The Nature of Creative Inspiration

Often I find that when a piece of creative work is begun, it’s impossible to say  from which source the best inspiration will come – and how far back in the past that inspiration had its source.

David Helfgott performing in Sydney
David Helfgott performing in Sydney

My new novel Director’s Cut, a YA Crossover, is about a musically gifted boy who finds himself trapped with a young actress and a troubled priest in a house haunted by a family curse.

The story, which centres upon my latest main protagonist 17 year old Dylan Raftery, is complete and now being considered by a publisher.

The story opens with Dylan in conflict with his controlling older sister in their south London home, frustrated and longing to break free. His musical genius is too big to fit into a conventional slot, and nobody understands that. He has dropped out of sixth form and has no plans ever to return. He learns that Suzanna, the young TV actress he adores, is filming in a nearly 17th century mansion and rushes off to meet her, only to find a deeply troubled family, a house full of tragic ghosts and an attendant curse. He must break the curse through the power of his own musical genius or that genius will be quenched forever.

I’ve now started writing the sequel to Director’s Cut, in which Dylan,  continuing to defy his conventional family, wishes to train under a great pianist, who is mentally fragile and who has a shady and dangerous past bleeding into the present.

There are several people who I have either met or know about who might inspire me for some aspect of that great pianist. I won’t be able to tell how strong a part any of them might play until the story decides for itself, and reaches completion.

But I remember being particuarly struck by the Film Shine in which Geoffrey Rush plays the Australian pianist David Helfgott: a film I saw in 1996 and have never forgotten.

And as it happens David Helfgott is giving a piano recital in London in October 2018, so this may be my chance to hear him perform live…



Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

4 thoughts on “The Nature of Creative Inspiration

  1. Yes, David Helfgott is a remarkable man and lives in an area called Promised Land, Bellingen NSW. A simply sublime area amid the back drop of the Great Dividing range and rainforests. He is actively involved in his community and runs a local youth orchestra.

  2. I’m currently being inspired by the fabulous writing of a debut novelist called Emily Fridlund who was shortlisted for the Booker with her novel ‘History of Wolves’. How about this for a sentence? ‘My mother believed in God, but grudgingly, like a grounded daughter.’ Time and time again, I’m in awe of the way she writes. HOPEfully some of it will sink in and improve my own writing ….

    1. I’m sure it will, Fran. Recently I read an idea for writers: for the first twenty minutes of each writing session, copy out the writing of an author you admire. Then turn to your own writing. Without consciously “imitating” that author, you will find the power and expressiveness of your own writing will increase. So I heard, anyway. I’ve been trying it myself with “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman.

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