Saturday, 24 November 2012

Where did that walrus come from? - Anne Rooney



 Stories don't always do what you think they're going to do. At least, they don't always do what I think they're going to do.

Some writers construct detailed plans before they start writing, and they know exactly what's going to happen. It might change a bit as it goes along - maybe the superhero's cape turns out to be blue instead of green or something - but the essentials are mapped out and obedient. I doubt those writers ever find themselves stuck in a corner with a walrus in a tiara. And I can tell you, a walrus takes up a lot of space in a corner and it's not very comfortable here. If that walrus would just budge over a bit and give me space to write...

I met a nice editor at the London Book Fair (*waves to nice editor*). She asked me to write for her list. She wanted a story for 7-9-year-old girls.
 "I'm not writing about fairies," I said in my best Stroppy Author voice. "Or ponies, kittens, puppies or unicorns, and probably not mermaids either."
"OK," said the patient editor. "Whatever you like. But remember it's for girls. And not too scary."
 She added that last bit because she knew I'd spent the last twelve months cloistered with vampires.

Knowing what you aren't going to write is not quite as useful as knowing what you are going to write, but it seemed better than nothing. Typy typy, all going well... Until the second character to turn up  was a very stroppy Jamaican er, fairy.
"I don't believe in fairies," I said. "Out."
"I don't believe in authors. So?"

I tried to get rid of her, but she was having none of it. I put in a fairy-hating character to drive her out. She turned the fairy-hating character into a walrus. And that's where I am - bullied into a corner with a walrus in a tiara (that's from the fairy, too) by a stroppy fairy.

It's not that unusual. I mean, people get bullied in the workplace all the time. There are probably zoo keepers all over the place who are cornered by walrus and the like. And there are laws to protect us from workplace bullying, aren't there? Perhaps there is even a helpline. Anyone know the number? Because this walrus is getting a bit heavy.

Anne Rooney
aka Stroppy Author
Vampire Dawn

11 comments:

adele said...

Your story is a very good example of EXACTLY what can happen....good luck with that walrus!

Jan Jones said...

I'd buy it, Anne.

Lily said...

ha ha, brilliant. I think 'walrus in tiara' should become writer's shorthand for those fabulous/awful plot-getting-out-of-control moments. have you tried starving it into submission?

Agree with Jan though, I'd totally buy it.

My current walrus in tiara is a cross-dressing policeman who has taken over half my book without permission...

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I can imagine worse scenarios! But your book sounds pretty interesting...

Savita Kalhan said...

I agree with Lily about using 'walrus in tiara' as shorthand for plots getting out of control - the 'walrus in tiara' moment has happened to me too! Good luck with solving it, Anne. I bet you come up with something brilliant. And I'd buy it too!

Stroppy Author said...

Thank you, people. I've been in Oxford yesterday and today helping my daughter with the necessary celebrating that surrounds graduating, so the walrus has been enjoying its tiara moment undisturbed. I might have to let it stay...

The walrus said...

Ah miss mah bucket.

Susan Price said...

Letting the walrus stay is probably the best way forward! Just as the only way to resist temptation is to give in to it. Sometimes you just have to go with stroppy fairies and tiara wearing walruses...

Efrogwraig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Efrogwraig said...

Hurry up & get that story published! I can think of lots of stroppy little girls who will just love it (and I suspect boys too) The walrus & the stroppy Jamaican fairy sound like they could have lots of excellent adventures. I can feel a whole series.... PLEASE!

C. A. Mitchell said...

Please be careful if trying to move a walrus - they have big tusks and can get quite angry. I've had my own problem with a very hungry tiger. He just sits there... in the middle of chapter 3. I'm too scared to go near him.