Another creative inspiration is Charles Dickens, author of such classics as "Oliver Twist," "David Copperfield," "Great Expectations," "Tale of Two Cities," and "A Christmas Carol." Dickens is sometimes referred to as the first "cinematic" author. Rich characters, entertaining plotting, and clear detail have made have made his work perrenial favorites since they were written in the mid-1800's.
Dickens was also a social activist, as well. "Oliver Twist," for example, was a condemnation of the treatment of children in 19th century England. The hardships that Oliver Twist experienced reflect in essence Dickens' traumatic childhood; he wrote what he knew about. He wrote out of passion and strong beliefs of the good and eveil in his society.
Dickens isn't an easy read. 18th Century prose tends to be verbose and sometimes melodramatic. Much (but not all) of Dickens work requires serious dedication to complete - but for examples of memorable characterization and masterly plotwork, Dickens is a brilliant choice.