SHAREN FORD: ON IMAGINATION
I hate to admit it, but I’m not nearly as imaginative as I’d like to be. Creative, yes. I think I can claim to be creative; I have written a novel, after all. But my novel is largely based on and inspired by things that really happened in my life, so I didn’t have to use a great deal of imagination to come up with most of the plot. Oddly though, although I knew for years before I began exactly what it was I wanted to write, I was never able to actually begin until it became obvious that, in order to create the kind of novel I envisioned, I would have to add a secondary protagonist – one who could not be based on any real-life person I’d ever known.
At first, I wasn’t at all sure I could do it. I was confident of my in-depth understanding of the characters inspired by real people, but how was I going to conjure up a believable, flesh-and-blood protagonist whose every thought, motivation, action and emotion would have to come from my imagination? I hardly knew where to start.
And then I discovered how liberating it can be not to already know and understand everything in advance about a fictional creation. I felt almost God-like as I chose the ethnic clay from which I would mold Rani, my secondary heroine. It was great fun to send her on the adventures that take her from her Indian birthplace to Australia and the United States. And it was hugely satisfying when everything worked out exactly as I’d planned, as I (cleverly) arranged for her path to intersect, at the crucial moment, with that of the other main character.
Readers of IN SEPTEMBER tell me that Rani is as real to them as every other character in the novel, and I consider that the ultimate reward for stretching my boundaries and learning to use my imagination.
What Sharen’s reading now:
HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford
THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST by David Morrell