Brisbane Writers Festival — Story Plus Workshop

Dear Reader,

Exciting times to be a Queensland genre writer are upon us!

Genrecon is next weekend, in Brisbane. I can’t wait. I’m trying to find time to get my Cultasses and Kimonos costume ready.

Genrecon is a convention that brings the genres together, so we can learn from each other’s areas of special knowledge. I promise to blog about Genrecon.

However, today I’d like to tell you about my experience at the Brisbane Writers Festival in early September.

I have been remiss regarding blogging. As well as being busy, I have to admit, I’m a little bit uncomfortable in the medium.

Everything I saw at Brisbane Writers Festival was fabulous, and there were several highlights for me including the Story Plus workshop.

At Story Plus, industry experts talked about the creative projects they were leading, using story and information technologies creatively.

It was an amazing day of short lectures and panels by about thirteen creative professionals, all of whom had different insights and fantastic projects to talk about. I want to share their projects and insights with you.


They described the following diverse projects:

1. Mapping the journey of an abstract airship based on wind movements – ‪@shipadrift – by James Bridle
2. Zombie Run – a running game – by Naomi Alderman
3. Writing, publishing and analysing data about the novel “Willow Pattern” which a team wrote and published within 24 hours – by Simon Groth
4. Mobile Choose Your Own Adventure stories with QR codes – by Emily Craven
5. Flash fiction on napkins – by Sue Wright – Tiny Owl Workshop
6. Robot University – by Christy Dena
7. ACO Virtual – by Michela Ledwidge
8. Game, game, game and again game – by Jason Nelson.

I recommend checking out these projects and creators.

The main messages I brought home were:

1. Story is strong
2. New platforms create new creative spaces and narrative possibilities to explore
3. Platforms elevate, amplify and influence story (but keep accessibility for audience in mind)
4. People, technology, network and platforms all interact
5. Text remains important and narrative often returns to text
6. Story space expands to accommodate more mediums
7. Technology must be explored for creative possibility
8. Community and collaboration are key
9. People and technology can achieve more collaboratively than separately
10. Imagination and risk taking can create new delivery platforms rather than fine tuning old ones


I was already interested in exploring narratives in different media, but these speakers made me feel that it is possible. In fact, it would be remiss of me not to investigate the exciting possibilities changing technologies represent.

As Garth Nix pointed out, writers will always write. Other speakers also said that reading will maintain an important place in the landscape, as will telling a bedtime story to a child, or a scary story over a candle.

One concern I have, which I’d like to hear discussion of, is extending the network to less privileged people. Technology has become so essential to my family’s learning and creativity that (while there might be drawbacks of dependence) I suspect we gain further advantage over those without access to technological products.

The main issue here is that technology represents access to information and education, two important avenues to achieving successful life outcomes.

I’ve described two extremes of the spectrum; the creative leaders taking technology into new emerging narratives, and those with limited or no access to the computational side of the network.

While we pursue our creative goals I think it’s important to extend help towards those who lack opportunity, and incorporate a vision towards equitable access into our work.



(This will be cross posted at my other blogs)


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