Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Virtual Worlds

#MainStreetWriters & Virtual Worlds


19 days ago I published a post that detailed the goals of the Main Street Writers Movement:Two Author Friends in The State of Writing -- Kitely

  1. To encourage my neighbor writers in the creation of art.
  1. To attend local literary events, because gathering to discuss ideas and encourage creativity is an essential and radical act in these times.
  1. To support my independent bookstore or, if I don’t have one, order direct from the publisher.
  1. To foster a healthy small press and literary magazine climate by reading new work and submitting my own.
  1. To introduce new friends to my core community, allowing us to grow louder and stronger together.
  1. To credit writers and presses publicly for their ideas, photos, and efforts, and to be genuine with praise.
  1. To celebrate every success in my community as a shared success. This is Main Street. Parades welcome.

And, to address the import of the first image up there, it shows two of my author friends (Ali Noel Vyain and Jane Watson) in the virtual world, The State of Writing, on the virtual grid Kitely.

World Portals in Virtual World Kitely We recently, thanks to the owner, author, Jane Watson, began to discuss  Main Street Writers as it relates to her Worlds.

Even though the Movement stresses local engagement, my first awareness of it was from an author in London—it seems to be going global while it establishes itself in localities

And, as far as the virtual worlds I visit, there are writers from Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, California, Germany, Australia, and the Country of Georgia (among other locations on the Earth)

In Jane’s worlds, whether we’re sitting in a cafe, climbing a mountain, taking a boat ride, hang-gliding, or walking under water, we constantly come back to talking about reading, writing, editing, publishing, and other writerly topics… Marina in State of Writing - Kitely virtual world

So, you can join Main Street Writers as a person “…who wishes more people were reading and talking about literature.“

And, you can come join us writers and artists in Jane Watson’s virtual worlds.

Here are a few guidelines for entering Kitely and finding Jane’s worlds:

Go to Kitely.com and join up for free.

 Kitely works best with the Firestorm virtual world viewer—you definitely want the one that says “Opensim” in the description…

Most viewers have the Kitely grid predefined, so you can select it from a menu. For example, in Firestorm the Menu is labeled “Grid” and is located under where you enter your username and password.

When you first enter Kitely you will find yourself at the Welcome area, where can choose your first avatar.

Then, go to the Explore World Pages on the Kitely webpage and enter State of Writing in the Search Bar.

Though, you might want to visit another world of Jane’s called Avatari—you can find a bunch of different avatars there, grab as many as you want…

When you’ve logged in, find the avatar, Arton Tripsa, in search. To facilitate contact you may offer her Friendship and she’ll invite you to the Writers Island Group and, if necessary, send you some LandMarks to help you get around…

If you’re baffled by these instructions, send me an email, amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com, and I’ll have Jane contact you directly and help you enter her virtual worlds :-)

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Read Faster? With More Retention? Really?!?


So, I hang out every night, from about 9pm till 12 or 1 in the morning in the virtual world Kitely.

I talk to writers

Writers from many different places in our world

Sometimes we talk in nice buildings, sometimes on boating trips, sometimes just sitting on the grass, or the top of a mountain

And, I don’t pay anything but my basic Internet fee to do all this virtual socializing

So, the other night, at The Muse (a cool space we visit a lot), I was chatting with my Best Friend (from Australia) and my Good Buddy (from Maryland {in the USA}) and someone new dropped by.

This new guy happened to live just a few miles from me in real life (Ohio—USA) but his ancestry was from a country in Asia that I’d spent time in when I was serving in the Navy

Also, what he was talking about was nearly identical to a book I’d just read about how to get more done in less time

I know, I promised faster reading—so, why am I going on about my virtual social life?

Basically because, when I’m doing my thing in a virtual world, I expect to be talking to folks who are many miles physically-distant and not having an ancestry that stretches back to the one place on the earth I had to travel farthest to reach while also sounding nearly exactly like the man speaking in the book I’d just finished !

The psychologist, Carl Jung, would have called so many “coincidences” a case of “Synchronicity“.

And, when this kind of thing happens, I take the time and what’s talked about Very Seriously

One of the very serious things I followed up on was his recommendation of a particular web site and new “Reading Technology” called Spritz.

My new synchronistic-friend in Kitely had shared that he’d only read 4 books in his life due to a particular mental-syndrome he has—he just couldn’t pay attention long enough to finish more than a few dozen pages

After he’d played with Spritz for awhile, he found himself reading so quickly and retaining so much that, in a relatively short time, he’d finished about 70 books

Spritz lets you adjust your reading speed from 40 WordsPerMinute to 1,000 WPM!

So, because of my publishing experiment on Wattpad (which involves one heck of a lot of reading), I’m going to be experimenting with Spritz

From the Spritz page about the science behind their Reading-Technology (and, I encourage anyone interested to definitely read that whole page...):

“Removing the eye movements associated with traditional reading methods not only reduces the number of times your eyes move when reading, but also decreases the number of times your eyes must pass over a word for your brain to understand it. This makes spritzing extremely efficient, precise, convenient and comfortable.”

And, on the page where you find all the places you can use Spritz, you learn that it can be used on the Web, with 6 different Apps on iOS, 3 different Apps on Android, the Windows Phone, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Samsung Gear2, and 3 websites that have integrated Spritz Technology

Plus, I want to share two very important points from their FAQ page:

  • Does it require special training?

Unlike other reading techniques, you don’t have to receive special training to read with Spritz. And… the more you practice, the faster you will go, the smoother the reading will seem and the higher your retention will be. What you need to learn: relax! Don’t try to scan the words from left to right. Simply look at the red character and trust that your brain retains the whole word. When you relax, you will concentrate more on the content – see next question.

  • Will I even remember anything I read?

Of course… Our testing shows that the retention levels when spritzing are at least as good as with traditional reading and that, with just a little bit of experience, you will retain even more than you did before. How long can I spritz in one session? Internally, we’ve tested to about 2 hours straight with no breaks. Then our tester had to pee. If you have a large bladder and would like to take a shot at the record, by all means, go for it and let us know the results.

I’ll be experimenting with Spritz on Wattpad and I’ll share my results—(soon ?)but, if you try it, do, please give us a report in the Comments :-)

Oh! Here’s a nifty short video about Spritz:

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The Librarian Who Became a Novelist


I have a new (virtual) friend who just happens to be a fine poet.

Lucia St. Clair Robson

Click to visit Lucia St. Clair Robson’s site…

“Virtual” because I met her in a place called The State of Writing—which is in the Virtual World, Kitely.

She’d just visited for the first time two nights ago and we shared a boat trip (virtually) last night.

This morning she left a comment on yesterday’s post with a link to a fascinating article in the Capital GazetteLucia Robson: How I made peace with telling lots of lies for a living.

As usual, I’ll excerpt (with comments) and encourage you to go read the full article

Early in the article, Lucia says:

“In 1975, I accepted a job in Anne Arundel County’s exceptionally fine public library system.”

You’d think someone who’d spent so much time around books would be able to imagine writing one; yet, after an editor told her she should do just that, she said:

“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t know how to write plots or character development or snappy dialogue.”

Luckily, the editor replied:

“Just shut up and do it.”

After much prodding, she began her attempt to write a novel, finished a six-chapter draft, sent it to the editor who’d gotten her into this, and had him give her the name of another editor to submit to—result (in Lucia’s own words):

“A week later Pam called the library and offered me a contract to finish what turned out to be a 562-page historical novel, Ride the Wind.”

Lucia went on to write nine more novels

And, apart from asking you, again, to go read the full article, the best ending to this post is this excerpt:

“My tenth and latest work of fiction, Devilish, is set in the present in Anne Arundel County. But no matter when or where a novel takes place, the writer and the reader make an unspoken pact. The astute reader says, ‘I know you’re lying to me, but I’ll suspend disbelief on the chance that, together, we’ll come to some greater truth.’

“That’s how I’ve made peace with being a professional liar.”

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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

I Get Interviewed On BlogTalkRadio :-)


I’ve talked quite a bit here about the virtual world, Second Life60 posts so far

And, one of the people I became friends with in that world, Angela Yuriko Smith, asked me to be on her show on BlogTalkRadio.

We talked about my short novel, Notes from An Alien, for sale in print and ebook formats but, also, still Free.

FinalCoverNfAAsmall
We really got into it—why I wrote the book, how it relates to current world conditions, how I promoted it in Second Life, the two books I’m working on to follow the novel, how Second Life is more than a virtual “game”—how it can be used as therapy for disabled folk, used to do research for writing, used to relax from the stresses of the “real” world

We also got into some of my thoughts about what’s wrong in our world and what’s needed to heal it.

That’s something I’ll never stop talking about

There are lots of people who rant about what’s wrong and jump on various bandwagons of activism, too often proposing “fixes” that are only band-aids to cover a few wounds and not the strong medicine that’s necessary to enable humanity to reach the healthy state of peace and tranquility

In spite of the serious nature of those topics, Angela and I also had lots of fun in our conversation :-)

Here’s the link to that conversation on BlogTalkRadio
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The Virtual Book World ~ More Real Than You May Imagine :-)


Some of you know I’m the Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world Second Life.

And, I’ve often related experiences from my activities on Book Island on this blog

I also had the privilege of guest posting on Joel Friedlander‘s blog—Second Life: Virtual Book Promotion and Word of Mouth.

Briefly, you can do nearly anything on Book Island that you can do in the world we normally call Reality :-)

Here’s an excerpt from that post {with a few edits to catch up with changes since it was written}:

“If you’ve never experienced virtual reality, the first, obvious yet often-overlooked, fact is that there is a real person behind every virtual person. You may be sitting in a fake coffee house, ‘drinking’ fake coffee with a 3-D representation of another person, but that other person is “there”, responding to you

“I’d been experiencing Book Island for only a short time when the idea for my novel was born. I immediately started renting a shop (one real-life dollar is worth around 260 Second Life dollars) and began seeking feedback from folks about the book’s concept. Soon, the owner (Selina Greene in the UK) and the manager (Arton Tripsa in Australia) approached me about being their Events Manager. Now, I manage nine events a week, directly facilitating three of them, and there’s another event which was inspired by my novel and has discussion sessions on issues raised in the book.”

So

I thought it was time to let my readers have the Full Schedule of Weekly Events on Book Island {SLT=Second Life Time=U.S. Pacific Time}:

*Sundays, 1pm SLT: Join Sandor Zabelin for our Open Mic @ The Library. Bring your own writings (fiction, non-fiction, poetry…) or the writings of one of your favorite authors. You can read on Voice Chat *or* one of our regulars can read for you. And, we sure won’t kick you out if all you want to do is listen :-)

*Sundays at 6pm SLTGlobal Peace Group – A self-organizing association of individuals learning how to formulate plans to aid a Culture of Peace and, when appropriate, put those plans into action.
This is a non-adversarial approach to group planning and operates with an awareness of the principle of Unity In Diversity.

*Tuesdays at 4pm SLT, Hakeber Haber’s Happy Hour >> Livewriting! Remember sitting around a campfire, listening to ghost stories? Hakeber Haber will write new mini horror stories based on audience prompts and read them live! Then she will clear your brain pallet with comedy from The Life and Times of Car Johnson during the rest of the hour. Horror and comedy go together like milkshakes and French-fries. The fun starts at 4 pm SLT. Car Johnson may even make a guest appearance. :-)

*Wednesdays at 11am SLT is the ever-popular, informal & informative Writers’ Chat. Readers and Artists are especially welcome! We never know what we’ll be talking about and even the seemingly random chatter is interesting :-)

*2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month @ 5pm SLT
>> Digital Publishing–Promotion–Marketing Workshops <<
Today anyone who can write can digitally self-publish, but then what?  How will the emerging digital publishing world differ from today’s? How will writers and poets get the word out when they become one small voice in an ever-expanding global throng looking for readers? Help us find out. Join us for a series of workshops in which we will try to understand how this new world will differ, and how we can earn a living from our books without a publisher’s money and support. Your participation, your insights, and your ideas will be important to our success.  Join us.
>> Jackson also has Office Hours @ 10am SLT on Saturdays :-)

*Thursdays at 4pm SLT: Hakeber Haber’s Happy Hour >> Livewriting! Remember sitting around a campfire, listening to ghost stories? Hakeber Haber will write new mini horror stories based on audience prompts and read them live! Then she will clear your brain pallet with comedy from The Life and Times of Car Johnson during the rest of the hour. Horror and comedy go together like milkshakes and French-fries. The fun starts at 4 pm SLT. Car Johnson may even make a guest appearance. :-)

*Fridays at 5pm SLT
MYSTICAL WRITINGS OF THE WORLD–Hosted by Peter Newton
A collective reflection on the Mystical Writings of the World, both old and new, in search of insights that will enrich our lives and broaden our vision. Come and share your positive input as we explore the multifaceted gems of some of humanity’s  great spiritual literary heritage. All contributions will be respected in a courteous atmosphere of mutual support and accompaniment. Meet us at the Book Island Tea Garden:)

*Saturdays at 8am SLT
FIX & FLASH
Hosted by Olivia Whitsend
Format:
At traditional Dashes, you arrive, are given a word, words or phrase to work with; you write, then after about 15 minutes, you stop, allowing everyone the opportunity to read their story.
Our format is
Read (last week’s Flash writing, or another piece you’re working on)
Critique (The “Fix” part of the “Fix-N-Flash”)
Flash write
Afterglow (if time allows)

*Saturdays at 11am SLT: Readers’ Chat. You can talk about the books, short stories, or poetry you’ve read recently (or long ago) — even the books you didn’t like :-) This is a casual, welcoming group and we’d love to hear what YOU are, or were, reading!”
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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