In addition to the writing, planning, and dreaming that goes into this project, I’m really enjoying the level of engagement I’m seeing in my child. She truly gets joy from every part of this process. Over spring break she discovered an awesome website that lets you design houses (all on her own–how do they do these things? They learn to navigate and seek out their interests right under your nose…and the next thing you know, your 11-year-old is a mini-architect. Amazing.) Anyway, she stumbled onto a site called homestyler.com, and then proceeded to devote hours to imagining what the house of our next protagonist looks like.
Already underway, book two is set on Oahu, and our main character, Mai, and her family have moved from Tokyo to share a home with Mai’s aunt, uncle, and cousin. So with the help of homestyler.com, Holly now has a visual rendering of the walkway leading up to the little yellow house that we’ve written about, complete with bedrooms for each character, shared living spaces, and a lanai that’s decked out with furniture and landscaping. I love that she knows what it takes to inspire her own creativity, and while I’ll admit that I’ve never needed (or at least never had) an architectural layout of my characters’ homes, I kind of love it. To be perfectly honest, I’m hoping that her organization, visual inspiration, and preparation, rub off on me a little as a writer because I tend to just dive in. My whole story universe generally lives inside my head (and on my old-school cut-and-paste inspiration boards, as mentioned in a previous post), so to have all of these colorful, dynamic, well thought out pieces of the puzzle is pretty cool for me.
And on another note, report cards came out the Friday before spring break, and guess what Holly’s note from the teacher said? “I’ve really noticed huge improvements in her writing skills this trimester.” (**insert big Mommy Smiley Faces here**) That was certainly not my sole intent when we started this journey, but it’s absolutely a welcome side effect of our collaboration!