PETER o'Meter is coming into focus now that I heard back from the children's book editor with her Developmental edits. The story and characters are still intact but I needed to rethink a few ideas to eliminate inconsistencies. Originally I thought that PETER was the only robot with emotions, but the editor pointed out that there were emotional responses happening throughout my text from other characters. I stepped back and reflected on what I really wanted to communicate and landed on a clearer concept. PETER is working on his emotions while others are just reacting and feeling without recognizing what they are doing.
PETER is going to need the reader's help in understanding his feelings as he goes through different situations in his robot world. The book is going to be interactive with augmented reality calling for reader participation. PETER will express emotion when his button is pushed (virtually through AR). What this might look like has been a head scratcher for me.
I began trying to figure out how to use my 6 emotional robots designs as a starting point, but it looked freaky. Want to see? CRINGY I know!, It was so disturbing that I put it aside and focused on other stuff so I could feel good again.
The developmental edits lead me to a SPOT ILLUSTRATION solution as suggested by the editor. After I googled it, I realized it was the perfect way to introduce the AR interactive emotional button pushing moments. The spot illustration will layer on to the page illustration and invite the reader to identify the emotion PETER is feeling. This will signal that AR is available and that a feeling is about to be expressed.
This is when I realized that PETER's head doesn't change when he feels an emotion, rather,
he FILLS with emotion until it bubbles up inside of him. So, I created a spot illustration of PETER asking for advice. Then animating what would happen to his body as he fills with emotion. You can see the steps of my animation above and below. That Is just part of what I landed on. However I had to redo all of my animations when I realized that the face, gauge, and button on PETER's body should reflect his emotions. Duh! So I made 6 versions of the spot Illustrations, one for each emotion. UGH! Then, I animated the "filling with emotions" again for each one. Then, I still needed more. I created a symbolic animation that surrounded the body, a gauge animation that pointed/vibrated to the color on his spectrum that represented his emotion, and a button animation that flashed after having been pushed.
Below are the six expressions for peter within the spot illustrations. The body is the same shape, only the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth are changed to express the emotion. This underscores to children how much a face can say about feelings. I want children to think about the art as they read the story as a way to prime themselves for creating an expressive robot. I will be including educational activities with the book like this lesson.
I completed my developmental edits and cut my word count down to under 1000. I don't know how much push back I will receive for the decisions I made, but I know some of the changes made the book better already. There are some name changes too which really resonated with me.
Leightronic---> Ella Tronic Annie Log---> Anna Log Iggy Gauge---> Maggie Netic
I was asked to changed ARGU-LOT-Bot's name too. but, I feel like he is always misunderstood. His name doesn't fit a formula. He stands out and seeks attention and isn't like everyone else, but that's what a class filled with students is like. Everyone has a backstory. Everyone has a unique personality. So, I refused this edit the name but did decide to tightened up the text to help him find his place in the story.
I would love to hear your thoughts. They make me think... and they may show up in the story. I asked my family about naming PETER's cat. I loved the clever ideas I heard and ended up running with my nephew's suggestion, MEGA BYTES. He doesn't have any lines in the book, but he adds a soothing warm presence even if he MeGA Bites? Naw!, again, so misunderstood! His full pedigree name is Mega Bytes Purr II. (read: mbps just like mega bytes per second). He is named for his fast data processor that makes him so quick to respond, purr, and cuddle when you need a friend.