Saturday, 24 November 2012
Where did that walrus come from? - Anne Rooney
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.
aka Stroppy Author