Interview with Terry D. Scheerer
By: Myth Master

Hey Gang! Welcome to our new "Interview Section", which we hope to bring you every three or four months or whenever we can get someone to sit still long enough for us to talk to. Herein, we will interview a writer or artist and have them share their views on how they got started, how they work and whatever else they feel like telling us. Our Myth Master will conduct the interviews and to get this section started, we cornered someone who was easy to pin down--a regular contributor to "World of Myth" and our very own Editor in Chief, Terry D. Scheerer. This interview was actually a surprise to our EIC, but I think he will cooperate. So, here we go.

M.M. Hello, Terry. How are you doing, today?

TDS. Hey, who let you in here?

M.M. Uh, it's me. The Myth Master. I'm supposed to interview you for this issue of "World of Myth".

TDS. Nobody told me anything about this.

M.M. Yeah, I know. It was kind of a last minute thing. Surprise!

TDS. So, am I getting paid for this?

M.M. Uh, not that I'm aware of.

TDS. Great. All right, what do you want?

M.M. Just to ask you some questions about your writing. You know, what you like to write about, how you got started. That sort of thing. Stuff our readers might be interested in.

TDS. Okay, go ahead.

M.M. All right. So, when did you first start writing?

TDS. I wrote my first story when I was eleven years old. It was for a class project. Our teacher read us a story in class and told each of us to write our own story using that main character as our protagonist.

M.M. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

TDS. Well, I've always enjoyed telling stories. I used to make up stories to tell my classmates during recess, even back in grade school. As I got older, I started writing them down, mostly just for my own amusement.

M.M. Did you ever try to sell any of those stories?

TDS. Eventually. There was a time, when I was younger, that I sent out a few stories for publication consideration, but I didn't have any real training back then, so all I managed to do was collect a batch of rejection notices.

M.M. Did that turn you away from writing?

TDS. No, but it pissed me off, naturally enough. I mean, nobody likes to be rejected, but I realized those rejections just meant that my writing obviously didn't have the quality editors were looking for.

M.M. So, what did you do about that?

TDS. I took some writing courses in college, which really helped, believe me. You see, I always had a lot of ideas for stories and I could tell them easily enough and people seemed to be entertained by them. What I didn't realize, until after I took those classes, was that there is a big difference between being a 'story teller' and being a writer.

M.M. Really. And you overcame that problem?

TDS. I'm still trying to overcome it. Every time I write another story, I learn something else about writing. Every time I read a new book, I learn something else about writing and I try to incorporate this knowledge into formulating ideas for my own stories. Even so, a lot of my ideas never make it past that initial planning stage.

M.M. Speaking of that, where do you get the ideas for your stories?

TDS. Anyplace and everyplace, I guess. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open. I've gotten ideas for stories from TV commercials, from dreams, from everyday life. One of my stories that appears in this issue, "The Ladder", I wrote a few years ago after seeing a picture in a magazine. It was a picture of a guy just carrying an old, wooden ladder through this huge, empty field of knee high grass and I wondered, 'What the hell is he going to do with a ladder in that empty field?' So, I wrote a story about what I thought he might have been doing. Sometimes you just have to say, 'I wonder what would happen if...' and then write about it.

M.M. Wow, cool. So, when did you sell your first story?

TDS. Well, there was quite a bit of lag time between when I started writing and when I actually 'started writing'.

M.M. What do you mean?

TDS. I got married when I was in college, so I had other things to occupy my mind than writing--you know, a job, family responsibilities, stuff like that. I still wrote stories occasionally, but never did anything about it at the time. Oh, over the years I had a few jobs where I wrote 'copy' for some magazines, but that wasn't the kind of writing I really wanted to do. Then, a few years ago, I got so frustrated with my life, my job, with pretty much everything, that I wanted to make a change. So, I decided to actually try writing, for real.

M.M. How so?

TDS. I made a concentrated effort to write stories and send them out to publications, with the firm intention of selling something. What I wanted to do was be able to--someday--actually survive off my writing abilities. You know, have the opportunity to make a living by doing something I really liked, instead of just having a job that only paid the bills.

M.M. How did that go?

TDS. The only thing I managed to do was add to my collection of rejection notices. I discovered that my writing was still lacking...something, so I enrolled in another writing class to polish my skills. I also bought every recent collection of short stories I could lay my hands on that contained the types of stories I wanted to write, so I could get an idea about what editors were looking for.

M.M. Did that help?

TDS. It helped to piss me off even more, because most of the stories I was reading in those collections I found to be either dull, uninteresting or down right crap. Of course, that was just my personal opinion. The editors of those books and magazines must have had other views about those stories.

M.M. What did you do about that?

TDS. Well, I finally decided that if editors wanted stories that were 'crap', I would oblige them. So, I wrote my own story about crap and sent it off. Turned out that story was my first sale.

M.M. Really?

TDS. Yep. That was a few years ago. It was called "The Dragon Hunters" and that story has been reprinted twice since then, including in the first issue of "World of Myth".

M.M. Great. Speaking of your work in "World of Myth", a couple of months ago you posted a story entitled, "Adrift" and it was called your best story, ever. I've heard that a submission in this issue might be even better. What are your thoughts on that?

TDS. Well, those might be rather arbitrary statements, I think. I mean, no one has seen all of my work. "Adrift" may have been the best story I've posted on the "World of Myth", but that story was written in about three hours, just a week before I submitted it to the site. The story in this issue you may be talking about, "To Dance with the Dead", was written over thirty years ago, in a completely different style and when I was in an entirely different emotional place and it's based on true events that actually happened to me when I was somewhat younger. As for it being the better story, I guess the readers will have to decide that.

M.M. So, you write different kinds of stories. What do you like to write about and how do you decide what kind of story to write?

TDS. I write whatever my Muse of the moment tells me to write about. I really enjoy Fantasy and Horror, but I've written some Science Fiction stories and even a couple of children's stories. I also write poetry, but I have to be in a certain frame of mind to do that and it's usually dark and tortured, although occasionally, like the submissions in this issue, my poetry takes on a lighter, more humorous note. Basically, I write what I feel. Sometimes that's good and other times it's quite bad.

M.M. All right. If I may, I'd like to change the subject just a bit. I know in this issue's "FYI", Mr. Montoya talks about "The Underground to Nowhere", his new comic. Can you give our readers a little more insight into that project?

TDS. No. It's a secret. But, I think readers will be pleasantly surprised with what they find in both the story line and the art work.

M.M. Okay. (Pause) Well, Mr. Montoya has stated that he feels this is the best story he has ever done and it has a lot to do with the pointers you have given him regarding his writing. What's your take on that?

TDS. All I've really tried to do was have him slow down and think through what he wanted to say in his writing. He has a lot of good ideas, but has just had a little trouble bringing them out into the open. Writing is a growing process. One is rarely born with the innate talent to write--it is something that is learned, over time and through many trial and error episodes. It's like learning to walk, okay? You start out with baby steps and usually spend as much time on your ass as you do actually stumbling around. But, with practice, you learn how to balance on your own two feet and eventually you find yourself walking on your own. I'm just offering a helping hand, here and there, until he feels more comfortable out there by himself.

M.M. I see. All right, let's move back to the site, once again. How involved were you with the revision of "World of Myth"?

TDS. Very little, actually. Mr. Montoya wanted to change the direction of the site, somewhat, to perhaps reach a larger audience and asked my opinion on a few things. So, I offered some suggestions as to new sections and content, stuff like that, but this was and is his baby. I'm very pleased that he asked me to be a part of this project, however. I've had a lot of fun working with him, so far, and it has also given me the opportunity to get back into writing, once again.

M.M. Good. So, you have stories published on a regular basis, now?

TDS. Look. There's something that you and the readers need to understand. Unless you are a well known, well established writer--which, by the way, I am not, as yet--of all the stories you send out for publication consideration, about 90% to 95% of them are going to come back to you. Yes, I've had some other stories published, and if you're lucky, you might get one story accepted for every ten or twelve you send out. That's a given in this trade and anyone who wants to become a writer needs to realize that, up front. Don't get me wrong, I love writing. It's just about the most fun you can have by yourself--well, okay, maybe it's the second most fun thing--but regardless, it's also one of the hardest jobs I've ever tried doing. It takes a lot of courage, patience, hard work and frustration to get anywhere in this business, but it's all worth it, if you have a tough skin and can stick it out.

M.M. I see. So, what does 2005 hold in store for the readers of "World of Myth"?

TDS. I'm not sure. We have a lot of ideas, floating around, some of which we would like to try out. I'm really looking forward to the "Myth Factor", if we can get that off the ground. Plus, there may be a cartoon section added to the Art Gallery, sometime soon. We'd also like to see more reader participation, you know? We would like to have more contributions to the site--stories, artwork, poetry, or even ideas about what the readers would like to see presented on the site. We're open to suggestions. I know many readers were disappointed when the site moved away from a comix format, but I think we may soon see a comic revival within the pages of "World of Myth", especially with "The Underground to Nowhere" coming out soon. I'm pretty sure Mr. Montoya has missed doing comix and he has really jumped back into this project with both feet and is having a lot of fun doing it.

M.M. All right. I think that may be it, Terry. Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us.

TDS. No problem. You sure I'm not getting paid for this?

M.M. Uh, I really don't think so.

TDS. Swell. Just close the door on your way out, then, will ya?

M.M. Uh, sure. Well, thanks again.

TDS. Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

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