A. Victoria Mixon, Editor
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Writer's Digest presents an excerpt from my webinar for them, '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

    Hi Victoria, I am the proud owner of your books, and I cannot tell you how fantastic they are. I do have a query regarding third-person limited. Is it possible to express a character’s personal emotion that is not the main character? I hope you reply, and thank you again for your books. Regards, Brooke

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Brooke!

    The terms limited, unlimited, and omniscient narrator refer to the way your story is written. If you include the personal emotions of a character who is not the main character, then you are using unlimited or omniscient narrator, not limited.

    I strongly recommend limited narrator with one Point-Of-View (POV) protagonist. This gives the reader the strongest connection to your protagonist. And this is one of the best literary disciplines to teach yourself as an aspiring writer.

    If you use more than one POV for unlimited narrators, you weaken the reader’s connection to all of them. It can be done, but it’s best to design a pattern of POV switches so that the reader’s unconscious expectation of the POV switch counteracts their weakened connection to the characters. This is a much more complex discipline to teach yourself and best to tackle once you have some experience.

    And if you use omniscient narrator, you transfer the reader’s connection from your protagonist to the story. Omniscient narrator was once very common, but in today’s literary climate readers tend to prefer a personal connection with a protagonist over the effort of making a connection with an impersonal story. It’s a good thing readers are not really interested in it, as it’s a fantastically difficult discipline to teach yourself, and even F. Scott Fitzgerald screwed it up.

    I do strongly recommend not expressing the character’s personal emotions for them. That’s telling. Instead, show the reader how this character feels, through their dialog and actions and the things they notice in their described settings. Again—this is one of the great literary disciplines of our craft, teaching yourself how to portray your story through detailed scenes rather than exposition.

    Showing rather than telling is also a much more powerful way to communicate emotion, as it makes space for unspoken subtext (one of the greatest of our fictional techniques) and gives the reader the chance to have their own feelings about what you’re showing them—which is what they really want.

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    A. VICTORIA MIXON, FREELANCE INDEPENDENT EDITOR
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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. . .


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 PanMacmillan. 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. . .


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. . .


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. . .


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. . .


TERISA GREEN, represented by Dystel and Goderich Literary Management, is widely considered the foremost American authority on tattooing through her tattoo books published by Simon & Schuster, which have sold over 45,000 copies. Under the name M. TERRY GREEN, she writes her techno-shaman sci-fi/fantasy series. I am working with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. 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. . .


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, forthcoming from 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. . .


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 her up-coming The Eighth Summer. 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. . .


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, which agents had told him to throw away. 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. . .


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

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