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Plot interrupted: Reproducing the narrative benefits of trauma fiction in crime fiction
journal contributionposted on 26.04.2018, 00:00 by Leanne Dodd
Trauma distorts time and interrupts the natural flow of people’s life-stories. While bibliotherapists may prescribe fictional stories to help clients internalise better coping mechanisms and re-author their life stories, they rarely select crime fiction for this purpose. This article demonstrates how crime writers can create works that may fit the criteria for transformative therapy. Whitehead suggests that trauma fiction writers have ‘frequently found that the impact of trauma can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms’ (2004: 3). By aligning the narrative strategies used in trauma fiction to distort time, such as fragmentation and repetition, with those strategies used in crime fiction, writers can develop a creative work that moves beyond the prevailing conventions of crime fiction to incorporate the well-being benefits of trauma fiction. The effect may transform perceptions and assist with reconnection, while also providing a safe narrative space for all readers to work through fears brought on by modern-day graphic exposure to traumatic events. This research may prove significant in developing a framework to cultivate a form of crime fiction that can direct readers into safe, controlled and custom-written environments where they may better empathise, explore and experiment with their responses to trauma.