Feb 23, 2011

Super Super-Editor Victoria

Before we begin, the Lovecats just want acknowledge what a heart-wrenching time this is for Christchurch, for Canterbury and for New Zealand. Our thoughts are very much with everyone affected by this tragedy.

On a different note, we are very fortunate today to have my fabulous Superromance editor, Victoria Curran as our guest blogger. She has come to give us an insight into the editorial process from proposal to published novel, something every writer can benefit from!

Victoria, with proposals, what is the relationship between query letter, chapters and synopsis? Which do you read first?

Unsolicited proposals go through a freelance editor first and when his critique comes in, I check only to see his ultimate recommendation (contract, second read, reject with encouragement, reject—not

suitable for Superromance). Then I read the author’s sample chapters. After that, I read the synopsis to get an understanding of what the author had been trying to do with the chapters (the two don’t always match and that can be quite insightful!). I read the query letter briefly before I dig into the editor’s criticism. He assesses four areas: writing style, characterization, story inconsistencies and contrivances, and plot and conflict.

I know that other lines, such as Special Edition in our New York office, rely on query letters and synopses, without sample chapters, to decide if the author should submit the full—but our line doesn’t put much weight in query letters. We like to see how well the writer did what they set out to do in the opening of their book. If they excelled and the voice is fresh and the story meets our line’s requirement, then we ask for the full manuscript.

Do you know within the first page whether you like the voice? Are you always definite or do you land up with a lot of "maybes"?

I’ve heard editors say they can tell in the first sentence whether they like the voice or not. I’m not quite so skilled! (Although I do appreciate a good opening line.) I can usually tell the level of craft the author has immediately, which three chapters will confirm. But the strongest wordsmiths aren’t always the strongest storytellers, and the synopsis is key to indicating the writer’s grasp of structure and Superromance’s specific needs. I’ve seen charming stories with writing that flows, but there’s not enough romantic tension and unexpected choices, which means the romance falls flat.

Long story short: I end up with a lot of maybes where the writing isn’t the strongest but the story could work, or the writing is gifted but the story’s structure is weak. In these cases, I request a revision to check the author’s ability to grasp the kind of characterization and tension we need in a good Superromance. My favourite moments on the job are when I get a revision from an author that exceeds my expectations.

In the query letter, does the mention of competition wins help?

Sorry, but not with me, I’m afraid! The proof is in the pudding, as it were. I like to know if I’ve personally met the author at a conference pitch and I enjoy reading about the writer (having a web

site is almost a given nowadays), but ultimately it’s all about the execution of the work.

What is your process when it comes to giving authors feedback both on proposals and on fulls? Do you see this stage as clear guidance or a broad set of suggestions for the author?

I write margin notes as I read, which I then write up and e-mail the author—discussion to follow once they’ve had a chance to digest the notes. I like to step back from the work for a day or two after I’ve read a full so I can see the forest through the trees. If I have time, I structure my critique to point out any bigger issues first and then to follow up with the smaller stuff in chronological order.

I don’t necessarily care if an author hasn’t taken my previous suggestions to heart—but I do hope they’ve found a way to make the weak areas work. Ideally, I won’t even remember what I thought was a weak spot because it’s not weak anymore. But if I remember the weak spot—because it leaps out at me again—I keep at the author to find a different alternative than I’d previously suggested, to rethink it.

What are the common pitfalls for authors?

Wow, that’s a tough one. Often a main character’s motives aren’t urgent or active enough and that hero or heroine can seem too passive, not driven toward getting what he or she wants badly enough. This can happen when an obstacle to love only exists in the character’s internalization (they date, think they shouldn’t be dating…maybe because they have a secret the other doesn’t know about and they should really tell them, but they’re not going to quite yet…and then they date again) or when their life is in the pits when the book begins so they have nothing to lose in loving the other character, nowhere to go but up. And that lack of high stakes obstacle can lead to a less-than-exciting read because there’s no active romantic tension. (Much more exciting when both the hero and heroine have something precious they don’t want to lose at any cost, but loving each other might mean they have to lose it.)

Authors are urged to raise the stakes. How can we do this in contemporary romance?

In plotting where characters get to know each other, go out horseback riding or to dinner or to the pub or church fund-raiser, it’s much, much more difficult to reach the level of excitement and high stakes that you can—obviously—when there’s a villain with a gun chasing a heroine, or the hero and heroine are on a sinking ship…. The trick in writing contemporary fiction that’s grounded in reality and character-driven, is to make a scene about cooking dinner together as tense and risk-filled as a gun-to-the-head scene. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s necessary if you want a reader to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next! (And it shouldn’t be “on the nose” writing, where the scene really is about what the scene appears to be about…which vegetables the heroine will chop up for her stew and will the hero offer to set the table. There has to be deeper subtext and goals within a domestic scene, where one character comes away the victor from that dinner and the other comes away the loser.)

Do clichés abound?

I don’t know if it’s possible to write a cliché-free story (how many ways are there to say two people fell in love or one person broke another person’s heart?), and I’m even beginning to wonder what a cliché is anymore.

Simpler writing is often more truthful, more poignant, so “her heart broke” is a cliché that works for me if it flows naturally out of the story. It’s when an author relies too heavily on clichés and what I call “torturing” them to try to create something fresh (for instance, “shards of her broken heart seemed to pierce through her lungs so she couldn’t breathe”), that the cliché calls attention to itself and distracts the reader from the story.

Not sure if this falls under the category of cliché, but in trying to avoid adverbs (which have a bad rep nowadays), authors often write wordier adverbial phrases. “She said sharply” becomes “she said in a sharp tone”. In trying to write “more actively”, authors become convoluted and repetitive. “She felt cold” becomes “A cold wave swept through her middle”.

An editor will clean up clichés in a line edit, but I often point out the most glaring use of them in a revision letter so the author can choose how to clean them up herself without editor interference. But I would hate for a writer to get bogged down and unable to write their story because they’re worried about style. Write the story first, worry about clichés and repetitive phrasing after.

To what extent do you see the book as a collaboration between author and editor, given you know what Super readers are looking for?

It’s definitely a collaboration, but I never think “oh, that’s Zana and my book”— it’s only “Zana’s book” as far as I’m concerned. I have deep respect and admiration for authors’ creation process. All I do is critique and nudge! How easy do I have it???

Have you ever had instances where, despite author's efforts, they simply cannot produce what you feel is a publishable super?

Yes, and it’s a frustrating stage, for both the author and me. No matter how successful an author is within the line, there seems to come a time when a book they propose can’t get to contract. Hopefully we can find a way to work it out in a new proposal. Once a book is contracted, though, the story has been Superromance-approved and we’ve never rejected anything past that stage.

How closely do you like to work with authors at this stage? Do you bounce ideas around together or do you give suggestions and it’s up to the author to run with them?

Some editors are better at brainstorming ideas than others. I need to see words on a page, I’m not good at over-the-phone brainstorming. I’m also much better at editing ideas than generating them…guess that I was born to be an editor. I love to sit with Wanda Ottewell and “what if” back and forth. I find we’re able to let go of the original ideas more easily and see bigger-picture solutions than the author because we’re not as close to it.

The line edits are very exacting. Is it a tightrope walk?

I confess that the line edit stage isn’t much fun…and it’s utterly exhausting. But it’s also immensely satisfying to put the line-by-line work into a story and focus it into lean-and-mean fighting form. Once a line edit is done, that’s when I think, “That’s my favourite book ever”. And then I start the next line edit, cursing and grumbling until it’s over, and then it becomes my new favourite book. Wicked cycle.

The tightrope during a line edit is explaining your changes to the author without beating an author over the head! Saying too much in margin notes can put authors on the defensive. You’re talking about their creation, after all.

What keeps you in the job?

*Honestly? A steady pay cheque! But I also love working with words, always have, and I am devoted to seeing my authors get ahead.

How many novels are you working on right at this moment? How do you juggle them?

I’ve got a full that just came in for Harlequin American Romance; I’ve sent one author revision notes on her first book in a trilogy and have to read and get her notes on the second book soon. I have several unsolicited books to read (three fulls and about 15 partials), and proposals from three of my authors. We work at home one day a week, which is when I usually line edit or read a full. Otherwise, I juggle based on closest deadlines!

What can authors do to make their editors' lives easier?

Keep reading and studying the craft of writing. There are some excellent books out there, including Stephen King’s On Writing and Robert McKee’s Story. And keeping up with what other Superromance authors are writing certainly can’t hurt.

Thank you so much, Victoria, for sharing with us today. The glimpse into your world (the other side of the desk, as it were!) has been fascinating and invaluable.

Victoria will be happy to reply to comments or questions so please post away. However, be aware that, because of the time differences, you may have to wait until tomorrow for a response. Even super-busy editors have to sleep sometimes!

I will be giving away two copies of “Tempting the Negotiator” (Cataromance Reviewers Award 2010) in celebration of having such a great guest to the blog!

PS The photo at the top is Victoria with Beth Andrews, RITA winner.


  1. All excellent questions, Zana. I love peeking behind the scenes. And, Victoria is a true professional and extremely insightful in her edits. I was very happy to work with her on a connected series. Anyone for a game of poker? ;-)

    Also, let me add my deep felt concern and good wishes for the people of New Zealand over this terrible tragedy.

    Deb Salonen

  2. Firstly, my thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake in Christchurch. The footage and news coming from NZ is as devastating as the coverage of our Australian floods & cyclone Yasi.

    A horrendous time for the whole nation. I hope everyone in Christchurch and those who have family and friends there are safe or coping. I'll be thinking of you all in the coming days.

    On a lighter note, what a fantastic interview, Zana! And thank you Victoria for sharing so much information - it was a great read.

    I'm curious to know more about the cover and back jacket blurb process. Where does that fit in the process and how do the author and editor work together with that? Do they or is it an entirely different department who take care of that?

    All I can say is what an involved process from start to finish. It's certainly an eye opener - I find friends who don't know the process think it's just a matter of contracting a book then "getting it published" but there's so much more to it than that and when you explain some of the steps involved they look at you all boggle-eyed! *grin*

    Thanks again for a very valuable interview, Zana & Victoria!

  3. Terrific blog, Victoria and Zana. I feel fortunate to have Victoria as my editor. And let me tell you, she can really spot a cliche or a rep. :)

    I'm holding the folks at Christ Church in my thoughts.


  4. Hi Deb and Carrie

    Lovely to meet two more of Victoria's authors and I know exactly what you mean about cliches. She can spot them at 20 paces!

    Thank you for your kind thoughts at this time.

  5. Kylie

    It's so great to see the support rolling in from Australia. There happened to be a group of Melbourne doctors over on conference and they swung into work almost immediately. Really wonderful to see.

    As to the process, I still feel a bit boggle-eyed myself about it all. I'm very grateful to have Victoria guiding me through. She may be able to shed more light onto the cover/blurb aspects.

  6. My thoughts and prayers are with the people in Christchurch and New Zealand.

    I enjoyed seeing what an editor does. It's amazing how it's so different than what one thinks. But editing does sound interesting. Do you ever feel you see the same story line repeated by too many authors? How do you get someone to change an overdone storyline? How do you get an author to give you a different ending to an overdone storyline?

  7. New Zealand and Christchurch, we're thinking of you, and holding your hands across the water.

    Victoria, thanks so much for visiting the LoveCats! And thanks, too, for the insight into the editing process. Fascinating!

  8. Mother nature has certainly left her mark this year. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy that struck NZ yesterday. In particular, I hope all my NZ writing friends and their families are staying safe.

    And before I forget, Zana, I have Tempting the Negotiator (which I loved) so don't put me in the draw :)

    Thanks Zana and Victoria for such an enlightening interview. It was interesting (and a relief ) to note your comments on competition wins and query letters, Victoria.

    I was wondering, about how many pages do you expect a synopsis to be?

  9. Hi Zana and Victoria, great interview with lots of detail that was helpful even to those of us who've been through the process and come out the other side with a published book... Your comments about raising the stakes in a scene with a mundane setting are a good reminder.

  10. Hi, everybody! I'm checking in from home in front of my cozy, fake fire...but I'm fending off a cat who adores my new laptop, so be prepared for crazy typoes periodically.

    I have to say first, we're all watching the news about the earthquake and Christchurch, and our hearts go out to everyone affected. It must be hard to think "writing" at a time like this.

    Okay, easy question first: synopses. As hard as they are for writers to write, they're just as difficult to read. It takes a great deal of concentration to keep track of the emotional and action triggers, etc., which is the only reason I recommend shorter rather than longer. Ten pages is a safe number, but if you can get your key moments across in less, great. If you need more, no worries, that's okay too. Whatever you need to say what you've got to say, keeping in mind that it's a concentrated read for us editors!

    Let me go back and see what else was said...


  11. As far as seeing the same story repeatedly, content seems to come in waves. A couple years ago there was a trend toward heroes who were brothers of the heroines' deceased or ex-husbands. Currently, there seem to be a lot of wedding planner heroines, chef/cooking-related main characters and heroes with post-traumatic stress disorder, often stemming from time served overseas in combat. But usually authors bring their own unique style of storytelling and while the books may share the same themes, they are by no means the same story.

    Wanda, as senior editor, approves all contracts, which means she's able to monitor the different editors' books. If there are far too many similarities in stories, we'll point that out to an author before we go to contract and see if there are ways to create more distinction.

    Back in a minute!


  12. Hi, Kylie!

    Ah, covers. They're so critical in selling a book at retail, and everybody works very hard to get them right.... It begins with the author. We ask her to fill out a form called an Art Fact Sheet detailing characters (their personalities and appearances), plot and setting, and describing two or three scenes from the book.

    The editor goes over the AFS and approves it, presenting the book--with art fact sheet in hand--at a meeting of that month's editors with the art director, senior editor and marketing coordinator. Based on presentations of the six books that month (trying to vary images so not all are indoors, not all are on front porches, etc.), the art director sketches out mock covers.

    The covers are then shot by a photographer, using models, in New York City, so unfortunately we don't get to be part of that because we're based out of Toronto. But the art director works his magic with the photos, and editors get a chance to approve them. Again, relying on the author's art fact sheet, we try to make sure heroines have the right hair colour (although we can never seem to get poor Ellen Hartman's redheads red...except when they're supposed to be blondes), that the hero doesn't look 15, and there are no palm trees in Ohio...that kind of thing!

    I hope that gives you some insight into the cover images.


  13. Hi,

    I agree with Abby, this was a great interview. I've read interviews with editors before, but the questions asked here were terrific, and of course, Victoria's answers were insightful.

    I've got Robert McKee's Story on my list of books to read this year. I hope I can learn some things to make your life easier, Victoria! :-)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    P.S. I thought my heroine looked lovely with her blonde hair, but I was AMAZED at the magic done by the art department to turn her into a red head. I wonder what the model will think of her new look if she should happen to see the book. In fact, I wonder if the cover models know the titles of the books they're on. Do you know if they have that info?

  14. Hi Victoria and Zana,

    I just recommended this interview to a writing friend of mine who is targeting Supers. Excellent information. I always learn something when I read editor interviews/responses, e.g. don't send in blank pages instead of an ending.

    On a side note, I have a laptop adoring cat also. She settles on the keyboard as I try to type, then blinks at me innocently.

    My thoughts are with those affected by the disaster.


  15. Hi Victoria

    So wonderful of you to share your insights with all of us. It is always interesting to hear directly from the source, so to speak. Are you actively looking to acquire Super novels at the moment?

    Chris Taylor

  16. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts for those of us in NZ. It's a terrible tragedy and I'm very lucky that all my family are safe and together.

    Thanks so much for this blog, Victoria and Zana. I've really enjoyed learning about the editing process.

    One quick question for Victoria. What would you like to see with the new word-count? More sub-plots? Different story development?

    As the very lucky owner of TTN I don't need to go in the draw. {:o)

    Barb J G

  17. Hi Victoria, Great post. It's a small consolation that editors aren't crazy about synopses, either. Note to self: try to cut down my 18 page synopsis to 10 pages. As for cats, mine likes to lurk at the side of my desk then leap up and race across, trampling my keyboard as she streaks past and off the other side. She's pure black so maybe she thinks she's a Ninja cat.

    Zana, fantastic cover! Wow. That book is going to fly off the shelves.

  18. Hi to Deb, Carrie, Abby, Ellen and Jeannie! Feels very odd to be communicating with Supers authors at 9 at night...you're only supposed to haunt my dreams (kidding!).

    Barb, I think you could ask any one of the published Superromance authors who've popped in here about the increased word count and they'll be relieved. We've always been considered the bigger, deeper read--even when we weren't that big. So now writers can take more time to dig deeper into characterization, really explore secondary characters and romances (as long as they still feed the primary romance, which remains at the centre of the book).

    Take a look at an Abby Gaines book to see how she weaves secondary romances (usually older, although not her most recent one) into her stories without losing focus on the main story.

    Superromance stories are still character-driven, first and foremost, no matter what the word count.

  19. Oops, we cross-posted, Joan! Hello to you, too. And don't get me wrong: synopses are vital to understanding how a story will work and to red-flag challenges. So they may not be an easy read, but they're sure important to editors. (You can keep your over-ten pages!)

    Yes to...Chris...I think it was. We are actively acquiring at Superromance.

  20. Ellen, I'll have to check in with Dan, our art director, tomorrow to see what the models know about the books they're being photographed for...interesting. I bet Supers author Kay Stockham would know. I seem to recall she struck up a correspondence with one of her gorgeous cover heroes once upon a time.... I wonder how that happened???


  21. I'm not a writer so it's always fascinating to hear what goes on behind the scenes. Great cover Zana, I can't wait to read it.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  22. Hi Victoria. Your information and comments were all very interesting especially as one in your stack of partials will be mine :)

    I'm so glad the Super word count expanded after a brief spasm of contraction. LOL

  23. Great interview Zana - I read TTN and thought it was wonderful.
    Hi Victoria - some great advice, I've just directed a couple of aspiring authors I know aiming at Supers to this site to read your responses.
    A question - since I was contracted with Special Edition recently, I have had numerous writers ask me what is the difference between Special's and Supers - as a lot of aspiring authors seem to jump between the two lines with their stories when they submit. My advice is always to choose the line they love the most, read all the books and follow the guidelines - but can you give a short outline of the basic differences for aspiring authors.
    Again, great interview and advice.

  24. Watching the newscasts of the Christchurch quake has been wrenching - you're all so brave and resourceful and very much in our thoughts at the moment.

    On a lighter note, this is a wonderful post, Zana and Victoria! Extra great for people targetting Superromance but still fascinating reading to help understand more about the editorial process!

    Victoria, I was really interested to read that you use a freelance editor for unsolicited material. Do you find that you agree with his assessment of manuscripts all of the time? Most of the time? Do you find it saves you time when you come to drafting the letter back to the writer?

    I have Stephen King's On Writing which I think is excellent - it's the book that helped me realise that I didn't *have* to know absolutely *everything* about the plot and characters, I could keep moving forward in a story and learn things on the way! So Mr King set me free to explore! And just last week I ordered Robert McKee's Story so I should get the call to say it's arrived any day now !

    Zana, huge congratulations of your CataRomance Award! I loved your Tempting the Negotiator so I know your winners are in for a treat!


  25. "A brief spasm of contraction": I like that turn of phrase, Elisabeth Rose! I look forward to reading your proposal.

    Helen, I think your advice is the best: read both lines and decide for yourself where you voice best fits. I think Specials Senior Editor Gail Chasen would agree with me when I say Supers are grittier, more firmly grounded in realism, not afraid to examine the dark side of life...because readers know they'll come through the read to a wonderfully uplifting happy ending. That, and the word length, is the biggest difference. I hope that helps!

  26. It's so great to see lovely Super writers swinging by. Joan and Linda, you are right, the cover is stunning, isn't it. I was very lucky with that and the blurb which I couldn't have written half so well.
    Thanks Helen, Barb, Sharon and Anita for kind comments on TTN.
    Now I suspect Victoria has gone to bed (and if you haven't, V, go now because it's far too late to be up!) but I'm sure she'll check into the blog again tomorrow so please feel free to continue to post here.

  27. I think I will call it a night, Zana, thanks! I'll pop in tomorrow morning to share a little about back-cover blurbs and answer any other questions you may have. Take care, everyone.

  28. Sending thoughts and hugs to all our friends in Christchurch and New Zealand.

    Victoria and Zana, thank you for such a fabulous and informative interview! Victoria, I love your comments about cliches and style. I have to admit that I have, on occasion, performed the most ridiculous contortions in an effort to avoid an adverb or a "she felt." Have since decided on moderation in all things. :-)

    And, Zana, many congratulations on your Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Award. TTN was a fab read and deserves its accolades!

  29. Welcome to the LoveCats blog, Victoria -- it's lovely to have you down here.

    Fabulous interview! I've learned so much about the editing process and about Supers. Thanks for answering the questions so fully, Victoria -- it's fascinating reading!

    Zana, you already know I loved TTN, :-)

    I hope everyone in Christchurch stays safe tonight. It's been heart-wrenching listening to and watching the news. Please let more survivors be found!

  30. Thank you Zana and Victoria for a wonderful blog today - and to Lovecats as always for covering such interesting topics.

    I have learned heaps about the whole process at Super - but what fascinated me most was the same as Sharon ....

    that your ''Unsolicited proposals go through a freelance editor first'' and that you take on his recommendations. This is a total eye opener as naively I had assumed that all in-house editors read the 'treasure troves'. So I will be interested to see your comments from her post.

    I nearly fell off my chair at then mention of a 10 page synopsis and then Joan's 18 page...

    My thoughts and prayers with the NZ people, I was lucky enough to hear today that my family there were all ok - shaken but fine - a great outcome considering whats happened.

    Thanks for answering the questions Victoria, its a privilege to have you on the end of a Q & A session.

    Bye 4 now

  31. Hi Michelle and Emily
    So glad you have found the information so useful. Victoria rocks!
    And Tina, I too was blown away by the length of synopses some writers can produce.
    I'm really glad to hear your family is fine. It's been amazing to watch the spirit of those in Christchurch as they pull together and cope with the devastation. We're all still praying for more safe recoveries.

  32. Thanks for a very valuable interview, Zana & Victoria. I

  33. Hi Zana and Victoria, coming in late to say how much I enjoyed both questions and responses. As others have said it's always fascinating to hear an editor's take on process. Congrats, Zana on the Cataromance award.

  34. HI Nas and Karina

    Thanks for dropping by and for the congratulations. I was pretty stoked to get the award. However, I literally couldn't have done it without Victoria!

  35. Excellent interview! Thank you Zana and Victoria.

  36. A quick, late welcome and thanks to Victoria for being so open with her process. I've just tweeted/FB'd madly to make sure everyone gets in here and has a read.

    Really top quality post. Thanks to you both for arranging it!

  37. Good morning, lovecats! (I am desperate to be a lovecat...great name.)

    Just to follow up on the unsolicited manuscript process: Michael, our regular freelance editor, probably pre-dates me as a reader of Superromance novels…and I’m into my eighth year. He may not be in-house, but he knows what makes a good Super. I would say I agree with his comments 95 percent of the time. And yes, it does help to write a follow-up letter to have his notes to refer to. He's very articulate.

  38. Someone asked about back-cover copy, rather frumpily referred to as blurbs. Unfortunately the author can’t have much say in this process because there are already so many people/steps involved!

    It begins with the editor filling out details about the book for a freelance copywriter. We describe the story in one sentence, explain what made us acquire the book, describe the conflict that drives the drama, the tone of the book, pinpoint the most important element to communicate, and indicate what things to avoid, etc.

    The copywriter gets the revised book, the information sheet from the editor and a copy of the art fact sheet with the author’s information about the book. In my case, I ask for one blurb in the hero’s POV only, and another 100% in the heroine’s POV…because even if the book is titled The Prodigal Son, the blurb might be more effective in the heroine’s POV.

    The edited blurb then goes to the senior editor and the vision team for approval, changes, and finally, a copy editor goes over the six files for that month to make sure they’re grammatically and stylistically correct.

    At this late stage, I may still receive the copy back to edit it for length. And then I will see a final copy for last-minute fixes, laid out as if to go to press but minus the cover images. And that’s it for blurbs. I think… I do try to keep the author in the loop, but it’s difficult because there’s so much input coming from so many places.

  39. What a fantastic interview. I have it tagged as a favorite.

    Zana, congratulations on your Cataromance win!

    Victoria, thanks so much for sharing!

  40. Hello, Zana and Victoria and all the Lovecats! What a fabulous blog and what a wonderful, insightful interview!

    I have to say I'm really glad I'd already decided to cut down my 33 page synopsis before I sent it in, Victoria *g* My CP says it's not a synopsis, it's an in-depth outline. But we'll just let her muddle through it before I send it on to you.

    I'll have to pick up Robert McKee's Story. I recently read all of James Frey's How To Write A Damn Good Novel series and found them very helpful in regards to theme.

    Zana, super congrats on your Cata award!!

  41. Hi Rula, that's great that you've tagged this as a favorite. and Beth, MANY THANKS for being our poster girl of the moment in the photo with Victoria. What a wonderful achievement to win a RITA. Here's hoping if we follow some of Victoria's tips, we may shoot for the stars too!

  42. Me again with another question, Victoria. Does the freelance editor read any revised work or just the initial submission? For example if you suggest a writer revise a partial (my case) or full and resubmit does this go directly to you?

    It's so great being able to ask these burning questions LOL Thank-you

  43. Hi Victoria and Zana,
    great interview, and as everyone has said, so great to hear what goes on from the other side of the publishing coin =))
    My question, do you often read an author whose voice just seems to fit better in another line? And if so, do you pass it along to an editor of that line or simply inform the author?

  44. Elizabeth and Mel, great questions but i think Victoria will be asleep by this stage but we'll try to get the answers to you one way or another.

    It's been a great discussion and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to ask Victoria all the questions I've been dying to pepper her with :)HUGE thanks to Victoria for her generosity and candid answers. It really helps demystify things. And thanks everyone for great comments and questions.

    Rula and Linda Henderson, please contact me. You are the winners of the giveaways.

  45. Thank you, Zana! I popped in to check on more comments/answers and got a wonderful surprise. I can't wait to read TTN. Thanks again for hosting such an amazing and insightful interview.

    Congrats Linda!

    My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Christchurch. If any writing groups have organized an effort to help in some way, I'd love to hear about it.

  46. Rula, Linda please contact me on zanabell@xtra.co.nz with your addresses.