During her talk to WriteLinks Kerry Brown threw us the life line …

‘Don’t always solve the problem.’

Music to my ears, cake to my belly.  Without a moment of hesitation I struggle out of my Wonder Woman outfit and fling it over my shoulder. I’m going to apply this to my parenting as well as my writing. No, not throwing children over my shoulder, I mean not solving their problems for them.

Kerry Brown has just treated our writerly hunger to a slice of her Vanilla Sponge cake recipe for writing a children’s picture book.

It takes procrastibaking to a whole new level. You know, when you have set aside time to write and after shuffling some paper about and sharpening your pencil you suddenly remember the bananas that will go off if you don’t make some banana bread right now!

So, as my left buttock is starting to twitch and shuffle to the edge of the chair and I’m wondering if we have enough butter, I grab a slice of Kerry Brown’s Vanilla Sponge cake and dig in.

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In a mixing bowl I add 2 cups of setting and 1 cup of characters.

I use my wooden spoon to stir the characters into the setting.

Ah ha! I see three lumpy problems. When I try to mash the first lumpy problem it squishes over to the second lumpy problem and makes it worse. Then I mash up the second lumpy problem it squishes up to the third lumpy problem and I have a bowl full of problems.

I’m going to do the unexpected here and get out my porrage spurtle to fangle this bowl full of problems into a satisfactory batter. As I work up a sweat I splash in a tipple of tension, humour and action. I sprinkle liberally with repetition, rhyme, rhythm, and a glug of onomatopoeia.

This cake will have a strawberry red thread throughout. A layer of glistening strawberry jam, bleeding strawberries in the cream and plump strawberries on top.

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Drool … If this is as unclear as lumpy batter and just making you hungry here is the recipe that Kerry shared. If you want to see her recipe in action, take a look at her book Poppy Wash which she wrote to use as a tool to teach others her recipe, oh and to delight children.

  1. Character and setting
  2. Problem
  3. Attempt to solve the escalating problem three times
  • dont always solve the problem – you have three options
    • 1. you can try and fail
    • 2. you can solve it
    • 3. you can fail and make it worse
  1. resolve the problem with a twist
  2. ending (circle back to the beginning)

ps Put the bananas in the freezer to make banana icecream and get writing!