Stitching the world together again: finding creative possibilities through theoretical constraints

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Kon Yu, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0003-2023-6910 (2010) Stitching the world together again: finding creative possibilities through theoretical constraints. In: The Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners Papers : the Refereed Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs 2010. Cole, Catherine, Freiman, Marcelle and Brien, Donna Lee, eds. Australian Association of Writing Programs Conference, Guyra, NSW.


In my PhD ‘The other side of silence’ I wanted to examine how a writer could write the kinds of women ’s lives which have been omitted, silenced or marginalised in discourses such as history, biography, auto - biography and fiction. For me, fiction seemed a logical way to tell such a story, since fiction had the ability to highlight those lives and experienc es which have been largely left untold within popular culture, or deemed historically insignificant. Yet, in reading fiction which focused on the lives of women, I noticed that such narratives seemed to suggested that ordinary women’s lives could be told, only if they were narrated in a certain way. I found that fiction which simply filled in the gaps about historically ‘unknowable’ lives carried with them the suggestion that stories about women from the past could be retrieved and narrated. In writing a fi ction about a woman from the past, I began to understand that the problem lay in a deeper place: a place that was difficult to address within the generic boundaries imposed by realism, which continues to maintain a tight grip on popular and literary fictio n. To write about the silencing of women’s lives, I began to look at the epistemological reasons for this silencing, and I realised that fiction imposed conditions of its own. Imagination was only going to take me so far, and my creative manuscript began t o falter under the weight and the limitations of conventional realism. Writing my fictional manuscript would have been impossible without engaging with post - structuralist theory. Literary theory became the spine that supported the shaping of my creative t ext. It enabled me to rethink specific creative writing approaches and techniques; to question the boundaries imposed by realism’s dependence on resolution, revelation and closure; and to challenge generic conventions, which enable the telling of some stor ies, while inhibiting the telling of others. In this paper, I will describe how literary theory informed my own creative writing practice, and enabled the writing of my fiction. It is my contention that literary theory not only unpicks the seams of fiction , but, in doing so, presents writers with new ways to stitch those worlds together again, subsequently enlarging our ideas about what is permissible and possible in fiction.

Additional Information

Conference held RMIT, Melbourne, 2010

Item type Book Section
Official URL
ISBN 9780980757330
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Keywords ResPubID22678, women's history, post-structuralism, fiction
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