Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What on Earth Does Pink Floyd Have to Do With Writing a Novel?


A very fidgety young David is excited to finally hang out with his father who has to travel a lot for his job. The father scrapes the plastic wrap off of a new album that boasts all black except for a prism, a ray burning into it, and a spectrum shooting out the other side. “Wait ‘till you hear this, son.”

The needle scratches into the vinyl. David wonders why his heart is pounding so loudly…strong enough to fill the room.

The imaginative little guy who one day finds his way to writing is absolutely blown away by the captivating sound of the album Dark Side of the Moon.

If you’ve heard it, you know what I’m talking about. A couple of weeks ago, I played the CD for my son. And wouldn’t you know it…the spacey progressive rock had the same effect on my little dudester. Back then, my father had a state of the art stereo (you know, quadrophonics and all that techno bling). Today, I have Bose 901s that will positively bulldoze a house down with their power, so you can imagine what the trippy laughter and the flying saucer noises sounded like to my boy. Not to mention the cerebral harmonics.

Yeah, Pink Floyd has plenty to do with writing.

First off, their opus The Wall kind of lends itself to us in a bizarre twist. You will hit the wall on your path to publication. Runners talk about that too, right…hitting the wall when they’ve demanded too much from their bodies. There will come a time when you lose the steam to manufacture words onto paper because you’ve been working at it so hard and long. The fix to this is simple. Get the rest you need. If it’s been burned into your mental hard drive that you have to write all the time, take your brain in for a virus check. It’s okay to go on vacations—long ones if needed.

The other correlation between PF and your book is initial impressions. Do you remember listening to Dark Side of the Moon for the first time? There simply was no walking away from it. No turning it down. Whatever you were about to do before the album spun and stopped you in your tracks was forgotten right?

How do you do that with a novel?

Okay, we’ve all been taught to set the scene. Whose head am I in? What’s about to change? Where am I? But authors like Ken Follett, Jodi Picoult, and Chuck Palahniuk transcend the basics as far as I’m concerned. Like Pink Floyd, they demand your attention. I always think when I start a novel: what is going to make this reader cling to each one of my words as if their lives depend on it? Not that I necessarily achieve it, but I shoot for it and hopefully you’re getting the idea. Just some food for thought to my fellow writers, inspired by a memory from my past.

Gusto Dave


Patricia Stoltey said...

Yep, it's all about getting the audience's attention. I'm working my way through a stack of crime fiction novels, reading the first ten pages, trying to figure it all out. It's a mystery. :D

Daven Anderson said...

Reading my novel is more like listening to "Ummagumma" or "Atom Heart Mother" for the first time.