For some reason, despite having so many plates spinning (and not enjoying it one bit), I can’t shake my desire to write a children’s storybook about organ donation.
Regardless of the opt-out debate being had in England, I truly believe an increase in organ donations comes down to an increase in thinking about organ donation as a normal thing. Rather than the awkward conversation it currently is. As with a lot of societal change, I reckon it’s the next generation that’ll make the biggest shift (for example my generation are generally disgusted by drink-driving, but to my Granny it’s such a normal thing she doesn't seem at all perturbed). Which is why I want to create a storybook for children so captivating, that organ donation feels normal very early on in their lives.
I bet this is an idea a LOT of people have, particularly tranny recipients. I wonder how far other people have managed to get with it, because I’ve started plotting ideas countless times but I’m struggling to nail it.
I’ve written one story, all about a boy called Tommy and the life his insides have. And I joined a local children’s storybook writing course in an attempt to shape Tommy and his insides into something not crap. But ultimately the course has just made me think a new angle is required. And by ‘angle’ I mean bin the lot of it and start from scratch.
The problem I have is trying to create a story that isn’t too dark, and isn’t just an explanation. Because kids are not interested in having something explained, however quirky or magical the explainer is. And making it too dark makes organ donation itself seem dark and that is the LAST thing I’m going for. And I’m aiming for the stars here, what’s the point of writing something that I don’t think is exceptional, because I’m certain kids will feel the same.
So far I’ve found two ways to discuss organ donation with children. One is by making the organs themselves the characters. This is pretty fun…but somebody still has to die. I don’t find the dying organ the hard bit, however I find explaining where the new organ has come from - a dying person - while still keeping the overall story a positive one, somewhat tricky.
The other way of discussing it, and the one I’m exploring this week for the writing course, is creating a whole fictional world where insides aren’t so linked to life and humanity, and the questions surrounding organ donation aren’t so moral, and so…big.
I’m going to share it here when the first draft is completed! Eeeeeeek :)