Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writer's Workshop: The Camera and the Fly

Hot off the presses - the latest from Magoo: The Camera and the Fly...

Although I really enjoyed working on stories the ME&MAGOO way - which was him coming up with ideas and me kinda guiding him to the next logical story step, I was worried that he wasn't really learning how to form a story on his own.

My mother, who is retired from teaching, suggested I use the Four Square Writing Method, in which a piece of paper is divided into four squares with a topic sentence in the middle to keep the young authors focused on the goal of the story. I liked it because A.) It was visual. And B.) It was simple. I knew Magoo's stories were getting a little complicated (which I love) but in order for him to really learn what he's doing - he has to be able to master the small stuff first.

So The Camera and the Fly is the first of the Four Square Method stories.

Can I just say how much I LOVE that in a seven year old's mind, if a camera wants to catch up to a fly, it need simply to grow a pair of wings. Just like that - I'll grow some wings and boom, problem solved. How great is that?

When critiquing stories of my writer friends and vice versa - we always apply our adult logic. Sure - we keep that logic set in the rules of the stories - but still, we're all grown, we've lost a lot of our magic and what's even truer (and somewhat worse) is that other adults will read and judge these stories long before a child ever gets his or her hands on them: agents, editors, artistic directors, marketing, book store buyers, and parents/librarians/etc. That's a scary amount of filters to get through - all of whom know the limitations of a camera.

I don't want to come off like every imaginative idea is universally awesome and everyone who's in the business thrives on crushing art - not at all. The whole process is a delicate dance of creativity and business - each needing the other, each trying to understand an audience. It's just that it's so easy to get bogged down in editing, rejection, sales, and numbers that it's easy to forget that to a child, there's nothing illogical about a camera wanting to fly and growing a pair of wings.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I love this story. I think it makes as much "sense" as Thumbelina or the Elves and the Shoemaker. It's awesome!