E02 – Who is V.E. Griffith? (video, show notes, and transcript)
In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. introduces her Revision Wizards co-host, V.E. Griffith. VE goes over his love of plotting his own fantasy stories and the use of Scrivener. As an editor, he enjoys helping writers understand their own writing better, and teaching them how to grow their craft. He’s always learning and growing as a writer and has some great tips to share that will help anyone starting their editing journey.
Incarnations of Immortality (series) by Piers Anthony
On Writing by Stephen King
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Support us on Patreon at https://patreon.com/revisionwizards
V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com
The Revision Wizards are at https://www.revisionwizards.com
VE Griffith 00:00:00 Welcome to the Revision Wizards podcast. I’m VE Griffith.
Miss Catherine 00:00:04 And I’m Miss Catherine M.H. This is episode two, and today we’re introducing VE Griffith. So let’s start off with, I guess what’s your name and your pronouns.
VE Griffith 00:00:15 As you probably gathered, my name is VE Griffith and my pronouns are he and him.
Miss Catherine 00:00:20 Wow. That’s exciting. <laugh>
VE Griffith 00:00:22 So, I know, boring CIS white het is what I say.
Miss Catherine 00:00:26 <laugh> Well, how did you get into writing?
VE Griffith 00:00:30 My stepmother when I was growing up was a writer and she sent me to a, a writing class taught by a published author, and I fell in love with the art. Uh, that was when I was 13 and I’ve been writing off and on basically ever since.
Miss Catherine 00:00:50 That’s pretty awesome. I didn’t know that about you. So, what do you write?
VE Griffith 00:00:54 Well, right now I’m writing urban fantasy and I’m not sure exactly what it’s gonna wind up being, but I’m enjoying it. So that’s, what’s most important for the moment. I’ve also written sci-fi, straight fantasy. So little of, little of everything on the weird side.
Miss Catherine 00:01:10 Do you have anything published yet?
VE Griffith 00:01:12 No, that’s that’s my next big project. Um, there go, yeah, the, the urban fantasy is gonna be the, is gonna be the published, um, the published book and hopefully it’s gonna be at least a trilogy.
Miss Catherine 00:01:28 That’s good. So big question. Are you a answer, a plotter or both.
VE Griffith 00:01:34 I’m somewhere in between <laugh> what I’m finding works well, is I map out sort of what the big scenes are, in the high points, and the low points that I have to hit and then put them into order or into some order, and then pants my way through ’em to see where, you know, how basically to see how it writes. And that seems to be working pretty well for me.
Miss Catherine 00:01:59 Good for you. <laugh> Uh, you plotters are important to the world. I suppose.
VE Griffith 00:02:07 I don’t understand you pantsers. It’s just…it…it just…it scares me to go into something like that. You know, a hundred thousand word novel without any kind of plan.
Miss Catherine 00:02:18 Well, we’ve had this discussion before, but you’re also someone who uses Scrivener. So, like, I really don’t understand Scrivener and plotters. <laugh>
VE Griffith 00:02:28 I don’t understand Google docs and pantsers. It’s, you know, it is what it is. <laugh> it takes all kinds, I suppose.
Miss Catherine 00:02:36 It does. All right. What kind of themes do you like to put into your writing? Or would you say surrounds your writing?
VE Griffith 00:02:44 Right now? I’m looking at themes surrounding economic justice.
Miss Catherine 00:02:49 Ooh.
VE Griffith 00:02:51 Yeah. And it’s, in some ways it’s a reflection of my own political beliefs, which I think that a lot of people inject themselves into their writing but, uh, that’s, that’s kind of what I’m looking at. It’s like, what would, what would a dystopian world look like in 50 years from now from an economic standpoint?
Miss Catherine 00:03:14 That’s really cool. Scary, but also cool. <laugh> All right. So, we know how you got into writing. What about editing? What made you, you know, decide editing was your thing.
VE Griffith 00:03:27 I’ve been members of writer’s groups. I’ve helped people in the past, and I really, really, really enjoy helping people make their own writing better. And I feel like I have a, a pretty good knack for it. All of the feedback that I’ve gotten has been positive. And I’ve looked at sometimes the, before, obviously that I do my thing, send it back to the author, the author rewrites, or not based on my suggestions. And then a lot of times I’ll see the final product and it winds up being a lot better. And that that’s really fulfilling to me is, is helping people make their stories better.
Miss Catherine 00:04:06 That’s awesome. So why did you become a Three Story Method Editor?
VE Griffith 00:04:13 The Three Story Method struck me as something that was, that is simple enough that even I can wrap my head around it. I looked at story grid and couldn’t get through it. Um, I looked at, you know, some of the other writing methodologies that are out there and they just didn’t work for me. Three story method is simple, straightforward. Doesn’t have a lot of words. Doesn’t have a lot of, you know, conflict choice, consequence, very, very simple concepts. But when you think about ’em, they’re very, very powerful. And so part of the reason why I became a Three Story Method Editor was to help people learn and internalize those concepts to the point where, you know, after we’re done, you don’t even have to think about it. Your stories are just that much better because you have internalized conflict choice and consequence in your scenes and in your stories.
Miss Catherine 00:05:16 That’s awesome. Now I know you’re editing specialties because I have experienced your amazing specialties, but what are they for anybody else who doesn’t know
VE Griffith 00:05:28 All Three Story Method Editors offer a story diagnostic, uh, which is a deep dive into your story and looks at conflict choice, consequence, and a bunch of other necessary parts of your story. So, I do that, and I also do line editing, which is basically a line by line go over of your, of your scene of your story. I look at the mechanics of your writing word, choice, punctuation, stuff like that, to help you tighten your writing, make it better, read better and catch inconsistencies that you may have, uh, in your story that you might have missed because you’re too close to it.
Miss Catherine 00:06:11 Mm-hmm. You’re very good at it.
VE Griffith 00:06:14 <laugh> Well, thank you.
Miss Catherine 00:06:16 Yes. Do you have a philosophy as an editor?
VE Griffith 00:06:20 My big philosophy is that I don’t just want to edit your stuff. I want to help you learn how to be a better writer. Um, if I could teach my way out of a job, that would be fantastic. So when I’m your editor, I’m not just fixing your stuff, I’m teaching you how to fix your stuff yourself the next time.
Miss Catherine 00:06:44 So if you have the chance, what would you want to learn more about as let’s start by as a writer? What would you like to learn more about?
VE Griffith 00:06:53 I would like to learn more about being more flexible in genres. The sort of stuff that I’m writing right now is very TRO heavy. I want to experiment more. I want to not break the rules, but how to bend them so bad that they squeal.
Miss Catherine 00:07:14 <laugh>.
VE Griffith 00:07:15 I want to learn finer points of craft. There’s always something to learn. And, so, I want to go out and find it.
Miss Catherine 00:07:22 Okay. What about as an editor?
VE Griffith 00:07:24 As an editor? I want to become better at looking at whole stories. It’s, it’s a hard thing. And every time I have a discussion with another editor, they always talk about something that they saw in a story. And I go, Hmm. Yeah. I should have seen that. I want to get better at that. At the same time, they do the same thing to me. So it’s like, oh, I see something they didn’t see. So it’s in a lot of ways. It’s very much perspective. You know, I bring, I bring my life experience and my perspective to, to your work. And so you, as an editor are going to see different things than I’m going to see, cuz our experiences are different, but I want, I want to make my experience broader. I want to be able to see more.
Miss Catherine 00:08:08 That’s really cool. I haven’t heard someone come up with it in that like wording. I know that just sounded horrible for me. <laugh> but I haven’t,
VE Griffith 00:08:17 It probably sounds horrible for me too.
Miss Catherine 00:08:19 No, it sounded great. You’re sitting there being all poetic about it and I’m like blah at you. <laugh> But it sounds, it sounds really cool cuz I haven’t heard someone talk about how they wanna be able to, I guess, see a book from multiple avenues.
VE Griffith 00:08:36 That’s very much what I want to do.
Miss Catherine 00:08:39 That’s awesome. Okay. What is your absolute favorite part about writing?
VE Griffith 00:08:46 The word count when I’m done.
Miss Catherine 00:08:48 <laugh> Really?
VE Griffith 00:08:52 I forget who originally said it, but I hate writing and I love having written. So that’s writing for me is very slow. I’m getting better at it. And I’m as, as all of us are, I’m trying to find ways to become more productive at what I’m doing. Uh, and get the word count in because my time is limited because day job, but I really enjoy seeing how much I’ve accomplished from that struggle.
Miss Catherine 00:09:21 Now are you that kind of writer who has to have a perfect sentence or are you able to just, okay, we’re gonna spit a whole bunch of words out on the page and that will be that
VE Griffith 00:09:31 No, I go pretty slowly when I’m choosing words. Um, I wouldn’t say that things have to be perfect and I have gotten better at shutting down the editor.
Miss Catherine 00:09:41 <laugh>
VE Griffith 00:09:42 I’m working hard at moving forward and not going back once I’m done with a text block in Scrivener, I am done with it and I move forward. And then when I get to the end of the manuscript, then we’ll snapshot it. We’ll turn it around. We’ll start editing and that’ll be fine. But that’s later I am. I am not more the sort of person who goes over and over and over and over chapter one and never moves forward. I have been that person. I know the struggle, but I’ve had to, I’ve worked hard to avoid repeating that problem recently.
Miss Catherine 00:10:22 Awesome. All right. What is your favorite part about editing? And this could be either editing your own work or, slash, and editing other people’s work.
VE Griffith 00:10:33 My favorite part of editing my own work is tightening sentences and getting rid of fluff that doesn’t need to be there. My favorite part of editing other people’s work is finding something in their work that needs either exposition needs to be removed, needs to be changed, moved around whatever the situation is. And we talk about it and their eyes light up and they go, oh yeah, you’re right. Not because I like being right, but because they recognize that they can make their story better. And that’s what I want. I wanna make stories better.
Miss Catherine 00:11:17 Nice. Yeah, that…that eye glow is pretty awesome.
VE Griffith 00:11:21 Yeah. I I’ve heard teachers talk about it too, but you know, I, in some ways I feel like I am a little bit of a teacher. I’m an editing teacher, so.
Miss Catherine 00:11:33 Yeah, because you’re, you’re working to improve the person and their writing. Yes. You’re not just sitting there and being like here, I did your editing for you.
VE Griffith 00:11:42 Yes.
Miss Catherine 00:11:43 What’s your favorite book or series as a reader.
VE Griffith 00:11:46 Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality, the original seven books. He wrote an eighth book much later and I think it sort of jumped the shark, but the first seven books in that series I read as they came out, uh, when I was a, an early teen and they were, they are really fun books. Each one of them is an independent story, but together they tell a whole story from beginning to end and all of the characters are related to one another in, in different ways. Um, and you get to see, you know, mom and grandmom and daughter and granddaughter and lover and other lover and other lover and the weird relationships between them as they become very powerful immortals in their, in their different roles. So it’s really, yeah, it’s really, really neat. It’s a story where you can start with any book. Although I recommend doing them in publication order myself, but you don’t have to, you don’t have to start with book one. You can start with book four and then jump around because each one is an independent story.
Miss Catherine 00:12:59 That’s awesome. I love books that do that where you could read them all in order, but you could also just have fun with them.
VE Griffith 00:13:08 Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s a lot of fun and you know, as I’ve gotten older and I’ve become a better writer and I’ve become a better editor, the writing in them isn’t fantastic, but it’s still an engaging story. And that has taught me, actually, that writing doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be good, but still grab the reader.
Miss Catherine 00:13:30 Mm-hmm
VE Griffith 00:13:31 You know, and, and be worth reading and worth spending the time on if you’re going over the story rubric or the scene rubric, you don’t have to have everything be excellent. And we’ll talk about the story rubric in the scene rubric at some point, but you know.
Miss Catherine 00:13:46 Yeah. I agree with you though. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect book.
VE Griffith 00:13:52 No, there’s, there’s really, not. Every book could be improved somehow. Every book can be improved. And so part of what I want to do is help every author do that.
Miss Catherine 00:14:03 Okay. So what’s your favorite book from the craft side? And you can’t say J’s book.
VE Griffith 00:14:09 Probably On Writing by Steven King. And I know that’s sort of a cliche go to, uh, have you ever read it?
Miss Catherine 00:14:16 Yeah, I’ve read like the first three chapter. I have it not on this bookshelf, but I do own the book. I just don’t, I didn’t read a whole lot into.
VE Griffith 00:14:25 It’s not a super detailed how to write a book kind of book. A lot of it for me was about his philosophy and about his approach. It’s the, the example that I remember most is about coming up with a story idea, you know, the standard question, where do you get your story ideas?
Miss Catherine 00:14:46 <laugh>
VE Griffith 00:14:47 And my takeaway is that they can come from anywhere. If you take a character and go, “Hmm, what if something weird happens?” You know? And then you can make, you can make the weird, be anything that’s gonna be genre dependent. But then what happens to that character because of the weird thing and just follow the story and see where it leads.
Miss Catherine 00:15:14 Nice. I think I got that book when I was just starting to really get serious in my writing and I wasn’t ready for it. So I’ve heard a lot of people enjoy it and it’s probably something I would enjoy now, but I wasn’t ready for it then.
VE Griffith 00:15:30 Yeah. It’s a book that requires a certain mindset to be ready for. I think,
Miss Catherine 00:15:38 Well, speaking of mindsets, what is your favorite craft tip that you’re willing to give to people?
VE Griffith 00:15:48 Okay. You know, I hate passive voice <laugh>. You know, I absolutely cannot stand it. And that comes from my very first writing teacher, uh, in that, in that six week writing class. So many years ago, back when I was 13. Um, and I’m not gonna tell you how many years ago that was
Miss Catherine 00:16:09 <laugh>.
VE Griffith 00:16:11 He taught me to avoid the passive voice. And the best way that I know of to do that is to omit the words was and were from your writing vocabulary. If you do that, you will force yourself to write more active sentences. As an exercise, take any chapter out of any Harry Potter novel and rewrite it without the word was and see what happens.
Miss Catherine 00:16:43 That’s interesting.
VE Griffith 00:16:45 It will blow your mind. And the fact that Rowling uses a lot of passive voice is something that drove me insane. When I was reading those books. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that they’re bad books, but I think again, they could be better
Miss Catherine 00:17:04 In her defense though. It was written for like middle grade <laugh>.
VE Griffith 00:17:10 No, I understand. I understand. But I also understand that even middle grade kids can read active voice sentences and enjoy them. <laugh> .
Miss Catherine 00:17:20 That’s true. Okay. So where can we find you on the internet?
VE Griffith 00:17:27 You can find me at vegriffith.com and you can find us together at revisionwizards.com. And if you want to be an OG member of the Revision Wizards community, you can join us for as little as $2 a month at patreon.com/revisionwizards.
Miss Catherine 00:17:44 Awesome. And you can find me scribes-pen.com and, uh, together. I mean we’re at revisionwizards.com. So come, come enjoy the magic that we do with our editing. Thanks so much. Bye.
VE Griffith 00:17:58 Thank you for joining us. Bye.