Interview with Victory Crayne, Independent
Hey! Hey! To all of you out there in fiction
land. This month's article is meant to "open
a door" to those of you who might be seeking
outside assistance to improve or polish your
This interview has a great deal of "nuts and
bolts,' explaining how you should analyze your
manuscript. It's not often a novice writer can
get some FREE advise directly from an editor.
Victory has helped hundreds of writers in the
past twelve years. So, take a few minutes to
read what she has to say.
What is an independent editor?
Victory Crayne: An editor who works
directly for the writer, not the publishing
Mike: Why should a writer use an independent
Victory: They are very skilled at helping
writers improve their manuscripts. A novice
storyteller tends to make many mistakes while
writing their first novel. An experienced editor
can take a "so, so story" and turn it into a
more finely tuned, interesting and sellable
Today, due to the horrendous number of manuscript
submissions forwarded to agents and publishers,
they look for any excuse to "give it a pass,"
which often results in it being rejected. So,
to avoid this happening, it's very important
that a manuscript be professionally prepared
and edited. This also means everything leading
up to the manuscript, such as: the query or
cover letter, book proposal, and synopsis.
With the present economy and the decline of
book sales, agents and publishers are looking
for manuscripts that don't require a great deal
of time and money to get them to the marketplace.
Mike: Whom have you worked for as an editor?
Victory: I've been an editor for Behler
Mike: Wow! If my memory serves me correctly,
they're members of the Publishing Marketing
Association and Independent Book Publishers
Association. They publish high quality literature
and their books are available through Baker
& Taylor and Brodart. Both companies are known
worldwide for the quality products.
Mike: What other literary entities have
you been associated with?
Victory: I'm the past president of the
Southern California Writers Association and
am the current president of the SFNovelist.com,
a critique group for science fiction writers.
I'm also a member of Spawn (Small Publishers,
Artists and Writers Network).
Mike: Why do you think most writers write
three or four novels before getting published?
Victory: Let me try to explain it this
way: A novice writer gets an idea for a story,
quite possibly from a real life experience,
and rushes to write pages. In their haste, they
don't take the time to realize that a book consists
of a beginning, a middle and an end, and that
careful study should go into developing the
plot and characters of their story.
Thinking they have finished the Great American
Novel, novice writers forward their rough work
to agents or publishers. They wait and usually
the results are a rejection. They often repeat
the same process many times. After a while,
it finally dawns on them that they need professional
Mike: Victory, are you also a writer?
Victory: Yes. I've written two novels.
Mike: Were they published?
Victory: No, not yet. But, I've written
dozens of short stories, a few of which have
won contests. I've also written articles on
how to craft good fiction.
Mike: I understand that you are a guest
speaker for writers' groups?
Victory: Yes. I have several dates pending
for the coming year.
Mike: At these events, what is the most
frequent question you get asked?
Victory: It's not always asked in the
same way, but it comes down to "How can a writer
capture a reader's attention in the first few
pages and make them want to keep turning pages?"
Mike: And your answer is?
Victory: Start the story just before
or during a crisis, which should present a hint
of a conflict. Introduce the story's protagonist
and begin using dialogue as soon as possible.
What it boils down to is creating "tension."
That's what the reader wants and that's what
Create a potent struggle between the protagonist
and the antagonist. Don't be afraid to interject
their strengths and weaknesses. Shape their
characters carefully, sometimes allowing fear
to be part of their physical make-up or personalities.
Don't be afraid to place the hero or heroine
in peril. Remember, "tension" is the key to
keeping a reader turning pages.
A lot of energy and time went into creating
"your story." Be sure to place emphasis on where
the story takes place and enter into the plot
real problems that people face in their lives.
In another words, try to get the reader to relate
to something in the story. This helps to bind
the reader to the story.
Mike: Last, but not least, what do you think
is the biggest mistake novice writers make?
Victory: Ha! It basically comes down
to punctuation and the proper use of the English
language. These are two of the best reasons
why a novice writer should get professional
help right from the very beginning, or should
I say, at the end of their first novel, before
they submit it to an agent or publisher.
Mike: Well, this interview has been most
interesting. I thank you for your candor and
Victory: If your readers have any questions,
they can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If they visit my website,
Victory Page for Fiction Writers, they'll
find a wide range of resources for writers to
go with more information about me and the services
I can offer them.