After graduating from Campbell University with her BA in English, Victoria returned to East Tennessee and dove headfirst into freelance editing. Since then, she has worked with genres from memoir to sci-fi to literary fiction. As an author, her short fiction has appeared in such publications as Torrid Literature Journal, Synaesthesia Magazine, and NonBinary Review. A former college softball player, she's a gym rat as well as a bookworm, and she adores dark coffee, darker chocolate, and even darker literature.

What kind of entries are you looking for in this contest?

For this contest, I’m accepting adult submissions only.

Genres I’d like to see:

  • Literary
  • Suspense
  • Upmarket
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism

I am not interested in:

  • YA or MG
  • Romance
  • Erotica
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Detective
  • Religious/Inspirational
  • Historical

In all genres, I want to see developed characters who drive the story forward, rather than characters being pushed and pulled through the narrative like props. I adore work that blurs the lines between genres. Give me a literary horror novel or magical realism tossed into a literary fiction novel. I want sensory writing that brings the setting to life. Give me characters I love to hate, and make me feel torn and ambivalent. I’ve never been a fan of sappy love stories—I don’t need a happy ending. I want bare bones, raw, gritty truth. Tell me something about the world.

What is your background in editing?

I have a B.A. in English. My undergraduate work included intense criticism of both classic and modern literature, which provided a strong foundation for developmental editing. Many of the skills I learned while applying deconstruction and reader response criticism, especially, have been invaluable during editing. I also studied Creative Writing, including a rigorous copy editing class (during which I promised myself I would never become an editor). I still reference skills I learned during that time. Those studies created a strong foundation for my editing skills, and I am so glad I went back on that promise. Editing is an incredibly rewarding job, and I always wake up excited about the day's work. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a range of styles and genres, and many of the writers I’ve worked with have become great friends.

What can writers expect from working with you during the contest?

My first priority is to help you improve your manuscript. We will tackle developmental changes, and we’ll highlight your voice and improve the flow of the prose. You can expect to make big changes and to leave with a different manuscript than you entered with. But I also intend for this to be a learning process. Along with a polished manuscript, I want you to hone your editing skills and leave better prepared to tackle your next project. This won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. And don’t expect me to disappear when the contest is over. I want to celebrate with you when your hard work pays off.

What do you expect from writers during the contest revision process?

I give writers one hundred percent, and I expect the same in return. Be ready to approach your manuscript from new angles and dig in to make it the best it can possibly be. I expect the writer to take feedback and build on it, coming up with creative solutions to issues. This is a collaborative effort, and it won’t work unless the author and editor are both fully invested. Only submit manuscripts you believe in, are passionate about, and will devote yourself to improving. If you believe your story and writing are perfect, this isn’t the contest for you. To get the most out of the process, be receptive to changes and suggestions, and be motivated to improve your craft.

What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?

If I’m not hiding in a book, I’m probably in the gym. I’m a former college softball player, and after graduating, I took up Olympic lifting. I also do a bit of power lifting and distance running. I enjoy going to the lake, camping, and hiking the Tennessee mountains. On my lazy days, expect to find me watching Netflix—Marvel shows or old episodes of Buffy or Firefly.

What three books would you save in a dystopian future where libraries are banned?

I’d save A Death in the Family by James Agee, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and On Writing by Stephen King—to repopulate the bookless planet.

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