Where does inspiration come from? It’s a question often asked but I sometimes feel that this question masks the deeper question, that is where does the imagination come from and why?
I was watching Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory the other day. No, not the Johnny Depp, Tim Burton version, the Gene Wilder version. It got me thinking about when I was a child and first read the book by Roald Dahl. There was something very wonderful and innocent about Dahl’s stories, despite the darkness that could be in them too. I remember reading the book and enjoying it so much because it tapped into a place in my imagination that seemed so lively and interesting, a place where good would win out in the end but the journey would be confusing and perilous. Above all, there was something that seemed so unrestrained about Roald Dahl.
As well as using his own made up words (neologisms) the characters were well formed and the fantasy all tied in to the overall plot. Nothing was incidental, it was either in their for fun, for a moral message or for the benefit of the overall story and yet it felt so freeing.
In one part, Willy Wonka says to Charlie that it had to be a child he would give his factory to, because an adult would want to do everything their own way whereas a child wouldn’t. This and the story as a whole seems to epitomize the very nature of writing fiction. Willy Wonka is the creator of his but also creative and curious. He is not a controller but a dreamer and in essence, he has held onto the child-like part of himself that is receptive to new ideas and not so limited by ideas of standard or `normal’.
I do feel that it is this part of us that is responsible for fiction. Adult concepts, of course, will often seep into any writing but it seems like it comes from an innocent place: A place of honesty and wonder. It’s important whether you’re just starting out or have been writing for years to remember the essence of what you enjoy about it. You won’t quite be able to put your finger on it but you will notice if it is missing. So when you’re struggling try to remember the child aspect of yourself for it’s that side that may have all the good ideas.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) (hesnersfilmcritiques.com)
- Steve Jobs wanted to be Willy Wonka for a day (boingboing.net)
- ‘Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory’ Cast: Where Are They Now? (news.moviefone.com)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Movie Review. (nuerin.wordpress.com)
- What Roald Dahl taught us about writing (joannemallon.typepad.com)
- Gene Wilder picks up the beat in this surprisingly awesome Willy Wonka remix [Video] (io9.com)
- Homage to Roald Dahl (thissydneylife.wordpress.com)
- Matilda by Roald Dahl – review (guardian.co.uk)
- A Little Bit…Norty! (catsandchocolate.wordpress.com)
- Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying by Roald Dahl (crufc.ca)
- Roald Dahl’s Stories Celebrated on Stamps (mymodernmet.com)
- “We Have So Much Time And So Little To Do” (theliteraryheart.wordpress.com)