There’s a great episode in a Steve Irwin show when he troops into the jungle, pulls an anaconda out of a shallow pool, then spends half an hour wrestling with it. Really wrestling! No sooner has he got control of one part of the body, than another part swings round to threaten him. And all the time his hands are clinging onto the snake’s throat, desperately trying not to let go.
Well… at some point, every writing assignment I’ve ever had has turned into snake wrestling. You cling onto the head of the idea, desperately trying to control a beast that seems utterly out of control, and are convinced that this is the one that’s finally going to get the better of you.
Which is normally the precise point when the editor/producer calls up and asks, “How’s it going, then?”
“Fine, fine,” you reply. ”Everything’s under control.”
But did they hear the terror in your voice?