A snippet from the 3rd draft of Star Struck

The evolution of a story

The idea for Humble Bee started 10 months ago. For 1o months, we’ve been writing, illustrating, testing, re-writing, re-illustrating, testing… you get the idea.

We started with a story about Steve Aoki and pivoted to a story about Neil deGrasse Tyson.

We’ve been inside classrooms nonstop to get real feedback from real users.

We printed the draft of Star Struck…
… and tested it in front of 2nd grade and 3rd grade classrooms.

Finally, after 10 months of testing, we’ve created a story that passed the ‘kid test’ — kids actually want to read the story again and again.

This is a BIG milestone for us.

It means that we no longer have to re-write the entire story; instead, we can optimize the story by focusing on the details of each page.

It means that we’re one giant step closer to launching our Kickstarter at the end of July.

Today, I want to show you what our hard work looks like by showing you the evolution of our story.

  • Draft 1 of our story is on the left hand side
  • Draft 3 (not final of course) is on the right hand side
  • The pages are not in any order (I chose them at random so that the mystery of our story is still intact)
Our story is about a little boy named Neil who has a big question: how many stars are in the sky?
As you can see, we’re really focusing on adding detailed background in our illustrations. This gives kids the opportunity to find something new each time they read the book.
From our tests, we learned that kids love funny, quirky, whimsical characters that they can find on each page. Check out what Milton the cat is doing on each page.
Not only are we telling the story through the illustrations, but we’re finding ways to style the text on the page to match the narrative.
We decided to create giant, 2-page, beautiful illustrations that show the magnificence of Neil’s adventure.

Will Neil find the answer to his question?

You’ll find out soon enough when we launch our Kickstarter at the end of July.

Also, we’re planning a launch party in the Bay Area for our Kickstarter. We’d love for you to come join us.


If you would like to support us, then you can help us in two ways:

  1. Follow this publication on Medium, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when our story publishes
  2. If you know Neil deGrasse Tyson, then we’d really appreciate an intro

Dream on!