Narrative Fiction and its Alternatives Forms (NeMLA 2024)
In the academic world, there is a constant exploration of new forms, genres, philosophies, and directions—reworking established concepts and creating new ones. While storytelling initially existed in verbal speech and gestures, modern mediums such as novels, comics, films, and video games have expanded the narrative landscape. Focusing on novelistic fiction, this panel explores their evolution, and more particularly, the proliferation of genres within them.
While traditional novels consist of a single story, short story collections, and anthologies diverge from this format, offering a unifying theme and a unique, flexible format that allows ideas and themes to be conveyed from different angles without the need for a cohesive plot.
In overpopulating a narrative space, writers are equipped with creative freedom in experimenting writing styles, techniques, form, and structure, akin to the modernist era’s focus on abandoning and reinventing traditional norms, evoking provocative forms in expressing pressing social issues. However, this also raises questions about whether the benefits of variety outweigh the risk of convoluting and polluting explored discourses, potentially overshadowing pressing issues with redundant and unproductive narrative fiction.
Is the variety of narrative fiction always beneficial? When should we put a halt to reinventing the forms of narrative fiction? As we explore the boundless beyond, it is worth considering if it is worthwhile to continue pushing beyond the boundaries of what we already know and consider whether an “end” exists at all.
This panel seeks papers on alternative forms of narrative fiction in order to consider how they better frame discourses, how writers use different forms as vessels to connect to broader societal discourses and criticisms, and when or if reinvention comes to a point of being too loud and provocative.