When I was the right age for reading junior fiction, one of my favourite types of books was the Choose Your Own Adventure series published by Bantam. I’d use multiple bookmarks through each story thread so I didn’t miss any possible endings. You can imagine how excited I was last year when I found out about the live action version you can do here in Brisbane! All you need is Mum or Dad’s (or your own) smartphone or tablet and the Story City app which you can download from www.storycity.com.au. Get Mum or Dad to take you and your phone to the location where the story starts and begin your adventure. You have the option of either reading or listening to the story, and at the end of each section, you make a choice about where to go next and the adventure continues. (In the first one of these I did I was killed by birds and had to retrace my steps several times until I reached a happy ending.)
Then things got even more exciting when I got the opportunity to apply to write my own adventure. I chose a nearby park and originally planned a story that would be fun but also had subtle messages of how to care for the environment. However, when I did a proper research trip through the park I realised it was rich with military history, so my story idea changed a lot. The producer liked my application, but there was one problem. The park I had set my story in was earmarked for another project called Outdoor Reads, so I had to wait a few months to apply again.
Luckily when the producer read my application for Outdoor Reads she still liked it, and I got invited to a workshop to learn all about writing locative fiction: stories designed to be read in the place where the story is set. Just like the original Choose Your Own Adventure books, the stories are written in the second person:
You look across the street and see a winged reptile dive-bombing you. Do you A. run down the alley to your left? or B. put up your umbrella and hope for the best?
Some stories require you to solve puzzles to reveal where the next location is. Some get you to draw a picture in the sand or build a little sculpture from natural materials, which can be quite cool when you see other sand pictures or sculptures so you know you’re following in the footsteps of other reader adventurers.
For Outdoor Reads, two other writers and myself wrote 3 stories each: 1 set in 7th Brigade Park, Chermside, 1 in Hanlon Park, Greenslopes, and 1 at Mt Coot-tha. Our stories are now awaiting final approval, but in the meantime if you’d like to do a live-action CYOA there are heaps of stories to choose in Brisbane City, Southbank, Sandgate, Woolloongabba and Dutton Park, and even Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
As they say at Story City, the city is full of adventures. Choose yours.