DM: In your book you state you were told in film school that a script about a female hero wouldn’t sell. This set you on a path that lead to the development of the feminine and masculine journeys you detail in the second half of your book. What was your greatest challenge in this process and your greatest lesson?
VLS: Creating a model that would be accepted by all. I was a little afraid the term ‘goddess’, or talking about the myth of Inanna, might turn some people off. The lesson I learned was to go with your gut and hope for the best. People really seem to love it, as the book has done very well.
DM: On pages 11 through 12, you give a list of questions that really help flesh out your characters. I wound up with pages of notes for each of my characters and a deeper understanding of them. Was it experience that helped you develop this list or was it a reaction to a need you saw?
VLS: A lot of it came from my studies in self-help and psychology. I also find that the more specific you are about your characters the more they come to life for you. Answering these questions can inspire a wonderful backstory and help you to ‘see’ your character.
DM: I’ve not had the pleasure of reading your book Story Structure Architect yet. The description on your website
VLS: What a labor of love! I learned so much myself as I wrote it. Through my experience in writing 45 Master Characters, I learned to look at literature, film and creativity from a feminine as well as a masculine perspective. I saw the yin to every yang in the world of writing.
Polti’s 36 situations were very masculine and somewhat violent in nature and very plot driven, this isn’t bad or good just an observation. So I put on my ‘feminine glasses’ and took another look at these situations and found a non-violent more character driven side to each situation that hadn’t been explored. For example: Madness (killing something) could very easily become Genius (creating something).
I also outline the 11 main plot structures because I couldn’t find it anywhere else and I needed that information to write my own stories. (Structure and plot are two different things.)
DM: What do believe is the biggest mistake most new writers make and what advice would you give?
VLS: Writing for market is a big mistake. Figure out who you are as a writer (what are you passionate about? What subjects interest you? What are your strengths?....) and hold true to that. If you never finish projects you may be way out of touch with your true subject matter and genre.
DM: What’s your spin on marketing? Do you handle your own, for the most part? If so, what do you see working in this industry?
VLS: You have to market yourself. It’s a great idea to learn a bit about marketing. There are many inexpensive online classes. Just be careful not to spend tons of money on something unless you’re willing to follow through with it. I know writers who have spent thousands of dollars on coffee mugs and bookmarks to promote their book only to find they didn’t want to go out there and do book signings to give these items away as promotional gifts.
DM: Any parting words?
VLS: As the website states (and my next book The Holistic Writing Method will show), I like to find inspiring techniques to help writers Plan, Plot and Create so here’s a great inspiring quote “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost – Martha Graham”
So you see, you have a responsibility to use your talent.
DM: Victoria, it’s been great having you here. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge and expertise through your books. I know they’ve helped me immensely and will others, too. Thank you!
VLS: Thank you for having me – best of luck to you all!
Feel free to leave comments and questions. Also, be sure to check out Victoria’s Blog and her website for writers, Characters Journey.