Tips on Getting Started
Are you creating something brand-new for Changeling?
You don’t NEED to – you can send us something you’ve already made.
But if you are creating something new, and you’re looking for some guidance on getting started…
There are plenty of creative experts out there who can no doubt tell you lots of great ways to nail pacing, structure, composition. I’m not here to tell you how to do these things, mostly because they’re nothing you can’t learn elsewhere on the internet, or by consuming your chosen medium and practicing a whole bunch.
But there’s another reason why I won’t be telling you how to create: I’m not you.
Being neurodivergent, each of us looks at the act of creating differently. So, if our instinctive way of shaping a story, a poem, an art piece is different than the “typical” way… that’s a good thing.
Don’t create like me. Create like you! Find your own path, and let’s tread new ground.
So, in order to tap into your own creativity, I’m going ask you to tap into the joy of creating something.
Do you remember making things as a kid? I sure do.
I’d draw a cat – my favourite animal – in blue biro on printer paper. I’d hold my wobbly feline up to the light, smile, and think, “this is incredible.”
I was a little god of my own little creations! And that god-like rush of joy is what we’re going to harness here.
Maybe you didn’t make much as a kid, though. Maybe you didn’t have the means.
But did you have interests? Passions? Things that brought you joy? Did you like cartoons, boardgames, imaginary games, football, bugs, socks, eating playdough?
What about now? Do you have things that bring you joy now?
And how can you translate those joys into a story / poem / art piece / activity for kids to enjoy?
To illustrate what I mean, I’m going to choose some of my interests (from childhood and now) and show you how I’d adapt them, if I was going to create a short story, a poem, a short comic, an illustration, and a simple activity.
SCOOBY DOO -> SHORT STORY
I always thought the girls were the best part of Scooby Doo.
Now, for a short story, I would create my own ghost-hunting duo, Val and Del, and set them exploring a classic haunted house.
Maybe they would have an animal sidekick too. A ferret named Geronimo.
Do they capture a ghoul? Befriend it? Is there a ghoul at all? Or is it just Geronimo, running ahead and causing mischief, knocking over grandfather clocks and casting giant shadows, fooling the girls into believing in the supernatural?
SLEEPING -> POEM
My beloved partner has this habit of talking in their sleep. I would love to write down all the wacky things they say as a poem.
I’d probably name it “Things My Best Friend Says After Falling Asleep Watching A Movie At The Sleepover!”
Why “best friend”? Well, kids find it easier to relate to scenarios they understand. Most kids I’m writing for don’t have boyfriends, girlfriends, or partners. But they do have best friends!
POKÉMON & DIGIMON -> COMIC
Even now, Pokémon is huge with kids.
For a comic, I probably wouldn’t use a real-world franchise name, but I would create a world in which a similar franchise exists.
Thinking back to the plot of the Digimon World PS1 game, I’d start with a lonely kid who loves this franchise. They get sucked into the monster world, where their partner monster is waiting with a party prepared specially for our kid. By the end, our protag isn’t so lonely anymore. They have loads of monster buddies.
Maybe I’d draw it in the style of a pixel-art Pokémon game, or Digimon V-Pets. Maybe I’d draw it as a manga. Or a mix. Who knows!
SUPERHEROES -> ILLUSTRATION
Whether it’s the Teen Titans animated show or Tokyo Mew Mew anime of (both of the early 2000s) or the Marvel Cinematic Universe of today, superheroes are firmly lodged in my brain.
For an illustration, I’d draw a funky retro cover of my own superhero movie or comic, with bright colours and poppy designs.
Maybe my heroes have silly powers and costumes, or maybe they’re just plain cool-looking. Maybe they’re all cats. Or dogs. Or elephants!
CATS -> ACTIVITY
For a kitty-themed activity, I’d design a bunch of different felines of all different shapes and sizes for kids to colour in.
Maybe I’d make them a sort of paper-doll, able to be cut out, with various accessories to mix and match. I’m talking wizard’s hats, fairy wings and football shorts.
And maybe I’d make a crossword of cat breeds to go with them!
You may have thought, while reading these examples, that some of these ideas would work better under different categories, and you may well be right.
You may have also thought they’re not very fleshed out yet, and you’re definitely right there!
But this is what I’m trying to illustrate: Every idea starts somewhere. Creativity flows much better – and you have a lot more fun! – if your ideas are stemming from things you’re passionate about.
Start by listing your interests, things that are part of your every day. Funny stories you’ve collected over the years.
Then see how these can be translated into creative pieces: play with these ideas, add to them, merge them. Have fun with them, as a kid would, and see what sticks.
Happy creating 😊