Then The Elephant Threw Chekhov’s Gun Out the Window

I’ve loved hearing and telling stories of all varieties since I was but a wee lass. From the fanciful to the mundane, science fiction to what happened to Dad at work today, I always had an ear willing to receive a tale. Now that I am older, I am very interested in the structure of a story. Stories shared in the oral tradition of Africa are related in a very different manner than our European beginning-middle-end-Chekhov’s-Gun literature. Poetry relies on rhythm and meter as much as (or more than) formal linguistics. I love a story that surprises me. Where something unexpected, but not completely out of line with the rest of the tale occurs.

Which is why I love Written By a Kid.

Kids know how to tell stories that are more exciting, engaging, and surprising than anything a formally-educated adult can churn out. They aren’t bound by years of conditioning. They know what they like, and into the story it goes. The folks at Written By a Kid agree, and have made a web series in which each week a child relates an original story they have made up. The story is then animated/re-enacted/produced by the WBAK team. These stories are wild and inventive, funny, fascinating, and action-packed. No two are the same! I highly recommend watching them all, but in case you are short on time or kinda lazy here are my favorites from those that have been released so far:

Scary Smash

La Munkya

There are a lot of fantastic artists working on these webisodes: designing costumes, animating, and whatever else comes up. If you are interested in that sort of thing most of the episodes have a “making of” featurette to illuminate how the art was developed.

Which do you like best? Did you notice anything you’d like to use more in your own writing?

4 responses to “Then The Elephant Threw Chekhov’s Gun Out the Window

  1. I love this! What a great way to show kids the power of a great story. We home school our kids and we would have so much fun watching and trying this on our own. LOVE IT!

  2. Very creative, and kids stories always have the wonderful element of surprise. Anything’s possible really, and I guess that’s something we begin to lose sight of as we get older.

  3. They use a range of kids for the series and it’s interesting to note that the older children’s stories tend to have a heavy moral. You can kid of see their storytelling skills being socialized as they reach school-age.

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