There are a number of excellent writing groups based in Second Life,
and no matter what motivates you (...) you can find a group that will help you.
Interview with Cygnoir Blanc
Camie Rembrandt (CR): How long have you been using Second Life?
Cygnoir Blanc (CB): I first logged into Second Life in 2004. It was a very different place then, and the friends I made are mostly all gone now. After a while, my RL intervened, and I lost track of my virtual life. A few years later, I got curious about it and returned, and have been an active resident ever since.
CR: When did Second Life become important to your creative writing? Was it something that happened immediately after starting using this virtual world? Or did you have to wait a few months, maybe even years, before incorporating SL into your writing routine?
CB: It took years for me to find my writing community in SL because I didn’t think to go looking for one. SL had been a place for me to wander around and occasionally compete in trivia events with my friends. But shortly after I started volunteering with the Community Virtual Library I heard about Milk Wood and Virtual Writers. One day I showed up for a 500-word writing dash and everyone was so lovely, sharp, and welcoming that I decided to stay.
CR: Tell us a bit about what you do in Second Life, as a writer: do you write in-world, attend events, maybe host some of them, do you mentor other writers?
CB: Due to the timezone difference and my RL schedule, I don’t make it to as many events as I’d like, but I try to make it to the daily dashes. When I focus on nothing but writing for thirty minutes straight, I get so much work done!
CR: Is there any SIM/virtual island/region that you find particularly inspirational, the kind of place every writer should visit?
CB: So many places have disappeared into pixel dust now, but I have a few haunts. Pandora Box of Dreams, Kaleidoscope, and Angel Manor Gardens are current favourites because I enjoy losing myself in sumptuous landscapes. But most often I derive my writing inspiration from my cozy home in the Color Sims region of Sansara.
CR: In what ways do you find Second Life helpful for someone interested in writing?
CB: Second Life’s multitude of fascinating locations is a treasure trove of writerly inspiration, no doubt, but it is the sense of community that has helped me the most in my own writing. Being a part of a writing group has improved my writing immeasurably. Not only am I motivated to produce more writing, but through critiques of my own and others’ work I continue to learn so much more about technique than I would if I were writing alone. There are a number of excellent writing groups based in Second Life, and no matter what motivates you — be it sharing your work with others, discussing the craft, or just plain getting the words onto the page — you can find a group that will help you.
Halsted M. Bernard (a/k/a Cygnoir Blanc) is a writer living in Edinburgh. Her stories and poems have appeared in Innsmouth Magazine, Map Literary, and Bewildering Stories, and she is a member of local spoken-word group Writers’ Bloc. For more about Halsted's publications and performances, please see her website.