The Story that Wrote Itself
The story of Elvira the elephant, which was written by a group of children from Germany, has just been uploaded. The group of children calls themselves "the story inventors" and regularly meets to write together. Here Sandra, the moderator of the group, tells us how the story came about.
For this story a girl had a spontaneous idea for the plot and up to the point when the chickens declare they are ready to help the elephant, the story wrote itself. Everyone had one idea after the other – and everyone liked each other’s ideas. That was fascinating and wonderful to watch, as I was completely unnecessary: I did not have to ask any questions, set a creative atmosphere, resolve tensions, or moderate in any other way. I could simply lean back and watch the creativity flow… and write it down. Additionally, the children already drew some sketches while thinking of the story. Usually, this only happens once the book is finished, unless we want to have a clearer idea of our protagonist…
However, suddenly the process slowed down and we were no longer able to move forward. At our next meeting the “writers block” persisted. There was no solution that would have satisfied us. We had maneuvered into a dead-end with our elephant and I realized that the interest in the topic had disappeared. Therefore, we moved on to an entirely different story with a complicated, realistic plot, lots of characters, and a little bit of magic. For a time, we were connected to three of the children only via zoom. Our other book was forgotten.
When we were actually and tangibly close to each other again at our last two meetings, the elephant was also suddenly back. I had rediscovered the pictures and the youngest of the group listened to the story up to the point where we had ended and.... just finished it. We smiled at each other and wondered why it had been so easy. The older ones added a little more wording and eloquence to the sentences, and the girl who had the original idea wrote the last two sentences. As if by itself - and just like the beginning - the story had also come to an end.... With only one long, rather long interruption.
Together we now looked at what pictures we already had and what still needed to be illustrated and set about the rest of the work, which was just fun. Some drew, others painted or collaged and as if by magic our picture book was finished. Probably there were some easterly forces active and the eggs were the reason why it worked out now of all times. :)
Now, however, the "Zoom" story is still waiting. We have planned to finish it on an overnight weekend together with two new children.