Oh Ho Ho, It’s Magic, Y’know? Never Believe It’s Not So

As it’s just over a fortnight before the CBBC Writing Opportunity closing date, I thought I’d just ramble a bit about – er, sorry, I mean share – the thought process behind my entry-to-be, which currently rejoices in the title of ‘Title to be decided’.

The target audience is 6-12 year olds, and so I set to thinking about what kind of thing would be suitable for them; my gut feeling was that whilst it needed to be something which would be relatable in terms of setting, making the focus of it about school or family life might make it a bit too close to reality. I’m probably showing my age here, but I was thinking in terms of the general tone of the programme Jonny Briggs (which is not about the actor from Coronation Street, it’s a TV show from the 80s).

That said, I liked the idea of one aspect of it being a bit strange and somehow fantastical, in case it be more like a mirror than a viewing-glass, as it were – and that Alice-ism isn’t entirely accidental; I read a quote from Bryan Fuller on Dan Owen’s blog about how he wanted to get Heroes

“back to the basic principle of ordinary people in an extraordinary world and how these characters are relatable to us and what we would do if we were in their situations, and really grounding it in that conceit”

… which doesn’t quite ring true to me (though I stopped watching it at the end of the first season), as I thought the hook of Heroes was that it was extraordinary people in an ordinary world: the old cliche of real-world superheroes (well, it’s a cliche in comics since the mid-1980s, anyway, slightly less in other media).

Anyway, I feel I want TTBD (as nobody’s calling it) to be real-world-grounded (so I don’t have to spend forever on the setup), and maybe have something a bit unusual happening to an ordinary character, so we see him or her react in a way we might react ourselves. In a way, I guess, this is a bit like those novels which are referred to as being ‘Magic Realism’, which (from my limited knowledge of such things) tend to feature the real world with a slight twist.

Mind you, as Gene Wolfe pointed out,”Magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish”, so perhaps I shouldn’t kid myself that there’s anything all fancy about my idea.

On the other hand, the CBBC Q&A tonight may well mean that I dump the notes that have resulted from the above, and end up having to start all over again and send in something a bit more rushed and unlikely to win… see what I did there ? I set up my excuses early.

Or, as writers like to call it, I foreshadowed a later event.

I only hope that’s not the full extent of my storytelling ability.


Looking At That Logo, I Bet The RAF Wish They’d Copyrighted Their Roundel


Maybe She’s A Giant Who Lives In The Flat Downstairs And Has Smashed Through


  1. Mr S, I am engaging on similarly meandering thought processes on my own CBBC entry.

    Not that it's getting me anywhere.

    I'd have liked to come along tonight but I'm here at home doing 'work'.

    Any road, getting down to London for 5pm would have meant booking time off work and a nightmare of flaming administrative hoops to dive through.

    So I thought I'd just let you tell me all about it when you get back! 🙂

    (Please. Just a hint. Anything.)

  2. Wish I could share, but annoyingly, the day job kept me late and by the time I got out, the Q&A was well underway. So I missed it. Gah!

    We shall have to rely on the kindness of strangers… well, more reliable folks like Michelle of the SoFluid crew, anyway.


  3. That's a botheration for you.

    Jez Freedman posted a very good set of notes from the meeting.

  4. Oh, ta for that – just had a look, and they're very helpful (and not disspiriting, I'm pleased to say)!

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