In my previous blog , I had discussed how emotions form canvas over which the plot unfolds. While the novelist tries to balance the emotional content of the novel , the reader gets to see how different characters develop as the chain of events unfolds. I had mentioned that  both these activities , the novelist’s struggle to balance various emotions and readers perception of evolution of various characters run  parallel. This happens because the novelist uses a device of personification. In this blog , I would discuss how this device of personification can be seen as a plot itself. In the previous blog , the emphasis was on emotional content as a plot. In the present blog , the emphasis would be on the the process of personification as a plot.

       As it was mentioned in the previous blog , the process of personification is not a simple device wherein every emotions get represented as a separate character. The novelist tries to bundle several emotions into each character that is written. It is this  process of bundling of several emotions into a character that establishes the creativity of the novelist. A more creative novelist may be able to create a more nuanced bundling of emotions.  In that case the character created out of such nuanced bundling of several emotions would have an emotional depth and therefore would be more acceptable.

        It is possible that sometimes , the novelist would invest same emotion in several characters simultaneously.  Alternatively , the novelist may choose to invest a single emotion in one character thereby creating a one dimensional character. It is this  choice of which emotion gets personified and how it gets personified that constitutes the plot. For instance , if the novelist wants to describe a social milieu  of a  particular time and a  particular place. Then the novelist would invest common emotional content in all the characters of the novel. This would appear to readers as an appropriate depiction of the society at that time. Similarly ,  the novelist would invest conflicting emotions in two different individuals. In that case , readers would perceive the plot as a series of confrontations between these two  characters. Here also , the  personification acts as a plot.

             It is evident from the arguments presented above , that the it is the  process of personification that creates a plot.The question therefore arises that how does a novelist go about personifying  the emotions ? Does a novelist consciously craft this  personification ? or , as suggested in my  earlier blogs, it happens at a subconscious level ? Let us see how this works out.

         While writing my second novel , which is half complete , I was struck by this  aspect of writing a novel. I realized that this may be true , but  while creating a plot , I was not conscious of this aspect.  At a  conscious level , I too was thinking in the way a reader would think.  I would wonder what would happen next. For instance , in my novel , the  protagonist , who is a chartered accountant by  profession , visits a different town to help someone in solving an inheritance dispute. There ,he comes across a  phenomenon of reincarnation, or at least what appears to be so. When I  began writing that episode , my intention was to show a conflict between the protagonist’s rationality and his infatuation with the  his girlfriend. However , once I reached half way through the episode , I was not sure how the episode would end. In that sense ,  I was behaving like a  reader. At that stage , I decided to allow characters to have freedom. Once I allowed myself let go of that sense of  control over the characters of my novel, the plot unfolded itself. I can tell you that  what happened in that episode was more meaningful than what I had  consciously planned earlier. The  moral of the story is that  novelist must respect the integrity of the  personification. The  characters , once created by such  personification , have their own independent existence and they would behave according to their own compulsions.

        Returning to the topic of this blog , this  incident  opened up a new insight into creative writing for me. A novelist dwells in two worlds simultaneously. On  one hand , the novelist is thinking and enjoying a novel just like a reader would do.  However , on the other hand , the  novelist is struggling with the compulsions of the creative writing that is dominated by this  process of  personification which is beyond the  control of the  conscious mind of the novelist. The novelist is , in some sense , condemned to be aware of both , the  processes as well as the products , of this device of  personification. The creative instinct of a novelist is a zone of twilight.  It does not consist of sunshine of enlightenment , nor does it consist of darkness of blind pleasures.  The novelist straddles the twilight. She/he uses the  device of personification to not only unravel the  plot , but also to understand her /his  mind.

          Incidentally , in my novel , it is the girlfriend of the protagonist , who frequently experiences what appears to be memories of the past births. Whether it is real or not , is the the question that sets the background of the plot.

   In my next blog, I would discuss how conflict between rationality and beliefs shapes the protagonist’s life.


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