Search results for story waiting to happen

A Story Waiting to Happen: StoryBrooke Gardens

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Literary inspiration from Lizzie Gudkov and the virtual world This month we’ll visit the wonderful StoryBrooke Gardens, a small plot created by Lauren Bentham above Baja Norte’s beach. I must admit I’m not sure I’m the right person to write this month’s column. I have never written children’s stories and I know them only as a reader. Yet, being absolutely mesmerized by this gem, I couldn’t resist. The fact that Lauren has done an impressive job will definitely make my task easier. Upon arrival, the visitor is greeted by two friendly bunnies. Now, which way should we go? The warm welcome makes it difficult to decide. Ok, southbound. A child jumps merrily, followed by his dog. Is he going on a trip? He looks happy, but he’s carrying a bindle. Is he running away from home? Or is he simply embarking on an adventure? Within spitting distance, a fairy talks to a giant bee. Her small little feet splash playfully in the water of an old fountain. Nearby, a magical bicycle waits. It’s propelled by colorful balloons and if a dreamer sits on it, it will take him on a magical journey. A track of colorful stars leads the way into a big tree trunk. It’s hard to resist, so here we go. On the other end of the trunk, we turn left and almost trip on a gardener tortoise who insists that we must read the Book of the Butterfly. “The best is yet to come.” A few flowers grow from one of the pages. It must be magical too. The tortoise then urges us to talk to the magician. The initial plan was to find ideas for a story with lots of fairies and bunnies and… Oh, well, let’s go talk to the magician. Tea is brewing and, at the tempting offer of a cup, we spot a caldron filled to the brim with incantation books and a skull on a stack of novellas guarded by a doll plagued with a mysterious pestilence. Umm… Caution is of the essence. In the meantime, the magician foretells a rather eerie and enigmatic future at the sound of a haunted music box and the cawing of crows in the distance. He sends us off to search something. He means characters and stories, most likely. In doubt, we hurry away. Back on the main track, let’s follow the flying ladder. White balloons are always a good omen. Right around the corner, a white fox and a family of mice seem to be extremely busy – happy mouse, mommy mouse, two mice in love, a few sleepy ones and Excalibur. Excalibur likes to fly, something his family and friends find totally preposterous. A mouse was not made to go around flying, especially not holding on to such a fragile leaf. After witnessing an endless family argument that follows with Excalibur throwing a tantrum and defiantly flying away, we move on. Oh, gosh, Humpty, what happened to you? He doesn’t reply. He wiggles his...

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A Story Waiting to Happen: Hestium

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Literary inspiration from Lizzie Gudkov and the virtual world It seems only fitting that Hestium should be my choice for the launch of Virtual Writers’ new blog, as it is one of the richest locations for the creation of stories and characters I have ever visited. I first read about Hestium at Honour McMillan’s blog in her post Hestium, Another Tiny Gem in Second Life. Advised that it was a quarter of a sim, I dropped by to do a bit of research and see if there was enough material to use for this monthly column. I immediately realized that Hestium takes the same approach as I do with stories. Start with a question. “Who lives here? That is for you to discover. There are clues to be found”. Who can resist such a challenge? The whole place took me by surprise. Except for a small plot that is marked private, this rather small area feels like a whole sim. The space is cleverly utilised, and – as we walk around and discover hidden secrets – many ideas for stories come to mind. In preparing for this column I usually spend quite a bit of time on location. I try to understand the sim from the point of view of its creator. “Wander around and find the stories – they are yours to make and to keep”. A story is made of many different elements; however, when the characters are powerful, alive, compelling, endearing, obnoxious, or absolutely hateful, magic happens – and Hestium is very particular in the way it offers ideas for characters. We are encouraged to explore every little detail to create the “who” in our story. While enthusiastically living and breathing Hestium – imagining the life of the explorer with her travel trophies, the apothecary and the artist, even the vendor by the archway – I totally missed the opportunity to write a column about them. As so often happens in Second Life®, the sim began to change to welcome new imaginary residents. So, without further ado, join me on this journey. Let’s find those new residents who recently decided to make Hestium their home. I’m sure that, when you visit the sim yourself, you’ll find these and many more. “Welcome to Hestium. Please explore – open doors, enter the village houses, look under the beds and open chests.” No writer would be able to resist permission to go anywhere and discover clues! Writers are inquisitive by nature. And if you add the question “Who lives here?”, the scenario is set. I rarely give you a long transcript of the notecards provided by the creators of the sims we visit, however, Boudicca Amat’s words are the best presentation and I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything better! “What is Hestium?  It’s a place of refuge for its inhabitants. (…) Who are these people? That is for you to discover. Their homes hold clues to who they might be – sometimes in plain view, sometimes hidden away. Why are they in Hestium? That too is for you...

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Writing Fast-Paced Action Scenes by Rayne Hall

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In scenes with fast action – such as chases and fights –  your writing style needs to reflect the speed. The words you choose, and the way you structure your sentences, can create a fast, exciting pace which takes the reader’s breath away. Sentences The length of your sentences creates the pace of your scene. In a fight scene, sentences need to be short, especially when the action speeds up. If a sentence is more than twelve words long, split it into two shorter ones. Some sentences can be very short indeed: He leaped. She kicked. Blades clanked. To vary the rhythm, insert the occasional medium-length sentence, but avoid long ones with many clauses. When the action happens really fast, you can use sentence fragments instead of complete sentences; For example: He had to get through to the castle. Had to reach that door. He hacked, swung, slashed. Five paces left. He leaped. Use this trick sparingly, only for the fastest-paced moments, since sentence fragments become tedious if overused. Words Short words create a fast, sharp rhythm, so use the shortest available word for the job. Words with single syllables are best. Two syllables are ok, three syllables are so-so, and anything longer doesn’t belong in a fight scene. When revising your fight scene, replace long words with short ones. Instead of immediately write at once. Instead of endeavour write try. Instead of indicate write point at. Instead of investigate write check out. Verbs (hack, swing, slash, kick) convey action and create a fast pace. You can use several verbs in a sentence, for example: She bit, she scratched, she screamed. or They slashed and sliced, they blocked and parried. Simple Past Tense (hacked, swung, slashed, kicked) is the best for fast-paced action. Avoid Past Perfect Tense (had hacked, had swung, had slashed, had kicked) because it’s a pace-killer. Be careful about using the ing-form of the verb (present participles and gerunds: hacking, swinging, slashing, kicking). Although it conveys immediacy, it sounds soft and can spoil the pace, so use it sparingly. Adjectives (blunt, strong, irresistible) slow the pace, so use only a few. Adverbs (bluntly, strongly, irresistibly) slow the pace enormously, so you may want to avoid them in your fight scenes. Use as few conjunctions and link words (and, but, or, when, then, after, before, while, because, in order to, therefore, thereby, as) as possible. For example, instead of He grabbed the liana with both hands, and then he swung across the stream and landed in the mud. write: He grabbed the liana with both hands, swung across the stream, landed in the mud. Instead of After that, he raised his arm, thereby warding off blows. write: He raised his arm to ward off blows. Euphonics T, K and P sounds create a fast pace and a sense of aggressiveness, so use lots of them in action scenes. For example: Instead of swallow write gulp. Instead of hold write grip. The best sound for chases, races and anything...

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