Things That Help Me Write

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Everyone has something that helps them get cranking on whatever writing projects they have going on. Some folks need music, others need to be in their local coffee shop. So I decided to make a list of the things that help me put words on the paper.

My Andrés Segovia Bach CD on repeat.

Soft rain outside my open window (especially on weekends when I can stay in my chair all day.)

A hot cup of coffee (or a cold glass of berry tea.)

Sudden ideas that pop into my head when I’m driving or showering. (Why haven’t I bought bath crayons to write these down on the shower wall?)

The peaceful silence of my house early on a weekend morning when I’m the only one awake.

The peaceful silence of my house late at night when everyone else is on their own computers.

A long car trip with […]

Continue reading Things That Help Me Write

An Editor’s Commandments

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

I stayed up Saturday night live-streaming the Hugo Award ceremony. (Well, okay, technically I watched 2/3 of it, since I was editing stories for The Weird Wild West until past 11 pm) It was an entertaining event – David Gerrold and Tananarive Due were delightful together, and there’s nothing that isn’t made more fun by the inclusion of a Dalek. I can’t imagine that anyone, at this point, hasn’t at least heard the basic results – No Awards for most of the literary categories, and Best Novel going to The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (and announced by Dr Kjel Lindgren direct from the International Space Station – how cool is that???) Honestly, if you want to hear what more-informed people have to say about the situation, feel free to go search it out on the googlewebs, because Sunday was the Day of the Hugo Post-Game Wrapup, and really, […]

Continue reading An Editor’s Commandments

Remember Me

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

My husband’s mother died last Monday night.

It wasn’t a shock. She’d suffered from dementia for several years, and was living in a nursing home, because she needed full-time care. On Monday, July 27, the nursing home called to let us know she’d been sent to the hospital with pneumonia, and that it wouldn’t be long. She lingered for a week. In that time, I went to a funeral home and made her arrangements. One of the duties I had to handle was writing her obituary. She was a good woman, but she hadn’t accomplished anything that was going to make her well-remembered to the world after she was gone. I even went online today and searched her name, but all I found was her obituary. Yes, the one I wrote. I went two pages in before I stopped hunting. The only result I was finding on this woman was […]

Continue reading Remember Me

Who Do You Want To Be?

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Last week I read an entertaining article from Barnes & Noble’s SFF blog about the ten characters John Scalzi identified with most vividly, and it set me to reminiscing about my own wishes when I was a kid. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to hang out in the marsh near my house, hoping that if I stayed quiet and still long enough, the faeries would show up and take me to their world of magic and wonder. Alas, it never happened, so I had to start creating worlds of magic and wonder on my own. But when I read, I often feel the desire to be one or two of the characters created by my favorite writers, in the same way Scalzi talked about. So I figured I’d share a few of those with you today. I hope that when you’ve finished reading my choices, that you’ll comment with […]

Continue reading Who Do You Want To Be?

To Be Or Not To Be?

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

To be. Is, are, was, were. The most used verb in our (or probably, any) language. It has a purpose and a place in writing and in speech. But use it too much, and suddenly your stories become bland and dull. Want to know how I know? Because my editor challenged me to take every instance of the verb “to be” out of the story I owe him.

John Hartness, you’re a cruel man and I love you for it.

You see, I agree with his assessment. The problem with “to be” lies in its calm. When someone screams or leaps or scrambles or argues, something happens. I, the reader, ride along on the wave of action the writer creates. If I use various forms of “to be” instead, I run the risk of my action falling flat. Let me illustrate.

With “to be”:

She was dark haired, and her […]

Continue reading To Be Or Not To Be?

Do Launch Parties Work?

Gail Z. Martin

Launch parties seem to be everywhere nowadays: at bookstores and libraries, at conventions and on Facebook. Costs range from minimal to pricy, and the effort of planning, promoting and hosting a party is one more thing that takes a writer away from writing. So, are they worth it?

I’ve held and attended a lot of launch parties. On the whole, I’d say that they help to sell books, especially to people who might not have otherwise purchased that particular book. The party atmosphere lends itself to making an impulse purchase amid the food, decorations and festive atmosphere. There’s also a touch of guilt involved; after all, the author is your host, and it would be nice to buy a book to thank him/her. But I think that the real incentive to purchase comes from the ability for readers to feel like they’ve gotten to know the author through the personal […]

Continue reading Do Launch Parties Work?

Ah, Con!

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Well, another successful ConCarolinas has come and gone. I’m a little sad this morning, since for the last three days I’ve been surrounded by a thousand of my closest friends, so it’s a little quiet around here now that we’ve all gone home. *laughs*

But one of the nice things about going to cons, either as a writing professional or as a fan, is all the great ideas you come home with. During breakfast Sunday morning, I was asked if I’d had any new projects come my way, and at that moment, I hadn’t. An hour later, I had. It can happen just that quickly. (Before you ask, the new project is still in its birth throes, so as soon as I have solid information to share, I promise I will. It’ll involve some of you, after all, so feel free to be excited!) One writer I talked to received […]

Continue reading Ah, Con!