Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Reading Fiction in Second Life

I read some flash fiction in Second Life today.

It was a little strange. On one hand, interacting with avatars is enough like interacting with people (or at least I'm used to it) that I don't notice that they're virtual people until I'm doing something like a performance.

In this case, the crowd didn't rustle, laugh, or say "ooh." Also, my point of view was above and a little behind my avatar's head, so I couldn't make eye-contact with people. And I had to watch an instant-message area for any feedback, like "We can't hear you." (No one typed this, so I can only assume my sound levels were OK.)

I haven't figured out quite yet how to hold a manuscript and change my avatar's focus. I'd wanted to use Mary Robinette Kowal's tip about assigning characters to specific spaces in a reading hall and looking at those spots depending on which character is speaking as an aid to presentation. As it was, my avatar mostly stood still with a glowing green sound icon over his head.

Today's reading was like recording live in a studio. Only with instant feedback (at the story's end) from a virtual audience. While I missed the synergy of a live group, having a layer of technology between myself and the audience allowed me to focus on the words more and not get so spazzed-out that I read words too quickly.

I think I'll do it again, and I think I'd want to figure out some way of adding more to the presentation so that it doesn't seem so wooden from my end.
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