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Melissa_Ridley_Elmes

Member Since 20 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 10 2013 11:33 AM
Peer group members: If I owe you something, will you please contact me and let me know? I'm returning to the fold June 15. :) Updated 27 May · 0 comments
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About Me

Recently and nearly simultaneously both accepted to a doctoral program and diagnosed with cancer, I am a mid-thirties medievalist, full-time teacher, and holder of an MA in Literature, living in the American South in a big old house with five cats, two kids, a husband and a couple thousand books, who writes, paints, draws, sings, dances, acts, and holds forth on whatever floats her boat (mostly food, books, the strangeness of human behavior, life in general and, of course, All Things Medieval).

I have been writing since I could form words with a pencil, and I am equally enamored of researched, scholarly writing and the crafting of fiction. My fictional work delves deeply into the psychology of my characters, and nearly always incorporates alchemical imagery and language and some variation of the hero's journey - two of my greatest obsessions. I draw inspiration from a huge variety of sources, especially medieval literature, magic and alchemy, folklore, legends, fables, and fairy tales, traveling, reading, artworks, and everyday life. I am hugely inspired by the bildungsroman and the hero's journey. I find stories in snippets of conversations, or people I see when I'm out and about. There's a story in almost everything. The trick is finding the stories that work together to create a novel.


My writing process is simple: First, my Muse thwacks my subconscious and shrieks: "Get up right now or you'll be sorry!" I don't know what would happen if I didn't get up right away, because I'm too afraid of losing a good story to risk finding out.When I have an active WIP, I write every morning from 3:45 to 5:30 or 6:00, during my lunch hour, & in the evenings for an hour or more. I binge on weekends, sometimes drafting up to 6,000 words in a day. I hold myself accountable by blogging, tweeting & Facebooking my progress.I mull over my WIP during my commute & while jogging, using my MP3 Player to record anything important that comes to me. Then in the evening I'll go through that & my notebook to see what I can use. Some of the best parts of my stories come from those little "A-ha!" moments -- it's like my Muse is slapping Post-it notes on my cortex. When it's a really great note, I reward her with triple-chocolate brownies.


I am serious about being a published writer and about writing stories that resonate with readers. There is nothing in the world like the feeling of reading a book and wanting to live in that world and know those people. Ultimately and most of all, I want to give that gift to my readers.

Community Stats


  • Group Moderators
  • Active Posts 230
  • Profile Views 4,643
  • Member Title Advanced Member
  • Age Age Unknown
  • Birthday March 28
  • Gender
    Female Female
  • Location
    Winston Salem, North Carolina, USA
  • Interests
    Reading, conducting research, running, acting, singing, bellydancing, painting & drawing, foreign languages (French, Latin, Old English, Middle English, German, Welsh), the care of long hair, vegan and vegetarian cooking.

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