One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.
Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.
So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is the beautiful Misty Massey!
Name: Misty Massey
FB or Twitter?
I’m Misty Massey on FB, and MistyMassey on Twitter. And I’m madkestrel on Livejournal, if anyone wants to drop by.
Most recent publication?
My first novel, “Mad Kestrel”, was published by Tor in 2008. “At Map’s End”, a short story featuring the characters from my novel, appeared in the anthology Rum and Runestones in May 2010.
Associations or affiliations?
None. I keep meaning to join SFWA.
Short Stories or Novels or both?
I started out writing only short stories, and never thought I could manage an entire novel. I still like the short form, but nowadays I tend to come up with ideas that go a lot longer.
Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I started out as a complete pantser, letting the story carry me along as it would and not stressing about where I’d end up or how I’d know when I got there. As time has gone by, I’ve discovered the delight of planning ahead. There’s a lovely comfort in having a road map to follow, and being able to see the end coming. Especially when there’s a real deadline attached to that end. I still occasionally write by the seat of my pants, but only when it’s a short work and never when someone is actually waiting on what I’m writing.
What’s your average words per hour output?
It depends on the day. I’m a slow writer, because I can’t help editing as I go (which makes revisions easier, once I eventually get to that point!) I set myself a goal of 500 words a day, and do the best I can to reach that. Some days I spill words as if they were kernels of corn and I left the silo door open. Other days, not so much.
What’s your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is also my favorite part of reading – getting to know the characters and spend time in their world. When I’m overwhelmed with laundry and cooking dinner and paying bills and dealing with family issues, I can fall into the world of my own making, and all those pressures slip away. Of course, I have to deal with my characters’ issues, but hey, at least they’re different.
What’s your least favorite part?
The stiffness that I only notice after I’ve been in the chair a while, and I suddenly stand up. Or try to stand up. Ow!
What motivates you to mentor other writers?
I began writing seriously in 1995. I’d been playing with stories long before, but I had no one to tell me if what I was doing was any good. Sure, I had family, but family is always going to have a vested interest in my happiness, and I couldn’t be sure their opinions were completely unbiased. So I joined a local critique group. Those writers were supportive, helpful and friendly, but they also never hesitated to tell me if the work was crap. It was Faith Hunter who first strong-armed me into trying to write a novel. I was terrified of trying, but more scared of letting her down, so I gave it a shot. I wouldn’t be published today if it wasn’t for Faith. Helping other not-yet-published writers is my way of paying forward the help she offered me.
Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
Sometimes, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself sitting at my computer the night before my posting day, staring at a blank screen and wondering what on earth to write about. But more often than not, those last-minute scrambles turn out to be my most well-received posts.
I do worry that I’ll repeat myself on a subject that we’ve already covered. Or worse, that the readers will realize I’m just making this up as I go, and show up outside my house with torches and pitchforks to punish me. But even when I touch on a subject I’ve covered before, I find that there’s still plenty to talk about. And our readers are very forgiving.
Describe how words are magical to you.
Words create worlds, worlds that can carry me away for moments or days. The writer puts the words together and suddenly, I’m a dark elven ranger, wandering the world. I’m a woman riding a dragon through the skies desperate to save my people. I’m a pirate chasing down my quarry. All it takes is the perfect combination of amazing, transporting, magical words. Anyone who says there’s no such thing as magic clearly hasn’t read the right books yet.
Edmund has an essay discussing useful and distracting similes and metaphors. Please put yourself in a simile. Example: “Edmund Schubert is like a dead penguin wedding cake.
Misty is like a dictionary grenadier in comfortable shoes.
A.J. quotes Steven Spielberg i one of his essays, about how the core of a film should be able to be summed up in 26 words or fewer. Please sum yourself up in 26 words or fewer.
I’m the girl who never stopped believing in faeries. I keep writing in the hope that they’ll come dance with me.
How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering a wide range of topics. Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog’s readers, along with the author’s response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject. The core members of Magical Words—David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert—have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.