Meet Miranda Keller, Runner Up in the WOW! Q2 2020 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

Sunday, June 28, 2020


Miranda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 35 years. Her writings take the reader down various paths of thought and feeling- the ebb and flow of life. She faces her own human struggles with courage and refreshing honesty.

She has enthusiastically coached her two sons and numerous students through the challenging aspects of the English language working as a teacher’s assistant. Her love of the written word is contagious. She has attended literary course work in which she excelled and is currently reworking her biography.

Recently, Miranda had the opportunity to ghost write in a nonfiction, short story. In addition, Miranda placed 4th with “What If” in a past WOW Contest, which can be found here.

Read Miranda's noteworthy essay, Good Morning, Class, and then return here to learn more about the writer.

----------Interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: Welcome, Miranda, and congratulations! What are some of your favorite topics to explore in creative nonfiction essays? 

Miranda: I don’t have a favorite topic to explore. I tend to move on my inspiration. My favorite type of essay to write is a narrative essay that looks a whole lot like a descriptive essay. I’m aiming to paint a picture that draws a reader in.

WOW: Do you have a specific revision process? How long do you spend on a piece once you begin writing it? 

Miranda: I spit it out. I write everything that comes to mind. Then I look through my verb choices, trying to eliminate every Be verb possible. My next objective involves shrinking my work down to 1000 words. I just recently minimized 1556 words down to 985. I thought not a single part of my work could be reduced and still have its power. Watching that story take on a refreshing clarity floored me. Lastly, I read it to myself, and to anyone else I persuade to hear it, out loud. I hate when I make stupid mistakes, ones I should have caught.

WOW: Are there any non-fiction books that you look to for inspiration? 

Miranda: Yes. Philip Yancy trained me with his brilliant writing style. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, In His Image, Pain- The Gift Nobody Wants left lasting impressions in my mind and heart. I, also loved Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. As I read David Pelzer’s story, my heart broke for him. The fact that he was in a foster home ran by a woman named Aunt Mary has never left me. I know we know the same Aunt Mary. Was David’s real name Lenard? I’ll wonder about that forever.

WOW: “Good Morning, Class” contains a good amount of dialect as part of the character development. When writing this type of piece, do you find it easier to read it out loud while revising to get the tone where you want it? 

Miranda: Yes. Pictures flash in my mind (memories). I write what I see, hear and feel. Then I read it out loud.

WOW: What advice would you give to a writer who is nervous about entering a writing contest?

Miranda: I can certainly understand being nervous to enter a writing a contest. I’ll never forget the first time I entered one. I hung by my nails swinging back and forth. Push the send button, on one shoulder. Don’t do it, tickling my other ear. I finally realized I’ll never know if I don’t try. Can I do this? I’ll never know if I don’t try.

WOW: That's right--you never know until you try! Thank you for sharing your work and words of wisdom with us today, Miranda. Happy writing!

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