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Friday, July 3, 2009

Building Fiction: Huckleberry Hax

"You do realise that's what makes Second Life special, don't
you Texter? Not the idiots with the huge cocks, not the novelty
avatars, not the little cliques and clubs and groupings, but the
cool controllers there privately to let it slip, just a little, just to
see what having it slip just a little feels like."

November 2008: Texter Triste is standing on the platform at Le Havre railway station, waiting for his Second Life love to turn up; but a killer is watching him, and smiling...

Just So That You Know, Huckleberry Hax

Huckleberry Hax didn't come into SL with the intention of sharing his writing; it just turned out that way. He chose SL because he was taking part in the National Novel Writing Month event. He's since produced five novels that carry the reader from the Metaverse into the real world, and back again. What kind of books, I hear you ask? Well, that's the teaser from his fourth book "Just so that you know" up above. Next thing you're going to want to do is download, for free, some of his stuff - you'll find it here on the web.
So what's the story, Huck?
Huckleberry Hax: National Novel Writing Month. I wanted to take part and actually finish a novel. On one of the weekly podcasts, I heard that there was a guy in SL holding support meetings in some sort of virtual cafe. To be honest, I was more interested in work avoidance than I was in virtual meetings! After a few hours wondering around (and, quite frankly, wondering what all the fuss was about) I went back to my novel writing. But I was back over Christmas, and then again in the Spring. I've pretty much remained here ever since. Starting with my first SL novel, 'AFK' (which I wrote for National Novel Writing Month 2007), I've made everything I've written under my SL name available for free, on my blog.
I wondered how and when Huck started reading his work inworld.
Huckleberry Hax: In July 2008, Harriet Gausman of the Guild of UK Writers group asked me to read my second novel, 'The Day is Full of Birds' in parts over period of a couple of months at her Milkwood sim. I'd done very little voice communication on SL prior to that (I still prefer text for chat), so it was quite daunting! I've discovered that reading in voice is a very satisfying experience, however, and over the many reading events that I've done since then, I've enjoyed working on improving my style as much as possible.
Since Huck was originally lured into SL by a support group for writers, I was curious to know if he frequents any meetings of that kind nowadays.
Huckleberry Hax: I try to go every week to the weekly Writers' Circle meeting at Cookie, where writers share extracts of their work for feedback. I also go sometimes to the poetry workshop at The Blue Angel Poets' Dive on Saturday mornings, although I fancy my poetry advice is probably not in the same league as some of the more established poetry writers who hang out there! I'm working with two other writers from the Blue Angel - Persephone Phoenix (the owner) and Shara Levanque - to produce a new poetry journal that's due out any week now - 'Blue Angel Landing'. Its mission is to celebrate the work of SL poets, both new and experienced; this pretty much encapsulates the mission of the Dive itself, actually: the weekly open mic session held there (Sundays at 5pm SLT) has been running without break for nearly three years and is rarely attended by less than 30 people. It's an amazing achievement and the event has a quite unique atmosphere, no small part of which is the exhilaration of new poets reading their work in front of a live audience for the first time.
With the limit of groups one can belong to still firmly at 25, we all have to think twice before signing up for anything new, and I wanted to know which ones Huck found the most useful for his literary activities.
Huckleberry Hax: P.S. (Post Scriptum) is a really good one to belong to, since all the major events get advertised in that. The groups I'm most active in are the The Blue Angel VIP, the Guild of UK Writers and the Written Word. I also go to events sometimes organized by Bookstacks and INKsters. But there are plenty more groups besides these. Oh ...and I should also plug here my own group, Huck's News.
Huckleberry Hax reads regularly at Milk Wood, at the The Waterstage in Cookie, the Blue Angel Poets' Dive and on occasion at Bookstacks, The Bookworm Cafe at Da Vinci Isle and the theatre in The Village. I asked him that terrible question - which place he likes the best.

Huckleberry Hax: The Blue Angel is perhaps my favourite place to read my work in Second Life, because the atmosphere there so perfectly seems to match the type of RL place it's been designed to look like. But Cookie would be a close second - there is just so much that goes on there.
I asked the Usual Question, but got a surprising answer this time: Huck went with architecture, not books.
Huckleberry Hax: An Art Park to suit my taste? Well, I'm a fan of post-war brutalist architecture, so I would love to see a sim dedicated to the work of architects like Rodney Gordon, who died last year. I'd like to see again departed builds like the Tricorn Centre, (in RL Portsmouth, UK, demolished in 2004) - not the stained, crumbling, rather dreary looking things they became, but the way they were intended to look when they were new.
Despite the obvious Get Carter reference (aren't I predictable), I learned today that brutalism has nothing to do with cruelty and everything to do with the French term béton brut = raw concrete. It's an interesting choice, although I'm not sure a whole sim along those lines would be to my taste. But the idea of SL Pompey? That I have to see.

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