Immersion Vortex or How to Step Into a Story

I binged on TV series during the pandemic in the attempt to get away from the ugly reality. I’ve always been a sucker for period dramas (history + pretty people + gorgeous costumes = pure joy) and for some reason, I felt especially comforted by Regency pieces. I wondered – what if VR was so advanced that we could step into this world? How many women would choose to dance with Mr. Darcy rather than date modern guys? And that’s how my latest story, Immersion Vortex, sprang into my mind.

Photo by Barbara Zandoval

However, this idea is older than my pandemic binge watching. It’s connected with the way I read books. I was a lonely, introvert child who spent her days reading quietly in the corner. I didn’t mind it at all, reading was my favourite activity and the characters often seemed more real than the people I knew. I judged books by their immersion potential – the easier it was for me to step into them, the more I loved them. I suppose that’s where my preference for history, fantasy and myth comes from – those are the stories which usually have the most substantial world-building.

I spent hours and hours inside some stories – The Count of Monte Cristo springs to mind – moving through the world, rearranging the events, interacting with the characters. I guess that even my impulse for writing stories comes from that same need to find a world I can step into.

Strangely enough, this need to step into a world was never fully satisfied by movies, series or games. Perhaps because – beautiful and meticulous as they might be – they still offer someone else’s vision. So far, books have been my favourite portals into different worlds. However, the future I imagined in Immersion Vortex might be quite near. And the possibility to step into a story fuelled by one’s own imagination is very attractive. So attractive, in fact, that I fear I would never return.

Imagine this: you choose a period you like, shape the characters according to your wishes, outline the events. You build a world based on a book, or a period, or an idea – and then you step into it. And it feels real in every sense. It’s controlled and shaped by your imagination, but it’s not inside your head, it’s all around you.

I know where I would go. Do you?

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