When you write your first novel you don't really know what you're doing. There may be writers out there who are brilliant, incisive and in control from their first 'Once upon a time'. I'm not one of them. Every once upon a time for me is another experience of white-water rafting in a leaky inner tube. And I have this theory that while the Story Council has its faults, it does have some idea that if books are going to get written, authors have to be able to write them.