As with any creation, it is always important that our primary concern be on who our audience is and what is best for them. (Perhaps some great creators— geniuses—can create just for themselves; it might be that da Vinci wasn’t concerned with Mona Lisa’s opinion, but that’s not our case.) Plain and simply: If it is not fun for you, then there is no point making a Treasure Hunt. That has to be a critical element of the “Personal.”
We can love a clue, and think it’s fun, clever, or hilarious, but if those on the hunt don’t get it or enjoy it, then our work is wasted. In creative writing, the saying is “kill your darlings.” That is, just because you think it is a wonderful turn of phrase doesn’t mean it fits in the work. (That’s probably true of the Mona Lisa metaphor above and why that, and this, is in parentheses.) The early childhood educator in our group pointed out a better example. She once had an assistant teacher who made beautiful charts “about learning” for their classroom. The posters looked great and impressed the parents, but did nothing for the students. By contrast, when they made sure that they involved the children in the posters and/or put up their work, and allowed them to take pride in the achievements presented, the impact was significant.
While we think our printed clues and the the instructions and hints may look good, they’re not the major creation. If those are what people remember after a treasure hunt then we haven’t done our job. Even if we are making a hunt for a children’s party and there is a lesson that is supposed to be provided, we absolutely have to make sure it is fun for the kids. Sometimes we have to remind each other…
I was trying to make a clue directing the hunters to look inside a linen cabinet, and I was quite proud of the following:
You get it?
Inside (from “Inside Out”) the (John) “Lennon” Cab–I–Net
You didn’t get it? Neither did anyone else.
Some old enough to know John Lennon, weren’t young enough to know “Inside Out.” Others couldn’t figure out if it was “Cab,” “Yellow,” or “Taxi.” Even when they understood it all, they thought it was some Russian history clue about Vladimir Lenin’s cabinet. One claimed he thought it was directing them “Inside the john,” but I think he was just giving me a hard time. It cut me to the quick.
In the end, the only place I could use it was in our blog.
I’m hoping this audience enjoys it!