Sarah Waters discusses the path she took in penning Fingersmith. For those of you who haven't read the book, I suggest drop everything else and go grab a copy. It is a sprawling Victorian saga of murder, thievery and romance that boasts dizzying plot twists and a very proper (read Victorian) ending. I link to this piece because it shows how the final finished product that's handed to readers has its origins in not so perfect settings. Writers like Smith get their hands dirty with research (Sue, however, came to me from Victorian journalism: her voice was inspired by those worldly, plangent, poignant voices captured by social investigators such as Henry Mayhew, author of the mammoth London Labour and the London Poor.) and what might seem like a case of one-off genius is actually a product of painstaking hard work.
Which is what it is, you might say, but to me, the romantic notion of a "book within" that appears on the page in a flight of creative inspiration has struck a special chord ever since Arundhati said that GOST was written with no revision. One may say that a part-autobiographical novel like GOST may yet spring from one's inner self, which is mighty impossible for a booming Victorian saga, yet there's something utterly intelligent and also serendipitous about discovering a great work wthout really seeking it.
Sarah's piece here.
Comparison of Brokeback and GOST.