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Title: Psychology and the creative writing process : the role of experiential learning in the journey from fact to fiction
Author: Deveney, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 1226
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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This work discusses the importance of experiential learning in the creative process of writing fiction. It shows the ways in which the insights and understandings that are gained from first- hand and third-hand experiences both inform and transform imaginative processes to create "a kernel of truth": a believable fictional world for readers. In particular, the use of interviewing, especially media interviewing, as a trigger for this experiential learning is discussed, and the ways in which "relational depth"(Mearns and Cooper, 2005) in interviews can provide critical emotional, as well as literal, information about different lives, situations, and characters for writers. The data bank of interviews described in this work was gathered over a 20-year period in the UK media and includes celebrity interviews with figures in the arts, politics, sport, entertainment, literature, and science, as well as with "ordinary" people in extraordinary situations. The writer shows how these interviews fit into the tradition of qualitative research, and how the encounters subsequently fed into the creative processes involved in the writing of her four novels. The interviews conducted constituted a data base of hundreds of single case studies, and some multiple case studies, that were drawn on in the creative process. The importance of good interviewing technique in eliciting the depth of information required for this process is illustrated, with a comparison of techniques used in both media and psychological interviews. The importance of Unconditional Positive Regard (Rogers, 1951) in the interviewing process, and the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996) as an interpretative tool, are also discussed. While autobiographical writing is routinely used in psychological therapies, creative writing is less common. A case is put for the therapeutic effectiveness of creative writing in enabling people to process difficult emotions, offering the possibility of third-person narrative as a way of distancing the writer from real emotion before claiming the "I" of first-person narrative. The "safe space" that creative writing can provide to those traumatised by difficult life events is shown to be of particular significance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral