Have you ever wondered if an idea sparked by a prompt can result in a publishable story? Well, here’s your answer! Thank you, Rosie Pova, for sharing the process of shaping SUNDAY RAIN from the spark of a prompt.
Rosie is offering a swag giveaway x 3! Just leave a comment below for a chance to win some swag!
Prompts Can Spark Stories by Rosie Pova
In the summer of 2016 an above-the-slush-pile submission opportunity to an editor opened up through my 12 x 12 membership. I certainly wanted to try my chances with that publisher, but at the time, I didn’t have anything that matched their taste since they were very particular on the books they acquired.
I was pretty familiar with their whole list of books already and had attended a webinar with that same editor the previous year though 12 x 12 again. I also had submitted some work to them in the past, to no avail.
So, I looked at their guidelines again. One of the things they liked was a “moment-in-time stories.” I decided to use that as my prompt.
I thought about it and brainstormed. I wondered, what childhood moment I could reflect in a story.
And then an image of kids playing in the rain popped into my head.
I have a vivid childhood memory of swirling and twirling in delight, soaking wet, in a heavy summer rain. But in that case, I was the only one — all my friends who were there ran for shelter when it started pouring. The rain was so warm, I stayed. I felt happy, adventurous, and carefree at that moment.
So that was the moment-in-time I wanted to use! But this was only the spark for the story. What about the whole story?
As the words started pouring out of me, I knew I wanted the text to be lyrical and to read like a free verse poem. I also wanted to use onomatopoeia throughout so it would make for a good read-aloud. In addition, I strived for strong visuals, sensory elements, and poetic devices as the first draft took shape.
However, to sustain a good story, there must be a fleshed out, likeable and relatable character, a story arc, a problem, satisfying resolution and a meaningful takeaway. So those parts were not to be missed, I was aware of that, and no amount of poetic devices could compensate the lack of basic storytelling.
As I wrote, I’ve asked myself questions. Who is this character? What is he like? Where is he? What is his situation? What does he want? Why can’t he do or get what he wants?
Luckily, I came up with the answers as I wrote.
The character name that first came to me was Elliott and I stuck with it. He was an introverted boy and a bookworm. When a storm started, he was in his room, reading a book. Then he heard the kids playing outside in the puddles. More questions… Are they his friends? Why can’t he join them? Well, he didn’t know them — he had just moved into the neighborhood. He was too shy to reach out and make new friends. So he watched from his bedroom window.
Eventually, he did go outside and found a way to connect with the kids by being himself. He learned that new friendships are like a new book — you just have to plunge into the adventure!
I finished the first draft pretty quickly. The storyline had little in common with my real life experience as a child, only elements of it and some elements from my own personality. Yes, there was rain, and I was a big introvert, and I loved reading…. But other than that, the story took its own direction.
Oftentimes, writers try to stick to the actual event or experience from their childhood and that may not work in favor of the story. So, my advice would be to use those memories as prompts, but to free yourself from the facts and allow room for the story and the character to guide you.
So, when I was done writing it and later went back to it, I didn’t revise much — which rarely happens. But once the story found its perfect home with Lantana Publishing, my brilliant editor suggested some minor tweaks that transformed the story, adding even more heart and more layers to it. And then the super-talented illustrator, Amariah Rauscher, gave it a life with her gorgeous art which made the final product a dream come true!
I am so happy with the way the book turned out and I’m excited to share it with the world! I hope you’ll consider adding it to your home or school library and help me spread the word.
Happy reading and happy writing!
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win some swag for SUNDAY RAIN.
Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published, award-winning children’s author, poet, speaker, and writing coach on a mission to inspire children not only to read and write more, but to use their creativity, follow their passions, dream big and believe in themselves. She is also a Writing Instructor for the Dallas Independent School District through The Writer’s Garret, an instructor with Writing Workshops Dallas, teaching picture book courses to children’s writers, and the founder of two children’s writing contests ― KWEST and Haiku Hype ― as well as the organizer of The Write Universe Kidlit Writers Workshops in Dallas, TX. She also serves as a judge for Rate Your Story. Rosie visits schools and shares her inspirational journey as an immigrant from Bulgaria and how she became a published author, encouraging kids to persist, push through obstacles, and hold a high vision of themselves. She also speaks on many women’s topics and has appeared on radio and print media.
Visit Rosie at www.rosiejpova.com.
Twitter: @RosiePOV [https://twitter.com/RosiePOV]
Signed copy pre-order from Rosie’s local indie, Interabang Books: HERE