‘I’ve written for children my whole career, writing a novel for children will be a piece of cake, right?’ WRONG.
I have been writing for CBeebies for nearly seven years now, scripts, sketches, poems, songs – you name it, I’ve written it. The turnover of writing at BBC Children’s is fast paced, relentless and absolutely I thrive off it!
I can chat your ear off about how to write a script for Elmo or a song about brushing your teeth, but writing a novel? I’m a complete newbie.
Last year I decided to go part time and face a new writing challenge, my thought process being something along the lines of: I already write scripts for a living, writing a book is just the same but in a different format, let’s give this a go.
Wow. I did not anticipate the gear change.
I did not anticipate how utterly lost I would feel in a world that I am supposedly so familiar with.
But tell me I am not alone in this? There must be some writers out there who felt the same? Whether you started with scribbled story ideas on the back of a receipt or simply wrote a cracking play in Year Eleven, if you consider yourself a storyteller and have taken the plunge to write a novel, did you too feel the enormity of the gear change once you actually got started? (Please say yes!)
I have gone from writing 30 second television sketches for CBeebies presenters and a dog puppet - to a 30,000 word novel. And boy, is it hard!
Unexpectedly my main challenge has been freedom. At the BBC I am used to writing within very strict boundaries. My television scripts cannot exceed certain lengths for obvious reasons, as such I have become a master of concise writing.
Have you ever watched a cow being released into an open field after a long stint in barn? That’s me.
The second I started my novel I felt liberated. I excitedly and wildly wrote and wrote and wrote. Too much! Way too much! Where had my professional succinct writing craft gone? In the field with the cow, that’s where.
I take such comfort when I hear of other writers going through the same motions. It can be quite a solitary business can’t it?
If you can shine a little guiding light for this novel newbie then join in the conversation.
#KKsDiary is my social media attempt to share a brutally honest and open account of the journey to attempted authorship.