E01 – Who Is Miss Catherine M.H.? (video, show notes, and transcript)
V.E. Griffith takes the time to introduce his co-host, Miss Catherine MH. Catherine, a dyslexic ADHD writer goes over the genre and themes she uses, her writing journey, and why she became a Three Story Method Editor. She also mentions some of her favorite books that impacted her writing career along with a controversial writing tip for others to try.
- “The Three Story Method: Foundations of Fiction” By J. Thorn and Zack Bohannon
- Tamora Pierce in the Tortall Universe: “Wild Magic”
- “Ready Set Novel: A Writer’s Workbook” by Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant, and Tavia Stewart-Streit
- Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding)
Catherine: Welcome to the Revision Wizards Podcast. I’m Miss Catherine M.H, and with me is
V.E. Griffith: V. E. Griffith. This is episode one and today we’re introducing Miss Catherine.
V.E. Griffith: Hello, Miss. Catherine. Okay, so if you would, let’s start with the simple stuff. Tell us your name and your pronouns.
Catherine: Okay, so I go by Miss Catherine M. H. But my name is actually Catherine Hernandez, and I am she/her.
V.E. Griffith: Great. Okay, how’d you get into writing?
Catherine: Oh, let’s say I’ve always written, but I really got into it in high school. And then from high school, I handed it off to my family. And don’t hand off to your family if you are not ready for that. They kind of destroyed that part for a little bit. Not intentionally. It was just really harsh, and I wasn’t ready for that criticism. And then in college, during being stalked by someone, I ended up falling into writing again, as like, kind of a getaway and how to deal with it and come up with plans on how to get around it. So that’s really how my writing career to this day has been going.
V.E. Griffith: Well, that’s cool.
V.E. Griffith: All right. What do you write?
Catherine: So I write mostly steampunk, which is the Victorian era with a lot of modern ideologies, and sometimes technology that’s been steam powered. And I have a heavy focus on the history side, because I think the history part is really cool to clash with modern ideas. So I write steampunk, I have my space opera. And I also have a steampunk waterworld that I’m working on. Because water worlds and steampunk are really cool. And there’s not too much of it out there.
V.E. Griffith: What is a water world?
Catherine: So waterworld is where most of the planet or the section that you’re working on, is water-based. So it could be underwater, it could be just related to being with a lot of water. So think like Atlantis, Atlantis would be considered like a water world. I deal with a lot of merpeople and submarines with my water realm.
V.E. Griffith: Well, cool. That sounds like something I’m gonna want to edit.
Catherine: I hope you will.
V.E. Griffith: Okay, what kind of themes do you put into your writing?
Catherine: Oh, that’s a good one. So my space opera is a lot about family and fitting in with not only your blood family, but that family doesn’t have to be blood. So like your chosen family? My I said that space opera, right? Yeah, so that’s my space opera. And then my steampunk goes into a really dark themes of humanity. My first one “Scandal’s Pen” deals with sexual assault, sex slave trade. Women’s rights in that sense. My second one to that book will deal with police brutality, child care, and currently the abortion issue. So that’ll be interesting to put into there. And my Waterworld deals with racism. So I go into the racism between the actual merpeople and not the humans.
V.E. Griffith: Oh, wow, that’s a new twist on it.
Catherine: So it’s like the humans want pretty much nothing to do with them. They don’t really care. They just are like, okay, cool. But there are two groups of merpeople that are not okay with each other. And they bring humans…so they like get humans involved in their fights, because they can’t seem to get along.
V.E. Griffith: Oh, cool. That sounds good. Are you a pantser or plotter?
Catherine: I am a pantser. Sometimes I will plot a little bit out. But pantsing is the way that I go. I really like to do world building. And that’s usually the only thing I’ll plot and then I pants the rest.
V.E. Griffith: Do you find that there’s a drawback to doing that?
Catherine: Yeah, so I’m what would be considered an over writer, which it’s a hit or miss on whether or not that’s a good thing. But I sometimes can write chapters upon chapters that I don’t need, and I have to scrap them. Or I’m writing, writing, writing and then I realized, wait, that’s not where the story is going. And then I’ll scrap that. So in that sense, that stuff kind of sucks. But I do like to be able to have more written and just need to weed it out than have less written and need to write more.
V.E. Griffith: I find that it’s easier to remove but I’m an underwriter. So…um…How’d you get into editing?
Catherine: I wanted to get better at editing my own stuff. So I am a proud dyslexic and ADHD writer. So that means that my work needs a bit more. Because like I said, I’m dyslexic, so words will switch around. And there’ll be words that be like pro writing aid and stuff like that won’t catch because it still makes sense in the, in the the sentence, but it’s not making sense for the story. So I want to learn how to be able to catch that better. I wanted to be able to fix up my stuff. So it’s not as expensive when I go to an editor. So I figured one of the best ways to do that would be to become an editor, work on my stuff. And then when I send it to an editor, I’m not that’s my baby, what do you mean, you don’t understand? I’ll know where they’re actually coming from and it’ll help me with my craft, and possibly help me edit other people’s stuff, too.
V.E. Griffith: Why did you pick becoming a Three Story Method Editor?
Catherine: I really liked the community we were in. Um, it’s very supportive. There were people who I’ve never met in person, but I feel like I’ve known them for a really long time. And it just felt like the right moment for me to take on that certification. So it was that little push that I was thinking about this, I wanted to get into it. And that opportunity arose. And I was like, You know what, I might as well jump on it.
V.E. Griffith: What kind of editing specialties do you practice?
Catherine: Okay. So I do the diagnostic, which goes into plot, characters, world building, scenes, like the rubric that most of us Three Story Method Editors use. So that part is what I do, I really like to check for consistencies. So if they’re not looking for just a diagnostic, I’m looking through to make sure that your story is consistent. If you are looking to make sure that your characters are doing the right thing, then I’m going to really pay attention to that. If you’re trying to make sure that your world building is on point, I’m going to be pointing out places where you might need to add more information. And so I’m going through and reading the manuscript and adding those notes as I read through.
V.E. Griffith: Do you have any kind of specialty philosophies as an editor, how you approach your work? How you approach other people’s work?
Catherine: I’ve learned through my last client that when I am doing editing, I’m going to read it twice. So I read through the chapter or the section that they’re giving me to make sure I as a reader know what’s being expected. And then I will go through as an editor and be like, these are the points, especially if you’re trying to make this come across to the reader that you need to hit. Or this is the thing that you need to fix. So this would be confusing to a reader, you need to expand on it, or cut it. So I like to it’s a little bit more work. But it does help me pick out the things to look at it as a reader. And then as an editor.
V.E. Griffith: What would you want to learn more about either as a writer or as an editor?
Catherine: A silly answer would be spelling. I would love to learn how to spell. But let’s see, um, grammar. I know I suck at grammar. It’s just what I’ve been told by a lot of people who read it, they’re like, this means a bit. Yeah. So grammar, I think would be something I would like to improve on as a writer, which would then improve that for my my editing side. Like when people come to me and they’re like, can you edit this for like spelling and grammar? I’m like, No, I’m dyslexic. That’s not gonna work for me. Sorry. So I can point them out to like to you because you would do great with that. But I think if I’m starting to learn that better, I could point it out and maybe pick up on that as an editor better.
V.E. Griffith: What’s your favorite part of writing?
Catherine: The Zone. When you get into that, that moment where you are sucked into your own book, and you’re typing or you’re writing away, and kind of that it’s also silly, that moment where someone interrupts you and like you resurface and you realize how in the zone you were, and that your world entrapped you which means like, hopefully, it will entrap other people too. But I really liked that feeling of that you get into that immersion and then suddenly you’re like, oh, man, there’s a real world. And I was gone for a while. So that I think is my favorite part of writing.
V.E. Griffith: Okay, what’s your favorite part of editing?
Catherine: Um, I think giving the feedback. So when I go and I talk to my clients, I will do the two phases. I will be like, hey, as a reader, these sections were great. This section I needed a little bit more. And then as an editor, flipping into that, okay, I’m gonna tell it to you hard. This section here is what you need to either cut, or you need to improve on or the story isn’t going to get there and seeing them because usually, I’m doing it as a zoom call, seeing them understand and not be so afraid of getting that feedback and that talking, that they’re like, Oh, I’m getting it. You’re, you’re not coming at me and telling me my work sucks. You’re, you’re helping me and showing me examples of exactly where I can improve. So that part, I like. Giving feedback.
V.E. Griffith: Do you have a favorite book or series as a reader that you go over again, periodically?
Catherine: Oh, yeah. Um, so my number one book that I read about, or the series that I read, once a year is the Tortall world from Tamora Pierce. And it’s young adult. And it was the series that got me started on my reading journey. I wrote fanfiction about it. So like, it was everything to me back when I was like, 12 years old. And the characters were diverse. It was the first book I ever read that the love interest was black. And that was from having lived in New York City. It made sense that like, yeah, you have other people who date other people, but books weren’t showing it. To think that that book was like written in the 90s. This love interest was a powerful mage, who was Black was kind of out there and not really common for the 90s. So that was really cool to have read through those books, and to have seen how many different cultures she added in so seeming like so seamlessly, that I still read it. I still hand it off to like the kids I work with, where I’m like, Oh, you’re old enough. This is a book you need to read.
V.E. Griffith: Do you get the same sort of response from them?
Catherine: Some of them I do. One of them last year, ate the books, like so fast that I was running out of like, because you do get into a few later on that talk sex throughout the story as as you know, hey, like, that’s what happens eventually, with teenagers. Because they age up every book. And I’m like, you’ll have to get those ones on your own. Like, I don’t feel comfortable handing a 12 year old this one. So, so like, I can point them out and be like through there in the library when you want them. So, so yeah, I’ve had a few who they read them and they’re like, these were amazing. Like, why haven’t I read stuff like this? And I’m like, good, good. Go read more be merry.
V.E. Griffith: What’s your favorite book from the craft side that isn’t written by J. Thorn and Zack Bohannon?
Catherine: Okay, so my favorite is “Ready Set Novel, A Writer’s Workbook”. And it’s for National Novel Writing Month. And it’s the first craft book I ever got. It has everything in it that I would have needed for “Sandals Pen”. If I had followed the outline, I wrote it. So I did, I did outline that and I think I kept to 12 of the sticky notes, because I wrote it out on sticky notes. So I could move them around. I kept the 12 of the 40 something sticky notes that I have in there. It was very good for me because it was very beginner and this was me trying to really like write my book. Where I wasn’t going to be like, Haha, I’m a writer. I was like, No, I’m gonna take this really seriously. And I’m gonna write this. And it had very beginner language for me. It was super simple to get things set up. I still will go back to it and be like, hey, what was that first chapter of getting your ideas sorted out? And I’ll read through it because I just love the book.
V.E. Griffith: Do you have a favorite craft tip that you share with people or that you don’t share and keep secret?
Catherine: Ooo, this one’s controversial. So write with music. I know.
V.E. Griffith: What kind of music do you listen to?
Catherine: I like to listen to music with lyrics, which is weird because people, people don’t if they’re writing. I do, I like to make my playlists with like, today’s popular songs because sometimes the mood that they set is exactly what I want. “Scandal’s Pen”, my steampunk one which is hopefully coming out in December. That one every time I, Oh, my God, what’s the song title? Love me like you do? Yeah. And I can’t remember who it’s by. But every time I hear it, I’m like, Oh, my characters, they’re dancing right now. And so I like will set those songs and they will then trigger me to be in all of a sudden that writing mood. Anytime I’m out or I’m hearing one of those songs from my playlist, I’m like, my book. So like, I recommend making playlists. And then you would hear those songs when you’re out and about and get in the mood for writing.
V.E. Griffith: That’s a neat idea. Okay, where can we find you on the internet?
Catherine: Oh, okay. So you can find me of course at Revision Wizards? Is it revisionwizards.com?
V.E. Griffith: Yes.
Catherine: Cool. Revisionwizards.com. I don’t know maybe we had the podcast part. And then you can also find me at the Writer at Work podcast. You can find me at https://scribes-pen.com. And on Instagram I’m author.miss.catherine.mh on there.
V.E. Griffith: Well, that sounds great. And you can find me at vegriffith.com. And if you’d like to be an original member of the revision wizards community, you can join us for as little as $2 a month at patreon.com/revisionwizards. So I think that does it.
V.E. Griffith: All right. Thanks. And we’ll see you next time.Catherine: Bye.