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Victoria Griffin

Victoria is a simple creature, fond of books and peanut butter. She writes, reads, and edits. Sometimes for money. Sometimes for fun. And sometimes because the voices in her head tell her to.

Her home is East Tennessee (think mountains and Dolly Parton). In the last four years, Victoria has attended universities in Indiana and North Carolina, but those Smoky Mountains are where her heart is.

She's played softball her whole life, including DI college ball. She's a die-hard Yankees fan and may or may not have cried when Jeter retired.

Victoria is terrified of ladders, though not heights. She loves dark chocolate and dark coffee. She has an unhealthy obsession with Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And she will always choose vinyl over digital.

MOST IMPORTANTLY What kind of entries are you looking for in your Pitch to Publication query box?
  • I am interested in adult fiction only.
  • Genres: suspense, horror, and literary fiction. Work that blurs the lines between these genres is especially welcome.
  • I’m not much for slashers and gore-fests. Give me character-driven narratives with psychological elements. Give me unreliable narrators and characters with deep, engrossing backstories.
  • Bonus points for southern settings. But I do not want to see flat, stereotypical southern characters.
  • I tend to shy away from ghosts, vampires, werewolves, or anything else a ten-year-old might dress up as for Halloween.
  • I am not interested in fantasy or sci-fi.
What is your writing and editing background?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I still have a folder of slightly unsettling horror stories from third grade. I published my first piece of short fiction my junior year of high school. Since then, I’ve placed over forty pieces in literary journals and magazines. I spent a year of my undergraduate degree studying creative writing at the University of Evansville, before graduating from Campbell University with a B.A. in English. After graduating, I delved into the world of freelance editing—one of the most rewarding choices I’ve made to date. I’ve had opportunities to work with a range of styles and genres, from flash fiction to novel-length works, and many of the writers I’ve worked with have become great friends.

What are your major editing accomplishments?

I'm proud of each and every piece I have worked with. There is no better feeling than returning a piece to a writer, knowing that it is better than the version I received. To list my editing accomplishments, I would need to list each piece I have worked with. I am also proud of each writer who has said they’ve learned from working with me and have, in the process, become better editors of their own work.

Do you have a general philosophy for how you approach your editing work?

I try to see the work as a reader first. I find a major challenge when editing my own work is silencing my creator side—the part that wants to focus on character backstories and extended metaphors. Especially during the early stages of editing, when we’re focusing on the big-picture, I pay most attention to my reactions as a reader. If my reactions are not matching up with the writer’s vision, we need to make changes. During later stages of editing, when we’re focusing on smaller, stylistic details, I take a ruthless approach. Oftentimes, we as writers are gentle with our words, but an editor can make the difficult decisions and harsh changes in order to better the work. That’s what it’s all about, after all, and I keep that thought in the forefront of my mind at all times. Each and every change I make should improve the work.

What types of books do you enjoy working with?

I love working with horror and suspense novels. A literary feel or a southern setting is a plus. I’m a fan of work that blurs lines between genres and of sensory writing that makes me feel the scene. I also love working with developed, interesting characters who I love to hate or hate to love, and I like to see characters’ choices driving the plot, rather than characters being pushed and pulled through the narrative like props.

What are the most common mistakes you see in new writer's ​work?

The number one mistake I see is the use of excess words. If the same idea can be conveyed using fewer words, it should be. Of course, allowances must be made for connotation and sometimes for the general flow of the work, but many new writers toss around the terms “flow” and “personal style” as though they excuse any stylistic choices that obscure meaning or even incorrect grammar. Another mistake I often see is an overdose of backstory, especially in the first few chapters. These “exposition dumps” draw the reader out of the story, and there is always a way to convey the information in scene.

What’s the one thing most novelists don’t understand about the art of revision?

Like writing, revision is a craft and requires practice. Just as time creates stronger writing, it creates stronger revision skills. There is nothing wrong with spending large amounts of time revising work; in fact, I would never attempt to revise a piece in one pass. With each pass of each work, the piece becomes better, and you become more skilled in the art of revision. Another way to improve your skills, which many writers neglect, is to practice with others’ work. Beta reading and even mentally editing while reading for pleasure are fantastic ways to better your craft.

What’s one easy thing every writer can do right now to make themselves a better writer?

Divide yourself into three people: the writer, the editor, and the submitter. Do not let any of these three people influence the others. Write instinctively, edit analytically, and submit with ferocity and the thickest skin you can wear. Okay, this might not be easy, but it will certainly make you a better writer.

What is the most important consideration in selecting a book editor?

The relationship between a writer and editor goes far beyond genre considerations. I always spend time conversing with potential clients—by exchanging emails or over the phone—to confirm that we mesh well and have clear lines of communication. I mentioned before that my number one job as an editor is to ensure that the reader experience matches the authorial intention. Open and accurate communication between editor and writer is essential for doing so. If I am unable to understand what the writer is telling me about his or her book, I have no way of passing along that information to the reader. When choosing a book editor, always make sure your work is compatible with his or her interests and skill set, but make sure you are compatible, as well.

Why would a writer need a book editor?

Book editors are in a unique position. They have the perspective of a reader and grammatical/stylistic skill sets beyond most writers. That means they are able to edit objectively and to make difficult decisions without the distraction of the writer’s closeness to the work, and they are able to edit with precision and to find mistakes and oversights in the copy, which even experienced writers often miss.

What do you do for fun that does not deal with the literary scene?

I am a former college softball player so most of my non-literary fun involves exercise. I take plenty of long runs and spend many hours in the weight room. I also enjoy hiking the Tennessee mountains and watching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Seriously, we need to know your favorite meal and why?

My favorite meal is breakfast. Why? Coffee, of course! Plus, what other meal of the day is it socially acceptable to fill your plate with dessert? Pancakes, syrup, muffins, waffles. Excuse me, I think I need breakfast for dinner.

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