Text by VERDE OTAARED
Photos by DULCIE MILLS and VERDE OTAARED
The third Autumn Writer's exhibit was held in Second Life during October. This is the largest writing event held in SL, each year more than 80 writers participate in the month-long event (Oct 3-Nov 1) that features impromtu readings, music, contests, dances, and fireworks. Writers are published or unpublished, poets, novelists, scriptwriters and songwriters. They gather together to share their art. "This is the first time I've become involved in AWE, of which I'm in awe--especially the back-breaking efforts put into it by its sponsors and builders: Jilly Kidd, Hastings Bournemouth, Thinkerer Melville and others," said Hypatia Pickens, one of the exhibitors.
Exhibiting SL writers show off their work and creativity by creating displays in tents or huts. The displays this year were unique, featuring scenes for novels or plays, images that give notecards of writing samples when clicked, and samples of original art. "The creativity out there is amazing, and the lengths exhibitors have gone to, to create displays which illustrate their work means we've ended up with an exhibition that's a joy to explore," said Hastings Bournemouth, AWE organizer. He adds, "It would take weeks to read all of it - all you can do is download notecards, follow hyperlinks and save it all for later - with luck, it should keep you going till the next AWE!"
Hypatia Picken's Hut
When asked about how she created her exhibit, Pickens replied, "I used my hut to represent the chaotic world I live in already (books and papers strewn all over every room in my house), and I had a blast drawing pictures and uploading them, arranging the "furniture," inserting notecards and URL dispensers and making and illustrating a tiny book." She goes on to explain, "What the exhibit shows is not only the literary talent of so many SL residents but their eye for the visually alluring--including the "minimalist": one of my favorite exhibits is that by Huckleberry Hax which represents a "greasy spoon" diner in the starkest and most efficient way: his resume represented on the menu and a short story displayed on his wall about a "greasy spoon" diner. Complete with annoying fly."
Some of the events held during the month were a talk by podcaster Emz Mazie, author of Night's Knights, instructing fellow writers how to successfully podcast their book, a performance of "The Fire" by Mysty Mellison starring members of the Written Word, a finale fireworks display by Judi Newall and a fancy dress ball with UK pianist and singer songwriter Djai Skjellerup providing live music. The contest winners were announced during the final event--including best costume at the final Grand AWE Ball.
There were four competitions during the exhibition, each garnering the winner L$5000.
And the winners were:
- For Best Exhibition Display: Huckleberry Hax
- For Best Prose: Renee Silverfall for a piece of nonfiction called 'A Scatterbrain'
- For Best Poem: Hypatia Pickens for her poem 'Connie Groondy'
- For Best Fancy Dress Costume at the Autumn Writers' Ball: Corwyn Allen dressed as the ancient Japanese haiku poet, Basho
Besides prizes, lot's of fun and exposure of one's writing, what do exhibitors gain from participating in AWE? "I really value Second Life because it allows me to exercise talents that I've let fall by the wayside because of my academic responsibilities: my creative writing and especially my drawing and painting," said Pickens. "I've always wanted to utilize digital technologies for illustrating my
stories and poems, and had been thinking WEBSITE! But Second Life and its three-dimensional world, not to mention the first-hand open mic contact I've had with wonderful writers and friends, answers those needs excellently."
Lovers of words, both writers and readers can look forward to the fourth annual AWE, but in the meantime the Written Word group is getting geared up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) according to Jilly Kidd. For more information visit the WrittenWord website, join their Ning network and join the Written Word group in SL.
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 November 2009 17:49
by MARINER TRILLING
Photos by VERDE OTAARED
A person new to Second Life may find themselves lost, alone and needing guidance. Often creative people like writers or poets are seeking a place that encourages them to write and also helps them acclimate to Second Life. If they do a search, they will find that there are easily over one hundred and forty writing groups in Second Life and even though their memberships overlap among the writers, each group has its own distinctive focus and personality. There are poetry groups, critique groups and groups that teach writing skills. The Written Word is a group that features real life authors and publishers. Some groups are geographically based like The Guild of U.K. Writers, which helps to allow for time zone differences when staging events. The INKsters is one of the largest writers groups and centers specifically around encouraging writers of all levels and styles to write more while helping them access the resources available in Second Life.
INKsters was founded by ItsNaughtKnotty Canned in April 2007 with the simple goal of getting people to write. The original contest, which boasted $L25 a day to the best writer on a prompt provided, insured that the group grew quickly. That early tradition of encouraging creative writers continues today with a membership of over seven hundred.
In its earliest incarnation, INKsters was merely a mailbox placed on a literary sim where contest writers could drop their note cards. Today, INKsters has grown beyond the writing contest which now offers a weekly fund of $L1000 split amongst the winners. There are numerous regular events like poetry readings, open mics and discussion groups, as well as a Short Poetry Workshop which teaches forms of poetry that are easily written. One of the most popular events is the weekly INKsters Beach Party, a social event open to the public where writers of all genres congregate to mingle, dance and decompress every Saturday afternoon.
The beach party is held at Inksters Beach on the Cookie sim. Cookie is a sim supported by arts patron Thinkerer Melville whose vision brings together the written arts, theatre, machinima and in-world builders into one sim. It is the location of the Inksters Home and INKsters Annex where office space and event venues are offered to writers at no charge. The office buildings in the Inksters home (called The Writer's Blocks) provide writers with a virtual space to express their personalities, display their works and meet with other writers. It also creates a sense of community for writers separated by thousands of miles.
"My vision in developing Cookie was to develop a community of creative people with interests in literature and the performing arts.” Melville says. “Bringing them together in this way would -- and did, and still does-- foster creative collaboration that all of us enjoy."
Melville has done more than merely creating a three dimensional place for the arts. He has provided a rallying point for a social community. The Cookie sim has become a place where writers from all over the world gather not just as writers but gather socially as creative people nurturing each other’s creativity. Cookie sim allows the connection of the writers with other art forms, such as theatre groups and video groups where their works can be published or produced for the stage. This creates a cohesive conclave for forms of creativity spanning different mediums.
Torylynn Writer, one of the five INKsters owners, explains the group this way, “While encouraging publication, INKsters is mostly concerned with simply getting people to write. We would love to see people mature through their writing and maintain growth, but what we really want to see is people putting fingers to keyboards and producing something that reflects themselves and the world around them."
Anyone with an interest in writing who wants to become part an active group should join INKsters. Writers interested in office space or staging events can contact ToryLynn Writer and those interested in participating in the contests can come to the INKsters Home on Cookie for details. There they will find the original blue Inkster mailbox waiting for them to submit their entry.
Slurl to INKsters: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cookie/193/132/21
By DULCIE MILLS
Machinima by PIA KLAAR
Photo by VERDE OTAARED
Launching this past March, Off the Shelf is a twice monthly podcast featuring interviews with SL authors, poets, librarians, and those in related writing and publishing fields. The podcasts are recorded live at the Off the Shelf studio above Bookstacks Isle on Awen on Sundays at 1 p.m. People are welcome to attend the taping and ask questions of the guests after the show.
Off the Shelf was started when Xinoxi Han of the Illumination Library invited Simeon Beresford and Kghia Gherardi to host the shows and collaborated with Gabrielle Riel of Radio Riel on the technical aspects. Since Beresford and Gherardi who were involved in Bookstacks had been talking about doing some podcasts, they readily agreed, and Beresford coined the name “Off the Shelf” to appeal to the show’s audience. Han recently left to devote her time to other projects. Beresford, Gherardi, and Riel are the current producers of the show.
Recent guests of Off the Shelf besides this writer have included authors Mark Eller, Mark Worthen and Glenn Manewell; poets Manx Wharton and Persephone Phoenix; and book and writer related event hosts Derry McMahon, Alas Zerbino and Jenaia Morane. Gherardi said, “We are planning to interview more authors and poets, as well as people from the publishing industry, librarians, and venue owners.” Future guests include horror and YA author Emerain Rich on June 28 and Adele Ward (Jilly Kidd from the Written Word) and publisher, Saffia Wideershins on July 12.
Gheradi says the biggest challenge to producing Off the Shelf is “inexperience . . . Getting past the first show was a big hurdle. We are learning as we go, and we are getting more of a routine in place. The show has its structure and we can focus more on the guests.” Before producing Off the Shelf, Gherardi said that she hadn’t done any podcasting/interviewing. “We've been so grateful from the guidance from Gabrielle Riel and Otenth Paderborn, as well as our stage manager, Dilana Llewllyn. Dilana has a lot of experience as a stage manager, audio producer and in theater. She has been a valuable addition to the "crew" at Off the Shelf.” Gherardi added that, “The other challenge is accommodating so many time zones. Fortunately our guests have been very adaptable (Glenn Manewell, who is Australia, was on the show at a very early hour on a Monday morning!).
When asked how they select guests for the shows, Gheradi explained, “Simeon and I have both been in Second Life two plus years, and we've been fortunate enough to build up a good network of bookish people during that time. From that network, we have created a list of potential guests. We usually have two guests on each show, so we try to pair up complimentary guests. Often it is a matter of the accommodating the guests' schedules as well.”
Gherardi’s favorite part of working on Off the Shelf is the people she learns so much about. “I love talking to people about their passions. And if those passions happen to be book-related, even better. Even when I'm interviewing people I've talked to several times, I always find out something new and surprising. If our listeners discover a great new writer or venue, even better!” As for Beresford, his favorite part is “The live show. Before and after we are looking for and finding problems. When we are on air there is no point in worrying.”
As for future plans for Off the Shelf, Beresford said, “We do expect it to evolve. [We hope to have] more single author shows, more organized post show discussions etc,” Gherardi added, “I know there are many writers in SL and venues holding events here that we aren't hearing about yet. I hope people will start contacting us about appearing on the show . . . We are always willing to try something new. For example, we just had our first book giveaway from an author on the show. We might open the show up to some sponsorship as well. Maybe a machinama version? And if the listeners tell us they want a longer format or more information about upcoming events or something else, we'll consider that feedback. In other words, we are open to a lot of possibilities and since we don't know what we are doing, we'll probably try them all.”
by DULCIE MILLS
photos by VERDE OTAARED
On Friday, March 20, the Virtual Worlds Story Project, celebrated World Storytelling Day with a day-long event featuring a multi-sim story quest, a program of storytellers, and a DJ hosted dance. The Virtual World Story Project is the brainchild of Jenaia Morane, a gifted writing teacher and author who also created Storybook Island, where the event began, and helped design the Karuna sim, the ending location. Morane likes to consider herself a "story sleuth," so the idea of a story quest was an ideal extension of what she and most writers do on a daily basis, hunting for ideas to turn into stories.
Instructional note cards were distributed at the starting point of the quest where participants were able to choose among 5 genres: romance, fantasy, non-fiction, murder mystery or sci-fi. By clicking on the book illustrating the selected theme genre, a note card with further instructions and LM's to the participating sims was given. By following the directions in the note card and visiting the four sims listed for each, quest participants searched for "enchanted" books that gave further clues that helped them craft a story based on their selected theme. Morane chose the sims from places she enjoyed, through recommendations from friends (she's a Mentor so had 3000+ people to ask), and she used the Search function, too. She even asked some of the sim owners which sims they liked. There were also story coaches including Morane who were available throughout the day to help people who had questions.
The quest began at Midnight and ended at 5 pm when the stories had to be submitted to the blue mailbox on Karuna. All those who participated were also able to pick up a folder of writing-related freebies and other cool stuff. There were 184 quest participants, and twelve who submitted stories. The most popular category was non-fiction with four entries followed by Murder Mystery and Sci Fi with three entries each and two entries for romance. The Fantasy category did not have any entries. Winners were chosen by Morane in each entered category (see winning stories later in this article) and received a plaque, $1,000 Lindens, and some gifts donated by sponsors. Each of the winners was asked to read his/her story at an awards ceremony on April 4.
At the conclusion of the quest, from 5 to 6:30 pm SLT, five SL writers took the stage on Karuna to share their own tales in voice with the audience. Morane introduced each of them. Elegia Underwood, in her dragon wings and outfit, told a story of "How Dragons came to Be". Rae Larkham (Rae Lori in rl), a writer of comic book and film-related articles and author of books in several genres, read what she termed her "Twilight Zone-inspired story," the suspenseful "City of the Wishmakers;" In her bumblebee dress, Derry McMahon of the West of Ireland Library performed an enthusiastic rendition of E.B White's "Song of the Queen Bee;" Clarissa Tolsen (Cynthia Struloeff in rl) a writer of literary short stories with a PH.D. in English with an emphasis on creative writing who is working on a novel agented by Curtis Brown, recited a story featuring a realistic and scary bear attack; Dulcie Mills (Debbie De Louise in rl), a Long Island reference librarian and the Associate Publisher of RezLibris library magazine that is printing the winning entries, read excerpts from her virtual romance, "Cloudy Rainbow" including a scene she called "the Virtual Séance" scene.After the storytellers spoke, Morane thanked all who helped with the event: "I want to thank all the marvelous folks who have made this event possible, not least of whom are: Alas Zerbino who helped me hammer out the clues, find sims, plot murder, and is here right now putting everything into text for us; Scottlo Scorbal and Divad Gravois for their unflagging support; Krull Aeon for his incredible scripting and creativity. He made the books you saw on the clues; Saxet Uralia, who always has my back; Judi Newall for being my go to person and incredible support when I needed it. And all the sim owners who allowed me to rez clues on their land: Mee Little: antioch; Kei514 Flow: Pteron; kikunosuke Eel: Tempura; Kghia Gherardi and Simeon Beresford of Bookstacks; Judi Newall: Alien Isles; Daisyblue Hefferman: Bradburyville; Bernajena Pinazzo: shazerahade; RJ Muni of Sunshine Gardens; NeoBokrug Elytis Wastelands; Golda Stein: Dreams and DAN; Anya Ixchel: MacBeth; Serenity Sieyes and Caz Lobo; Avilion; Das Wade and Brie Janick: London sims; Carolina Keats: Health info and Karuna; Zanza Marx: Midsomer; Bettina Tizzy: Chakryn Forest; Shenlei Flasheart: Shengri La Love; Felix Sheppard : Garden of DaVinci; and Chugabug: Corona."
For the conclusion of the event, live dance music was provided by DJ LilTank Thibedeau. Morane said, "(I) was amazed by the enthusiasm, generosity, and creativity folks brought to the table. Running the Quest taught me a lot, and helped clarify what I'd like to do next. TVWSP will be offering Quests once a month beginning in May. Each with have a specific theme, genre, and in-depth questions. Over time, we will also be incorporating other kinds of storytelling, such as poetry, photography, and audio recordings. Elements of each Quest will be recorded as a podcast and made available on the TVWSP web site as part of our ongoing efforts to collect and share SL stories. The Quests will begin on Fridays and run throughout the weekend so that those who work have time to participate."
Here are the links for the winning stories:
Storybook (Story Quest Info)
The Virtual Triangle by Dulcie Mills - Romance
An Autumn's Murder by PacificBlue Hanly - Murder Mystery
Wastelands by RayVal Dreadlow - Science Fiction
A Quest for Healing by Ludo Merit - Creative Non-Fiction