Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Workshop: Boost Your Writing Using Second Life (Part2/4)


Workshop Notes (cont.)
Host: Lizzie Gudkov
Location: Milk Wood
Date: November 5 2015

Let’s dig deeper into the story writing itself.

Expectations are very high during NaNoWriMo and it’s easy to feel discouraged if, for some reason, you get stuck or your writing pace slows down.

Procrastination is tempting and, when you least expect it, you feel you have lost too much time and you realize you’re falling behind on your daily word count.

You hit a wall. Some people would call it writer’s block, but I prefer to say that you’ve reached a hurdle you need to overcome.

To overcome this hurdle, you can research for ideas online, you can collect bits and pieces of information here and there, newspaper clippings, brochures, maps, etc.

The problem with this method of collecting material for the story without relying on a virtual world is that it can be extremely time-consuming.

3. The Story – Immersion

Second Life offers a very interesting solution – Immersion – make use of the fact that you are immersed in a virtual world that is extremely rich and creative.

How can you make use of Virtual Reality to prompt you to get back on track with our story?

    3.1 Finding locationsSearch for the type of sim that fits your story -  in Second Life you can find locations for all sorts of stories – Post-Apocalyptic, Vampire, Dark Horror, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Steam Punk, Urban/Noir, Industrial, etc.

      3.1.1. Destination Guide

– Use the Destination Guide – it’s not updated as regularly as it should be, but it’s still an interesting resource.
– Do a targeted search in the Destination Guide –When you go to website, you’ll see a list of different categories that you could use as a reference. Use these categories as a first step in your search.

      3.1.2. SL travel blogs

– Check Second Life travel blogs – a number of them are updated daily. They have great pictures that allow you to get an idea of what that location looks like so you can decide very quickly if that’s the type of sim you need for your story.

      3.1.3. Suggestions of friends/fellow writers

– Rely on suggestions made by friends and fellow writers. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find what you are looking for. Ask your friends and your fellow writers for suggestions.

But… Be selective. During NaNoWriMo, time is a precious commodity!

      3.1.4. Role-play sims - Start by choosing sims where people are role-playing.
– These are usually very well done and creative.
– Role players take great pride in being truthful to what they are recreating.

    3.2. Arriving

      3.2.1. Windlights and Sounds

– When you teleport to a sim, wait for things to rez completely. This seems a rather unnecessary observation, nevertheless it’s very important.
– You don’t need the extra stress of lagging like crazy because you are pushing your system to the limit.
– You don’t need the frustration of seeing everything gray or totally distorted.

These are the type of things that often make people give up on using Second Life as a resource for their writing. So, that’s why I’m drawing your attention to them.

– Turn your volume up and allow the viewer to display the Windlights chosen by the creators of the sim.
– If you come to the conclusion that these Windlights don’t work, you can always change them to something that fits your story.
– A word of caution. Beware of the fact that photos in blogs, and in the Destination Guide as well, have often been changed in image editing software, sometimes they have been dramatically changed. Don’t feel discouraged if you arrive at a sim, having a certain expectation, only to find a place that doesn’t work for your story at all!
 – So, if you arrive at a sim and you realize that the Windlights create the wrong mood and you cannot draw inspiration from it for your story, don’t discard that location immediately. Choosing the right Windlights would make it a usable resource nevertheless.

      3.2.2. Writer Tag and Cautious Interacting

– Wear a tag that identifies you as a writer.
– Everyone knows this, but we tend to forget when we try to be friendly and polite – at a role-play sim, don’t talk to people unless they talk to you. You’re a visitor, so it’s important not to interfere with those who might be role-playing. We don’t want to disturb them.

This was a piece of advice someone gave me a long time ago and it has proven to be extremely useful, because by wearing a writer’s tag and not interfering, role-players quickly understand that I’m probably looking for ideas for new stories and they become interested.

They tend to come to me and welcome me to the sim and tell me that I’m free to walk around. Sometimes they make me aware of the fact that there are residential areas, but that otherwise I can walk about as much as I want. So, they basically open the doors to their sim.

Curiously enough, they also take the time to ask questions about my writing, about my stories and how I would use their sim as inspiration.

This interaction has provided me with very interesting information and ideas for my storylines, characters and settings.

    So, I highly recommend it.

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