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You are here: Home > Writing in Education > Writing at University > Writing in Practice > Current Issue > Vol. 7 > 7 - Walking in Imaginary Shoes by Philippa Holloway
7 - Walking in Imaginary Shoes by Philippa Holloway
Author: Philippa Holloway
Psychogeographic Approaches for Fiction Writing
Attachments: WiP 2021 7 PH.pdf


The term “psychogeography” was coined by the philosopher and founder of Situationism Guy Debord as “the precise study of the effects of the environment, consciously organised or not, on the behaviour and/or emotions of individuals” (Debord, 1955: 8) in the mid-1900s, and the practices arising from it were then primarily concerned with defamiliarizing and critiquing urban spaces. Specific actions of psychogeographic practice related to writing, especially consciously engaging with a landscape and writing about its effects on the self, are more commonly associated with non-fiction texts, however, the conscious practice of creating “situations” and studying emotional/behavioural responses can be adapted and incorporated into fiction writing research and practice. This article examines the ways in which adopting a metacognitive psychogeographic methodology can provide content, form, theme and meaning in fiction specifically, with reference to practices used when writing The Half-life of Snails (Holloway, forthcoming 2022) as part of my doctoral research. It explains the challenges of using psychogeographic research to inform fictive character development, and examines the complex creative processes involved in adopting such methodologies. Finally, it encourages the fiction writer to slip on a pair of imaginary shoes and enjoy embodied research in the landscape.

Keywords: Psychogeography, Dérive, Creative Writing, Fiction, Walking, Practice-based Methodology, Phenomenology, Situated-Practice, Perception, Landscape.