Thursday, September 05, 2013

Making of a Novel: Creativity Versus Narratology

“With a novel, which takes perhaps years to write, the author is not the same man he was at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. It is not only that his characters have developed--he has developed with them, and this nearly always gives a sense of roughness to the work: a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov's story, The Lady with the Dog.” ― Graham Greene

When Saptarshi Mallick requested me to write an essay on narratology of novel, I hesitated most to accept his request, because as a student and teacher of literature what I would write may not be believable for me as a creative writer. This may seem to be contradictory for a critic, but this is the fact for which I had to add the second part in this essay. First part may appear to readers as more academicals, more clumsy and more a word game, as it bears so many references, quotations and frankly speaking the portion is over burdened with other’s opinion. Those, who are not interested in theorists’ word game may skip it voluntarily. But I can assure, the words of second part of this essay ascend from my experience and conviction and Graham Greene’s quotation from which I have started second part of my essay, seems to me as my own words coming down from Greene’s pen.


Writing a novel is a very complex process, where an author has to practice two contradictory actions at a time. One is alienation and other is penetration. In alienation, the author has to alienate the characters from himself with a sense of objective correlativity, restricting his own emotions, considering the character as an outward object, predetermined to correspond to the preexisting idea in its living power. The other way is to penetrate at the same time and assimilating author’s own experience, feelings and emotions in to the characters. In this way creating an emotion through personal factors (penetration to character) and evidence linked together with forming an objective correlative (alienation) should produce an author’s detachment from the depicted character and unite the emotion of the literary work. Thus a character develops an identity, which can construct a significant characterization for a novel.