- I can only write one book at a time
Possibly because of the (relatively) short length of their books, children's writers constantly have a plethora of projects on the go. Why, you're simply nobody unless you're simultaneously writing a post-apocalyptic YA romance, a middle-grade action-fantasy, an early-readers' project about plankton, and a special-interest picture book all about Alfie and his struggle with alopecia.
I, by comparison, spent 4 years writing a YA comedy that basically stank and moved straight on to spending two years (so far) writing and rewriting some book about zombies. I am a serial monogamist and frankly, I'm surrounded by swingers.
- I can only write a few hundred words a day
Compounding the previous sin, I am also physically unable to write a number of words in one day that numbers more than about eight hundred (and even that's pushing it). Others seem to be trotting out thousands in a morning and posting their total on Facebook for everyone to see. I am not - for shamefully obvious reasons.
- My characters never run off and start writing the story by themselves
Writers are constantly saying that their characters write the story for them or that they take the plot in a direction that the writer had not expected. How does this happen? When I'm writing a story, it's me. Writing a story. When a character needs to do or say something, I think about this and then they do or say it. This is, as far as I am aware, how writing works.
Have I missed something here? Some wondrous way of communing with my subconscious? Do I just need to "let the characters into my life" or is it a multiple-personality thing that requires electro-convulsive therapy?
When talking about Kill Bill Part Two, Quentin Tarantino moaned about how he intended the Bill character to only come in at the end of the film, but that Bill kept writing himself into more and more scenes. This just strikes me as QT trying to rationalise his inability to properly edit his scripts. His films bloat, either pleasingly in the case of Inglourious Basterds or maddeningly in the case of Kill Bill. What would have been a wonderful two and a half hour movie was stretched to a truly bum-numbing four hours and then explained away by being split into two parts.
- I am rubbish at making up stories for my children at bedtime
Successful children's authors often eulogise about how their bestselling book began as a set of stories told to little Sebastian and Persephone just as they were laying their angelic little heads upon the goose feather pillow.
"Tell us another one, Daddy!" they cried, and so the author was hyped, night after night, into a Scheherazade-grade frenzy; telling of crossbow-toting ninja fishcakes and scheming damsels who kept putting themselves in distress to nab the perfect suitor.
In comparison, I joking told my children of a story in an anthology called "The Cheese Who Could Not Talk". When I went on to read an entirely non-dairy-related tale, there were howls of disapproval and a very awkward 2 minutes where I tried and entirely failed to make up some drivel about a mute stilton and his three mouse accomplices. I might consider myself a storyteller, but only with four years' preparation.
Thank you for hearing my confession - comments in the usual box.