How Second Life Cured One Writer’s Allergy to Networking

by Joan Kremer on September 5, 2008 · 9 comments

in Adventures,Benefits of SL,Virtual tools


I know I’m not a cat because I’m still alive after decades of following my curiosity into a vast assortment of situations–some good, anorexia visit this site some not-so-good. That’s how I got to Second Life, sickness too.

I’m always on the lookout for what’s new. What’s new out there? In there? Beyond here and there? And so it was that on one gloomy winter day in February 2008, as I was skimming through a trade journal to catch up on new methods in my professional field (instructional design), I came across this blurb for an article in
The e-Learning Guild‘s Learning Solutions e-Magazine:

Give Your e-Learning Some (Second) Life: Simulation Made Easy
By Bill Brandon

Second Life offers a flexible, low-cost environment for building simulations, and it presents few, if any, barriers to entry. This week, read about the real Second Life and its potential for many different approaches to learning, from a current part-time in-world resident.

Being a lover of both graphics and words, it caught my imagination: corporations training employees in what looked like a fun, colorful environment! And one that requires no travel! Despite my inability then to grasp the notion of a virtual world like Second Life, and setting aside my fear of those strange concantenation of letters, numbers, and symbols they called SLURLs, I had to find out more!

I barely skimmed the article before I clicked open a new tab in my Firefox browser and typed in a formula I was familiar with: the URL for Second Life.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Had I been under a rock the past four-plus years? I mean, I’m one of those who waited in line to get the very first of The Sims games!

So, with my usual “relaxed pace,” I RUSHED into Second Life. I had to see what I thought was a 3D version of The Sims.

I barely remember SL’s Orientation Island. I don’t think I even landed on Help Island! I just chose an avatar style (cybergoth–see photo above–because I still thought this was a game), and headed out to find all of these new-media corporate training sites.

Wham!! If you’ve already joined Second Life, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well, try to imagine your first day as a new-born in First Life. Sorta overwhelming, believe me!

I soon discovered SL is not a game; it’s a whole new universe with as much variety and as many mysteries as First Life. (Some people call their earth-based physical-world existence “Real Life”; I prefer “First Life,” because which one is more real?? Hard to say!)

So, I plunged into SL not knowing what the heck I was doing or where to go. (That SLURL concept became even more unfathomable once I got “inworld”!)

Fortunately, because I’m a ‘Net nerd, I found this wonderful blog that offered a beginner’s guide to SL. I’ll always be grateful to Natalia Zeminov’s The Mermaid Diaries, and I always urge my friends to go there before they go into SL.

Following Natalia’s suggestions, I checked out some newbie-friendly places and learned the basics of functioning inworld. And that’s how I found out SL was vastly greater than a fancy web-conferencing site! And how I discovered there was a pretty cool writing community in SL.

Within four days of entry I:

  • Had totally abandoned my search for training venues in SL (and never did make it to that SLURL from the e-learning pub)
  • Had abandoned my cybergoth avatar for one that looked more like a human — but was skinnier, younger, and cuter than my First Life self
  • Was exploring three land parcels that supported writers
  • Had met another avatar who would become a great friend and partner in the Story Mountain Center for Writers we’d eventually build

And then I began to realize the prophetic nature of the name I picked for my avatar. Because you have to create a name before you step foot inside of SL, I had no concept of its importance — it’s as impactful and long-lasting as the name you got at First Life birth.

I was in an impulsive mood when I joined SL, so I rapidly scrolled through the list of last names provided by Linden Lab (creator of Second Life) until I was at the Z’s. Now, you have to choose one from their list, so being in a hurry, I scanned the Z names on my screen, thought Zerbino was fine, and clicked to choose it.

Then I learned I had to create my own first name. It could be anything, I was told. Well, I sure didn’t want to waste more time outside of SL, so I thought to myself, How about A to Z–just think of a name beginning with A. And the first word that came to mind was Alas, as in “alas, the day is done”–not as in “Alice. ”

I typed in “Alas,” clicked the button to give birth to Alas Zerbino, and embarked on journey of discovery that won’t end until I’ve found all the writer-related stuff in Second Life–from A to Z.

I know I’m not a cat because I’m still alive after decades of following my curiosity into a vast assortment of situations–some good, apoplectic some not-so-good. That’s how I got to Second Life, arthritis too.

I’m always on the lookout for what’s new. What’s new out there? In there? Beyond here and there? And so it was that on one gloomy winter day in February 2008, as I was skimming through a trade journal to catch up on new methods in my professional field (instructional design), I came across this blurb for an article in
The e-Learning Guild‘s Learning Solutions e-Magazine:

Give Your e-Learning Some (Second) Life: Simulation Made Easy
By Bill Brandon

Second Life offers a flexible, low-cost environment for building simulations, and it presents few, if any, barriers to entry. This week, read about the real Second Life and its potential for many different approaches to learning, from a current part-time in-world resident.

Being a lover of both graphics and words, it caught my imagination: corporations training employees in what looked like a fun, colorful environment! And one that requires no travel! Despite my inability then to grasp the notion of a virtual world like Second Life, and setting aside my fear of those strange concantenation of letters, numbers, and symbols they called SLURLs, I had to find out more!

I barely skimmed the article before I clicked open a new tab in my Firefox browser and typed in a formula I was familiar with: the URL for Second Life.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Had I been under a rock the past four-plus years? I mean, I’m one of those who waited in line to get the very first of The Sims games!

So, with my usual “relaxed pace,” I RUSHED into Second Life. I had to see what I thought was a 3D version of The Sims.

I barely remember SL’s Orientation Island. I don’t think I even landed on Help Island! I just chose an avatar style (cybergoth–see photo above–because I still thought this was a game), and headed out to find all of these new-media corporate training sites.

Wham!! If you’ve already joined Second Life, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well, try to imagine your first day as a new-born in First Life. Sorta overwhelming, believe me!

I soon discovered SL is not a game; it’s a whole new universe with as much variety and as many mysteries as First Life. (Some people call their earth-based physical-world existence “Real Life”; I prefer “First Life,” because which one is more real?? Hard to say!)

So, I plunged into SL not knowing what the heck I was doing or where to go. (That SLURL concept became even more unfathomable once I got “inworld”!)

Fortunately, because I’m a ‘Net nerd, I found this wonderful blog that offered a beginner’s guide to SL. I’ll always be grateful to Natalia Zeminov’s The Mermaid Diaries, and I always urge my friends to go there before they go into SL.

Following Natalia’s suggestions, I checked out some newbie-friendly places and learned the basics of functioning inworld. And that’s how I found out SL was vastly greater than a fancy web-conferencing site! And how I discovered there was a pretty cool writing community in SL.

Within four days of entry I:

  • Had totally abandoned my search for training venues in SL (and never did make it to that SLURL from the e-learning pub)
  • Had abandoned my cybergoth avatar for one that looked more like a human — but was skinnier, younger, and cuter than my First Life self
  • Was exploring three land parcels that supported writers
  • Had met another avatar who would become a great friend and partner in the Story Mountain Center for Writers we’d eventually build

And then I began to realize the prophetic nature of the name I picked for my avatar. Because you have to create a name before you step foot inside of SL, I had no concept of its importance — it’s as impactful and long-lasting as the name you got at First Life birth.

I was in an impulsive mood when I joined SL, so I rapidly scrolled through the list of last names provided by Linden Lab (creator of Second Life) until I was at the Z’s. Now, you have to choose one from their list, so being in a hurry, I scanned the Z names on my screen, thought Zerbino was fine, and clicked to choose it.

Then I learned I had to create my own first name. It could be anything, I was told. Well, I sure didn’t want to waste more time outside of SL, so I thought to myself, How about A to Z–just think of a name beginning with A. And the first word that came to mind was Alas, as in “alas, the day is done”–not as in “Alice. ”

I typed in “Alas,” clicked the button to give birth to Alas Zerbino, and embarked on journey of discovery that won’t end until I’ve found all the writer-related stuff in Second Life–from A to Z.
PhotobucketAs a jaded, hospital know-it-all teen and young adult in the ’60s and ’70s, I smirked self-righteously whenever I met a groupie: you know, those star-struck teeny-boppers who swooned at the mere sight of Mick Jagger or fought their way to the front at a Beatles concert and screamed and fainted as John, Paul, George, and Ringo came running onto the stage. Even worse were the ones (mostly girls) who would trade sexual favors for the “privilege” of hanging out with the rock stars of the day.

Yuck!

But now I’m a groupie and loving every minute of it! Because I’ve discovered that the best way to get involved and have fun in Second Life is to join its groups.

Virtual worlds are huge, and Second Life is becoming almost as big and complicated as the physical world. So when “newbies,” as they are called, take their first avatar-steps on Orientation Island, they often have the virtual-world equivalent of that “all dressed up and nowhere to go” sensation. How do I conquer this strange, immense territory?

“Groups,” I tell them. “Become a groupie.”

Here’s how it works: Just like in First Life, people in Second Life gravitate into communities with shared interests and goals. These are the groups that filter the vast resources of SL into containers you can actually get your hands around. Groups are essentially communities of like-minded avatars, and often provide places to go and activities to participate in.

How do you find the right groups? Often by trial and error–but we’re talking fast, easy trials!

At the bottom of your SL viewer is a button labeled Search. (The Search window in general is an avatar’s best friend, especially as you get acquainted with SL.) One of the tabs in the Search window is Groups. Click that tab and your fun is about to begin.

Here’s how I discovered the writing wealth in SL through its groups:

  1. I ran several Group searches on words such as writer, writing, literary, and author.
  2. I ordered the results by the number-of-members column, figuring that the groups with the most members probably had the most going on (though that turned out not always to be true).
  3. I read the intro details for each group whose name seemed to fit my interest and had no joining fee. (I still haven’t joined a group with a fee!)
  4. If the details sounded promising, I immediately joined the group, which gave me access to its Notices page. There I looked at the past notices. If there were none and the group had been around for a while, I put it on my “probably not” list. Otherwise I read the notices to get more of a sense of what they did.
  5. When I had a comfortable number of groups, I began to explore them: I teleported to their “home base” and attended every reading, workshop, meeting, party, and other event they offered.
  6. I began to meet other writers—people from all over the world—and would look at their profiles to see what groups they belonged to. When I found groups I hadn’t heard of yet, I’d check them out.
  7. I also looked at the Picks in their profiles, looking for places geared toward writers. I’d check out these places, and sometimes find a great group to join there.
  8. Within a short time, I’d hit my SL limit of 25 groups and had to start culling. I left those that seemed inactive and those in niches (such as sci-fi and horror) that I wasn’t particularly interested in.

Using this process, I quickly got to know a lot of what was happening on the Second Life writing scene, and before long, I was so busy networking and sharing and learning with my new writer friends, that I felt like an old hand at SL.

I’ve heard rumors that the 25-group cap will someday be removed from Second Life, and I can hardly wait—because I have a lot of other interests for which I want to become a “groupie”!

A few of my favorite active groups for writers (with links to their blog or website if they have one):

In future posts, I’ll describe some of the great programs these and other groups offer writers in Second Life, including professional workshops, classes for all levels, contests, open mic events, conversations with widely acclaimed First Life authors, and more!
Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, viagra 60mg “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), recipe but fact is, I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.

Video thumbnail
“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!

“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!
I live within driving distance of a terrific writers’ resource: The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. The Loft offers great classes, visit workshops, life and author presentations, otolaryngologist and makes it easy to find a peer group for that ongoing support and critique so key to writing success.

I’m a long-time Loft member and have utilized their resources a great deal. But it’s been exhausting — because here’s what I have to do to attend an event there:

  1. Make sure I’m wearing sufficient layers just in case of a snowstorm or something (though for only about 9-10 months of each year).
  2. Leave about an hour and a half before the event to allow for traffic jams, accidents, flash floods, or alien invasions.
  3. Drive roughly 45 miles on clogged commuter and city freeways (which typically involve some fancy maneuvering on my part so as to not get sideswiped or knocked out of the lane I need).
  4. Drive endlessly ’round and ’round inner-city blocks, looking for cheap parking.
  5. Give up on cheap parking and pull into the expensive parking ramp only four blocks away.
  6. Walk through heat, cold, snow, ice, slush, rain (or a rare warm, sunny day) to the event.
  7. Attend the event, get all excited.
  8. Think about accepting the invitation to join the other writers afterward in a bar or cafe.
  9. Decide not to join the other writers because then I’d have to either:
    • a) drive through horrible traffic to the other side of the city and try to find yet another parking spot, and/or,
    • b) sit in a bar watching all the city folk chugging away happily while I sip my diet pop, because I still have to drive home.
  10. Drive roughly 45 miles home on clogged city and commuter freeways, which, while I have been attending the event, most likely turned into skating rinks, rivers, or parking lots, depending on whether it snowed or rained or an accident occurred while I was inside.
  11. Arrive home late at night, exhausted.
  12. Deal with all the household, kid, and pet issues that accrued while I was gone.
  13. Fall into bed well past my usual bedtime.
  14. Wake up the next morning groggy and crabby from lack of sleep — and totally demotivated to write!

Now, to undertake such an arduous journey a couple of times a year is fine, but to do that every week to attend a writing workshop or meet with a peer group for support and critique? Are you kidding? Superwoman I ain’t!

Then along came the metaverse!

Now, to attend a workshop, class, reading, presentation, critique group meeting — whatever! — all I have to do is:

  1. A few minutes before, get into a comfortable chair (usually my recliner).
  2. Open my laptop.
  3. Log into Second Life.
  4. Teleport instantly to the event.
  5. Stay and chat as long as I want.
  6. Immediately transfer my heightened motivation to real writing.

I can attend as many events a day as I want; I can leave if I’m bored or tired; I can go to the bathroom whenever I want and no one notices! And besides, there are an exponentially greater number of programs for writers on Second Life.

For us writers who don’t live in the center of a thriving big-city writing community, virtual worlds such as Second Life are a godsend!!!!
A kid in a candy store! Yeah, physician I know it’s a cliche, but sometimes those are the only ways to describe something. And I’d never felt more like a kid surrounded by all the free candy I wanted — or like Alice in only the best parts of Wonderland — than I did when I first stepped foot on Second Life’s Orientation Island as Alas Zerbino, newbie avatar.

Not only could I combine my fascination with technology, my love of computer graphic design, and my addiction to learning and information-gathering in this magical 3D world, but I also, quite accidentally, discovered a vast wealth of resources for writers, available 24/7, at no cost, and as easy as opening a computer app!

I was quite head over heels in love with my brave new “world.”

Kristin Hannah appears on Authors in Your Pocket!

Peggy Hicks of Second Life Cable Network TV interviews best-selling novelist Kristin Hannah during her twice-monthly Authors in Your Pocket! show, where SL avatars can interact directly with the author. I’ve met more published authors in SL through this and other events than I have in all my years in First Life!

In only the first month in Second Life, I:

  • Took writing workshops from published authors
  • Entered (and won) writing contests
  • Discovered a ton of new nonfiction markets
  • Chatted face-to-face (or avatar-to-avatar) with well-known authors from around the world.

And that’s just the beginning!

I tried to describe this incredible virtual world to friends and family, but found it impossible to do it justice. A few of my attempts:

  • Parallel universe
  • Nearly infinite playground
  • Mind-blower
  • The Matrix run by the good guys

But the best part for a writer like me, living in a small town in a rural part of the physical world, it gave me a mainline injection of ideas, inspiration, and markets for my writing.

The funny thing is, I first meandered into Second Life for a totally different reason (a story I’ll share another time), never dreaming it would completely revamp and exponentially expand my writing life.

I decided to start this blog to share my findings on the many ways that Second Life (and other virtual worlds) can help writers of every genre improve their writing, increase their publishing opportunities, and expand their writing community to truly “meta-physical” levels!

If you have questions you want answered or ideas for me to write about, please send me an email! I look forward to expanding our collective understanding of this new writers’ world!
Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, see “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), patient but fact is, skincare I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.

Video thumbnail
“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!

“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, visit “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), but fact is, I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.

Video thumbnail
“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!

“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, rehabilitation “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), disorder but fact is, diagnosis I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!



“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, dysentery “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), endocrinologist but fact is, recipe I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!



“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, pharm “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), pill but fact is, I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!



“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

I’ve recently become the primary moderator for the weekly Second Life meetings of the Athena Isle Writers Group. Thanks to an awesome author/networker/Second Lifer-er Cybergrrl Oh (Aliza Sherman in First Life), website the group attracts writing experts and successful published authors of the caliber of best-selling cookbook authors Elizabeth Yarnell and Janet and Greta Podleski, prothesis mystery writers Roberta Islieb and Beth Groundwater, prescription and novelists Michelle Richmond and Michelle Gagnon.

Athena Isle Writers meet

When Cybergrrl offered to transfer this task to me, I thought, Hey, no problem. Long ago in First Life, I worked as the book editor of a newspaper and interviewed quite a few well-known authors. So even though I still get star-struck in the presence of acclaimed writers, I’ve learned how to hide it!

Well, you can toss those thoughts into the “famous last words” bin!

I quickly discovered that the hardest part of this job was not:

  • A) coming up with intriguing questions for our guests,
  • B) keeping to the schedule, or even
  • C) ensuring the speaker had a glass of water.

No, the hardest part is . . . well, let me paint the picture for you. It’s just a few minutes before the meeting is to begin, and I’m greeting our guest, Famous Author:

ME: Hi, Famous Author! So glad you could come speak to us.

FAMOUS AUTHOR AS HER/HIS NEW AVATAR: Is someone there? Where are you?

ME: I’m standing behind you—just turn around.

FA: I don’t know how to turn around.

ME: Uh, sorry . . . I forgot you just arrived in Second Life like 5 minutes ago. You gotta use your arrow keys.

FA: Where are the arrow keys? I don’t see anything that looks like arrows on my screen.

ME: Ummm, the, uh, ones on your keyboard—on your computer.

  • Conversation pauses as FA’s avatar begins moving back and forward, bumping into me, the tree, the sign with her photo on it, and finally falling into the canal.

ME: Oops, sorry.

  • FA drags her avatar up out of the water, looking pretty grim.

ME: I wasn’t very clear, was I? The up and down arrow keys move you forward and backward; it’s the right/left keys that turn you around. (If an avatar could blush, mine would be a brilliant red by this time!)

  • By now we’re standing in front of the Story Mountain Lodge, inside of which the Athena Isle Writers are gathering. I explain that we have to go inside, and begin walking. I click open the lodge’s door and waddle in. (Your basic SL walk is fondly known as the “duck waddle.”) FA hesitates, so she gets to the door just in time for it to slam shut.

FA (bumping into the closed door): How do I get in there? The door just shut in my face!

ME (blushing deep burgundy under my calm avatar skin): Just touch the door and it’ll open.

  • Long pause; I consider going back out to fetch her.

FA: And just how do I make my arm move so it’ll touch the door?

ME (thinking this person’s gonna hate me forever for being so stupid): I’m so sorry—in SL “touching” something means you click your mouse on it.

FA (zig-zagging through the now-open door, only running into the walls and door jamb three times): Thanks for sharing. I hope this gets easier . . .

  • And so we continue for the next few minutes. I remember to add key descriptors like “that table to the right of your avatar” instead of saying something dumb like “that table.” I apologize for being such a “newbie” host and explain it’s not my intention to be so rude. We go over a couple of things and then it’s time to sit down at the round-table.

ME: Have a seat now, FA.

FA: At the table?

Guest speaker sits!

ME: Yes—that table to the right of your avatar. (see?? I’m learning!!)

  • FA’s avatar walks toward the table, bumps into it, then is suddenly standing in the middle of it, her avatar body cut in half by the table top. The others around her are “LOL‘ing” (avatar talk for “laughing out loud,” in case you didn’t know). I glance at FA’s avatar’s face, and despite the impossibility of it, I’m certain I see her skin turning red. I apologize profusely once again, and offer further assistance.

Umm, just how does one “take a seat” at the table?

ME: Oh, just click on the empty chair.

  • FA’s avatar proceeds to zig-zag all over the room now, and I realize she’s trying to position herself next to the chair, as you would in First Life. By now my First Life self is sweating and shaking, and giving thanks to the heavens that we’re using text chat so no one can hear my shame-filled, shaky voice.

Uh, FA, I forgot to say that you don’t have to be near the chair—just click on it.

  • FA does as I suggest, but by the time she’s right-clicked on the empty chair and chosen “Sit Here” from the menu that appears, another avatar has entered the room and sat down on the aforementioned chair. Hence, FA is suddenly sitting—rather suggestively, I might note, my heart sinking—on a strange avatar’s lap.
    By the time I’ve assured FA that sort of thing happens all the time in SL (which it does—or at least to me!), other more-together members of the group have taken over and guided FA through the process of taking a seat in Second Life.

    I hurriedly sit down myself and mentally review all my previous communications with her, hoping and praying that I never told her my First Life name, but realizing that I definitely did and feeling quite confident that she’ll remember my name with great disgust for the rest of her life, which means that because of the small-world of publishing, I can now kiss my own barely launched writing career goodbye.

    Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. What’s more, the truly awesome authors who have graciously braved the steep (but fast) initial learning curve in SL to share their insights with us have been exceedingly kind about my own steep (but much slower) learning curve on how to coach a guest on the basics of Second Life. The ones I’ve assisted so far have acclimated themselves quickly and seemed to have a good time. (See what last week’s guest, Elizabeth Yarnell, had to say about her experience on SL.) And the chance to meet and learn from so many experts in the field is unparalleled.

    But I have to admit that this has been one of the oddest things I’ve had to do to in Second Lifeteach acclaimed writers,who I hold in awe and who by rights should be teaching ME, how to do things like sit down, turn around, and avoid walking through a table.

Yeah, mycoplasmosis I know—writers are supposed to chain their butts to the seats of their writing chairs if they want to achieve real literary success. But it’s the rare writer (Emily Dickinson is one of the few who come to mind) who can thrive solely in the airspace between the fingertips and the keyboard (or the pen tip and paper, viagra dosage if you employ the old-fashioned method of writing). Most of us have to fill the creative well every now and then before it dries up like an old leather shoe.

Photobucket
Attending the blogging class by Kitviel Silberberg (Teddy Gross) that gave me the know-how to start this blog

So, no rx while I surely don’t want to discourage any writer from the essential practice of applying butt to chair and writing, writing, writing . . . when it’s time to fill the well or break through a block, virtual reality can be as rewarding as the physical one.

Here are just a few ways writers can benefit themselves and their writing by taking a trip into Second Life:

  1. Enter a writing contest. For some writers, their muse jumps much higher when poked with a contest prod. There’s at least one writing contest every day in SL, and usually more. One of my favorites is the daily prompt/contest run by ItsNaughtKnotty Canned of INKsters. Write 500 words about the day’s prompt, stick it in the INKster’s mailbox under Shakespeare’s smiling face on Cookie Island, and you could win a small bit of money and warm recognition for your efforts. There’s nothing like a writing prize to boost one’s ego!
  2. Participate in a reading. Even more common than writing contests are open-mic events across the world’s continents and islands. Poetry readings where the lonely poet can jump in and read are held just about every day. Or check out an open-mic event open to either poetry or prose. One of the best I’ve discovered is the Wednesday Writers’ Circle at the Waterstage on Cookie Island, put on by the wonderfully supportive people behind the Written Word group in SL.) Or maybe you’d rather tell a story: Perfect! Several story-telling groups invite your participation in their regular events.
  3. Get a lesson from a pro. The SL writing community is rapidly approaching the top of my list of “best-kept secret resources for writers.” This virtual world is full of writers of all experience levels, including many published professionals who love to share their work and their wisdom to help other writers. They offer classes, workshops, readings, advice, and support—often at no cost or on a donation-only basis—and seem genuinely interested in helping those of us with less experience.
  4. Role-play your characters. Are your characters stuck in a scene? Is one riding a horse but you haven’t a clue what it looks like atop a horse? Or a surfboard or hot-air balloon, but you haven’t the time, money, and/or courage to try it out in First Life so you can describe your character’s experience? Well, you can do all of these and more from the financial and physical security of your own home! Your avatar can do in this virtual world just about anything a person can do in the real world. Sure, it’s not exactly the same as doing it in real life, but it’s amazing how much the virtual experience gives the sense of the actual one. Try it—you’ll see!
  5. Travel to exotic locations. Similar to the previous point. Sure, actually living in the jungles of Burma in First Life is very different from anything you can currently experience in Second Life. But the amazingly detailed replicas of locations throughout the world are almost as valuable as traveling there in First Life—and sometimes even more so. After all, you can’t fly up to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome to examine its tiniest details like you can at the incredible replica created by Vassar College in Second Life. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper!
  6. Trade critiques with other writers. Getting feedback on your work is not just important for improving your writing, it can also provide motivation and accountability (both of which tend to be in short supply when doing the lonely work of writing). But you have to meet other writers to find a critique/writing buddy, and that’s where Second Life can produce for you. In addition to one-on-one trades I’ve made, I’m planning to set up organized writers’ groups at Story Mountain Center for Writers, with regular meetings just like First Life writers’ groups.
  7. Play. Relax, have fun like you’d never allow yourself to do in First Life, and go back to your First Life keyboard or paper refreshed and invigorated by laughter—it’s amazing the creativity that pours out after a good time! (In a future post, I’ll share some of the crazy things I’ve done in SL that I’d never for a moment consider doing in FL. (If I forget, remind me of the Dancing Cow!)

My list could go on and on . . . but I would love to hear from you! If you’ve ventured into Second Life, what kinds of events or activities have benefited your writing? Please post a comment to share with the rest of us!

Yeah, pulmonologist I know—writers are supposed to chain their butts to the seats of their writing chairs if they want to achieve real literary success. But it’s the rare writer (Emily Dickinson is one of the few who come to mind) who can thrive solely in the airspace between the fingertips and the keyboard (or the pen tip and paper, anemia if you employ the old-fashioned method of writing). Most of us have to fill the creative well every now and then before it dries up like an old leather shoe.

Photobucket
Attending the blogging class by Kitviel Silberberg (Teddy Gross) that gave me the know-how to start this blog

So, while I surely don’t want to discourage any writer from the essential practice of applying butt to chair and writing, writing, writing . . . when it’s time to fill the well or break through a block, virtual reality can be as rewarding as the physical one.

Here are just a few ways writers can benefit themselves and their writing by taking a trip into Second Life:

  1. Enter a writing contest. For some writers, their muse jumps much higher when poked with a contest prod. There’s at least one writing contest every day in SL, and usually more. One of my favorites is the daily prompt/contest run by ItsNaughtKnotty Canned of INKsters. Write 500 words about the day’s prompt, stick it in the INKster’s mailbox under Shakespeare’s smiling face on Cookie Island, and you could win a small bit of money and warm recognition for your efforts. There’s nothing like a writing prize to boost one’s ego!
  2. Participate in a reading. Even more common than writing contests are open-mic events across the world’s continents and islands. Poetry readings where the lonely poet can jump in and read are held just about every day. Or check out an open-mic event open to either poetry or prose. One of the best I’ve discovered is the Wednesday Writers’ Circle at the Waterstage on Cookie Island, put on by the wonderfully supportive people behind the Written Word group in SL.) Or maybe you’d rather tell a story: Perfect! Several story-telling groups invite your participation in their regular events.
  3. Get a lesson from a pro. The SL writing community is rapidly approaching the top of my list of “best-kept secret resources for writers.” This virtual world is full of writers of all experience levels, including many published professionals who love to share their work and their wisdom to help other writers. They offer classes, workshops, readings, advice, and support—often at no cost or on a donation-only basis—and seem genuinely interested in helping those of us with less experience.
  4. Role-play your characters. Are your characters stuck in a scene? Is one riding a horse but you haven’t a clue what it looks like atop a horse? Or a surfboard or hot-air balloon, but you haven’t the time, money, and/or courage to try it out in First Life so you can describe your character’s experience? Well, you can do all of these and more from the financial and physical security of your own home! Your avatar can do in this virtual world just about anything a person can do in the real world. Sure, it’s not exactly the same as doing it in real life, but it’s amazing how much the virtual experience gives the sense of the actual one. Try it—you’ll see!
  5. Travel to exotic locations. Similar to the previous point. Sure, living in the jungles of Burma in First Life is very different from anything you can currently experience in Second Life. But the amazingly detailed replicas of locations throughout the world are almost as valuable as traveling there in First Life—and sometimes even more so. After all, you can’t fly up to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome to examine its tiniest details like you can at the incredible replica created by Vassar College in Second Life. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper!
  6. Trade critiques with other writers. Getting feedback on your work is not just important for improving your writing, it can also provide motivation and accountability (both of which tend to be in short supply when doing the lonely work of writing). But you have to meet other writers to find a critique/writing buddy, and that’s where Second Life can produce for you. In addition to one-on-one trades I’ve made, I’m planning to set up organized writers’ groups at Story Mountain Center for Writers, with regular meetings just like First Life writers’ groups.
  7. Play. Relax, have fun like you’d never allow yourself to do in First Life, and go back to your First Life keyboard or paper refreshed and invigorated by laughter—it’s amazing the creativity that pours out after a good time! (In a future post, I’ll share some of the crazy things I’ve done in SL that I’d never for a moment consider doing in FL. (If I forget, remind me of the Dancing Cow!)

My list could go on and on . . . but I would love to hear from you! If you’ve ventured into Second Life, what kinds of events or activities have benefited your writing? Please post a comment to share with the rest of us!
If you’re a writer of any kind or genre—fiction, drugs poetry, medicine journalism, sildenafil creative nonfiction, etc.—you’ll be happy to hear about the many potential markets for your work in Second Life —way too many to list in a single article, in fact!

In this post, I focus on a periodical market that’s distinctively Second Life and the subject of my last post: magazines you can read like a book while in this 3D virtual world. In that post, I talked about how to read an inworld book.

THiNC printing process

Above, the THiNC headquarters in Second Life displays the two components involved in “printing” a book: a laid-out book and a printing press. Below, another popular printing press is the IntelliBook Factory. This press uses a similar process, but automates a few more of the steps.

Book Factory pressBut how do these books get “published”? Simple: inworld books and magazines (i.e., those manufactured like a book you read virtually) are “printed” on “printing presses” invented by the Gutenbergs of Second Life.

Strange, you may be thinking, given the mass, weight, and size of a first-life press. But not really! I grew up in a print shop (my parents published the local newspaper and did job printing at their shop). I played and worked amidst the letterpresses, Linotype machines, and later, offset presses. When I learned about the SL printing process, it actually reminded me a lot of the presses I grew up with (minus the ink-blackened hands, burnt fingers from hot type, and overpowering chemical smells, of course!)

Most inworld magazines and books I’ve seen in Second Life were printed on one of two presses: the THiNC Printing Press or the IntelliBook Factory. The steps for printing on the THiNC press are amazingly similar to the old letterpress operation. It’s only the method each step uses that’s so different:

Step: THiNC Printing Press: Letterpress:
Set the type and graphics using: computer software metal movable type
Lay out each page via: graphics software placing metal type into a wooden forme
Make a mock-up of the book by: dragging the electronic files into the 3D master book creating a papier mache mold of each page’s forme
Transfer the mock-up to the press by: “rezzing” the master book and placing it on the press clamping the papier mache mold onto the letterpress (one page at a time)
Activate the press and print by: right-clicking your mouse on the press pushing levers and buttons that move the big rollers (while standing clear of moving parts!!

So how “real” are these magazines? As real as the cold, hard cash they usually pay contributors! Here’s a quick look at the inworld magazines I’ve encountered in Second Life, most of which do pay their writers!

Literary Journals

Among my favorite are a couple of awesome literary journals:

AnonLiterary Magazine:

According to their call for submissions, AnonLiterary is a monthly publication that aims:

  • “To celebrate freedom of speech, freedom of anonymity, and the best writing from residents of Second Life
  • “To celebrate our freedom of anonymity in Second Life
  • “To celebrate the best fiction, poetry, essays and plays written by the residents of Second Life”

AnonLiterary Magazine“Material we are interested in publishing includes short fiction, poetry, essays, plays, commentary, experimental forms, and whatever you dream up that we like. Each month will also include a centerfold of the finest erotica SL writers have to offer.”

AnonLiterary also pays for published work. “We pay our writers L$500 a page at this time (we know, it isn’t much, we just want you to know that you are indeed highly valued!). We want new stuff that hasn’t been published before, with rights to publish in-world and online, exclusively for a month.”

sLiterary Magazine:

sLiterary MagazinesLiterary Magazine is another highly regarded literary journal, “a biannual magazine that publishes tasteful and highly selective fictional stories relating to the metaverse of Second Life.”

sLiterary is also paying market, advertising these rates: “For prose, expect payment from L$1 – L$10/word, depending on length and quality. Poetry, from L$100 and up.”

General Interest Magazines

Several other excellent magazines publish a variety of nonfiction articles on many facets of Second Life. Some also publish a small amount of fiction and poetry in each issue. The ones I’ve discovered include:

  • 1st Touch, a quarterly periodical that publishes freelance articles offering “inspiring, original work focused on touching our readers through their own experiences with our content.” To see a copy of 1st Touch, you’ll need to pick it up inworld. 1st Touch has a website, but the magazine is not available online (at least not yet).
  • The Best of SL, a monthly publication “which celebrates and honors those who have excelled in ANY field in Second Life.” Payment for writers is unknown, and their website is still in development. To view a copy of the magazine, you’ll need to go inworld.
  • 1st Touch Magazine The Best of SL Magazine
  • FreeLife Magazine, a twice-monthly general interest publication, is actively looking for “authors, journalists, photographers, and Second Life experts in News, Business, Fashion, Music and Entertainment to write for the magazine.” FreeLife’s website calls it “the new virtual magazine born in and for the most popular metaworld: Second Life. FreeLife is entirely edited by its inhabitants who tell juicy stories about what happens in their second life: news, events, protagonists and much more.” You can view back issues of FreeLife online.

Reveal Magazine

  • Reveal Magazine is a monthly publication of “Stories, News, and Opinions About the Virtual 3D World of Second Life.” Although no payment information is available, it’s a great outlet for publication credits, at least. “Stories, poems, photography, art, fashion, role-play, music, and events are a few of our subjects,” according to the magazine. Reveal Magazine provides an online version of each issue, as well as an inworld one.

Other Inworld Publications

Because Second Life”printing” allows for gorgeous, slick magazines, many of the inworld periodicals focus on style and design. Writers who are interested in freelance or staff writing jobs in Second Life should also take a look at these:

  • inV—the men’s guide to fashion, music, and living in Second Life, available in dispensers throughout Second Life
  • Second Style
  • Runway

The primary rule is the same in both the virtual and real world: Be sure you check submission guidelines and read an issue or two before submitting your work! Some magazines post guidelines on their websites; others in their publications.

Second Life is massive, so I’m assuming there are other inworld publications I know nothing about! Also, SL reflects first life: magazines appear and disappear from the scene on a fairly regular basis. So I’m asking you to let me know if you find other “inworld” magazines and journals, or if you learn any of the ones listed are no longer being published! Please post a comment with that information!

In upcoming posts, I’ll describe other types of SL writing markets, including website-based periodicals, contests, and book publication, so stayed tuned! And if you hear of one you want to know more about, let me know—post a comment here!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, infection “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), health but fact is, cheap I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!



“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, weight loss “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), store but fact is, meningitis I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!






“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

Where else but in a virtual world (or if your name was Judy Garland) would a small-town Midwest-U.S. gal get to star in a movie?

Well, online “starring in a move” may be stretching it a bit (or a lot!), no rx but fact is, I had the awesome experience of being among the cast of one of the most acclaimed machinima videos created recently in Second Life.


“Chameleon” is a 4min 30sec music video (machinima), filmed entirely in the virtual world of Second Life. It is a ground-breaking film that uses techniques never before used in Second Life. Click to view the video Chameleon

Writers are not the only creative types drawn to Second Life. And why not, given the recipe available to anyone who enters:

Your Imagination +
Infinite Combinations of Bits and Bytes =
Just About Anything You Want to Create!

It began with the basic dynamic of Second Life, which is simply getting to know other people through their avatars.

In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Brigitte Kungler through a mutual friend. We got to talking and found we had lots in common. So just like in first life, we hung out, shared our SL activities, laughed, and so on. Turns out Brigitte is as passionate about visual art as I am about verbal art. Turns out further that she is a film producer and machinima artist.  Way cool.

One day I got an IM from Brigitte: Would I have time to help her with a scene she was filming in a video?

Why not? It sounded like an interesting new experience, and besides, I like to help friends.

So she teleported me to the set and began to video me in my first (and probably last) movie role, which involved that so-very-difficult skill (ha-ha) of riding a bike. I didn’t even have to put on a costume (except change shoes, from heels to sneakers).

I rode that bike back and forth, and back and forth, over the strangest looking set: an old-fashioned map spread out over hills, with a globe revolving in the sky above.   And just like in first-life moviemaking, I got to do the scene over and over and over . . . until Brigitte had enough footage to edit.  (I’m told that aspect, anyway, is no different from first life.)

Alas Zerbino on set of Chameleon machinima

Me riding my bicycle on the set while filming “Chameleon”

It was fun and fascinating to be part of the process, and the professionalism of the process impressed me. Yet, I was still blown away by the quality of the final video. My biking scene ended up being a few seconds out of a 4.5 minute music video for the song “Chameleon” by the musician Vandal–a video that wows everyone I’ve shown it to.

Brigitte’s artistry in creating the sets is amazing enough, but the addition of her machinima skills results in an extraordinarily powerful, moving video that showcases the talents of both herself and musician Vandal, as well as the amazing creative possibilities provided by Second Life for artists of all genres.

“It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and it gives me hope for the future of Second Life as an artistic medium.” ~ Eliza Wrigglesworth on the Booflubber Gibberish blog.

Credits from the video Chameleon
Even got my name in the credits!








“Chameleon” has since become a top-viewed video on bliptv.com. And Brigitte and the video were featured on the Second Life Cable Network show Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe late last month.  Which, by the way, provided me with yet another new experience: I got to be part of the “studio” audience watching the filming of that Tonight Live show, something virtually (pun intended) impossible to do in my first life!

What kinds of experiences have you had in Second Life that are almost beyond possibility in first life?  Post a comment and share, please!

We all have “those words”—you know, erectile the ones we belittle as “manufactured” or “PC” or too trendy to do more than sneer at.  For some, pharmacist words like maximize and impact, here used as verbs, top their list.  For others, it’s terms like collateral damage to mean killing innocent people.  For me, a word that’s long topped my hit parade of disgusting or stupid terms is one you’d probably never guess: networking.

Networking in Second Life

Second Life offers a whole new way of networking with other writers!

I nailed that dang word to the top of my list way back in the 1980s when business networking became the “in” thing. Suddenly, every business and professional group in the world was sponsoring “networking” sessions, which mostly involved walking around a big room full of people, handing out your business card to every warm body that passed by, and trying to look friendly, brilliant, experienced, top-of-the-food-chain, and approachable—all at the same time.  I was a small-business owner then, and “networking” was touted as the method by which small businesses became big ones.

As an introvert (and a not very driven businesswoman), I despised networking.  I grew to hate the word itself and excommunicated it from my vocabulary, where it lay lonely and outcast until its meaning morphed (for me) into computer networking, which meant access to the Great Information Source in the Cybersky (GISC)!  (All hail . . . or bow . . . or whatever you do in the presence of your self-created deities . . .)

Even so, the technical connotation of networking was the only one I’d acknowledge without a grimace.  But funny how the universe loves to slap us in the face with our prejudices!

Back in February of this year, by way of the computer network, I “accidentally” stumbled onto what became a paradise of fun and new experiences in the virtual world of Second Life.

Surprises awaited me ’round every corner:  using a toilet-paper gun to shoot rolls of TP, riding a “dancing cow,” drifting through the sky inside a big soap bubble! But what most surprised me about Second Life was what happened outside of it!

Little did I know that by wading into the shallows of Second Life, I would soon end up surfing the wild waters of the movement known as (pause for a gag) “social networking.”

Once in Second Life, I began to meet other writers—the famous, the infamous, and the vast unpublished.  Conversations, workshops, readings, classes, and meetings sprouted like, er, a “network.”  And among the many things I learned was how essential it is for writers to get connected to the Web-world via things like blogging and “Twittering” and joining Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like.

At a roundtable discussion with author & publicity guru Elizabeth Yarnell

At a round-table discussion with author & marketing expert Elizabeth Yarnell (back right) at the Story Mountain Center for Writers in Second Life

Since these activities all involved my approved form of networking (i.e., prowling the streets and alleys of the Internet), I jumped right onto that bandwagon (or maybe “spaceship” is the better term??!!).

  • From meeting Elizabeth Yarnell, author and Recipes for Publicity blogger, I learned that, as a writer, I absolutely had to start a blog.
  • From author Aliza “Cybergrrl” Sherman, the famous Web pioneer, I learned about “social media” and Twitter.
  • I met blogging and Facebook guru Teddy Gross, who taught me the basics of setting up a blog and convinced me to look at Facebook.

In less time than it takes to say “networking,” I had:

And it wasn’t until I’d was over my head in the social media waters that I learned I was now a more-or-less official “social networker” a la “Web 2.0.”

I was utterly and completely shocked!!

When I stopped to look, though, I could see those connecting threads weaving hither, thither, and yon, in circles and spirals and parabolas, until they connected up into a stunningly beautiful . . . yes, network! A network of friends, colleagues, peers, mentors, and playmates.

I was networking — and having a fabulous time doing it!

And all because of that initial curiosity about how to hold distance training programs using a funny Internet-based service called Second Life (see my earlier post on how that came about).

Once a network starts growing, I’ve learned, it finds the most interesting avenues to follow. So I shouldn’t have been suprised when I opened the latest issue of The Writer magazine (of which I’ve been a devoted reader since the mid-1960s, including during my anti-network years) and discovered in it an article by Beth Groundwater, a writer of mystery novels whom I met at an Athena Isle Writers meeting in Second Life. Beth had impressed me with her warmth, understanding, humor, and incredible support for us less-advanced writers, so I quickly turned to her article in The Writer.

But it took me a while to read further than the title—mainly because I was laughing so hard.  The article was published in the “Breakthrough” section where successful writers share how they made it.  The title?  Don’t laugh, this is for real:  “Networking, and more networking, did the trick”!

And what’s even funnier:  I agree wholeheartedly with what Beth says in that article!  (Also check out her article “Top Ten Rules for Networking as a Writer” on her website.) To make it as a writer in today’s market, networking is an absolutely essential key. I just thank the Great Information Source in the Cybersky (GISC) for sending me into Second Life, where I could slip unknowingly through the backdoor of the realm of social networking.

I’d love to hear from you now:

  • Do you agree that networking is an essential tool, or do you think the whole trend is hogwash?
  • How do you network (if you do, that is)?
  • Have you had an experience when a decision or activity took you in a totally unforeseen direction?
  • What do you think about the network of connections among people in general?

P.S. You can see how deep I am into Web 2.0 social networking by scanning the list of “Additional Blogs I’m On” and “Where to Find Me Online” in the sidebars at the right.  And do come find me on any of these.  I’d love to connect with you.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Torley (1 comments.) September 7, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Joan aka Alas (incidentally one of my fave words), I adore how you wrote this in such a “wet” way. So many social networking articles are surprisingly boring and redundant — many sound the same. But you, presenting it from your personal experiences, made it sound so vibrant!

My answers to your questions:

* It’s essential for me, and anyone else who *benefits* from it. I’m a people person online and need to stay connected to discussions relevant to my job, which is Resident Enlightenment Manager at Linden Lab (thx for linking to Second Life video tutorials, BTW!). Each person will derive a different amount/type of utility, and there are some folk for which it’s not applicable at all.

* I use all the big-name networks, have tried various smaller-and-rising ones, and stick with the tools that I find useful on a regular basis. For example, if I notice a lot of views, traffic, and conversation coming from a given place, I dive in deeper. But places that yield no or little appreciable results soon fade away. (I may revisit them should they have revitalized promise in the future.) I like tools like lijit (GREAT for search) and FriendFeed for aggregating my “lifestream” across multiple services, and hope in the future, there’ll be more interoperability across networks… instead of having to sign up for each one!

* Many times. This often comes about due to connections. At the beginning of my Second Life, I got to know various strangers who ended up becoming great friends and business partners as I introduced them together — some of those innovations and other goodness have gone on to influence SL in a big way. Second Life itself has transformed my first life: I arrived on Sept. 15, 2004 and wasn’t sure what to do. I played a lot of trivia and other games, made new chums, started doing documentation and beta-testing projects, then got hired by Linden Lab. I couldn’t have seen that BIG STUFF coming at the start, but it all makes sense in hindsight!

* I don’t have a particular thought about this aside from: it’s good to be in touch. Networking tools aren’t necessarily the answer, tools enable us to ask people who have the answer. Wherever they may be on this great globe. 🙂

Cheerio!

Torleys last blog post..Will Apple enter the VJ market?

2 Lionel Oliva (1 comments.) September 7, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Torley Linden recommended this article… I’ve followed a similar path but I’ve needed a resource like yours to help round out the last few things I need to showcase a secondary SL/online presence.

It sounds as if you are doing very well. Best wishes continuing to network new-school! I’m 37 and can recall some of the horribly outdated networking stuff from the 80s I was glad I would never use by the time I finished college in the 90s.

Lionel Olivas last blog post..SL Art That Leaps Out At You: Amani Gallery

3 plaidearthworm (2 comments.) September 7, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I felt much the same way about networking…it just wasn’t for me. I’m just not the type. But I’ve been on Plurk for a little while, meeting new writers, learning some new marketing stuff, and I enjoy it. I took the leap into SL this month, too. I read your post about how to read a book inworld, then discovered Book Island. Wow! Now I’m looking forward to meeting other writers and exploring new ways to ‘network.’ I wish there was another word for it, though!

4 Joan Kremer (6 comments.) September 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Torley,

Thanks so much for your very kind words and for your excellent comments! I like your approach to deciding which networks to stick with. I’m totally with you, hoping for interoperability; just keeping track of which networks to look at is a lot of work!

I enjoyed hearing how you ended up working for Linden Lab. What a neat story! Thanks so much for sharing that. (And I’m so glad you DID join LL – your video tutorials have made a huge difference to me, and I tell everyone new to SL to check them out before any other learning resource!

(If you’re not already an avid viewer of Torley’s tutorials, click the link in my sidebar under “SL-related Sites,” and/or check out his blog (torley.com).

Joan

5 Joan Kremer (6 comments.) September 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Hi Lionel!

It’s nice to meet you AND your blog! I can’t wait to explore it more — lots of good info there, and I like your purpose a lot!

I feel like I’m a lot earlier in the journey than you, but so many of my “21st Century” network buds (as opposed to that awful ’80s stuff) have really helped tremendously!

Best wishes to you in your SL adventures!

Joan

6 Joan Kremer (6 comments.) September 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Hi Plaidearthworm!

So good to hear from you again. I, too, wish there was a word other than “networking”! Maybe we should find one and start a movement!

Isn’t Book Island wonderful?!!! One of my first finds in SL, too. I’m so glad you are exploring in there — hope to meet you inworld sometime!

Joan

Joan Kremers last blog post..How Second Life Cured One Writer’s Allergy to Networking

7 Rich (1 comments.) September 11, 2008 at 5:02 am

Joan,
Fantastic post! You really captured what Second Life means to me as a writer emerging from decades of self-imposed writer’s exile. The social networking in SL has given me both the confidence to explore my writing, and introduced me to people who are helping me expand my abilities.

I look forward to post after post of yours. Not only are they informative and fun to read, but the resonate deeply with my own experiences. Keep up the great work!

–rich

8 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) September 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Hi Rich,

Thanks so much for your comments. I’m glad to know other writers have had similar experiences. And i can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind words about this blog. That truly helps keep me motivated.

Warmest wishes,
Joan

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