Every artist, at some point or other, encounters a work that has such a profound impact on them creatively that they wish they had made it themselves. As a writer, such books are typically my favorite.
I think when I was younger, coming across a book that seemed so impossibly good was inspiring, yet at the same time it was artistically draining. I often hear the same thing from young writers, how they feel frustrated when they can't write something as good as what they love to read. Older and wiser, I don't feel that way anymore...with the possible exception of Spirited Away...God! I wish I had written that.
In recent years, I've learned to recognize which aspects of the story that I love and then about them within the framework of whatever project I'm working at the time. Because it's not that I want to write the story I encountered. I want to write my story. I just want it to be as good.
I came across such a story this weekend in the book Broken by Daniel Clay and it's caused me to rethink the direction of the novel I just recently started. I don't know if I should grateful or resentful.