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Milk Wood

Published on Friday, August 1, 2014 by

A Story Waiting to Happen is a series of monthly articles about sims in the virtual world of Second Life. The goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. If you write a story prompted by the following post, do consider leaving it in the comments or, if you prefer, a link to it. Thank you!

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Milk Wood

Six months have gone by since Harri invited me to write this column. It has been an extremely interesting and enriching experience for me. I hope for you as well.

I took you with me on a tour of six sims, Collins Land, Gehena Vampire Clan, Hazardous, Taka no Sakura, The Far Away and Annwn Willows, this last one now gone.

Second Life’s impermanence, especially noticeable throughout the past few years, spawns in me a certain sense of urgency, a need to share as much as I can, as quickly as I can. Yet, this column cannot be written too far ahead of time for obvious reasons and its suggestions might suddenly not be possible to follow after our journey has been posted.

Many sims do have their own Flickr channel or other photo sharing venues that perpetuate the memory of how they looked, as Annwn Willows does. However, it’s never the same to visit a location by looking at a photograph or to actually walk through the place, listening to the sounds and seeing the type of windlight the creator chose.

All these aspects are very important for a writer. They are that extra bit of information that triggers recalling a word we were looking for or writing a sentence that fits just perfectly in a particular portion of the story.

The disappearance of Annwn Willows, after so many years of being one of the most visited and loved locations in Second Life, prompted me to write this month’s column about having roots, about looking for stories close to home.

Allow me to explain. As writers, we crave for new experiences, new places to visit, and new people to get inspiration from. Many of us yearn to meet other writers, to share the burden of common frustrations, anxieties and the joy of our literary achievements.

Paradoxically, or not, we also crave for quietude, even solitude. So, it becomes important to have our own private corner and it does help when that corner is also where we can have writing events, where we can meet other writers, where we can even find inspiration for new stories!

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I tend to park my virtual self at Milk Wood while writing, a beautiful woodland sim with small cabins and a few houses, home to the Virtual Writers, where I host a weekly goal-oriented writing challenge.

Understandably, there are stories waiting to happen at Milk Wood too!

So, have you noticed the drunken sailor by the watermill? He’s grumbling something about a treasure hidden in the island by pirates. Nearby, the blacksmith hammers on, pretending not to eavesdrop on my futile attempts to engage in conversation with the sailor. A treasure is definitely something worth the effort, but my attempts are disastrously unsuccessful.

I move on, walking randomly through the sim, and suddenly come across the chapel where a friar waits nervously. “They are coming, they are coming,” he repeats incessantly. Who is coming is a total mystery. For a second, I think another group of pirates is about to arrive, as boisterous and unruly as only pirates can be, causing the friar to be justifiably concerned. However, he mumbles something about the fisherman and a cave and I can make no sense at all of what he’s saying.

Farther ahead, an old fisherman is hard at work at the small bay, pulling the fishnet from the water. His day is quite unproductive so far and he’s not happy. “No fish,” he says. “She scared them away.” I don’t know who he’s talking about, but considering that all the characters in this story waiting to happen are anything but talkative, I don’t even dare ask.

Slightly up the hill, I notice a hidden entrance into the rock. A grout opens up as I walk inside. Crates and barrels pile up randomly. It does look like sea rovers hid their loot here in a hurry. Did I just stumble upon THE treasure?! I try to peer inside. I try to open the crates. I try to shake the barrels. Argh!

So, I need a tool, some sort of tool, any sort of tool! My kingdom for a tool!

Ok, Lizzie, calm down…!

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As I search for anything that will help me crack those crates open, yes, because a treasure does need to breathe, doesn’t it, I come across the most enchanting mermaid swimming to the sound of a melodious harp. She is singing a mournful, somber melody, almost whispering it. I ask her about the treasure, I ask her about the fish, I ask her about…

Next thing I know, I am… Gosh, where am I? Oh, my cabin at Milk Wood! Writing stories, ok!

That mermaid… I was going to look for something, but I cannot seem to remember what… Odd thing…

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As we close this journey, inevitably shorter as we didn’t travel far from home, I go back to my initial intention for this month’s post, i.e. to show you that we don’t need to go far to find a story.

As temporary as sims are these days, my challenge for this month is for you to find a story close to where you have your writing roots, your virtual writing home. Why not start at the Virtual Writers sim, where there are so many more hidden details to find, because… there’s a story waiting to happen at Milk Wood!

THE END

***

About the Author

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Lizzie Gudkov was born in Portugal back in the 60’s, into a family of avid readers who are entirely guilty of her strong passion for reading and writing. She joined Second Life® (SL) in 2007, after a career as a teacher of English, and rediscovered writing when she won SL’s Poetry Quest in 2009. In her blog http://lizziegudkov.blogspot.com she posts fiction, poetry and opinion articles. She is an author at iRez since January 2013 in addition to taking part in several daily and weekly events such as the 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge, as well as monthly writing events. In November 2013, she completed NaNoWriMo while being one of the hosts of the weekly Scrimmages on Twitter promoted by the Virtual Writers, Inc. Throughout 2014, she committed to doing the Snatch 500 Challenge and she is hosting the 500 Word Snatch Challenge, Saturday’s 11am SLT/PDT, at the NaNoWriMo Writers’ Camp & Daily Dash in SL. Lizzie became a guest blogger at Virtual Writers Inc. in February 2014 with the monthly column “A Story Waiting To Happen…”. Her fascination for people’s intricacies and love for words drives her to constantly write stories, stubbornly and imprudently!

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