Woman Writer Wednesday: Beth Wodzinski

For this week’s Woman Writer Wednesday, I interviewed Beth Wodzinski, who in addition to being a writer in her own right is the editor of speculative-fiction magazine Shimmer.

1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
As soon as I learned to read, I wanted to write. I remember starting a novel in kindergarten — my mom said she’d help me write down the words. So I told her all about how our neighbor went out to her chicken coop and discovered someone had killed all her chickens. Then what, my mom asked, and I had no idea, and stalled out of writing for many years. Since then, I’ve gotten a little better at figuring out what happens next.
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
The suggestion that even the most mundane lives have magic and mystery in them.
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
I am currently enamored with the 7-Point Story Structure, from a recent Writing Excuses podcast. There’s also a series of videos on YouTube where Dan Wells goes into more detail about it. I’m using it right now to work out the plot of my next novel, and it’s been extremely helpful.
4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
Most of my writing has been done under race conditions — NaNoWriMo or timed flash challenges. I do enjoy the glee and the lowered expectations — NaNo is so much fun, and I’ve gotten so much from it — but it’s also kind of insane and full of pressure. I’d like to learn to write in a saner and more grounded way, without all the fuss and craziness. Ha, probably you were asking for a subject or genre? But really I think the next big challenge for me is steadiness of practice. One of the most useful tools for learning this steadiness has been the Dance of Shiva, which is kind of like yoga for your brain.
5. How have your experiences in being the editor of Shimmer affected your own writing?
One of the unofficial-but-true reasons I started Shimmerwas to have an excuse to procrastinate on my writing, and that strategy has been brilliantly successful.Reading thousands of slush stories has taught me a lot — not just the usual stuff like how rejections aren’t personal, but more interesting stuff about what I look for in a story, what kinds of images and structures and ideas work for me. It’s clarified my vision. But it’s also raised the stakes for me; I don’t want to write the kind of “just ok” story that makes up the bulk of slush piles everywhere. And raising the stakes just makes it harder to get started writing my own stories.

Beth and her fiction can be found at her own website.  You can find her magical magazine Shimmer here.
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Woman Writer Wednesday: Nancy M. Griffis

For this week’s Woman Writer Wednesday, I interviewed speculative-fiction author and screenwriter Nancy M. Griffis.

1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
You know, I don’t even remember. I was a serious reader before I ever thought to be a writer. Marion Zimmer Bradley, CJ Cherryh, Anne MacCaffrey, Sir Walter Scott, Madeleine L’Engle were all favorites of mine. And my family were big readers, too. It wasn’t until I stopped dancing, though, that I turned to writing when I was around 14. I guess I needed a creative outlet. My mother brought home this massive IBM Selectric typewriter from work and off I went into the world of writing. I had good English teachers, too, who always encouraged me whenever I turned in short stories for projects.
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
I love the possibility. In scifi/fantasy/urban fantasy, anything can happen. The most boring or cowardly person can become a hero and impossible creatures of myth can show up in downtown LA or NYC.
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
Write every day. Can’t remember where I saw/read it, but you should write every day even if it’s just a list of things you need to do or a paragraph on why you hate getting up for work/school every day. Something. Anything.
4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
Funny you should mention that! I’m going to do National Novel Writing Month this year (the last few years life has been against me doing it) and my novel will be in the YA genre, which I’ve never done before. I like to try something different with every novel and I think this will be a definite challenge. It will definitely be different! lol!
5. You’ve participated in the Labor Day 3-Day Novel Contest; could you share a little about your experiences?
It was a pretty manic experience each time I’ve done it. Three days of little sleep, way too much caffeine and sugar, and exacerbated carpal tunnel syndrome from too much typing. Creatively speaking, though, it’s a powerhouse. There’s something about all that pressure to produce in such a very limited time that just makes the words come out. Of course, having an outline and character sketches ahead of time makes it a hell of a lot easier, which I found out the hard way one year. hehehe.
You can find Nancy on the Web at her WordPress blog, or on Twitter.  Her published works can be found here at Amazon.com.