The Lakewater Project encourages character driven stories. Because its mysteries are revised with traditional literary devices: figurative language, rising action, chronology, and satisfying conclusions (not necessarily endings), characters are well developed and their reasonable decisions determine the settings. Objects they hold, use, observe and discuss compare to text equivalents. One of the basic questions a storybuilder asks is "If my character feels scared or intimidated, then what object would scare the character." Monsters don't fit any every scenario, so what other less cliche' object would suffice? How will that object help to extend the story? Settings that reveal story are started with the terrain and continue to be built as the character's transformation evolves.
Ruby O'Degee is the main character that connects all Lakewater Project stories, because she was the first fictive, who decided to leave another author's canon (story) to write her own. When she wrote her first sentence about a farm 3 miles from the D'ni Restoration fence, she became an age writer. She confirmed that she was an age writer when she put down her first block to build a shelter. It was a box. Primitive, but nevertheless all her own.
Other characters in Ruby's story project include Madge Middicuddles, Beatrice Hollings, Clara Finch, Matt Dutton, Uwig OrLongears, Sophia Diego and Harold Diego. They were all conceived by Ruby during her first journaling years in the cavern, but took on deeper roles when she branched out from the D'ni story. It is practical to think that such characters would grow and expand the project, but there are more choices an author can make in a storybuild. The author can other storybuilding authors share their characters. It is always best to ask first, but sharing is a commonplace occurrence in virtual worlds. It happens naturally when characters are involved with the same groups or plan the same events.
|A Perfect Blend|
Note: It is always best and more convenient to ask. The storybuilder does not so much care whether an avatar considers itself a representation of a real person or a fictive, but real person representation may not want to be included in a fiction or otherwise storybuild scenario. Between the years of 2004 and 2007, Ruby O'Degee began a story about a cavern radio and broadcasting network. The story took on real life and fictional fodder, yielding a better than expected outcome for Ruby's author, but some representation avatars were confused by what Ruby or her author were doing from the outset. There are whole papers written on in-character and out-of-character situations that go awry. This topic will be addressed in another chapter of the Lakewater Project notes, but the scope of its reach is too large to address here and now. It is left for the reader to imagine the kinds of skips and loops that could occur between humans andfictives. For a good bit of dark fun and high order literate read about what happens when one meets the other, please consider Umberto Eco's masterful novel The Prague Cemetery.
Character perspective is also being examined in The Lakewater Project. Oakes Valley, an ever so slightly futuristic age that resembles Napa Valley with all of its vineyards and dark undercurrents tells a story from 8 different perspectives. The 8 contributing characters are based on real life members of the author's family, who chooses to tell the story from how she thinks her family members would talk about one murder that takes place there. All the buildings are built by Ruby O'Degee, who indifferently directs the production from the center stage Grape Stomp concert theater, but the dark humor that slowly creeps out of the competitive neighbors is totally contrived by Ruby's author. The disclaimer suggests that no family member has ever actually said or thought a wit about the homicide that happens on their turf, but the author is having too much fun pretending they do for it to be untrue. Who needs a family scrapbook when virtual worlds are better at hiding all a family's symbolic secrets?
The book series, Mysteries @ Mount Bethel. are not necessarily related to the Oakes Valley mystery, but certain characters do cross over. Another alchemy of the virtual universe is the ability to shapeshift characters into characters and objects or terrain.