This month we interviewed Paul Shore, author of Steve and Eve Save The Planet: I Can Hear Your Heart Beep, about Steve, a “fishtachio” ice cream-loving polar bear, who pairs up with a feisty electric car named Eve to save the planet.
Paul talks with us about how he incorporates humor into not-so-funny topics like climate change.
Writing Challenge from Paul Shore
1. Choose a food from your kitchen that you like to eat.
2. Think about how you could change that food into a humorous version of itself to use as an element within a scene in a graphic novel.
3. Write a short passage in which a lead character would have a hilarious interaction with that food with another character who might not like that food.
This should challenge you to write humor in a way that builds a picture in your mind that a graphic novel illustrator could draw beautifully.
For example, vanilla ice cream becomes “fishtachio” ice cream that a polar bear character loves, though his electric car friend doesn’t really care for it.
What are some ways that you design a setting or plot to provide various possibilities in your stories?
I tend to set my stories in situations or locations that are challenging. And my plots seem to always involve the lead characters overcoming some sort of limitation, and eventually breaking through and being successful in the face of many challenges. I suppose that at the root of my storytelling, it’s always some sort of personal experience, and from there I develop the settings and the plots from those real-life seeds. I feel fulfilled when I hear from readers that my writing uplifted them or gave them hope in the face of challenges. Your question has made me reflect on the fact that all of the books that I have written and published are similar in this way!
I Can Hear Your Heart Beep seems hilarious! Is humor an element that you usually choose to incorporate in your writing? Was it a conscious choice for this particular novel?
Thank you! I grew up with an extended family that used humor as a healthy part of day-to-day life. I think I learned that humor is a form of medicine… it uplifts, entertains, gives us a break from our challenges, triggers laughter that is scientifically proven to have health benefits. Yes, I include humor in all my writing and it definitely was a conscious choice for this children’s book about such a serious topic as climate change. I think we need to stimulate thoughts of hope and opportunity in this climate change era rather than focusing solely on gloom and doom and to me humor is a magical tool to help enable this approach.
What is a piece of guidance that you’ve learned along the way that you could impart to our eager young writers?
Just START WRITING! I know it sounds simple though it’s really not simple… starting anything new is scary. I think getting started in the face of all sorts of potential obstacles is the biggest part of the challenge of being a new writer… whether you are a young writer, a middle-aged writer, or an old writer! And once you’ve started, HAVE PERSISTENCE. It’s OK to pause along the way, it’s OK to get distracted, it’s OK to rip up your story and start over. Just make sure that you never give up. Stay persistent, and one day you’ll have a finished story to publish.
A special thank you to Paul Shore for sharing with us! Read more about Paul and his work @ https://pshore.com/writing
Paul Shore is an award-winning author and accomplished business professional and engineer who has always embraced adventure and exploring nature with children. Born and raised in Ottawa, Paul moved to the west coast after graduating from Queen’s University and has since worked around the globe in high technology, sport, and healthcare. He has developed electric vehicle teaching resources for elementary schools and sits on the board of Ecology Project International, assisting to bring science-focused conservation programs to students and teachers. Paul’s travel memoir, Uncorked, won the 2017 Whistler Independent Book Award for Non-Fiction.
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