Do Writers Have a Role in the Future of Virtual Worlds?

by Joan Kremer on June 25, 2009 · 6 comments

in Events,Places for writers

I asked a question of a few people who are mostly ignorant of the existence of Second LifeWhat would you expect to see at an exposition on the future of virtual worlds on the Internet?

After they got past the guffaws or confusion or outright indignation (e.g., endocrinologist “Who do you think I am – some dumb gamer nerd?”), when I’d finally convinced them I was serious, they all gave me the same kind of answers, some printable, some not, but which in general relate to these descriptions:

  • Million-core computers (okay, a slight exaggeration)
  • Steely cold constructions – sort of advanced erector-set concoctions, all in shades of gray, of course, kind of like the old Jetsons cartoon series
  • Advanced battle gear for alien-shaped warriors of the next-next-next-generation
  • Robots performing precision-marching maneuvers on green slabs meant to represent parade grounds


One of the portals to enter Second Life’s 6th birthday exhibition on the future of virtual worlds

What they did not come even close to mentioning were the very things that are so near and dear to my – and most likely your – heart:  words.  As in writing and reading.

Naturally, people who haven’t a clue what Second Life is about would have no idea about the fabulous resources in SL for writers and readers.  But even some who do know, including yours truly, were surprised – pleasantly so, of course – to discover that the big exhibition now under way in celebration of Second Life’s sixth birthday, includes several exhibits that promote writers and readers.

Why such a surprise?  Because the theme of the event is the future of virtual worlds, and Linden Lab (which runs SL) required exhibitors to apply and demonstrate that their exhibit reflected that theme.

Yes, many of the exhibits vaguely resemble the future-techie visions described by my little sampling population, and some are so futuristic it’s hard to make hide nor hair of them!  But Second Life is different from virtual games (which it’s often lumped with):  It’s full of creative souls – artists, musicians, videographers, and, of course, writers.  So it would be impossible to envision a future Second Life without them!

Between now and June 30, when the birthday party ends, take a teleport over to the SL6B exhibition and celebration in Second Life, and check out, in particular, these exhibits that promote creative writing in all its forms:


Fostering the Literary Arts

This exhibit was created by Toronto’s Guerilla PoetessSkylar Smythe in Second Life.  (Skylar is also one of the moving forces behind the SL replica of the Hotel Chelsea, a New York hotel that’s been home to many writers.)  The “Fostering the Literary Arts” exhibit features:

  • Information about the writing community in SL (including a poster about this blog – thank you very much, Skylar!) post6-25-09_writingcommunity
  • A biodome containing a beautiful woodland meadow, complete with deer
  • Up in the sky, a gorgeous performance platform, where events are scheduled each day of the celebration:
    • June 24, UK Writers Showcase, 4-6 pm SLT
    • June 25, North American Writers Showcase, 7-9 pm SLT
    • June 26, Flash Fiction Workshop, 4-5 pm SLT
    • June 27, Writing for Second Life Theatre, 2-3 pm SLT
    • June 28, Second Life Blogging, 2-3 pm SLT
    • June 29, Haiku Showcase / Workshop, 3-4 pm SLT

SLURL to teleport directly to exhibit:


Part of the “Reading’s Future” exhibit at SL6B (small blue square in the middle is my contribution to the display)

Reading’s Future

SL resident Diana Allandale, who is the author Diana Hunter in first life, designed and built this exhibit to demonstrate “that one can read great stories inworld just as easily as in RL.”  Diana generously reached out to writers across SL to invite them to contribute their writing and information to her exhibit, which includes:

  • A futuristic reading room
  • A sampling of Diana’s novels and short stories
  • Free copies of short stories, Second Life books, and other works by writers in Second Life (including a story by and links to information about me – thanks, Diana!!):

SLURL to teleport directly to exhibit:

Written Word

One of the most popular centers for writers in SL, Written Word, also has an exhibit, which primarily consists of information about this very supportive organization for writers, as well as a funky “earthquake chair” that you simply have to experience to understand!

SLURL to teleport directly to exhibit:

More than 300 exhibits that encompass virtually any human activity you can think of are featured at the SL6B extravaganza.  It’s a fascinating “virtual world within a virtual world” to explore – but you only have a few days to do so!  Better get moving . . . down the hall into the future:


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diana Allandale (4 comments.) June 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Joan — and thanks, too, for the contribution. You’re right, most people hear “virtual world” and think “monsters,” “fighting,” and “leveling up.” But there is soooo much more!

Good post 🙂

2 Skylar Smythe (1 comments.) June 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Thank you very much for visiting and supporting my exhibit at SL6B Joan! It was wonderful to be able to meet writers and provide information and recommendations (including of course, referring them to Writers in the Virtual Sky as a premier resource for mentoring new writers).

With so many agencies supporting the success of current and upcoming literary talent, there is a a bright future for the literary arts in Second Life (TM).

Thank you!
Skylar Smythe

3 Secundo Dharma June 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Jilly Kidd of Written Word was incredibly supportive and a friendly ear in the pre-voice days of SL, when I had the pleasure of hosting Sounds of Poetry, a weekly poetry reading over music stream and notecards. She helped me achieve the confidence to attend and present at RL poetry readings.

Diana Allandale is my number one inspiration as a writer, having read about 6 of her books she is by far my favorite light fiction author – so much so that last November I wrote a 52,000 word romance for readers of similar tastes. I never even THOUGHT of writing a book before I met her. I love you Diana Hunter !

Skylar Smythe is just so dynamic and exciting, that even on days when I don’t enter Second Life I feel connected, inspired and somewhat in awe of her avatar dynamo.

SL lady writers rock!

Thank you Joan for highlighting their contributions

4 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) June 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

@Diana: There IS so much more to virtual worlds than most people realize! I’m really glad you volunteered your time and talent to help get that word out!

5 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) June 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Thanks so much for your comment! And thanks for all you do for the literary world in Second Life — it’s awesome.

What a neat story about Jilly! Actually, it was my appearances at the Written Word Writers Circle open mics that also gave ME the confidence to read my work out loud to “strangers”!!

Diana is such a great inspiration, isn’t she? My first workshops in SL were those she offered — they were just great!

And Skylar — I totally concur with you there!

Thanks for the comment, Secundo!

6 Josue Habana (1 comments.) July 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

Great article, Joan.

SL6B was great and it was massively inspiring to see everyone contributing and hopefully when non SL-ers search Google for ‘Second Life’ they’ll begin to find more pieces like this… as opposed to misinformed journalism making us all out to be nyphos and psychos who only ever sign in to make pixel babies with strangers!

Lved it, Joan 🙂
Josue Habana´s last blog ..Headset Horrors My ComLuv Profile

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