Victoria Marini

YA literary

July 25, 2017

I’m a linguist, a trivia nerd, a theater fan, a mom, and a debut YA author. In the past I’ve been a one-day Jeopardy! contestant, a confessional blogger, and an ESL teacher.

I’m quiet but not shy. I love traveling and getting vaguely lost in new places. I get easily obsessed with things, and I never, ever forget names, dates, or song lyrics.

My family and I live in Atlanta, in an old house with creaky floors and an underground greenhouse.

I’ve been in one critique group or another for about eight years, and I love helping other writers with their work. Several of my crit buddies are published, contracted, or agented.

Through my day job in the linguistics field, I’m a cross-cultural editor. My two colleagues and I mentor a team of 200+ linguists who write and review language tests and training materials in their native languages. As you might imagine, this requires constant cultural research and sensitivity, flexibility, and willingness to listen. I’ve been in this role for over 10 years, and I love it.

Are you a writer who’s been “almost ready to query” for a long time? Maybe even years? I ask because that’s exactly who I was a few years ago. I let my chronic re-drafting hold me back, but I’ve known other writers who were plot-tinkerers or sentence-tinkerers or whatever. Maybe you need someone to get you over that last hill. Someone to help you fix your ending. Someone to help you know when you’re ready to get your draft out there. Someone to polish that query with you one final time. That someone could be — wait for it — me!

I’d be open to mentoring contemporary or literary YA or MG. Contemporary with a dash of the surreal is my favorite. I also love mysteries, animal stories, and verse novels. #Ownvoices always welcome. I read and write about queer protagonists, and I’d love to meet yours.

I love daring forms and unconventional styles, and authors willing to go for broke with a story that needs to be told in an unexpected way. Unreliable narrator? Sure. Stories within stories? Yes! Mixed-up timelines? Yep! Theme and character are all-important to me, though; if your story’s oddball narrative structure overtakes what you’re trying to say, that’s an issue.

Tropes I dislike in contemp stories: “”not like other girls,”” forced outing of a queer character, when a character’s interest in politics and activism is treated as a quirk or a liability, when a supporting character’s disability is only there to help the main character realize something about themself. I’m also a bit tired of the “”dead parent forces main character to move to a new town”” setup.

I’m flexible! I’m a fan of the long e-mail — that is, an “edit letter” filled with my impressions of the work: themes, character arcs, plot arcs, what’s working and what’s not. When I critique chapter-by-chapter with my CPs, I tend to add in-line comments as I read, and then write a page or so of my overall impressions at the end. But if you’d rather talk it out via Gchat, text, or Skype / Facetime, we can make that happen, too.

My ideal mentee is someone who wants to create a work of art, first and foremost. Whether it gets published or not, you’d be happy to have a completed work that fits your vision of what it was meant to be, as closely as possible. You’re someone who works hard on craft, reads a lot, takes inspiration from all sorts of places and people, and isn’t afraid to get daring during the revision process.

If I could read only three YA novels for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with JELLICOE ROAD, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, and WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS.

My two favorite episodes of TV are Mad Men’s “”The Suitcase,”” and BoJack Horseman’s “”Downer Ending,”” and I’ve watched them both a gazillion times.

In August of 2015, I saw three of the greatest musicals in one 24-hour period: Hamilton, Fun Home, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I’m still vaguely in disbelief that I had this experience.

Despite being born in the 80s, I’m likely the mentor who knows the most about 1970s soft rock. Yeah, you can laugh.

I’d love to see a literary mystery or modern Southern gothic. A queer girl romance, whether it’s funny and fluffy, dark and serious, or a mix of both. An #ownvoices exploration of mental or physical disability. A character who’s obsessed with something unexpected. An activist character. A story with a significant animal character (think THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN or ME AND MARVIN GARDENS). MG or YA for all of the above!