Phantom Limb…

Momokawa reads her junk mail…

No, this is not another disturbing drabble.*

This is about something I sense, but cannot articulate. I am asking a few things:

1. Do any of you know of a word for this genre of writing I am attempting to describe?
2. If not, will you help me consider one?

Here is what got me thinking: (Easy there, haven’t had my first cup of coffee yet….)

Erinys from Harpy’s Nest posted this heartfelt story about one of her characters who had to let go of a beloved pet due to constrictions and abilities (or lack thereof) given to hunters.  It read like a tiny Where the Red Fern Grows or Old Yeller.

But–it was more heartbreaking in one aspect that–

Well, let me back up. The phenomenon of a phantom limb is when someone loses, well, a body part, and they still sense it. The nerve endings and muscle memory have set those grooves and pathways and it’s still virtually there. I recently watched a fascinating TedTalk with Vilayanur Ramachandran on his research and help for patients who experience this. When we lose something that is a part of us, we still feel it. It’s not magic, it’s certainly not mojo, it’s science. Okay, maybe a tiny bit of mojo. I’m sure Dr. Ramachandran would concede that.

So, talking with my trusty Cross-Dressing Rogue, he understood what I was asking.

Consider:

  • There are non-fiction: informational or expositional texts, that come in a multitude of genres/forms, everything from a menu to a biography, and personal anecdotal narratives (think of essayist David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell). 
  • There are fictional texts: fabricated texts, also a kaleidoscope of genres/forms, from fanfiction, pulp, graphic novels, novels, realistic fiction, science, etc. There are hundreds.

But what I am looking for is the cross-breed genre: when a personal, true anecdote of a fictional character, is told in game. Yes, it’s role playing, yes, it’s a bit of fanfiction, but if it really happened to Eriny’s hunter character, and she cries real tears over the memory and loss, and –here is the important piece–it is not a story that triggers another memory but is the memory itself--what is that?

CDR understood what I was asking, and reminded me that there may not currently be a word to describe this genre of writing, since these virtual worlds are very young in our collective consciousness in a medium of narrative/story telling, it is something new.


However, I am not so vain to think I discovered this just because I am new to MMOs.

On a coincidental tangent, Hugh from MMO Melting pot tweeted the other day a thought about “What if..(paraphrasing) the images of sexy female figures was not so much a promise of of “sex sells,” but perhaps an identity promise. I totally get that. From a writer’s standpoint, I love that I can be some fantasy female in a virtual world, somewhat control this character’s actions and reactions, and then wait for the surprise. Because the female characters I’ve created are visually appealing, and yes, even the Forsaken ones charm me, it’s easy to get caught up in their non-stop strength, health, and vigor. They can take a punch and still look good. (I have another post in mind about how characters die–they flop, they yell, they sigh wistfully, they spin, they crumble — all so interesting to me…)

So, my sweet and dear friends–what do you think? What could this genre be known as henceforth? If you know it, tell me.

MMO-ogrphies?

Auto-massive multi-ogriphies?

Virtual Veracity?

Okay. More coffee coming up.

*Although those are really fun to write. You have been warned.

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