Melinda Copp is a writer based in Bluffton, South Carolina. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals, including The Rumpus, The Cleveland Review of Books, and The Petigru Review. She regularly writes about books for the Post and Courier. She has an MFA in creative writing from Goucher College and a BS in journalism from West Virginia University. In addition to her freelance work on nonfiction books, Melinda is writing a contemporary romance novel.
Tragedy and Comedy; The Short Story of My Writing Life
Melinda will read almost anything and has written a lot of different things too. In college, she took every writing class available and majored in journalism as an undergrad, and then got her MFA in creative writing from a program that specializes in nonfiction. This helped her build her nonfiction book editorial consulting business and publish some journalism and essays. But soon after graduating, she had two more kids, bringing the total up to three. Then, after working on it for nearly eight years, the creative nonfiction book project she'd hung her hopes on publishing fell apart and ultimately failed to launch her career.
Melinda loves journalism and maybe one day will get to do it again, but she was leaking breast milk and interviewing a man about oysters, nearly a hundred hours deep into a story for which she knew would be hard to get published let alone paid for, when she first considered her dreams might no longer suit her life situation. Around that same time, Melinda visited, for the millionth time, the blog of a favorite author and journalist and found that the pretty writer site had been transformed into a page promoting that writer's new career in real estate sales. This happened years ago, but Melinda still remembers refreshing her screen multiple times in disbelief and the sinking feeling that if this favorite independent journalist couldn't sustain a writing career, then there was no way she could either.
Basically, with her dreams crumbling around her and faced with the question of what to write next, Melinda thought of something a very wise writer told her back when she was still in grad school trying to be a journalist: Writing fiction is much easier, all you have to do is make it up.
Writing great fiction is not easier, but it takes much less time to write and practice if you suck at it. And for a person with three children, the logistics of getting the fictional story are way easier. Since this realization, Melinda's creative writing work has pretty much all been fiction, and not the most serious kind either. She soon discovered that writing romance is as fun as reading it. People are never funnier than when they make fools of themselves in love. Right now, in between family demands and freelance work, Melinda is writing a contemporary romantic comedy about a marriage of convenience. And she is querying another rom-com about workplace crushes and how to save newspapers.
She's still writing nonfiction too. She writes essays on her Substack, Melinda's Letter. Her criticism has been published in The Rumpus and The Cleveland Review of Books. And she regularly writes about new books for the Charleston Post and Courier.
Melinda's writing life is a long story; that's the short version. And, of course, the story isn't over yet.