Rob & I have a writers workshop coming up in October as part of the Pygmalion scheme. We're meant to have developed our ideas to a point that they are presentable to potential backers by the end of week in residence. Uh-oh.
The big problem for me is that the resulting piece of work has to be designed for children. Most of my stories and ideas are resolutely for grown-ups, despite having two kids of my own.
In a desperate act of re-hashing (or 'imaginative transposition' as I prefer to call it) we have developed the talking fridge idea and banged it up against another story rattling around in my folders about hunting mythical beasts. (I have much to tell you about Carbuncles BTW). The result so far is this:
In a remote part of the Arctic, refrigeration magnates Claude and Francois Blanc are amassing a unique collection of mythical and extinct beasts, preserved for all time in a series of ice bunkers, called The Nuuk.
Gryphons, Unicorns, and Yetis are already on display in climate-controlled cabinets. But 'The Nuuk' is difficult to get to, and the presence of too many humans can upset the sensitive environmental controls. Only very special guests get to make the trip to The Nuuk itself. The rest of us view his collection online.
Even with this constraint, The Nuuk is an amazing educational resource, and a source of endless entertainment. You can move from enclosure to enclosure, pull up relevant information about each creature, pass comment and adopt your particular favourite.
You can even suggest additions: a mythical beast of your own invention, or a rare species that you feel needs preserving (your brother or sister, perhaps!).
The Blanc brothers are always busy extending their collection in as many ways as possible, and are happy for you to join them on virtual hunting expeditions.
Using the Fils Blanc network of intelligent refrigeration units, you can pick up information, follow message trails, talk to informers, lay traps and foil rival hunters.
Armed with only an online account and a mobile phone, you can embark on a global hunting expedition in search of animals that live only in the world of your imagination - or somebody else's.
Using your skills as a researcher, communicator, collaborator, competitor and all-round adventurer, you stand the chance of being one of the lucky few to visit the Nuuk.
Be careful, though, or you may become one of the exhibits...