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Published on Monday, September 1, 2014 by

A Story Waiting to Happen is a series of monthly articles about sims in the virtual world of Second Life that could be inspiring for writers. 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, should it be too long, a link to it. Thank you.



Second Life® is an extraordinarily rich source of material and environments for any creator, performers, painters, photographers, artists in general, writers and machinima filmmakers.

I’d like to invite you, this month, to join me on a tour of the MOSP, the Machinima Open Studio Project whose curator is Chic Aeon.

This project was originally part of the Artist’s in Residence program and is now part of the Linden Endowment for the Arts as a permanent region. As its name indicates, it is organized so that machinimatographers have several different backdrops in either an indoors setup or outdoors.

Now, we are not going to shoot a machinima! Yet, this asset is very interesting for writers as well.

As you arrive, at ground level, I suggest you grab the HUD. It’s a great way to move about in the sim easily. The valley, a beach, the city, a desert, a winter landscape are only a few of the various options available. These areas are decorated with just the right details to trigger ideas and moods to create the setting(s) in your story.

The options are countless and so varied that I feel tempted to drag you along with me in an extensive post about the multitude of possibilities. However, I would like you to explore the sim by yourself, so you can find what you need for your own story.

Having this in mind, I decide to teleport to the “Specialty Area” (HUD), also referred to as “New Areas” if you teleport to the Landing Point at ground level. I am taken to a room with pictures of a dungeon, a park, a romantic garden, a country road, a spaceship, to mention only a few. Click the pictures to teleport to the location(s) you choose.

I visit several of them randomly and especially enjoy the rainy day loft. This is where my story would begin. A woman stands at the glass door by the balcony and watches the relentless rain. She recalls what happened to her recently.


I then visit “Stage 1” and check the first studio carefully. This could be the apartment of that man, the one who triggered the catastrophe that forced her to flee abroad. A map on the wall with several locations marked by red pins, a few posters, computer cables, a lounger and a gaming chair keep company to a tie rack. He was a spy.

I move on to the studio next door. The setup is a bedroom.  A few pictures on the wall, good moments spent together, and photo of a child, but my character doesn’t remember being a mother… A frame on the wall shows the letters “C” and “E”. These will be the first letters of my main characters’ names.

The next studio prompts me to add the escape itself to the story. It could be a hotel room furnished with a bed, a tall chest, a vanity table, a chair and a bench. On the floor, neatly placed against the window, are several chests. They look expensive. I inspect the vanity table closer. A diary reveals a few interesting details, a few letters, drawings and perhaps a poem. 4.07.07. Dates are always a great source of inspiration! Now I have a time for the story.

I continue on to the next studio and see that it’s a classroom. I wonder for a bit if I can make my main female character a teacher. Would that fit with the male character, the spy? I hesitate a lot and that is usually a sign that being a teacher is not the right option. So, I move on to “Stage 2” (HUD).

Now, the first setup at “Stage 2” looks promising. The drum set and the music sheets on the floor make me think that she could be a musician, the member of a band. Yes, that works!


The next studio is a pub. The pool table takes over the whole room. I decide to sit at the bar. This is where they first met. In fact, what seemed to have been the result of utter chance had been carefully, even obsessively, planned. They chatted, they played, and they flirted.

The next studio makes me think I need a third character, a journalist. The bag, in the corner, is ready to go. He always has a bag packed, just in case. The chess set waits neatly and patiently to be played. A few books are witness to this quietude. The coffee machine is brewing a fresh pot, leaving an inebriating aroma in the air. Curiously enough, there seems to be another diary on a side-table. Oh, it’s the diary, her diary. How did he get his hands on that? I need a name for the journalist. A portrait of Jules Verne and one of Edgar Allen Poe make me ponder the possibility of calling him Edgar Verne. Too obvious? Umm… I have to work on this.

The last studio at “Stage 2” is the atelier of a fashion designer. Perhaps she’s a friend, a confident, of my main female character, someone she thinks she can rely on, someone who betrays her in the end. The spy and the fashion designer could be working together. Yes.

Characters, settings, time and a few ideas for the plot are drafted. The conflict, the why and how, and the resolution need to be worked on. And everything needs time to simmer!


The notecard “About MOSP” states that “MOSP was embraced by machinimatographers, photographers and explorers.” I believe we could add writers to this group.

So, walk around. Explore. Imagine new stories or draw inspiration from the different environments for the story you’re working on at the moment, because… there’s a story waiting to happen at MOSP!



Disclaimer: Virtual Writers and I are in no way affiliated with any shop located in the sims featured in this column nor do we intend to promote them.


About the Author


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. Throughout 2014, she committed to doing the 500 Word Snatch Challenge which she is hosting on Saturdays at 11am SLT/PDT, at the NaNoWriMo Writers’ Camp & Daily Dash in SL. Lizzie became a guest blogger at Virtual Writers 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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