Genre Chick Interview: Stuart Jaffe

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 fantastic Stuart Jaffe!


Aleathea Kontis: Facebook or Twitter?
Stuart Jaffe: FB Fan Page

AK: Most recent publication?
SJ: I have a short story “Perchance” coming out in the July issue of Bull Spec.

AK: Short Stories, or Novels, or both?
SJ: I’ve published only short stories so far, but I’m actively shopping around a novel, so I’m right there in the trenches with everybody else.  I feel your pain!

AK: Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
SJ: Once I have a beginning, a few key points in the middle, and an end firmly in mind, I’ll start writing.  The rest I work out as I go, plotting a few chapters ahead and letting the story evolve as it naturally does.  I rarely finish with the ending I had in mind, but I’m somewhat close, and having AN ending in mind, gives me focus, something to shoot for.

AK: What’s your average words per hour output? (Ball park)
SJ: Ha Ha Ha!  I use to try to get 1-2K a day but my life is too unpredictable, so I now shoot for a weekly word count of 5-7K.

AK: What’s your favorite part of writing?
SJ: Believe it or not, I enjoy revisions.  even when it’s a pain.  The story is out of my head and on paper.  Now I can play with it, re-shape it, and try to find ways to make it better.

AK: What’s your least favorite part?
SJ: Staring at a blank page.

AK: What motivates you to mentor other writers?
SJ: Genre writers are so generous, and many have helped me when I was starting out.  Having the opportunity to help others is a wonderful way to thank those who helped me and to keep paying it forward at the same time.

AK: Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
SJ: Not really.  I have the advantage ofbeing the co-host of The Eclectic Review podcast which is a weekly,half-hour podcast about science and art.  We’ve been doing shows since 2006, so I’ve gotten in the habit of finding things to talk about.  You really just have to look at what you’re interested in or thinking about that week and write it out.  I also love writing a series of posts which gives you several weeks to explore a subject.

AK: Describe how words are magical to you.
SJ: Go to an old used bookstore and find something very old — a book from the 1800s or older.  Open it up and you are reading words somebody wrote down centuries ago.  And these words still have the power to cause you joy, pain, love, sadness.  These words can still make you think and even change how you think.  And these words still can simply entertain.  Downright magical, if you ask me.

Find Stuart online:
Website —
Writing blog —
Co-Host of The Eclectic Review Podcast (


How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on, 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.