Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Virtual Worlds ~ The Mind, The Book, & Second Life

Your mind is a virtual world…

A book you read or write is a virtual world…

I’ll get to Second Life in a minute…

An off-the-cuff definition of “virtual” could be, “just about as good as the original” but, from my experience, I’d say that virtual’s meaning can be very strong on the root it came from: virtue.

All virtual worlds have virtues that make them valuable whether we’re talking about your mind, a book you read or wrote, or a computer-created world.

There is a World out there that our minds process. The debate about whether our minds can actually represent that World faithfully or not is still unsettled. But, even if our minds do represent the outside world with accuracy, it’s still a secondary creation that mimics the virtues of physical reality.

If our minds create a virtual copy of the physical world that strengthens or weakens certain virtues  we can become geniuses or mad folk.

It seems a bit easier to see the virtuality of a book. Still, the effect of a book’s world can seem as real as the mind’s replication of the actual physical world…

So, since blog posts are not university dissertations, let’s move on to actual virtual worlds.

“Actual virtual worlds”? Actual implies the real-deal. Virtual implies mostly as good as the real deal.

Even language has qualities that sometimes make it hard to determine the Real reality of what we think we know.

So, if you’ve never been to an actual virtual world, you might want to read Wikipedia’s article.

The main reason I’m going on about virtuality in a blog that claims it’s about reading, writing, and publishing has to do with some of the research I’ve done for my Work-In-Progress, Notes from An Alien.

I’ve been using a particular virtual world for nearly four years–Second Life.

When I was still a newbie, I mostly traveled to all the various venues–dance clubs, libraries, mountain retreats, undersea wonderlands, and other marvelous places.

Two years ago, my pregnancy with the book I’m working on began and I found myself renting space on Book Island–a space of writers, editors, and artists created by a former publisher. Not so long after, I created a special avatar for one of my main characters and let her roam the virtuality, talking with all manner of people about the book’s themes.

As you may well know, writers’ characters can be very real and giving my character the added reality of virtuality has been one of the most therapeutic things I’ve every done. In fact, my character, Sena, is the one who takes care of interacting on Twitter (check out the links at the end of the post…).

Once the book is published, an important part of the promotion and sales activity will take place in Second Life…

Have you ever wondered if your mind is truly registering our physical world with fidelity?

How lost can you get in a good book?

Has a book you’ve written ever made you want to abandon our consensual reality?

Have you ever visited a virtual world?
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book

11 responses to “Virtual Worlds ~ The Mind, The Book, & Second Life

  1. sfnowak January 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Of course you can spend hours philosphizing over whether the world we believe is real actually is or if it is also virtual. Take 2 or 3 writers, throw in a philosopher (as if writers were not philosophers by their very nature) order the first pitcher of margaritas and let the debate begin.

    On the other hand after reading the headlines, maybe we’d be better off if this world was virtual.


    • Alexander M Zoltai January 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Hey, Steve, glad to see ya here! I’ve noticed your comments on other blogs :-)

      I, personally, think the world out there is real but, from my spiritual perspective, it’s a mere shadow of the Real real world…

      Spiritualizing-Philosophizing-Writer pulls up a chair and joins the debate :-)

      Speaking of this world…

      I started my WIP because I mostly hate and cannot relate to our current world…

      Still, I feel the human race is still growing up and will, eventually, start acting mature :-)


  2. Karla Telega January 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Knowing that my attitude colors my perceptions, I have to wonder how much of the real world is just my interpretation. Generally, I take things around me at face value, and don’t put much time into analysis. I love a good book series, where you have plenty of time to build on and embellish your virtual world. Then I get annoyed with stupid little things like cover art. The Foreigner series drives me nuts: his hair is too short; the perspective is off; when did the mainland become a flaming inferno? As long as the inside of the book remains consistent with my world view, I guess I can accept a little license on the cover art.


    • Alexander M Zoltai January 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      “…I have to wonder how much of the real world is just my interpretation.”

      Even though I believe the world out there is real, I often engage in the same wondering about how much of my perception is actually virtual :-)


      I hate covers that “lie” about what’s really in the book…


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  4. Val Erde February 9, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Hi, I’ve been browsing your blog for a couple of hours (note the ‘of’ there, I’m English!) and like what I’ve read, so far. I’m not a writer, apart from what I write in my blog, so I have to kind of adjust what I see on writing to suit my forms of creativity, and that’s easy enough.

    Apropos virtual worlds, I’ve never visited any of the VR worlds like Second Life, etc, but have experienced something quite a few people haven’t which was a series of immersive VR scenarios set up specifically for people suffering from Agoraphobia (which I have, up to a point). I was a guinea pig in the experimental stages of it (I’m not sure if it ever came out of Beta) and apparently – as my husband who was watching the monitor told me afterwards – my heart rate went sky high when I was in a virtual street full of faceless avatars!


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 9, 2011 at 12:36 am

      Great to hear that it’s easy to translate what I write to your form of creativity :-)

      “a virtual street full of faceless avatars” sounds like the germ of a story…

      I can imagine something like that increasing heart rate–yikes!


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