From folklore to crime fiction: balancing fantasy and realism in 'The replacement'

Golding, M (2022) From folklore to crime fiction: balancing fantasy and realism in 'The replacement'. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


This practice-based research comprises a novel, 'The Replacement', and a critical reflection of my process and influences. Together, these two strands explore the question of how to balance supernaturalism with realism in a contemporary thriller that has its origins in a folk tale. 'The Replacement' is an adaptation of "The Mermaid Wife", a Selkie tale from the isle of Unst. My research reflects upon my artistic process, which works by extrapolating from the not-said; that is to say, by finding chinks in the perspective and narration of the original tale. These gaps in the margins of original tales are often critical in revealing what I want to make explicit in my own fiction. While this thesis concentrates on 'The Replacement', which will be my second published novel, it also examines my early exploration of the tension between the supernatural and the realist in my first novel, 'Little Darlings'. Moreover, the latter is also a reworking of a folk tale. The contextualising thesis is presented broadly in three parts. Part I looks at the origins of the folktale and how I use my novels to interrogate and intervene in the gender politics of the original material. Part II examines how I respond to editorial feedback when navigating between the supernatural and realist elements of my story. In particular, I explore the challenges I faced in avoiding undue ambiguity while refusing to privilege either explanation for the events that take place in the story. Part III delves more deeply into the interface between a novelist and the publishing industry during the creative process. It comprises a close examination of the process of choosing a title, and in so doing, it reflects upon the transformational impact of the collaboration between the writer and the publicity, sales and marketing departments.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: PhD by Practice, creative writing, fantasy literature, crime fiction, realism, thrillers, folk tales, novels, publishing industry
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2022 14:11
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 18:35
URI / Page ID:
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)