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by J. C. Greenway
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Very excited to read today that Haruki Murakami has revealed some of the inspiration for his new book:

Murakami has now admitted that he had “long wanted to write a near-past novel similar to George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984”

Only slightly tempered by this:

It proved an instant bestseller in Japan when it was published at the end of May, but there is no word yet about when an English translation will be forthcoming.

Now that should be all the inspiration I need to become fluent in Japanese…

In the same article, Mr Murakami also talks about how he writes, something he also covers in the excellent and translated into English, ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’,

In my case, if I start out by thinking about the plot, things don’t go well. Small points, such as my impression of what is likely to occur, do come to mind, but I let the rest of the story take its own course. I don’t want to spend as long as two years writing a story whose plot I already know.

This is the way I write too, although it is definitely more time-consuming that way, so it is heartening to learn that Murakami’s been working on his book for two years! It is also not the way my English teachers at school would have encouraged anyone to write, insisting when we wrote stories in class that we spend time planning them out, ensuring they had a beginning, middle and an end, before we were allowed to start writing the things. I am sure they meant well, but it leads to formulaic writing as well as taking some of the fun out of discovery. Part of the appeal of writing something longer, which I’ve been doing for about a year now, is that I am telling myself the story first. I only have a vague idea of how it is going to end and a faint hope that if I am enjoying the tale, one day other people might do too…

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