HOW THE PLOT UNFOLDS.
In last few blogs , I have discussed the theory of karma in some details. I have described how the metaphor of reincarnation is a fertile theme for a novelist. I have also elaborated at some length how the theme of reincarnation encapsulates our social mores , religious beliefs and ethics. From now on , I would focus on my second novel Itself. It is almost six months since I began writing my second novel. I am happy that it is shaping up very well. From the way it is written , I think I have finished half the novel. I have finished eight chapters so far. So I think it would run into about sixteen chapters. In this blog , I would focus on the creative process of weaving a plot of the novel. Since this is my second novel , I think I have sufficient insights into the creative process that enables a novelist to carve out a good story literally out of thin air.
When I began my first novel , I was not even aware of the creative process that makes fiction writing possible. I was simply prompted by an irresistible urge to write. However , this time around , I am bit more analytical. So when I began my second novel , I was determined to reflect on my creative writing skills. So far , this approach has worked with me. I have a better understanding of how a novel is born. In next few blogs , I would describe my own reflections on the manner in which a novelist’s mind works . Of course , in the process ,I would also describe something more about my second novel.
In this blog , I would focus on the weaving of the plot. In my younger days , I was an avid reader of fiction. Every Time , after finishing a novel , I would be in awe of novelists. I would wonder how can anyone create such a complex and intricately woven plot by one’s imagination ? Even today , after finishing one and a half novels , I am in awe of the plots that have unfolded in my own novels. The only difference between my earlier sense of awe and my current sense of awe is that now , I am not in awe of the novelist but the creative process that enables a novelist to write fiction. I now realize that the intricacies of the plot are built into the story itself. A novelist merely allows these finer nuances to unfold. The core of a story has all these nuances folded within itself. As a novelist progresses with writing , these nuances unfold. The only analogy I can think of is that of a seed. The entire blueprint of the plant is embedded within the seed. With the passage of time the entire plant emerges from that small seed. Similarly , the novel with all its intricacies sprouts from that story itself. When I decided to write a novel on the theme of reincarnation , its core idea was a story about few characters who would meet again and again in different births. To me , the interesting part was emotional interactions between these selected characters. However , once I placed them in today’s dateline in Mumbai , some of the details of these characters were already decided by today’s Mumbai. I did not invent anything. It was the city of Mumbai that provided the finer details of these characters.
However , it does not mean that a novelist is merely an instrument passively translating these details into a novel. I think that a novelist plays an active role. Just as a seed needs lot of sustenance and materials from its surrounding soil , the story needs an emotional ecosystem to unfold itself. This is where a novelist comes into the picture. A novelist , rather her/his sensibility and her/his subconscious mind , provides this sustenance and nurture. Thus , as the novel unfolds , it is a novelist’s emotional ecosystem that manifests itself in the form of nuances of the plot. For instance , in my second novel my own background surfaces in variety of disguises. In my case , the fact that I was born and brought up in middle class traditional milieu comes out naturally. Similarly , the fact that I have spent large part of my life in downtown of Mumbai also comes through. Admittedly , these are trivial aspects of my life and would be obvious to perceptive readers. But what about the substantive parts of my own sensibility ? How do they get incorporated into the novel ?
Before going into these serious aspects of creative writing , I would also like to make it clear that although the emotional ecosystem and subconscious mind of a novelist define the unfolding of the plot , it does not necessarily imply that a novelist is a mere puppet in the hands of her /his subconscious mind. This is where a sense of authorship comes in. While novelist’s subconscious mind throws up several options to work upon , it is the novelist’s critical faculty that selects and refines these multiple nuances of the plot. Thus the intricacies of the plot are eventually shaped by inherent features of the story , novelist’s subconscious mind and finally , novelist’s critical aesthetics.
I realized , while writing my second novel , that I have rather conservative attitudes. This realization came up when I noticed that my protagonist was too conservative even by my own standard. He appears as a chartered accountant in the novel. However , I did not realize when and how he turned out to be that conservative. Then it occurred to me that he may have been created by my subconscious mind in response to my discomfort with the protagonist of my first novel. In that novel , the protagonist was too dreamy and too abstract. Moreover , his unrealistic dreamy nature arose from his unrequited love. So when I began my second novel , subconsciously I might have gone to other extreme. Thus creation of conservative protagonist must have come about as a way of compensation by my subconscious mind. This can happen only if I was conservative. However , once the novel progressed I found out that there was a reason why the protagonist turned out to be that conservative. It has something to do with his younger days when he experienced trauma. When that insight into reasons for his conservativeness was available to me , it occurred to me that somewhere in my subconscious mind I must have imagined two emotional responses for facing a trauma. Though , I don’t think that I would have behaved in either manner but these options must be buried somewhere deep within my psyche. I am pointing out these private observations because these are the revelations that surfaced in the process of creative writing. They are as much mine as they are yours because deep within we , the novelist and the readers , share a common human mind. More importantly , when the readers would read my second novel , they would find out that the conservative nature evolves into something more profound. That transition from being mere conservative to being empathetic represents my own critical and aesthetic judgement.
In my next blog , I would describe some more details of my second novel and how are these related to my own sensibility