Writing “Dark Fiction”

Lee-Price, Simon (2019) Writing “Dark Fiction”. In: The Thrill of the Dark: Heritages of Fear, Fascination and Fantasy, 25th -27th April 2019, University of Birmingham, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham.

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Abstract

A critical reflection on the creative process of writing a short story in response to an open call for submissions to a forthcoming darkness-themed commercial horror anthology with a 31 December deadline. My aim is to capture and analyse how I engage with the concept of darkness, aesthetically, philosophically and ideologically, during the stages of pre-writing, drafting and editing an imaginative work for a specific, time-constrained, real-world objective, which may or may not be achieved. The approach I take is broadly autoethnographic, using ‘personal experience to describe the processes that contribute to the production of popular culture texts’ (Manning and Adams, 2015, p. 202). The focus will be on cognitive rather than social processes (although the two interpenetrate). My research ‘data’ will include notes, drafts of the story, and journal entries. In my analysis, I will make reference to metatextual observations by practising authors, as diverse as Percy Bysshe Shelly (1915/1840), Christian Metz (1982) and Toni Morrison (1992, 1993), who have reflected, in very different ways, on their writing practice. I will also draw on psychoanalytically informed theories of language, subjectivity and creativity. Using myself as a case study, I aim to show how representations of darkness in a work of ‘dark fiction’ emerge through the interplay of a multiplicity of often conflicting influences, among which are longstanding genre conventions, literary aesthetics, the author’s socio-political convictions, and unconscious desires. Darkness, for this author, is a material for both construction and deconstruction. References Manning, J. and Adams, T. E. (2015) ‘Popular Culture Studies and Autoethnography: An Essay on Method’, Popular Culture Studies Journal, 3(2), pp. 187-222. Morrison, T. (1992) Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. Morrison, T. (1993) ‘Toni Morrison, the Art of Fiction No. 134’, The Paris Review, 128(Fall), pp. 1-33. Metz, C. (1982) Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Signifier. Translated by C. Britton et al. London: Palgrave. Shelley P. B. (1915/1840) ‘A Defence of Poetry’, in Shelley, P. B. Selected Prose Works of Shelley. London: Watts and Co., pp. 75-118.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: Dr Simon Lee-Price
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2020 08:40
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2020 08:40
URI: http://bucks.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/18088

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