The Trickster Methodology: Describing the creative process of fiction writers

Doctorate other than PhD

East, Tara. 2023. The Trickster Methodology: Describing the creative process of fiction writers. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Creative Arts (DCAR). University of Southern Queensland.

The Trickster Methodology: Describing the creative process of fiction writers

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorsEast, Tara
1. FirstDr Nike Sulway
2. SecondProf Jessica Gildersleeve
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Creative Arts (DCAR)
Number of Pages313
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

This thesis focuses on a creative writing research investigation that examines creative practice and how it led to a written product (a novel) as well as an exegesis that offers a unique methodology for describing the creative process. The trickster methodology combines elements of practice-led research with trickster qualities (slippery, subversive, disruptive, unstable, creative, destructive, ambiguous) by identifying four qualities that are particularly relevant to creative writers: shapeshifting, play, chance, and order. The theoretical frameworks that underpin this methodology include Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the carnivalesque and Sara Ahmed’s notion of willfulness. The trickster methodology is distinct from existing research frameworks and models of creativity as it reflects the fluidity of the writing process and the ways in which writers embody that fluidity. In this way, it extends upon our current understanding of practice-led research, offering a model of clearly defined traits that remain malleable and flexible enough for individual use while providing a way to describe the creative process that leads to a written product. This research investigation draws upon a series of interviews conducted with career authors, which were mapped against scholarly materials, as well as my own creative practice, to identify trickster traits within the creative processes of fiction writers, and to identify how creative practitioners can intentionally engage with these qualities as a way to challenge themselves to do or make differently. The creative artefact is the product of this methodology. The creative work and the trickster methodology were developed simultaneously. Insights gained while writing shaped the methodology, and my figurative and metaphorical understanding of the trickster figure informed the narrative. The trickster methodology challenged and changed my creative process, resulting in an innovative novel, which I could not have written prior to this investigation. Together, the two works explore through critical and creative voices and strategies a fresh way to approach and articulate the creative process. This dissertation is a multi-bodied and multivocal trickster whose liminal perspective supports practitioners in exploring the range of possibilities within their creative work while also accounting for the continuing and evolving process that is creativity.

Keywordspractice led research; creative writing; trickster; fiction
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360201. Creative writing (incl. scriptwriting)
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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