One of the main themes of the series I’m working on is the ways in which an inexperienced child might perceive the universe, exposing some of the assumptions that adults make, and causing interesting (and often cute and comical) misunderstandings that often make up the plot. It is in fact based loosely on how I used to think, with a few things added that I have observed in others. I want to capture the essence and wonder of childhood. I also want my characters to sound like real children. When I get myself inside the minds of my characters while writing, it naturally happens that some of the dialogue fails to follow normal adult speech patterns and grammar. I use contractions less often and use “that” a lot. I think it makes both the setting and characters more interesting. The problem is that some of my test readers are failing to connect with the story because of this.
Another of the main themes of the series is how interesting the universe is. This is not to say that plot, action, or character development are unimportant to me; it is simply that the style I am going for is more setting-based. I plan on using the series to showcase some of the aliens I create and sometimes all that description slows down the action. My series might not be for action junkies, but many others will not mind. Related to this is scientific discussion by the characters, including the children. This makes perfect sense to me because when I was younger, my friends and I used to pretend to be scientists – and this is a common theme in cartoons, as well. The problem is that some of my test readers tell me the characters don’t feel like believable children when they speak science and so they have trouble connecting with the story. Yet, I’ve never heard anyone say this about children pretending to be Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory.
Related to capturing the essence of childhood, I include the mutual xenophobia between boys and girls. To me, this is an absolutely indispensible component of childhood and in fact drives several of the plots of future episodes I am still in the process of outlining. I don’t dislike girls myself, but my characters do. The problem is that some of my test readers have expressed that my writing has a misogynic flavor and this will severely limit the size of my readership. Yet, no one ever said this about Calvin And Hobbes, a comic strip that went so far as to feature the Get Rid Of Slimy girlS club.
For a sneak peak at some of what I have planned for The Nathaniel Series, click on the "read more" link.
In The Beginning: I’m not sure about the title. This episode will include some of the flashbacks from The Spider, The Witch, And The Spaceship, explaining Nathaniel’s origins and introducing the characters of Allison, Haticat, Fred, and Doctor Bill. It will also include some bonus material, such as the robot raid of planet Hoosh, and Nathaniel’s first set of blocks.
The Gorilla With Twenty-Four Heads: Nathaniel and his crew are stranded on the isolated, desert planet Tizin-A. They catalogue the wildlife and make friends with the natives while struggling to survive the heat and are repeatedly chased by a monster.
Secrets Of The Springs: Working for a mining team searching the cosmos for new sources of energy, Nathaniel and his crew investigate the strange geology and biology of the planet Lup while being continually harassed by girls and adults. When he discovers that removing the minerals of the world will destroy the ecosystem and way of life of the people there, he must find a creative solution that will keep himself out of trouble.
Metamorphosis: Trapped in an abandoned spacecraft surrounded by insidious, giant flies, Nathaniel and his crew must use their wits and fighting skills to survive while also suffering from a ravaging pathogen. When they are later forced to retreat into the deepest parts of the ship, they make a horrific discovery.
Beyond this, the order of the episodes is undecided and different components may still be mixed and matched. I plan on writing of Nathaniel’s reaction to seeing twins for the first time, of discovering fluorescent colors, of psychosymbiotic, cuddling, blanket-shaped aliens, of a monster that hides inside books, of an experimental chef that tries to serve Nathaniel to his customers, and of a monster that produces holograms around itself to hide in.