|Blue skies at Wembley Stadium last night!|
I generally do my best thinking in one of three places: when I'm asleep; in the shower; and at concerts.
My YA novel Slated began from a dream I had: the prologue is pretty much word for word what I wrote down early one morning after a vivid dream, of a girl running, terrified, on a beach. And I often find if I'm stuck or uncertain with writing that if I think about it as I go to sleep...the answer presents itself early in the morning. If that doesn't work? A long shower is often the not-very-green best place for my imagination to work things out.
But it was only recently - ok, last night - that I thought about the music angle. It really should have come me to me sooner. I mean, I resolved to write for young people - made a promise to myself, really - for the very first time at a Mark Knopfler concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008.
|Hands up if you like Springsteen!|
I was comparing two recent concerts: Neil Young at the NEC in Birmingham last week, and the Boss at Wembley. And they were very different experiences.
|Neil Young: mid-guitar solo|
Springsteen, on the other hand? As far as I could tell he had 70,000 people in the palm of
I'm deep into final edits of Shattered right now - book 3 of the Slated trilogy. And while I was having a night off, the analogy between the types of performance and how they relate to my creative endeavours, and writing in general, really struck me.
Do I write for myself, or my audience? Would I rather be Neil, or Bruce?The funny thing about it is, I think I'm kind of both. When I'm initially writing a story I'm writing for myself. And I won't change the story or what the characters demand to fit an expectation: I won't make a story into a trilogy unless it demands to be one, I won't squeeze in a love triangle that doesn't fit because it is the done thing, I won't take the easy way out with a happy ending if it doesn't fit.
But it doesn't stay that way.
When I'm editing, I'm trying to cut my guitar solos.It's all about communication: I want my story to get to the audience of readers, I want them to be in the experience and not standing back and observing it. If people love or hate it, that is OK - though I'd rather they loved it. But the worst thing for me as a writer is if they stand back, take it in, and don't care either way. And guitar solos just get in the way.