The train was packed, so I sat between carriages with a mother and her young daughter. Not wanting to make small talk, I set about drawing a little comic for my own amusement.
And that's when the questions began.
The little girl decided that not only was she going to draw all the feet for me, but also that she was going to ask me questions about every single picture.
"Why is he sad? He looks sad."
"He's not sad: he's evil."
"Is he made of hardness?"
"That's right." (I said, stealing the line)
"It's a gun."
"I have a gun in my teeth!"
"Gun!" (opens mouth: points to gums)
"Oh. Right. Gun."
This exchange went on for forty minutes and three stops, and by the time the child and her mother (so grateful for the break that she slipped me a tenner) disembarked, I had explained the whole premise of my story, start to finish, including all the major characters and their motivations. The child, for her part, had asked all the right and obvious questions (such as why the gun fired dead dogs instead of bullets), catching me completely off-guard. In being forced to examine my story in such forensic detail, I had also been forced to find ways to fix its flaws.
If only all editors were as smart and tenacious as this four year-old girl, we might never have had IDENTITY CRISIS...
Read the rest of Matthew Craig's article here.