ON FINISHING A NOVEL.
With this blog , I am starting a new series of blogs. This series would continue till I start my next novel. I closed my last series of blogs titled MY SECOND NOVEL on 2nd June 2017. It has been three and a half months since then. I took little longer to finish my novel THE HUMAN PILGRIMAGE due to my professional commitments and my own predilection towards the thematic continuity in constructing the climax. I took more time in devising the climax which was consistent with the protagonist’s own evolution during the novel. Therefore , I could not start this series of blogs. In this blog , I would discuss how a novelist feels while finishing a novel.
In one of my earlier blogs , I had mentioned about emotional closure that a novelist experiences on finishing a novel. I would delve deeper into this aspect in this blog. It is just couple of days since I have finished THE HUMAN PILGRIMAGE. Therefore , I would narrate my immediate state of mind and try to understand my own feelings. I have experienced a melangè of emotions in last couple of days. Of these , there are three emotions that I would try to deconstruct here. Firstly , I have experienced a sense of emotional closure which I have referred to earlier. This feeling arises from the fact that novelist’s own creations , the characters of the novel , have experienced catharsis and their own emotional closures. The climax of the novel provides a sense of justification and a sense of self fulfillment to the main characters of the novel. Therefore , to the extent these characters are personifications of the novelist’s own emotions , a novelist too achieves an emotional closure through proxy. I have to admit that I indeed experienced such a proxy while completing the novel.
My second manifest emotional experience is that of creative satisfaction. Normally , a novel is evaluated by two yardsticks. It is possible to evaluate a novel in the context of some literary template of a good fiction. While this template is not universal and it is subjective in nature , it is possible to evaluate on the basis of such a template as articulated by well known critics. Similarly , it is possible evaluate a novel on the basis of its popularity. This is measured by number of copies it manages to sell. Admittedly , both these perspectives are important to a novelist and she /he would definitely experience a sense of satisfaction when the novel is appreciated on either of these yardsticks. However , I want to discuss an internal perspective of the satisfaction that a novelist experiences while finishing a novel. This internal sense of satisfaction , which is essentially a creative satisfaction , does not depend on either of the two perspectives mentioned above. Therefore , it is legitimate that I should discuss it here because no one else has seen the novel THE HUMAN PILGRIMAGE.
This creative satisfaction arises because a novelist , when she /he begins a novel , has certain objective in mind. At least in my case , I had one such objective. I wanted to understand the nature of irrational beliefs that we adhere to , even when we know that these beliefs are irrational. A psychologist or a psychiatrist can afford to take a clinical view and treat these irrational beliefs as symptoms of some underlying psychological problems. However , as a novelist , my concern was the relevance of such irrational beliefs in our minds. A novelist can not be judgemental and therefore dismissive of such irrational beliefs. As a novelist , I wanted to understand what roles these irrational beliefs play in helping an individual to cope with her /his life and its inequities. Therefore , I was more interested in finding out why these irrational beliefs arise in the protagonist’s mind and how they help him to come to terms with his own life. As a novelist , I was more concerned about how these irrational beliefs distort the everyday reality in the protagonist’s mind to help him achieve his own emotional closure. It is in this sense , that I think I am satisfied. I believe that I have been able to narrate the distorted version of reality in fairly consistent and non judgemental manner. When I look back at the journey of last eighteen months of writing this novel , I feel satisfied that this narrative is that of the protagonist and not that of Vaachakmitra. An ability to view reality from the perspective of the characters of a novel , gives a creative satisfaction to a novelist. I have experienced that satisfaction on the completion of this novel.
The third emotion that is predominant in my mind , at this juncture , is that of curiosity. Having looked at the relevance of irrational beliefs in our lives , I am simply curious about other such incongruities of a human mind. I have come to conclusion that a novelist is , by nature , a curious creature. A novelist is an explorer who likes to visit and then narrate , uncharted territories of human lives. In my first novel, I had tried to explore the absurdity of human existence in the context of an amoral universe. In my second novel, I have explored the need for irrational beliefs in maintaining our sanity. Therefore , I am still driven by that curiosity after finishing this novel. Therefore , I am planning to start once again another journey into the exploration of human mind. Since I would require few months to facilitate the publication of THE HUMAN PILGRIMAGE , I would begin the new book only at the beginning on next year.
Till then , I would continue blogging about this process of narrowing down to the theme of my next novel. In my next blog , I would discuss my need to move away from first person narrative to a third person narrative and its literary context.