Welcome to Saturday Spotlight. A feature hosted by Tina’s Book Reviews as a way of shining the light on Indie/Debut/Self Published authors. Each week I’ll have a guest post written by a featured author.
Welcome Michelle Pennington – author of Candid
Three Words from a Writer
My curser has been blinking at me from this empty word document long enough – phew… I’m glad that’s fixed – so I’m going to go ahead and throw some words at you. The first one is imagination. What an overused word that is. Usually I’d avoid it like something I pulled out of my bathtub drain. And yet, that’s how I’m able to write a story set in the bone-chilling cold of winter when it’s 85 degrees outside. Imagination lets me see sweat stains on a football uniform and smell the dank, earthy scent of fallen leaves. Without it, I couldn’t hear crutches clacking down a sidewalk or feel the heavy pull of tired eyelids. Imagination lets me relive the sensations of my own experiences in the body of another person. Just as importantly, it lets me make you relive them too.
The next word I want to introduce today is fiction. Ok, yes, a fictional story is one that isn’t true. Or is it? Sometimes fiction seems more like truth than something that’s actually happening to you while you’re reading it. You’re lying on the couch, the clock ticks monotonously on (but you stopped paying attention to it after midnight), and every light is off in the house except the lamp on the table behind you. Your toes get cold so you dig them in between the couch cushions instead of going to get the blanket that’s only a few feet away. Eventually, you vaguely realize your fingers are numb from holding your book up for so long, but you just can’t put it down. Hopefully they don’t die from loss of blood. That’s reality. But where are you really? I don’t know. What book are you reading? What characters’ lives are you living? When your alarm goes off too early the next morning and it takes a while to shake of the hazy, fiction-induced dream fog – how long till you remember they aren’t living, breathing people? So maybe fiction isn’t true, but if it’s good, it’s real.
Those characters bring me to the last word that I’m going to let you savor for a moment – idea. The thing is, I don’t really get any when it comes to writing. Weird, huh? I get great ideas when I’m crafting and really bad ideas when I’m cooking, but none whatsoever when I’m coming up with a new story. You see, the characters come to me instead. They show up in my dreams, they talk to each other while I’m loading the dishwasher or cleaning squished French fries out of my van. By the time they’ve moved into my brain with all of their relatives and emotional baggage, who needs an idea to write something? They give it to me freely. In fact, writing is the only way I can shut them up. Now, when it comes to fixing all their drama, that takes some pretty brilliant ideas. I don’t know where those come from either though, so I guess the only thing I have to say about ideas is that they intrigue me, but I don’t understand a thing about how they work.
I do know when a story works though. That is one of the vital qualities you need to be a writer – to be able to look at a story (especially your own) and know if it works. That’s how Candid found itself wrapped in a pretty new cover instead of lost in the document jungle on my laptop. Believe me, that’s a scary fate I don’t wish on any story.
About the Author
Michelle Pennington has a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. To attain this degree, she studied Literature, Rhetoric, History, and Art. She married her sweetheart, Ethan, while still in college and developed a new penchant for skipping class to spend more time with him. Despite this distraction, she still managed to graduate Magna Cum-Laude.
Her love for the written word began at a young age. At four years old, she followed her mother around all day asking how to spell things. Her teen years were spent hiding in trees, on rooftops, and anywhere she could escape her chores for a while to read. Despite this aggravating behavior, her parents always encouraged her love of literature and her dream to write. Michelle is a hopeless romantic and an insatiable people watcher.
Currently she is a stay-at-home mom where she cares for her three children, who are at once adorable and exasperating. In the midst of the domestic whirlwind that is her life, she enjoys crafting, cooking, art, and reading. Visit her at: Facebook | Blog
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