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How we role: The collaborative role-playing poetics of the Secret Story Network.

Gyori, B. and Zaluczkowska, A., 2022. How we role: The collaborative role-playing poetics of the Secret Story Network. Journal of Screenwriting, 13 (2), 207-230.

Full text available as:

JOSC 13.2_Gyori_Zaluczkowska.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1386/josc_00094_1


In 2018, a group of ten academics and industry professionals created ‘The Secret Story Network’. This practice-research initiative produced ten 60‐90-minute role-playing games conducted on the social media platform WhatsApp. In the process, we worked to identify and refine design strategies that incentivize engagement with the type of narrative collaboration that media scholars commonly call ‘collective storytelling’. Via the participatory action research methodology, this study evolved through cycles of prototyping, testing, feedback, reflection and modification. This article analyses our study in relation to the ‘Threefold Word Model’ for RPGs proposed by Kim. Based on the affordances of the WhatsApp interface, we suggest a modification of this conceptual frame, in line with scholars such as Edwards, Bøckman and Bowman that extends investigations into four theoretical lenses that we use to examine the stories in our study. These modes are (1) drama, (2) game, (3) simulation and (4) immersion. The observations made also suggest new avenues for ‘writing’ and creating interactive digital narratives.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:interactive narratives;action research;participatory;WhatsApp;digital storytelling;Collaboration
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:37618
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:03 Oct 2022 14:14
Last Modified:03 Oct 2022 14:14


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