November is a notable month for many reasons; however, for budding (and some established) writers, it is National Novel Writing Month (often shortened to NaNoWriMo) – a 30-day challenge to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. The brainchild of San Francisco freelance writer Chris Baty, the project was actually first held in July 1999, but moved to November in 2000 to take advantage of the “miserable weather”.
During its first year, the project saw 21 people take part. In 2000, 140 participated, and the project gained the attention of US national press and also bloggers such that by 2001, the numbers taking part had grown to 5,000; and things snowballed from there. By 2005, the project had been registered as a non-profit organisation in the US and had gained international status with budding writers the world over participating annually.
I mention this because Kestrel Evergarden has established Come Write In – a Writer’s Retreat, a place where Second Life writers can visit, relax, hone their writing skills and develop their NaNoWriMo entry – or simply write for their own pleasure or talk writing. Occupying a cosy parcel on the north side of Heterocera, Come Write In offers numerous points of retreat, indoors and out, where writers might relax in-world and listen to the voice of their muse.
The home of a small, but growing community of writers – visitors are welcome to join the local Come Write In (CWI) group – the setting offers, in the words of its Destination Guide entry:
Private tents and communal space, games to unwind with, and an inspiring setting beautifully landscaped to call for your Muse … CWI offers prompts, resources, and more to help you reach that 50k in 30 days goal, and more.
Nor is this purely a Second Life only adventure – Come Write In is an officially recognised NaNoWriMo virtual write-in location, open to writers from outside of SL.
From the roadside landing point, CWI offers a number of indoor spaces (one of which looked to be a new development at the time of my visit) built around a deck and open-air café. Alongside of these sits a terrace space for discussions, a games area with table-top games and a winding path that winds through a landscaped setting visitors and writers alike might explore.
This meandering path wanders past a round pond fed by a stream that tumbles its way through the setting, passing under a pair of bridges which bracket the pond, before vanished into a tunnel. The path also offers access to the private tents mentioned in the DG description. These are available for short-term rental (L$50 a week, and provided with their own furnishings. These are offered for the purposes of unwinding and (again) retreats where one might exercise one’s writing muscles – or use as a place to toss around ideas with a close friend or two.
Rich in plants and wildlife, with plenty to see, CWI forms an excellent retreat for both budding writers and for those looking for a quiet, natural retreat.
- Come Write In (Sprawler, rated Moderate)