Curiosity Killed (or Saved) the Cat

Hi Summer Reading Clubbers,

I hope you’ve enjoyed your week. You have probably heard the saying, Curiosity killed the cat. But have you ever heard the saying Curious creatures make really cool stories? Probably not. I just made it up.

Curious creatures are often the best characters to have in a story. Why? Well, without curiosity, characters often stick to what is familiar, predictable and safe. And these three things don’t make for interesting stories. Curious characters like exploring, inventing and questioning. Which, in turn, leads to change, conflict and whole lot of trouble!

One of the books I have just finished writing is called Scallywags and the Stormy Secret. It is a whodunnit detective mystery (but with bumbling students instead of proper detectives). Without giving everything away, Flick (a cat) is in serious trouble and only her curious friends can save her. They follow a trail of not-so-obvious clues, confront suspects and generally create even more trouble for themselves! But hey, it makes for interesting reading.

Have you ever done any detective work?

On my eleventh birthday, I came home from school to discover that the back wheel of my BMX bike was missing. Curious? My first thought was that my parents were replacing the wheel and adding new brakes as a birthday present. No such luck – my present was a Lego technic set. Realising the wheel had been stolen, I set to work with my best friend to gather clues.

My house was next to my primary school, so the most likely suspect was a fellow student who knew about my bike. After searching the school grounds, we discovered the groundsman’s shed had been ransacked that day and guessed the thief must have struck at lunch time. It was Friday and, although we had a shortlist of potential suspects, we knew we couldn’t do anything until Monday when the students had returned. However, in a strange twist of fate, my best friend decided to go to the BMX track on Sunday. As he raced up and down the mounds, he spotted my stolen wheel attached to the back of our prime suspect’s bike.  The thief had been caught red handed! Case closed.

This kind of real-life mystery is great for inspiring stories. Maybe you have one of your own you’d like to share.

Here is this week’s tip for budding writers:

Dropping clues in your story is a great way to involve the reader. It gives them a chance to predict how a problem will be solved, what might happen next, and who a mysterious villain might be.  It also shows them that every line in your story is important and that they should pay attention!

This week’s Curious Creature Profile is, of course, a cat!

  • Curious Creature Profile: Felicity ‘Flick’ Foulweather
  • Animal: Black cat.
  • Future Pirate Crew: Cat Fish.
  • Strengths: Great artist. Her painting style is called Cat-astrophic Seasick Art.
  • Weaknesses: Suffers from Foul Weather Syndrome, a rare condition that makes her extremely grumpy on stormy days. Hates water. Can’t swim.
  • Likes: Seafood. She is a fishatarian. The fishatarian motto is: If it’s not from the sea, then it’s not for me!
  • Distinguishing features: Wears an artist’s beret. Carries a sketchbook. She is constantly catnapping.
  • Favourite saying: ‘Black is the new black – especially at night!’

You can draw Flick using the steps below.

Until next time, stay curious and keep reading!

 

35 responses

    Hi Lana,
    The bike story ended well. I got my wheel back!
    The Scallywags story ends with … well, you will just have to read it to find out.
    Dr Cameron

    Hi Mr Cameron I will practice drawing the picture of the cat.I have a question about the Great artist Flick Foulweather. Her painting style is called Cat-astrophic Seasick Art? What is Seasick Art ? Is it t because Flick only can draw when she is on the boat and does the bad weather makes her seasick?
    I am awake tonight because I feel sick and I vomited( I know it’s not nice) it’s nearly school holidays I will be sleeping in next week and all the school holidays but later on tonight I have a graduation for my year 6 because it’s the last year of primary school for me. Can one of your characters can be a graduate. It;s a sort of grown up thing to do I have to dance too. I’ll be back to tell you about it from Jack the year 6 graduate.
    reading your characters makes me feel better they are funny

    Hi Jack,
    I hope the graduation goes well and that you are feeling better soon.
    Flick’s art style is called Cat-astrophic Seasick art because it looks like it has been painted by someone on a rocking boat who is currently seasick while something catastrophic is happening around them!
    Flick can paint anywhere (not just on a boat) but her art gets creepier during stormy weather (as a cat she hates getting wet).
    Hopefully all the Scallywags will get to graduate one day. In the meantime, they get involved with the typical school events like school plays, talent quests, Grandparents Day etc.
    It’s just like a real school, but crazier!
    Dr Cameron

    dear dr.
    I hope santa brings me lots of sketch books and Im going to dress up as Flick Foulweather.
    ps mum says it’s foul weather here at home it’s rain non stop for five days. it’s relaxing and Im having the best time.

    Hi Vienna,
    Great Santa request. Sketch books are awesome! Foul weather is a great time to read, draw and write. Enjoy.
    Dr Cameron

    Dr Cameron
    hi it’s Kelsea I have all the Erin Hunter Warrior Cat books. Dad got the collection of them for christmas. I enjoy writing stories its my hobby. You have curious profiles for your cats its amazing how much life you give them when you make so much detail.

    Hi Kelsea,
    Enjoy those Warrior Cats books. My cat, Flick, is anything but a warrior!
    I used to carry a sketchbook around like her when I was younger. Now I carry a big stack of drawing paper around!
    Yes, I love detail in my pictures. I want the characters to appear real.
    Dr Cameron

    Dear Cameron
    I really like your character, Flick. You have captured a cat’s features quite well. Thanks for showing how to draw her!
    Lana Goodall

    Dear Dr Cameron,
    I tried following the instrutructions and drawing Flick but it was not as good as yours. I suppose not everyone is good at drawing. It was fun to draw and turned out okay.I love the cover of your book. Who do designed it? Who is your favourite character in your boooks?
    Sahansa

    Hi Sahansa,
    I design all the covers for my books. The characters are created using watercolour paints and black outlining pens. The backgrounds and text are finalised on the computer. Tune into next week’s blog to find out about my favourite character …
    Dr Cameron

    Dear Dr Cameron,
    You must be great at solving cases. Have you considered becoming a detective? How do you think of names for your characters?
    Sahansa

    Character names often use alliteration. I also like to use words that describe something about the character’s personality or physical nature (e.g. if they have a hook hand, it might become part of their name).
    Dr Cameron

    Hi Dr Cameron,
    Wow, Flick looks so good! I’d love to try draw her!
    I have never read any of your books, but I’d love to, they seem so interesting!

    Dear Dr Cameron,
    I have had a similar experience but not that ex exciting. Well I always seem to loose things and then a couple of days or a week later I find them in my Sister’s room.
    Sahansa

    Hmm … Lost is a bit different to ‘borrowed’ or ‘stolen.’ The main thing is finding the thing that went missing.
    Dr Cameron

    Hi Lana,
    I do everything on the computer now. It’s easy to edit drafts and nothing gets lost. I even put the sentences I delete in an outtakes file to use at a later date.
    Dr Cameron

    Dear Cameron
    My brother has a few questions. What Lego Technic did you get? And what is the prize for your blog?
    Thank you,
    Lana Goodall

    Hi Lana,
    I think the Technic set was some kind of snow vehicle. It came with some larger figurines (not the little Lego figures). They had skis and helmets. It was a long time ago so my memory is a bit fuzzy.
    I have a couple of signed books as prizes for a few blogs coming up.
    Dr Cameron

    Dear Cameron
    My brother has a few questions. What Lego Technic did you get? And what is the prize for your blog?
    Thank you,
    Lana Goodall

    Hi Cameron
    My stuff goes missing all the time! It always takes me ages to find it again. Are you good at drawing? I love to draw. But If I drew flick it wouldn’t look as good as that.
    Madi ( :

    Hi Madi,
    One thing I have learnt when it comes to drawing is that you need to ‘believe’ in your ability. Sure it might take ten attempts to create a half-decent sketch, but the next picture you draw might only take nine. With a bit (or a lot) of practice amazing things can be achieved.
    Dr Cameron

    Hi Dr. Cameron,
    your blog really made me think. Because if Curiousity did kill the cat, then a lot of cats should be dead by now. If Curiousity has the ability to kill cats, then why does it stay there, killing cats all day? And through what does it kill the cats? Does he/she have accomplices?
    I never knew how thought-provoking quotes can be.
    Sandee

    Hi Sandee,
    The evil Captain Curiosity, nemesis to cats all over the world … I think a large net would have to be involved.
    I’m glad the blog has got you thinking.
    Dr Cameron

    Hey Dr Cameron,

    It’s really amazing you actually solved a real life mystery. The Missing Bike Wheel. I can imagine that as a book title. I thought mysteries only happened in books and barely ever happened in real life. BTW, why did the culprit steal your bike wheel? Didn’t he have a bike wheel of his own? And was that a photo of your ACTUAL bike.

    Anna.

    Hi Anna,
    I think the culprit stole the wheel to replace a dodgy wheel on his bike. As you can see in the photo, there are plastic pieces instead of spokes on the wheels. No need to change broken spokes.
    No, that wasn’t my actual bike, but a newer bike that looked similar. The incident happened thirty years ago. I sold my bike at a garage sale when I finished high school. I won my next bike in an art competition!
    Dr Cameron

    Hi Dr Cameron,
    I have never been through a real life mystery in my life but I do enjoy reading about one! Some of my favourite book series are Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I’m planning on being an author when I grow up and writing a detective series. I’m not so sure on the title though.

    Hi Abby,
    Don’t worry about a great title until after a story is well under way. Some of my books have five or six title changes before I decide on one!
    Dr Cameron

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