs back and forth, sitting straight on his chair to avoid spilling over. We tiptoe away. We don’t want to distract him and be the cause of a disaster.

Back at the original landing point, let’s now turn left, following a path of stars once more.

A bunny boy and a bunny girl sit by a camera. The two friends wait for the perfect moment to take a snapshot of something mysterious only the two know of. They point west.

“Why west?”

They say that that’s where the story is. We believe them, although… There seem to be stories everywhere.

We stumble upon another family. This time, it’s a family of foxes and bunnies. Intriguing…

“Cookie?” offers a fox, holding a lamp. “Momma fox is baking,” he adds.

“I’m looking for a story,” we start. And he points west. I don’t argue. I just follow the magic unicorn and drag you, dear fellow writer, along.

A baby giraffe, two ducks and a kitten guard a pile of books.

“Do you have my story?”

They smile and point.

Ah, here we are! A crane lights the way to the house of dreams while a boy holds his pet fish. A panda rows a colorful paper boat. We go inside the house to find these words “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”, a quote from Poe’s poem.

Reality and fantasy, family and friends, dreams and struggling to grow up, these are but a few of the themes we could write about.

StoryBrooke Gardens is an astounding location, filled with small details we can draw inspiration from. There is much more to explore than is shown in this month’s column. I have only provided you with a small taste, a very small taste, of Lauren’s creation. She quotes Steve Jobs in her profile. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” That is so true.

I invite you to drop by and grab a few ideas for stories because… there’s a story waiting to happen at StoryBrooke Gardens.



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 the following post, do consider leaving it in the comments or a link to it. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Virtual Writers 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.

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.

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