I’ve just completed my annual collaborative writing project!
For the past five years, my children and I have assembled a comic book to present to their Daddy for Father’s Day. They are the stars, acting as themselves and their alter egos, “The Super Kids!”
It’s been a journey. This started with one little 3 year old who improvised a superhero costume and stood where I told her as I took photos of her and the baby and used Publisher to add some speech bubbles. This year’s production included pictures taken ‘on location’ at a local park, and all three heroes: Gargantu-Baby, Skater Girl and Skunky.
As my kids have grown, so have their opinions, and their desire to direct the production. I try to keep it moving in plausible directions, (No, honey, we can’t actually have you fly,) but they do most of the creative work.
And it IS creative…
I wouldn’t have thought of a small stuffed rabbit being a ninja in disguise who secretly tries to trap us.
I would NEVER have thought of a giant, purple, spike-shooting hedgehog as a villain.
Nor would I have named my son “Skunky” and given him the power of shooting skunks out of his hands.
Part of the joy of the process is the adventure of seeing what will happen when imaginations run wild.
I think that this is applicable to writing in general.
Creativity can be a scary thing as we leave childhood. It means taking risks. It may mean writing outside of our comfort zones (as in my last post!)
It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts like, “this is what my genre demands!” or “this is what agents want” or “that article said that the way I started my story is all rubbish! It’s OVER!!!!”
I’m NOT suggesting that all writing advice be thrown out. Still, I’ve found that becoming too fixated on ‘the rules’ rather than on the joy of creating a story can be crippling.
Writing would be much more fun if I approached it like my kids do. Just tell a story. Think of a fun plot, and go for it, even if it’s unconventional. Try a crazy idea, even if it’s not currently popular.
The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work, we had some fun, and we can move on to something else.
And, if all else fails, just ask a 5 to 7 year old for help. They have PLENTY of ideas.