There is a popular belief that first time authors of fiction tend to be autobiographical without any conscious efforts. While this belief seems attractive from Freudian perspective , there is no empirical evidence to support this belief. Having just published my first novel , I would try to relate my own creative writing and try to share my understanding of how this comes about.
To be frank ,I have been a voracious reader of fiction and nonfiction books. Till I reached my forties , I did not imagine that I would write fiction. At some point in time , I realised that reading fiction amounts to surrogate living. It struck me that if I were to search for meaning and purpose in my life ,I would have to perforce give up reading fiction. Over a period of time , I also realized that search for meaning of one’s life is possible by analyzing one’s own mind. The bulk of my reading of literary criticism suddenly became relevant. I knew I had to write fiction. This crystallization was also hastened by series of crises in my personal life.
Having made a conscious decision , I realized that to be original in my creative writing ,I must deliberately remove all external literary influences from my writing. In retrospect , I can say that it was a wrong inference. It was not wrong because it failed to improve literary content of novel. It was a wrong inference because these writers had already shaped my sensibility by the time I decided to stop reading fiction. Our creative writing is not influenced by external factors ( including the books that we read) in a linear fashion. The influence of some of the great writers whom I had read during my formative years still influence my sensibility. In fact some of the details of my novel , on rereading , do appear to be influenced by these writers. I think I must admit I was wrong in abstaining from reading fiction for last few decades. Strangely ,I am still struck with that habit and I cannot bring myself to reading fiction. In that sense , readers of my novel (and this blog) are really blessed.
Let me write about autobiographical undertones in my novel. Just as I was firm about not being influenced by literary styles and sensibilities of my favorite writers , I was determined to not to be autobiographical. When I look back , after reading this novel several times during the processes of publishing ,I have a slightly different perspective on this issue. I had two prime objectives while writing this novel. I wanted to understand my own emotions and their subconscious origins. In the process I allowed my subconscious to develop the story as the plot unfolded.I was hoping that on subsequent reading , I would be able to know how my subconscious mind works. Whatever I could deconstruct , I was surprised by the outcome. However , in order to allow my subconscious work freely, I ensured that my emotions were honestly allowed to participate in the creative process. Therefore this novel is true to what my emotional status was at that time and therefore it is autobiographical in that sense.
The second prime objective of my writing this novel was to transcend my personal angst to the universal level. I wanted to eliminate all my personal details and my immediate circle , one by one , so that what remains is pure universal human predicament. Therefore the narrative retains all geographical and social details sans any personal details. I believe that to the extent this novel describes human predicament in a distilled manner , this novel must qualify as a genuine literature. I am not sure whether this novel would be judged as a good novel or not . However ,it is a serious attempt to deconstruct human mind . I am also sure that this novel is autobiographical only in a sublime sense.
I would end this blog by a question. If the first time authors of fiction tend to be autobiographical , then when they write second book ,does this autobiographical undertone remain as strong or does it disappear ? I hope to find out that when I finish my next novel. I am not sure when that would happen ,but I am sure it would . I have couple of narratives in mind ,but I am not sure which one would result in my next novel. Till then the readers may enjoy THE MULTITUDES OF RIPPLES.