Imitation, inspiration or all my own work?

Just been listening to Mariella Frostrup interviewing Ronald Harwood about what inspires him to write. I was doing the ironing. So at least I wasn’t completely wasting my life, because the interview gave me food for thought. Ronald Harwood’s biggest influence was ‘The Power and the Glory’ by Graham Greene. And he also cited ‘Brideshead Revisited’. And he writes a lot about faith. So, whilst I made a show of making creased things flat, I also thought about what inspires me to write. And where does inspiration end and imitation begin and end.

I’m planning the bare bones of a novel so I can, if I want, take part in NanoWriMo this year. I haven’t got very far. So I probably won’t be ready. I’ve got a few characters and an opening scene. And that’s it. I’m thinking of some kind of mystery to be the heart of the story. I’m not very good at plots. Characters and dialogue are what I like writing. And I’m thinking about novels like ‘The Hand that First Held Mine’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘The Lady of Hay’ by Barbara Erskine – two novels that weave together the past and the present, evoke the past brilliantly, and are complete page turners. I love how both writers reveal the mystery at the heart of their novels. I think I can say they both inspire me, but now I need more plot, but not anything that will imitate these two novels. So how do I do that, then?

Oh, and I’m quite interested in writing a bit about faith too, like Ronald Harwood. or the loss of faith, more likely.

And maybe I’ll include a chapter called ‘The Reluctant Ironer”.

I think I need, to use the words of Meatloaf, to sleep on it. Maybe I’ll get an answer in the morning.

Fran

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