Follow the Fish!

We writers are always being asked where we get our ideas. I got this one when I wasn’t looking—when I was trying to write something else altogether.

And became my latest picture book, POOR DOREEN: A FISHY TALE.

The story I’d wanted to write was going to be elegant and atmospheric and quiet about a riverbank and a fisherman and it was going to be all so beautiful when suddenly, a big noisy fish leaped out of the water and straight into the story.

And took over the story completely. And I could do nothing but follow in her wake.

Which as far as I can tell is the way stories work.

They know what they need to be. They know where they are going. You aren’t in charge of them. You’re job is to get out of the way and let the story through—or rather, in this case, the fish—…

The minute Poor Doreen joined the story—the story came alive.

There’s no way to avoid it. You have to write the story that wants to be written.

And you better follow the fish!

inner-doreen-1 inner-doreen-2

(POOR DOREEN is the story of a traveling fish and her unlikely, hilarious journey—narrowly missing disaster at every turn, Doreen seems oblivious to the danger she is in and instead is entirely joyful and positive. A few friends have said it and I agree: I want to be Doreen when I grow up.)

POOR DOREEN: A FISHY TALE illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, (Schwartz & Wade/Random House) is available here.

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One Response to “Follow the Fish!”

  1. Carol Brandt

    I give your Storybook Bible out a lot to young mothers. Thanks so much for making new books. I would love to meet you sometime. If you are ever in S. Florida, please send me an email.
    I write a blog too …for women who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You might enjoy it.


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