NUDGE: Creating Little Creatures

My nephew J.Hooligan has become obsessed with Pokemon. This is how out-of-it I am: I thought Pokemon had gone out of style a decade ago. In fact, the height of interest in Pokemon seemed to be about the time J.Hooligan was born, or at least that’s when I seemed to hear about it the most. S.Hooligan, about to turn eight, has a pretty healthy interest as well. She’s getting one version of the Nintendo game for her birthday and plays J.’s version when he can pry his hands off long enough to share it with her. UPDATE: She wanted me to mention that she’s also getting into something called Mermaid Melody because of a recent new obsession with mermaids. She wants a book called Pichi Pichi Pitch with a big-eyed blonde mermaid on the front. I have no idea what that title means.

J.Hooligan tries to explain the Pokemon characters to me. He has an ever-growing collection of trading cards, and he frequently sits next to me on the couch and goes through each one, telling me the names, explaining each one’s original characteristic and what happens when it evolves. My eyes glaze over. I don’t want to discourage him—how much longer will he want to sit and talk to me about anything at all—so I feign interest and pretend to be able to keep all those characters in order.

Maybe I’m not understanding the game correctly, but I gather he can create his own Pokemon creatures using that little box with the screen. He proudly tells me some strange name and ticks off the powers it has. At least there appears to be some creativity involved in the game. About all that interests him this summer besides the Pokemon game is watching episodes of the cartoon on television, as well as repeats of “Scrubs.” At least I understand and appreciate “Scrubs.”

Prompt: Make up three imaginary characters that might appear in a game like Pokemon. They don’t have to be a part of Pokemon; you’re free to use your imagination in placing them in a game or other situation of your own design. Be creative in naming and assigning characteristics to these little creatures. Think of ways you can focus your writing on them. Create characters that parody celebrities or political figures. Imagine yourself and and others in a game of your life, past or present. Imagine what you could or would do if you actually possessed the powers you assign to your creatures. If you’re working on fiction, write a sketch in which characters play a game that involves these creatures. You don’t have to work the scene or the game into your fiction; use it as a brainstorming exercise and see what happens as your characters interact. Yes, adults can be playing with your little creatures as well.

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One Response to NUDGE: Creating Little Creatures

  1. Elle says:

    Creating creatures, pets and minions is a great way to get a feel for the world your writing is set in, the types of animals and their uses say a lot about the environment and the society, and the way they interact with characters says a lot about the characters, and not just in a “tough guy secretly loves kitties” sort of way.

    That being said, the idea that anyone can know so little about pokemon blows my mind completely.

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