I was tagged by the talented, Ronni Arno (author of Rene Reinvented), in the My Writing Process Blog Hop.
So if you’re interested in how I write, read on. If you’re here for a recipe, go to the bottom for the best banana pudding ever!
What am I working on?
I recently finished a middle grade novel, Drive-Through Miracle. It’s about a girl who’s given up all hope that anything good will happen to the people she loves.
That sounds kinda depressing, but I promise there are some funny parts. Like her mom is the head cashier at the local Piggly Wiggly. See, you can’t say Piggly Wiggly without smiling.
You can read the query here.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My favorite children’s author is Kate DiCamilllo. I love how she makes the reader laugh and cry throughout her books.
Remember in Because of Winn Dixie when the librarian gives Opal a Littmus Lozenge? It tastes sweet—like root beer and strawberry. But there’s also something else—a secret ingredient.
“Sorrow,” Miss Franny said. “Not everybody can taste it. Children, especially, seem to have a hard time tasting it.”
I wish children (and adults, for that matter) never had to taste sadness, but without the storm, there’s no rainbow.
A good book evokes all kinds of human emotions and leads the reader to consider all sorts of possibilities.
Why do I write what I do?
I’m a school counselor in my day job and I love helping kids find their way. One of the best feelings in the world is seeing how you’ve influenced another person.
Writing is like that. It’s reaching one reader at a time and hoping that you leave him or her somehow… different. Happier. Encouraged.
How does your writing process work?
My writing process is a simple three-step process:
2) Investigate, and
3) Ask what if?
Here’s how it worked with Drive-Through Miracle.
Because I work during the school year, I do most of my writing in the summer. I try to write a first draft during June and July and then I spend the rest of the year revising – working late at night and on the weekend.
Observe. Last summer, on the way to a park where I walk/jog, I noticed a sign along the road.
I passed this sign 5-6 times a week. And each time I had the same thought: It’s hotter than Hades out here. That’s really nice of someone to sit outside and pray with somebody.
Investigate. Each time I drove by, I’d crane my neck to see the set up. The church was on a hill, and from the road all I could see was the top of a canopy in the parking lot. I just had to see what the drive-through looked like.
So one hot afternoon, I packed a chilled Gatorade and my 14-year-old son in the car and we drove up the hill. I figured this was a one-time trip, so we needed to take note of everything we saw.
As we slowly drove up, we saw a man sitting in a lawn chair under the canopy. His feet were propped on a cooler and he was reading. We stopped at an orange cone and the man walked to my open window.
After some brief introductions, I handed the preacher the Gatorade and told him we appreciated that he was helping people with their burdens. He thanked us for the drink and we were about to drive off when he asked, “What about you folks?”
“Yeah. Can I say a prayer for you?”
My son and I looked at each other. I don’t know why we hadn’t anticipated this, but we hadn’t.
We agreed and he prayed that we would feel God’s blessing that summer.
My son and I drove to the park in silence–both considering the experience we’d just had.
Later that night we talked about how maybe we’d, in some small way, been a blessing to the preacher.
Ask what if. I wondered, what if a girl rode to the drive-through on her bike and asked for prayer? Or what if she rode up on her bike, but she hid in the bushes? And she watched as other folks asked for prayer. What if she saw her best friend ride to the drive-through? What would his burden be?
And that’s how I came to write Drive-Through Miracle.
So, yeah, I felt a blessing that summer.
And that’s my writing process.
I’ve tagged two fellow writers. They will post their writing process next Monday.
If you don’t know them, take some time to meet both. They are incredibly fun and talented writers.
Oh, and here’s the best banana pudding ever!
Luscious Banana Pudding
Ingredients: 1 large package of vanilla (or banana) instant pudding, 2 cups of whole milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 box of vanilla wafers, 4 bananas, and one large container of whipped topping.
Mix pudding and milk until firm. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and whipped topping and mix well. In a large container, alternate vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat 2 more times. (For a different look, reserve some of the whipped topping and end with a layer of that on top.)