Let’s all agree that we’re starting with the same premise: Fiction, though not factually true, aims at a deeper truth. If you disagree, then the rest of this essay will be of little use. Worse, it might cause deep agitation.
Now let’s also separate authenticity from originality. W.H. Auden put it this way: “Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”
Originality is, to my ears, a tinny term. Authenticity is rich and resonant. Originality feels like something you pull off. Authenticity is something you dig for.
I’m interested in the digging.