Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fiction Fails

The following words, I assure you, are as far away from fiction as anything could possibly be. More like non-fiction in the truest sense.

The number of people who know that I like to write is significantly higher than the number of people who actually read what I write. I put that down to enthusiastic self-declaration on my end and unenthusiastic audiences at the other. That is actually not a terrible thing.

It is but natural for anyone, when he/she hears that I like to write, to ask me what kind of stories I like to write. After all, stories are where there is maximum scope for the creative and minimum scope for the mundane. The truly sad bit is that I usually disappoint them with my answer.

I don’t write fiction.

As in I have never written fiction and don’t necessarily want to write fiction in the future.

A quizzical eyebrow raise is the usual reaction I get which gets even more pronounced when I add that I prefer to write about my experiences and opinions. What I do is to overlay my nerdy POV over routine reality and imagine that the end results are somewhat interesting.

Who are you? Is your life really that amazing? Who are you kidding? Questions I have seen flash in many a polite enquirer’s eyes but here, for the first time, put into words.

Even though my life is really not amazing, I am a terrible fiction writer too. I am saving the world from unnecessary meh-ness by my voluntary abstention. No matter who you are, you have better things to do than reading my fiction and no, I am not kidding.

My very first attempt at fiction was when I was almost 10. I remember my not so subtle *version* of the lion helped by tiny mouse story where a monkey and a pulley save an elephant in the well. Yes, I was a kid but even that is no excuse for such embarrassing unoriginal-ity. In fact, when I re-read that story just after finishing it, it left a terrible scar of guilt and distaste that may last the rest of my lifetime.

More recent attempts all inevitably lead to a lonely protagonist, working with passion on something that he will eventually fail at, even as his world collapses around him in excruciatingly slow motion. Sure, the world needs antidotes to Shiv Khera’s insufferable peppiness but I assure you my stories are not addressing that gap. They are more like a You Can W(h)in(e) on a ventilator machine, beyond redemption but still unwilling to give up.

Part of my self-hate also stems from the fact that I love reading fiction. Knowing what good is makes consistently producing bad all the more unbearable. I’d rather be boring about real incidents that were interesting (at least before I wrote about them) than try to be interesting about my imaginary stories (boring despite having the freedom of fiction).

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