Storytelling, Uncategorized, Writer's Life, Writing, Writing Inspiration, Writing Tips

Purple Hedgehogs Can Be Villains, Too

I hope this weekend finds you all well, Readers and Writers! Today, I am busily compiling my annual Father’s Day collaborative writing project. I wrote about this annual event three years ago in one of my very first blog posts, “Purple Hedgehogs Can be Villians, Too.” The kids are older, but the writing adventure hasn’t changed much!

Is THIS the face of a super villain?

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 “an article said that the way I started my story is all rubbish.”

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 enjoyable 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.

What’s the worst that can happen? A story that doesn’t work? Those just get chalked up to experience, and provide an opportunity to move on to something else.

And, if all else fails, just ask a 5 or 7 year old for help. They have PLENTY of ideas.

fathers day
From the 2020 Super Kids Adventure- “The Quest Out West.” Grandpa even joined in as their ‘mysterious guide through the wilderness.’ 🙂

Writers—have you struggled with allowing yourself to be creative? Have you found ways to get past the struggle?

Readers—I’m always up for book recommendations! Have you read anything lately that struck you as particularly unique or creative? 

Thanks so much for stopping by!


10 thoughts on “Purple Hedgehogs Can Be Villains, Too”

  1. Hi Anne, want to share with you one of my favorite stories called “Sunborn Rising Beneath the Fall” by Aaron Safronoff. It takes the reader on a fantastical adventure in a world where all the creatures life in the tree tops! Extremely well written and illustrated – not just for kids but kids of all ages. Love the Purple Hedgehog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marion, thanks for stopping by!
      Oooh, I just looked the book up- lovely illustrations! I’ll have to check that one out- thank you for the recommendation 🙂


  2. I miss having young children around – a brief but oh-so-sweet visit by our daughter & her family were a sharp reminder (if we needed one) of what we are missing during lockdown. When my husband showed them how an ophthalmoscope worked, our 12yr old granddaughter proclaimed that she couldn’t be an optometrist, she’d spend too much time looking into fascinating eyes. Your children are lucky to have you as their Mum Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks so much! I’m pretty lucky to have them, (though I’ll confess, starting “summer break” after already being mostly housebound for three months, I think they’re getting pretty tired of me… and each other 😉 )
      I’m so glad you got a family visit- we were finally able to visit my Dad, who had just moved into driveable range when everything shut down. Those moments with the little ones are so precious!


  3. So very, very true! Kids have no end of ideas for turning a story on its head. Sure, we have our own, structured, proper, high-falutin’ ways, but in the end we want an organic story that readers can enjoy. And you and I know just how well kids can create unpredictable stories. xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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