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Writing - Welcome to my worlds.

To the best of my knowledge, Narnia doesn't actually exist. Nor, as far as I'm aware, does Bilbo's Middle Earth. Nor the Chicago inhabited by Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawsky.

But that doesn't mean they're not real smiley.

Writers make worlds that don't exist all the time. Then, if they're good enough, they take a reader there anyway. And that world can become just as real as any other. Or virtually real. Which is kind of catchy. Maybe we should call these books worlds, like, Virtual Worlds?

Well, we could. But the name's sort of taken already cheeky. And after that (with apologies to Paul McCartney) long and tortured road, takes me to today.

Or rather, to Yesterday. Lordy, those Beatles get everywhere cool.

You see, there's more than one kind of Virtual World. There's the kind writers make - and there's the kind people who may or may not be writers make. And if writers use words, then in these other worlds, people use... well. Let me show you.

Virtual Worlds - a primPeople who know about these things would look at this and say something like 'Oh, I know what that is. It's a prim!' And people who don't know about these things would look at them, take out their phone and call the nice doctor in the clean white coat. But that's exactly what it is.

A prim.

Er - what's a prim? Well, someone who actually knows what they're talking about told me it should really be called a 'primitive'. But in the type of Virtual World I'm talking about? Well, it's sort of whatever you want it to be. Or it can be. So maybe it's what it looks like. A block of wood. Or a brick. Because in the right hands a brick can be just about anything. It just hasn't got there yet.

So if this is a brick, what's it for? The answer? Pretty much anything. In the Virtual Worlds I'm talking about, a prim doesn't have to be a block like the one up there. It can be one of these:

Virtual Worlds - a panel

This is just one of those things up there, but someone's changed it. They've stretched it out. They've pulled it, they've pushed it - and now it's not a square block. It's a flat panel. Which is all very well, but not very interesting. Or maybe it is. Because people who know what they're doing can do things (in these worlds that don't exist) with prims. They can make them look like - well, maybe like this:


A textured primThis is a block, like the first one, changed into a panel like the second one - and then painted. Well, not really painted. It's called a 'texture'. But it's like painting the block thing to look - well, like another block thing. A woody block thing, but rather prettier.

Which is no doubt fascinating if you like woody things that look like other woody things cheeky. But that's not it. When I was in the Virtual World I was in yesterday, it wasn't about woody things. Because apparently you can do all sorts of things with woody things. Or things that aren't woody things. Because, like when writers make worlds, they start out with their own prims. They're called letters. And they shuffle those letters round, and they mix them up into words, and they put the words together - and somehow they can make worlds. Worlds with colour, with style - worlds. And these other kinds of Virtual World are just the same. And a friend of mine, someone who knows a lot more about prims and textures than I know about words, she took some of those woody block things up there, and she made this:

Bard's Blarney

And she didn't just make that. The outside. She made this:

Bard's Blarney - Inside

Yes. She (in case anyone's interested, she's the incredible and amazing Kohkoh Baroque. She makes things like this in a place called InWorldz). It has an inside too laugh.

I know. You're a reader. You're a writer. It's pretty - but why should you care?

You don't have to. But I was there, this weekend. In that InWorldz place. In the Irish Pub the wonderous Ms Baroque made for me. And I wasn't alone. Because in that place, other people playing the same game (yes, it's a kind of game) can hear you if they want to. Hear you speaking. And if you know someone really, really clever (like someone called Alaster Dionysis is), they can not just hear things. They can see things from the world we walk round in every day. Like this:

Bard's Blarney - the Big Board

And that's why I was there. In that InWorldz place. To read. Read a book - or a book I'm working on - called 'Jack Shadow'. And I wasn't reading it to a bunch of walls. I was speaking to players in that world - people. Real people. Real people - in a Virtual World:

Bard's Blarney - the Bard BlarneysThat's me, sat on the stool by the Big Board. And no. I don't look like that. I'm short, fat, bald and ugly. But I'm lucky - my wife's got lousy taste in men cheeky.

But in these Virtual Worlds, I don't have to be short, fat, bald and ugly, any more than Gandalf had to brush his teeth and floss every day. Or how Aragorn never needed to know about the Atkins Diet. Because just because something's real, that doesn't mean it has to be all there is. And even if it's not real? If it's some world that only exists between the pages of a book, or on a screen? That doesn't mean we can't go there anyway smiley.

This is me, sat waiting for folks to arrive before they listened to me read from Jack Shadow. Before they went to a Virtual World. Even if they were in one already. Which is kind of cool, if you're a writer. Or I think it is. Because these Virtual Worlds, the InWorldz kind of Virtual Worlds, are chock full (InWorldz has over 50,000 registered accounts, and over 1000 people log in every month) of people who like to escape from the worlds they live in. Like to be in places that never, maybe, existed before they were there.

Kind of like readers. Kind of like lots and lots of people who just might be my readers, or yours, if they knew about what I (yes, or you cheeky) wrote. Kind of like our kind of people smiley.

It was fun. I'm going back next week - someone wants me to be part of their Celtic Ostere Festival. I'll be reading some Celtic-y things I've written. Then the next week, I'll be back at the Blarney. Maybe I'll read some of 'Comedy of Terrors' - it's out in July, and there might just be some people in InWorldz who might like a book about an Idiot...

See - that's the thing about writing. Or reading. You never know where it may take you devil.

But there. I've blethered enough. The Virtual floor is Virtually open laugh. Thoughts? Comments?


Kelly Hashway's picture

That's my favorite thing about writing--that you never know where it will take you. When I get in a writing bubble, the story is just as much a surprise to me as to my readers because it's not really my story. It's the characters. They surprise me all the time. And they are very real to me.

Graeme's picture

Heh. That's the thing about Reality - it's whatever we want it to be! .

Diane Carlisle's picture

Intriguing, isn't it? That we can move around in a world which doesn't exist, simply because someone created it for us?

I started my writing career on a game called Threshold. I wrote about the milestones that led me from this experience to writing fiction for myself. It very similar to your InWorlds about, however, it was all text-based. Everything that you experienced, you had to read. ;) It was awesome!

Graeme's picture

And, to be totally frank, to me it's a not just interesting. One of the hardest things for a not-yet-famous writer is building their base, their audience-in-waiting. And gamers are people who like their realities alternative.

Here's a number to ponder. Guild Wars is another online game some people may have heard of, others may not. But it has a sequel coming out this year. The company developing it, Arenanet, put up a web page where people could sign up to take part in testing Events. I know. I said there was a number. It's actually two numbers. Because in under 48 hours, over one million people signed up. Just. For. Testing.

It's nearly impossible to sell bad books. But even good books are hard to sell, because finding an audience is hard. But one million people? I wouldn't object if they'd heard of me... cheeky.

Diane Carlisle's picture

I'm very familiar with Guild Wars, love it and all expansion packs. Will definitely buy the sequel. 

Graeme's picture

... it may be we shall meet in the new Ascalon, Lady Diane. And I'll hope you might like 'A Comedy of Terrors' as much when it comes out in July laugh.

Yes. It's a plug. Yes, I'm shameless blush. Forgive me? devil

DM Yates's picture

I think this is one of your best blogs.  And it's good to hear from you again.  What if Narmia and Middle Earth did exist?  Because they might.  Because they were created by thought, and thought is energy and energy lives. 

I created a whole English Village and even researched names to come up with my own for it.  I see it in my mind whenever I work on my book.  Can you see it too?  Probably not, because I haven't invited you there by putting my book out for people to read.  But someday you might see it. 

Great blog post.

Graeme's picture

And greetings again! I know I haven't been posting as often as I should. I have to keep the hand under keyboard rationing . But at least it isn't getting any worse so far . I'll just have to try to find ways to post more often .

gail branan's picture

This is definitely one of your best blogs.  And, though I'm prejudiced (privileged being that I am, who got to know Jack Shadow early on and watch him -- develop?) because I love Jack Shadow -- this was absolutely the perfect showcase for Jack Shadow to debut.

Graeme's picture

Heh. Well, my thanks indeed for the comment, Lady G. And maybe I can talk you into coming by next time I'm at the Blarney - and everyone else here! smiley

David Daeschler's picture

Whether listening to/reading/watching a story, or using your imagination to create one, the mind doesnt really seem to care if it is "real". When you can take someone away somewhere new and exciting for a while the feeling is just as strong whether you're doing it virtually, or in reality.

This goes the same for books and stories as it does for virtual worlds. Both are just a medium for the communication of dreams, visions, and ideas, and both can have an equal effect on the subject experiencing them.

I think when you put them together though, you have a dream within a dream, and it can be a rather special experience. I very much enjoyed your last reading I was able to attend and something about being there virtually helped me slip into the story further than if you were reading the story in the same room.

Interesting indeed  :)

Graeme's picture

Well and all. It was kind of fun. I know you're most always tied up in creating the magery that is InWorldz, but I'll hope maybe you can come by Readings from time to time. There's more of Charlie to come, and I've had permission from my Publisher to read more of Comedy of Terrors as well laugh.

Angela Robbins "Lady A"'s picture

Heh, your "pub" is cool, g.  Get it. Irish pub. Publicity. I'm sooooo good.

I want to play! Hee hee, like my husband wants me addicted to another game. I'm a Sims addict, so this is probably something I shouldn't!

Do we get to read it and listen to you read it out loud? That's pretty neat stuff. I think your idear was pretty darn creative.

Keep me posted!

Graeme's picture

Well, you don't actually have to get addicted. Not to InWorldz, anyway. It's not compulsory cheeky. On the other hand, feel free (more shameless plugging blush) to get addicted to what I write. And addict others as well devil. Buy also feel free (yes, playing InWorldz is free) to come by the Blarney. And yes, the way it's set up, those present can hear as well as see what's being read - if they can tolerate my impossible-to-get-rid-of English accent smiley.

Amaranthim Talon's picture

Don't tell these good people InWorldz and the like aren't addictive... my prim calluses beg to differ.

Great post! As usual your style and wit shine through.

Graeme's picture

Sssssshh! We let them find out how addictive it is after they've started playing, and coming to the Blarney. Don't tell them before! They'll never come, else! devil.

Now. Readers. Repeat after me. "InWorldz. I can handle it. Must... go... to.... the....Blarney! angel.

Katrina 's picture

So this is where you hang out. Interesting...

Graeme's picture

... Lady Katrina! Heh. I didn't know I was hiding! blush

So what is it you find interesting? My poor hiding skills, or some other thing? smiley

Julia Hathor's picture

I love the musical feel of  your 'voice' in your writting, Graeme, whether is be in a blog, a forum, a reading, or in a book.     I am very happy to add your book to my kindle and travel to the places you dream up. 

Graeme's picture

Greetings indeed! And an honour it is to have you here smiley.

I'd be interested to hear what you think of my laddie Segorian. And 'A Comedy of Terrors' is on Kindlegraph , so if you want a signed cover, wander by here:




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