One of my favourite parts of writing is when disparate ideas, impressions and motiviations suddenly gel into a story.
Sometimes, it happens in a flash, triggered by a comment or something I’ve seen.
Sometimes the insight into a character’s motivation or the resolution to a tangle of plotlines takes more time to emerge, or the characters simply take over when I write, spinning the narrative in a direction that hadn’t consciously occurred to me.
Then there are times when simply finding the beginning of a story is very much like unpicking a skein of wool into orderly balls, ready to start knitting.
But always, there is music to help me out when I’m foundering.
And while music can act like a pebble that, dropped into a pond, creates small waves that ripple outwards, it can also be the drop of oil smoothing the agitation once more. It can be the catalyst that starts a reaction. Best of all, sometimes music is the single drop of inspiration needed that turns a pond of rippling, churning liquid into something tangible and solid.
However long it takes for that moment to come, watching a story suddenly taking shape makes it all worthwhile. It goes beyond picking out music to replicate a story I’m writing in sound. It goes beyond compiling a top 10 favourite songs list for each character. This is more like a song suddenly pulling a whole story tight.
It happened with Ghosts, when a line of lyrics I couldn’t place kept me awake half the night. At that point, Ghosts was a couple of short stories with disconnected snatches of dialogue tossed in between. When I finally realised that my mind was respooling Massive Attack’s Protection, all those disconnected bits suddenly found their places and I knew exactly what Jack would do.
Last night I heard the song that ties the fourth book, Swings & Roundabouts, together. As if someone’d turned on the light, S&R is no longer just a memory of a holiday in Northern Sweden, a murder plot, a bit of DIY and a handful of arguments. Now, Jack, Gareth, Nico and Daniel have to confirm what they’re made of. And I’m all excited about getting on with it.
Thank you Nause! I appreciate the gift.