Writing in Place: Drafting a Locative Narrative

The first and most important task you need to undertake in order to begin writing your own locative narrative is to identify a place.

What place — whether a specific physical location (East Carson St. on a Saturday night), a type of location (libraries), a characteristic of location (rain), or even an idea of a location (home) — is central to the story you want to tell?

Only once you have identified the location can you begin to know what kind of locative narrative you want to write. Pick a place you feel a deep emotional connection to, something you feel compelled to explore in the physical world, an exploration you can translate into the figurative world of language.

Remember to think about engaging with the questions from our discussion on locative narratives, most significantly:  How can you use a locative narrative to add or reveal the layers of a physical space?

Remember, too, that the project must have a digital component that involves the physical space; that is, it is not enough to merely write about a place. You must write in a digital medium that engages directly with that place. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a narrative using a digital location technology such as Google Maps, where segments of the text are digitally associated with a particular location, and wherein the reader progresses by ‘moving’ to different digital pins.
  • Write a narrative that can be “found” only in specific (digital) locations by composing it via a social media with geotags embedded. For example, you may write a story via a series of tweets, each of which is tagged with the geographic location. The story can be read by searching that geotag, and will, of course, be disrupted / enhanced by other users geotagged content. You may even choose to intentionally incorporate others’ contributions.
  • Follow Shelley Jackson’s (Snow) or Nick Montfort and Scott Rettberg’s (Implementation) lead and write a narrative that is physically located in a series of specific locations, but can only be fully captured/distributed via digital media.
  • Or, work in the tradition of “Welcome to Pine Point” and create a digital narrative space for a place without a specific physical location — a former place, an imaginary place — or that layers a fictional or mythological world on top of the physical world. You may do this, if you’re feeling ambitious, by created an augmented reality experience, or simply by building and establishing a full digital space (like an interactive / multimedia website). For this option, you should feel free to incorporate found material.

If you have another idea for how to write a narrative both digitally and physically site-specific, feel free to pursue it! By the end of the day Wednesday, include your ideas in this Google doc, so that I can make sure you’re on the right track.

As always, you are welcome to work in groups, but the size of your group should be reflecting in the length and / or complexity of your project.

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