Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Writing for Pre-schoolers

The Puzzle Place, officially premiered on the PBS in 1995
This afternoon I am working on the pilot for a new TV show I am submitting to the BBC. It's for their Get a Squiggle On competition, and although I understand how competitive this contest is, I am still trying my best.

The work I am turning into a TV show was, actually, my second novel. I wrote it when I was 12 years old, highly inspired by J.K. Rowling's books. I had been flirting with YA novels since I was 10ish and writing my own stories, but my second novel turned out to be my strongest writing following this supernatural genre that's turning little kids into avid readers.

What's challenging, however, is to turn that novel into something pre-schoolers would be interested in watching. They are known for their enthusiasm, but also for their quick loss of interest. Shows that are tailored for them often are concerned with trying to keep their attention until the end. Characters who talk too much, then, might be extremely boring for them. Lack of action is uninteresting, but too much action is overwhelming. Writers must strive for objectivity above all, but a flat and strictly paced chronology isn't that attractive. The dosage of complexity must be within reason, but characters that are too human might push the audience away, not to mention that there are certain subjects that might be too delicate for a little kid's mind.

After considering all that, I wonder how I should approach this task. I can't help thinking that my writing should try to echo the expectations I had when I was a 6-year old, but to be honest I was a very odd kid. I somewhat resembled Wednesday Adams in my interests (and, later on, also physically), and I often spent too much time playing by myself. I had social interactions with my cousins and a few close friends, but other than that one might say I was a very reserved girl who found in drawing and playing with my cats the best activities ever.

My favorite TV shows, then, were the ones that explored and challenged my imagination, like Castelo RA TIM BUM or The Puzzle Place, and shows that approached animals and natural elements from a creative perspective, like O Gato Zap. Other kids, I am sure, had different interests. I must approach this, then, in a way that a larger audience would enjoy. But I also shouldn't forget that a story is truly pleasant when the reader (or viewer) notices that the writer genuinely believes and approves his / her own writing.

I'll keep you posted on this. But, for now, what TV shows did you like to watch when you were 6 years old?   

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