Homemade alien contact devices enable me to access a child's imaginative spirit...

After yesterday's prison movie-inspired escapades, today I'm all about taking Spielbergian flourishes and channeling the awe and wonder of alien contact flicks such as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Super 8 into the picture book format. The difference today though is that I'm dispensing with the 'epic' and making the close encounter more domestic while really trying to relate it to children.

"Messages to Aliens" - the story I've scribed today - is basically about a trio of children who believe in aliens and seek to contact the extraterrestrials by making their own device and sending signals into the night sky. It's consciously tried to curb those dark impulses and craft a straight-up, simple children's picture book set in a small scale, mundane world. My inclination is away from reality and into the surreal and fantastical, so it's more of a challenge to take an out-there concept (i.e. the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial organisms and communication with them) and domesticate it into something very 'every day' that kids (and adults) are more likely to be able to empathise with. It's another case of putting a bit of the extraordinary into the ordinary. 

The language of course has to be stripped back and made ultra-basic for very young readers which is always a test against verbosity and fancifulness. It also affirms the status of significance of the pictures and looking over the manuscript it's the image descriptions that are more strikingly impressive than the actual text. It's all an enjoyable exercise, but the best thing is drawing upon the energy, enthused awe and imaginative wonder of children. It's refreshing to cast of old age cynicism and the sense of jadedness and put yourself in the perspective of a child whose mind and heart is open. It's nice to engage with optimistic tales of hope and belief and write about characters who hold on to dreams and follow their imaginations. I want to encourage that not just in children if they should come to read this tale but myself and other 'adults' as well.

Sunday's writing and tale eleven, then, is dripping with upbeat hope and the spirit of imagination. Hooray for aliens (for they do exist) and hooray for the challenge of writing children's books...

No comments:

Post a Comment