Meet the Writer is an ongoing series of interviews with the creative writing students at Presbyterian College. A new interview is posted every Thursday in the Fall.
Megan Jennings is a senior English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing; she is also earning a second B.A. in Theatre. In addition to her active involvement in PC’s theatre, she also works with Figs & Thistles (having served as the 2011 Art Editor) and Spectrum.
How long have you been writing? Or, how did you get started writing?
I don’t really remember when I first started writing. I know that I very young. I used to tell little stories to go with pictures that I had drawn or to explain the world around me. I was a very imaginative child and my parents encouraged me to never stop creating and expressing. I remember playing pretend and then writing down what had happened in the game I’d played, in the world that I’d created in my head.
What about writing most interests you?
My favorite thing about writing is that it allows me to share an experience, real or imagined, with other people. Writer and readers, we all go on the same journey, together.
What kind of writing do you like to do? What drew you to that kind of writing?
I write specifically to entertain, to tell a story, like I did as a child. I don’t really see myself as having a specified style. Some stories are best told in poetry, others in prose, and others in scripts. The format I use must reflect the story I am telling. As for what sort of stories I like to tell, I can only say that I also don’t have a particular preferred genre. I just write stories that I would like to read.
What’s your writing process?
When I first have a story idea, I tend to just start right in on writing it. I don’t worry about it being polished or even making much sense. I just write before the inspiration leaves me. Once it is written, I go back through and look to see if there is anything that I need to research and rewrite. Once that is handled, I revise at least once more, or as many times as it takes for me to be satisfied, in order to address any plot-holes. Finally, I edit for grammar by reading aloud.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
My favorite author is J.K. Rowling. I believe her books, the Harry Potter series, have achieved the greatest accomplishment any stories could, that is to say that they entertained and continue to enthrall readers. My favorite playwrights are Tennessee Williams, Anna Deavere Smith, and Adrienne Kennedy. I find the work all of these playwrights to be enthralling.
What is your favorite literary work and why?
My favorite book, if I had to pick one, would be Treasures of the Snow by Patricia Mary St. John, because it spoke to me as a child and its story continues to touch me now.
From which writer, alive or dead, would you most like to take a writing workshop and why?
J.K. Rowling would be an awesome choice because her writing speaks to such a large and dedicated audience! However, I’m a bit biased.
What was the most important thing you learned in your creative writing classes?
The most important thing that I learned was probably how important finding your own voice is and how vital it is that you express yourself your own way.
What do you wish you’d learned that you didn’t?
I wish I’d been able to take a creative non-fiction course.
[Editor’s note: ENGL 217 Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction will be offered by Dr. Barr in Fall 2012, the first time the course has been offered in more than decade.]
What are your future writing plans?
I plan to continue to write, mainly for fun, as I pursue a Master in Psychology. I might try to be published, but if nothing comes of that, I’ll be satisfied to have written for myself.
Any advice to offer aspiring PC writers?
Write what you want to write. Write what you would like to read. Have fun and learn to look forward to critiques, they are most helpful!