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Journal Continuum
Journal of Media & Cultural Studies
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ABSTRACT

Contemporary risk society has caused many creative practitioners to question the role, effect, and potential of their practice. In seeking to find a means by which creative writing can do something in the real world, this article examines the use of directive speech acts 鈥 such as commands, requests, and invitations 鈥 in print and digital branching narratives and choose-your-own-adventure texts. I focus on The Throne of Zeus, Depression Quest, and Queers in Love at the End of the World, investigating both standard directives and what I classify as 鈥榣atent鈥 directives: commands 鈥榟idden鈥 within the text, taking forms such as styled hyperlinks and typographical notes and citations. Deploying Aarseth鈥檚 definitions of ergodic literature, DelConte鈥檚 concept of partially-coincident narration, and Juul鈥檚 ludological theory of the half-real, I find that the directives featured in these texts step beyond their fictional context, operating as true speech acts within our stretched-out present and collapsed temporal horizon, thereby strengthening the texts鈥 overall illocutionary goal. These texts speak to and of the precarity of our present time, embodying 鈥 and allowing a reader to embody 鈥 lived experiences of extended nows, and allowing us to take control in acting towards a present-to-be.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Additional information

Notes on contributors

Shastra Deo

Shastra Deo is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland. Her practice-led research focuses on nuclear semiotics, the poetics of warning, and linguistic pragmatics in video games. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Writing and English Literature, First Class Honours and a University Medal in Creative Writing, and a Master of Arts in Writing, Editing and Publishing. Shastra鈥檚 poetry collection, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.

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