Saturday, 6 February 2016

Learning to Dance in the Rain

Inspiration is a strange mistress. She appears for fleeting moments or endless weeks. We notice when she's gone as we become frustrated and tired. As quickly as the days change, she once more graces us with our presence.

She appears in the most unlikely of moments and the strangest of forms. An overheard conversation. A missed connection. Snippets of songs. The shape of the clouds on a summer's evening.

All it took for me was a single song. Yet the story that came from that song had spent six years living in my head.

Six years of the same idea bouncing around the walls of my skull with no idea how to string it into a reasonable story. Six years of seeing the same images and having no clue of how to get them down on to paper. Six long years of being frustrated and angry with myself because I couldn't get this story out.

In late 2013, I was trawling through my music collection, trying to find something to kick start the creative process. I've been blessed with living in a very musical family. Wherever you are – in the kitchen, the garage, the car – there's been music. If it hasn't been coming from a stereo, it's been because someone's been drumming, or playing guitar, or singing. If it's not them, then it's one of the bands rehearsing. I'm listening to music while I write this. Music's always been there, ever present whether I've noticed it or not.

The song that triggered that “Eureka!” moment was Megadeth's “Dance in the Rain”. The track describes a dystopian world as told through the eyes of the lower classes. Ideas for the book began to fall into place and, for the first time in a long time, I felt as though I was working on something that came from me. It wasn't a case of writing something to see if it would get me on bestseller lists. I wasn't writing to try and prove something. I was writing because it felt right to write. It was a story that meant something to mean, one that had to be told.

Once the book was complete, I erased its original working title and gave it a new one.

Dance in the Rain.

It was then converted into a screenplay and sent out into the world to find its forever home. It's a story that, over the past two or so years, has taken me on a rollercoaster of a ride, a ride that I hope isn't over yet.

Just a few weeks ago, Megadeth released a new album. Dystopia tells the story of a ruined world. It uses several ideas that I included in the book, ones that made me smile when I caught them. It's also an amazing album and I'm so very proud of the band for putting it out there.

You never know when inspiration is going to hit. You never know how long it's going to take. But it's there,lurking in the shadows and waiting to be discovered. If you need something to prompt you, go digging. Because you never know what you're going to find.

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