The Limerence Project: Exploring the Affordances of Digital Media to Shape Narrative Experiences for Readerly Interactions

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Spark, Andi

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Breen, Sally

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This research examines how writers can exploit the affordances of digital media to shape narrative experiences towards readerly interactions; that is, activities and behaviours distinct to literacy that give pleasure to the reader. Creating digital literature requires a multi-disciplinary approach, as it borrows language and design tools from games, film, visual arts, music, and creative writing. Despite being placed at this artistic confluence, works of digital literature are usually designed and critiqued based on gaming interactivity (Uglow 2014). My research seeks to address this imbalance by creating a story application for the tablet called Limerence. In producing Limerence, I propose a new framework to design digital literature: the transmedia triangle. In this exegesis, I draw on the work of Marie-Laure Ryan to classify how digital narratives can present interactivity, analysing three case studies through a transmedial narratology framework: Gone Home (2013), Journey (2012), and Device 6 (2013). From these case studies, I have furthered my understanding of readerly interactions.

I then explored these concepts further through the creation of two minor studio projects. The first is a game-novel, a classic pathfinding adventure for middle-grade readers, titled Choose Your Own Death. The second is a community-based arts project called Player One/Player Two, where I acted as writing editor and co-producer. This project was produced by the Edge, State Library of Queensland, and was exhibited at the In Real Life Festival (2015). The processes of developing these early studio works honed my skills to create my major research output Limerence. This story application presents themes of voyeurism, love, and friendship facilitated through social media platforms. Its creation occurred in three iterations, each version being exhibited and refined based on audience feedback. This led to the final identification of three distinct types of readerly interactions present in my work: controlling rhythm through digital tmesis, solving multimodal riddles, and exploring spatial–temporal framing.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

Degree Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Queensland College of Art

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Creating digital literature

Marie-Laure Ryan

Digital narratives

Transmedia triangle

Gaming interactivity

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