Fear and shivering in 'Second Life'

On my web writing blog, The Publishing Spot, I recently tried a new experiment — running a bit of feature journalism alongside my usual interviews and publication tips.

In “Fear and Shivering in Second Life,” I’m trying to explore how the first-person reporter POV changes inside the online world of Second Life. This is only the first installment, and I’m looking for some advice from other journalists about how to proceed …

“My super screwed up last month, leaving my building without heat for 5 days; without hot water for 7 days; without a stove for two weeks. Gas companies were called and city inspectors inspected, but I still spent $110 in electricity running a space heater 24 hours a day. On top of all that, I lost my shot at publishing the best story I had all year.

“As I contemplated burning furniture for warmth, I ‘escaped’ to a wacky press conference held entirely inside the computer-generated world of Second Life. Time has passed, wrapping both these events together in my head—much like a wooly mammoth and a diamond mine buried under the same glacier. Something compels me to tell both stories, even after the editors killed them.

“In real life, I was pounding away on my laptop and breathing puffs of frozen air. In Second Life, I was lounging on the tropical island pictured above, with a crew of pixilated characters that included a blue skinny Martian, a Goth girl with a shimmering halo, a foot-tall monkey with cymbals, and some guy dressed tight black pants who floated in mid-air, bitching about everything he saw.”

Keep reading …