Today, as part of the #YALCReadathon, I have this guest post by one of my favourite authors, Phil Earle. He's written four amazing books for young adults: Being Billy, Saving Daisy, Heroic and The Bubble-Wrap Boy. All of the books are incredible and I absolutely loved the humour in his latest. Really recommend that you pick these books up.
Also, if you're attending YALC, Phil Earle is doing a panel on the Sunday alongside Sally Green and Ben Horslen from Penguin called How to Get Published 11:30-12:15! To find out more about Phil Earle or his books, do visit the following websites:
Finding Writing Inspiration
by Phil Earle
We are surrounded by stories.
From the second we open our eyes in the morning, to the moment we close them twelve hours later.
All we have to do (for once) is take our eyes off our phones and look around us.
Take front doors for example. Next time you walk down your street, take a look at them, as I guarantee you that behind every one, there are stories waiting to be told: stories of love, of loss, of betrayal or of someone aspiring to something truly great.
The next time your neighbour walks down their front path, watch them.
Don’t break your binoculars out or anything, not unless you really want that restraining order, but watch the way they are walking, look at their clothes. Why are they wearing that heavy winter coat in the middle of summer? What’s in that heavy suitcase that they’re lugging down the street? Allow your imagination to take over.
I let songs inspire me too. I love the notion that the perfect pop song is three minutes long, that in three minutes you can tell someone’s life story.
Now let’s get one thing straight, some pop stars can’t do that. Three minutes of Bieber wailing ‘ooooh, Baby Baby’, isn't going to offer much enlightenment.
But the great songwriters like Lennon and McCartney, or rappers like Jay-Z or Eminem are master storytellers, and we can learn from them.
When I wrote Heroic, a book about brotherhood, I listened to the same Bruce Springsteen song every morning, as it summed up, in four short minutes, everything that I wanted to say about the subject. I wish I had the power that he has to tell a tale so succinctly, and so powerfully.
‘The problem with you, Phil, is that you've been wrapped in cotton wool all your life.’
It was a flippant comment, the sort that could be easily forgotten, but my brain wouldn't let it go. Instead it latched onto it and thought, ‘Hang on, what if you really had been over-protected all your life? What if your mum wanted to keep you away from anything that looked even mildly perilous? How would you navigate the world around you?’
It didn't take me long to dream up a character, a scenario and a journey for Charlie Han to go on and it felt incredibly exciting to know that it had stemmed from one, simple sentence.
I don’t know if other writers worry about running out of ideas, but it’s constantly something that niggles away at me. Until I remind myself, that all I need to do is keep my eyes and ears open, as there is brilliant drama in the most mundane, everyday things. All you have to do, is look....