There is one story that has been niggling me for as long as I can remember. A story involving the relationship between a boy of school age, his grandmother and a frightening, possibly-supernatural force that comes between them. Dreaming Methods is riddled with fragmentary glimpses into this strange relationship; Dim O’Gauble, The Flat, The Diary of Anne Sykes, The Scrapbook. No matter how far around the houses I go to produce work that shuffles away from this personally obsessive concept, I always end up being drawn back to it and attempting to generate another multimedia perspective on this complex – yet only ever glimpsing – piece of fiction.
I’m at it again at the moment, this time from a much more direct angle. Nightingale’s Playground is a work that brings a lot of vintage Dreaming Methods themes and ideas together in a more coherent and accessible way than previously attempted. It’s a large-scale piece that spans several recent time periods – as well as a number of different delivery methods and formats.
Surprisingly, the backbone of it has been a return to writing in its purest form – a fictional story, fairly straight-forwardly written, with the intention of being delivered without much multimedia manipulation or enhancement in the form of a bare-bones ebook (epub) document. Whilst in some ways this goes against my principles of what digital fiction is – or what it should aspire to be – in proper Dreaming Methods style, the static-form text does not stand alone. Even the epub tself contains a number of bizarre visual tricks and is ultimately just an enticement to experience the digital fiction editions of the work.
To make sense of it all (or relative sense anyway), the reader must experience and piece together all of the elements of the story – mobile-device formatted Apps, browser-based Flash projects, even a brief but deeply atmospheric 3D-game environment where the reader/user takes the position of the protagonist’s viewpoint. Whilst it may not be possible or even desirable for a reader to download and experience each digitally formatted project, it does offer a multitude of possible angles on a story which plays around with the very concept of fragmented realities.
As always, even in this situation, the written text element still remains throughout; the writing now able to exist – via one of the development methods – in true 3D space: floating within virtual room spaces and hanging from hallways like cobwebs.