Fiction and flash fiction. Humor blogging.
If you had told me fifteen years ago that I would become a novelist and blogger, I would have scoffed. I had a career or two, raised my two wonderful daughters, nursed my husband after he suffered a massive stroke (he recovered fully, thank God), had a great time for eight years as a receptionist at a veterinary practice, and then, finally, began writing at the suggestion of a friend who thought I wrote funny emails.
It was a revelation to me that this career in writing seems to be what I was born to do. I think life is lived in layers, and we just have to work our way through them. Had I tried to write a novel when I was 30, I probably would have had very little to say, not to mention no time to sit down and say it. What I write now is a reflection of my life lived as a “regular person,” mother, and reader of books. I am a voracious reader, and certainly my habit has also served as an apprenticeship of sorts for my own writing.
Why do I write? Because I absolutely LOVE doing it.
I start with names, always. I have always been fascinated by them. For instance, does Bob Smith lead a boring life? Or is he just seething under the surface with sexuality and corruption? Is he some sort of mob kingpin? Or is he just an accountant? And there is no way that Felicity Sidebottom could have anything but an interesting life, right?
I sit down at the computer, and I think of a name. For my novel Keep the Ends Loose, it was Miranda Heath. I decided that Miranda was the sophisticated name her mother liked, but that this Miranda was fifteen and went by Mandy. She started talking about her family, and the rest just wrote itself.
It took me about two years for Mandy to completely reveal herself and her story to me. I normally write when the characters speak to me—sometimes in the middle of the night, but always in fits and starts. The plot sort of percolates in my head, and then it works its way onto the page. I am a third of the way into my next novel, Bob and Beck, and it is working the same way—slowly but in very interesting bursts.
Molly D. Campbell is the author of Characters in Search of a Novel and Keep the Ends Loose. A two-time Erma Bombeck writing winner, Campbell writes the popular blog MollyDCampbell.com. She is a monthly columnist for the popular website Moms Who Need Wine. Her work has appeared in Thought Catalog, Humor Writers.org, Oakwood Life Magazine, and at Jungle Red Writers. Molly lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her accordionist husband and five cats.