Friday, March 6, 2009

Guest Post: Stephanie Newton

(I got to know Stephanie a little through email and I think she is all kinds of awesome. I really enjoyed her first Love Inspired Suspense Novel, Perfect Target which I will be reviewing here next week! I hope you enjoy this blog post from her as much as I did)

My daughter and I were asked recently to speak at a local elementary school. The principal wants my twelve year old to talk about what it's like being raised in a house where writing is just a part of life. For so many kids, writing seems like an overwhelming task. My cupcake might not think she's so lucky to have been raised in a house with a dad writing sermons every week and a mom writing every free minute, but I think she is. She knows she has an imagination and she's not afraid to use it.

Her early memories will not only include lots of frozen pizza and quickie meals, but also time spent with mom. “Pretend you're the bad guy and you're standing there with the gun…” She really likes a witty heroine, one who doesn't wait on the hero to come to her rescue. (Yeah, my kind of girl.) She's grown up hearing words like goals and motivation. And she'll say things like, “If I let Anna lose her memory before her long-lost twin comes back, then there's less conflict to move the story forward.”

We watch TV, too, and talk about what elements make a good story and why a certain plot point works or why it doesn't and why some characters are so awesome and some just fall flat. Why sometimes it seems the writers don't fulfill the promise they made at the beginning of the show. It's all part of learning the creative process.

To me, that's what writing is: turning creative thinking into words. It's not some mystical club that only a select few are allowed to join. There are so many kinds of writing to choose from: texting, emailing, letter-writing, blogging, journaling. You can write a novel, a short story, an article. And I guess that's what my daughter and I want the fourth graders to know. Sure, you can look at that blank page as an intimidating white fortress that you have to conquer with a wimpy pen sword that you don't know how to use…or you can look at it like the settlers did the prairie, a wide white plain of possibility. But either way, the words you choose to fill it are your words, your choice, your imagination.

Writing is so cool.

Stephanie Newton wrote her first suspense story at the age of twelve, but didn't write seriously until her youngest child was in first grade. She lives in northwest Florida where she gets her inspiration from the sugar-white sand, aqua blue-green water of the Gulf of Mexico and the many unusual and interesting things you see when you live on the beach. You can find her most often enjoying the water with her family, or at their church, where her husband gives the sermons and she makes the coffee. Visit Stephanie at or contact her at



Beth F said...

Nice guest post. Helping others, especially children, find and use their imaginations is so important. We all need to open our minds to the possibilities. By writing those thoughts on paper or screen, children learn to think! What good is information (data, facts) if you don't know how to think about or evaluate that information?

Oops, I've gone off on a tangent! Sorry.

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a wonderful household to grow up in - full of love and imagination.

Stephanie Newton said...

Hey y'all! I'm so thrilled that Amy invited me to be her guest today. I love the blog, was totally hooked after one visit, and totally talk about My Friend Amy and her opinion on books, like we've just had coffee this morning. :) I'll be in and out today--field trips, vet trips and doctor visits--the usual with kids and dogs, but if anyone has any questions or wants to talk writing...I'd love to chat!

Elizabeth said...

Love this post! Helping kids discover their imaginations seems to be getting more and more difficult - it's great to read about a family that keeps it at the forefront.

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate hearing your thoughts.