Nat Blog

(It’s the Way that You Do It!)

The Idea Develops

The Idea Gets Some Interest

The Idea Takes on a New Direction

The Story Emerges

A Commitment From a Publisher

Checking the Text

Finding the Characters

Finding the Characters

Getting the Paints Out

All About Line Drawing

Finding the Painting Style

A Happy Accident

Choosing The Colours

2 - Following the ‘Moose’
The Idea Develops




This is a phrase which my wife inadvertently came up with by mispronouncing the word muse. About twelve years after creating the first page of sketches, I attempt to follow the 'Moose’ and move the project on by coming up with some text for it. Why the long gap in between? Well you never know where the Moose will take you: in the intervening years I’ve written Duck in the Truck, Hug and quite a few other books as well. There is no pre-planning of what you will write or when you will write it - if you are lucky enough for the Moose to show up, you just have to use all your skills and  follow it wherever it goes.


One thing I’ve learnt from following the Moose in the past is that sometimes placing limitations on the form of your project can, ironically, help the creative process. With Nat I challenge myself to write a whole story using only one rhyme all the way through. The idea is that Nat the cat is left alone in his flat all day when his owner (Mr Pratt) goes off to work. The story is all about what Nat gets up to in Mr Pratt's absence. (The rhymes themselves lead me to what these activities are, for example; Nat becomes an acrobat, he juggles eggs, then drops them - SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT!) The joke at the end is that when Mr Pratt returns home at the end of his working day, Nat stops doing all these outrageous things and  just lies on the mat behaving like a normal cat as if nothing un-catlike has happened. Here’s a small sample of the text that I come up with:


          This is Mr Henry Bat, and here is Nat - the rhyming Cat.
          ‘Goodbye Nat’ says Mr Bat, he gives his cat a PAT PAT PAT.
          When Mr Bat has left the flat, Nat jumps up(wards) from the mat
          Why would Nat the cat do that? To try on Mr Bat’s blue hat.


Although in a way the experiment fails (there are not quite enough words rhyming with cat to provide the range of material needed for a story) the three pages of text have a certain something, even if I’m not quite sure what that something is. A few years later, I show this text to a couple of editors and there’s a common lukewarm response of ‘I kind of like it, come back when you’ve taken it a bit further.’

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