Spree was created by Viccy Adams as part of Alternarratives, a Nesta led programme to help writers explore innovation in short-form storytelling. Nesta are collaborating with BBC Taster to help test the experiences - please view, rate and give us your feedback above.
What is it?
Spree is a love story to all the places we're not supposed to go. It was inspired by the setting of a friend's wedding a few years back: who doesn't feel drawn to the spooky glamour of a dilapidated theme park? The story has What3Words maps embedded next to audio recordings of the narrative.
The reader listens to the story while exploring the visual setting through the Google Streetview integration (computer only alas, the maps don't work on phones/tablets). At a certain point you get to choose if you want to keep exploring the actual setting of the story, or move to a location that represents how the narrator is feeling.
Who are you?
I'm a short fiction writer, currently living in Edinburgh with my toddler and husband and dreaming about getting some chickens for our garden. My favourite authors growing up were Tamora Pierce, Katherine Kerr, Terry Pratchett and Georgette Heyer. I still love reading speculative YA fiction now, alongside contemporary women writers and anything recommended by friends or stumbled across on Twitter.
How was it made?
I was selected for Alternarratives on the back of a completely different project involving geo-caching - then the global pandemic hit, and my original plans turned from fantastic to socially irresponsible. I've been wanting to create something around What3Words for a while, as the juxtaposition of the words attached to the locations is so funny and beautiful and pulls different layers of meaning out from the settings.
The things I wanted to carry over from my original plans was the connection with real-world settings and a sense of fun through exploration and mild peril... and Spree is what emerged from that brainstorming! I love how digital literature can bring a different kind of playfulness to text, with more opportunities for the reader to make choices and follow their own interests. As a Lockdown-story, I tried to ball up all my anxiety about the world and re-focus it on times when I was younger and feeling uncertainty as a form of excitement and incentive to push myself.
Who do we hear on the audio?
The voice of Spree is the delightfully talented voice-over artist Molly Roberts, who drew on her native North-East accent and recorded in her home studio during lockdown. The theme tune that crops up throughout was a commission from Scottish ex-pat Dave Smith, all the way from Arkansas, USA. Dave blended in clips of my son shouting, and took inspiration from a traditional German folk tune in putting it together.
More about Alternarratives
Nesta ran an open call for bold, creative ideas that explore new ways to tell a story and push the boundary of how we consume literature and engage 13-16 year olds with reading. This was a chance for writers to consider the future of storytelling and make use of new technologies or formats.
Nesta provided nine creators with bursaries and bespoke support to make their ideas a reality - now we need your help to pick a winner. BBC Taster and Nesta are asking the public to test, rate and provide feedback on the live projects.
Anyone can view them and have your say on who wins, but we’re specifically encouraging 13-16 year olds to tell us how they engaged with the works. We will view the public feedback with an expert panel to help select the final winner.