My guest blog today is the wonderful and talented Amber Lee Dodd. One of Amber's plays will be performed at the Chichester Festival next week.
Amber Lee Dodd is a writer/playwright whose work has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, New Theatre Royal and is forthcoming at Chichester Festival Theatre’s Young Playwrights showcase. She has been published with Litro Magazine, Cleaver Magazine and performed with Liars’ League London and more.
1. Can you share the premise of your last project?
My last piece, a short play that is about to have a reading at Chichester Festival Theatre, is about Dementia. It’s a topic that I hadn’t seen discussed much, and when it was it focused intensely on the disease and its effects. These are often big, dramatic pieces, done with heavy usage of monologues and to great effect, but I wanted to write a small and humane piece, about people having their relationship change within one conversation. There are jokes too.
2 In particular, what led you to write?
I was very dyslexic as a child and it took me a long time to read well. When I could I excelled and writing creatively was the one thing that came naturally when a lot of other things took more time. I think it’s something I have just always done.
3 Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing?
My family, my friends, other writers. It’s never just one person producing the work; there is a whole crowd of people behind one piece.
4 How do you envision your work will impact your readers?
I hope someone will have an embarrassing reaction to one of my pieces in a public place.
5 What process did you go through to build the narrative of your script?
I write in a very non linear way. So the ending often comes first, then the opening lines and then everything else gets built up in a random jumble until the whole thing emerges. For a script, unlike prose I have to be a little more structured and disciplined, so I go back and work on the piece in movements. In a short play you have to make something change, happen or a dynamic has to shift every few minutes, so I roughly plotted each movement as well as the start and ending.
6. In every author’s experience, there is often a pivotal event that results in the creative process. Can you describe the pivotal event that leads you to write?
Picasso said ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working’, so I try and give the creative process a bit of a nudge by taking opportunities and working to deadlines.
7. Are there any tips you can share on what parents can do to foster the love of reading and books?
I am not a parent myself but I have taught children and worked in schools and the best advice I can give is keep exposing them to lots of different kinds of writing and then let them pick what they want to read; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, horror, comic books or graphic novels. Reading is something best discovered for yourself.
8. What aspect of life do you want your readers to know about?
Not sure this is an aspect, but I would like people to see that life can be unexpectedly funny.
9. Describe the role books played in your own life.
They opened up my world.