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Writer's Digest presents an excerpt from my webinar, "Three Secrets of the Greats: Structure Your Story for Ultimate Reader Addiction."

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers, interviews me about storytelling, writing, independent editing, and the difference between literary fiction and genre, with an impromptu exercise on her own Work-in-Progress.

Editing client Stu Wakefield, author of the Kindle #1 Best Seller Body of Water, talks about our work together on Memory of Water, the second novel of his Water trilogy.






  • By Victoria Mixon

    It looks like I may have opened a can of worms by suggesting the writers would like input. I’m going to clarify the purpose of the comments for these Edits:

    The comments are for patting each other on the back, giving each other that little hair-raising shot of praise that makes publication worthwhile. You can ask questions and discuss subject choice and genre, too. Anything that would feel good to the author.

    However, the comments are not for amateur critiques. I’m sorry, folks, this is not a critique group. This is a professional editing blog, differentiating between good writing advice and bad writing advice so aspiring writers know they can count on what they learn here. Unless you are a professional editor (sometimes even when you are), I’m afraid you are not qualified to give this advice. The last thing I want is to disseminate writing advice under the guise of amateur critiquing. And I don’t have time to correct all the mistaken advice any or all of you might have absorbed from sundry sources and be willing to pass on.

    THERE’S A LOT OF BAD ADVICE OUT THERE.

    This is your safe place.

    If you’re interested in joining a group under my supervision, I do run Workshops. There are several operating right now, one under-enrolled. Please feel free to contact me about getting in on a reduced fee for the remaining weeks.

    On the blog, let’s stick to praise and discussion about ideas and support.

    Please–leave the critiquing to me.

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    7 Comments

    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories


    A. VICTORIA MIXON, FREELANCE INDEPENDENT EDITOR

    VICTORIA’S ADVICE COLUMN

    7 Comments

7 Responses to “Commenting on HOOKS”

  1. Perhaps you’d like to give examples of what you consider critiquing versus non-critiquing, so people can be absolutely clear about what they’re not to do.

  2. Critiquing is giving advice. I’m not going to get too specific, because I’m not going to embarrass anybody whose comments are already out there. We can all assume I mean somebody else.

    Praise is easy!

    Victoria

  3. Great reminder! I’ve enjoyed looking over the critiques you have given. Still trying to decide if I’m brave enough to put mine in the hat! In the meantime, I’m very appreciative of the time you’re putting into this.

  4. Thank you, Lady Glamis! I appreciate the appreciation!

    And, yes, do throw yours into the hat. We’re getting lots more entries this week than we did last week. It’s going to be a busy day next Monday.

    Victoria

  5. So if you don’t like it, don’t say anything? 🙂

    As my dear old mum used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

    Then again, I never did listen to her advice!

  6. I cringe everytime I see someone ‘critique’ a story on a blog or an online ezine. The comment section should be for kudos. Unsolicited advice is worse than wrong. Thank you for pointing out the difference.

  7. Pretty much, Alan. I’d like to do a Miss Snark—people do seem to love a Roman Holiday—but I honestly don’t have the heart to open it up to crossfire.

    As MY mother used to say, “Stop that before someone gets hurt.”

    Not that we ever listened to her, either.

    Victoria




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Authors


MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .


SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .


LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .


BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .


SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .


SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .


M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .


DARREN D. BEYER is an ex-NASA experiment engineer who has worked on every Space Shuttle orbiter but Challenger. In his sci-fi Anghazi Series, Beyer uses his scientific expertise to create a galaxy in which “space bridges” allow interstellar travel based upon the latest in real theoretical physics. Read more. . .


ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .


STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .


GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .


JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .


LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez’ debut novel The Shoebox and second novel The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .


JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .


LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .


ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .


ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .


In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

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