Under a big sky

Hanifin, Patricia Mary
Johnson, Rosser
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Master of Creative Writing
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Auckland University of Technology

The exegesis will elaborate on the research process undertaken to write a collection of short fiction. The creative work is a collection of ten stories linked thematically by an archaeological approach to character psychology, expression and action. Some of the stories also explore the influence of popular culture and cultural archetypes on the characters. Important contemporary influences in terms of both content and style have been the short stories, Wheat by Tracy Slaughter (2004), Walking to Laetoli by James George (2004) and Aquifier by Tim Winton (2004). The introduction of the exegesis outlines my interests in the modern ‘slice of life’ story, in the conflict and tensions that occur between emotional and chronological time, and in Charles May’s assertion that short stories, through their use of metaphor, are a vehicle for exploring mythological perception. The theorists who most influenced my research and creative writing are then highlighted and their contribution to my understanding of narrative technique is discussed. Four main narrative techniques are emphasised, and illustrated with reference to particular stories from the collection. The techniques discussed are all related to the fundamental craft issue of show don’t tell. Finally the exegesis touches on the difficulty a writer has in being an objective reader of their own work.

Metaphor , Mythology , Creative writing , Short stories
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