Get on the Write Train
Have you ever been to Penn Station or Grand Central Station, or perhaps the NYC Subway System and felt utterly lost? It can be overwhelming and confusing if you head into Manhattan infrequently. If you work in the city and you’re a seasoned traveler, think back on your first trek into Manhattan and imagine doing so with no smart phone, apps, or GPS.
You must pay close attention to not only your surroundings, but what train to catch, which track or platform to wait at, and how many stops there are to your destination, while accounting for possible delays and cancellations. The noise, the crowds, and the rush of travelers pushing past are all aspects of riding the rails that must be dealt with. Once you’ve established which train to take and secured your ticket, found the appropriate track and platform, and boarded, you face the scramble to find a seat or at least a place to stand or a pole or bar to hang on to.
What does riding a train have to do with writing? Well, lots. Think of your destination as your published book at the end of the tunnel. Figuring out which train will successfully get you to your destination is like determining which agent or publisher to query. You can’t wing it. It must be a clear and calculated decision. Imagine going to Penn or down into the subway and randomly jumping on a train, not knowing where the train was headed. Hopping on a train to Ronkonkoma when you need to get to Brooklyn is like querying an agent specializing in romance novels when you write children’s books. Doing either would be a lesson in futility and insanity. CHOOSE THE RIGHT LITERARY AGENTS OR PUBLISHERS FOR YOUR GENRE! DO YOUR RESEARCH!
All aboard! Oops, you’re forced to hang onto a pole. Think of that anchor as your editor who hopefully offers support and stability, and keeps you from falling. A seasoned editor who has no ego to stroke will give constructive feedback and correct any errors. Imagine if you strode onto the train and there were no empty seats and nothing to hold onto. The train would jostle you and you might fall. HIRE THE RIGHT EDITOR!
You’re on board with the right agents for your genre, now it’s time to write your query. Drafting your book was child’s play compared to drafting your query. Don’t despair, I’ve got loads of info about how to write a query. CLICK THE QUERY LINK TO GET STARTED!
Hooray, lucky you, you found a seat. Striking up a conversation with fellow passengers might reveal a few tidbits about who they are, and you may divulge a few superficial things about your life. Keeping with the train analogy, think of those riders as your beta readers. They’re getting to know your story by test reading your book and offering feedback. DON'T DISMISS THE IDEA OF FINDING BETA READERS!
Once you’ve narrowed down your train and platform, bought your ticket, and taken your seat, it’s time to concentrate on the stops leading up to your destination. Putting it in literary terms, once you’ve drilled down on a suitable agent or publisher, wowed them with an amazing query that was accepted, followed by excellent writing, and a fab story, (taking feedback from beta readers into consideration) their offer of representation and subsequent contract is your traditional publishing ticket. Focusing on their suggested edits and changes and completing the desired alterations in a timely manner is like paying close attention to the number of stops before the train pulls into the desired station. ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM!
Just as riders tune out the conductor, over the loudspeaker, who you can’t understand because of an overmodulated or crackling voice – writers must tune out the noise of naysayers, find their unique writing voice, and rely on their own gut. KEEP WRITING, POLISHING, IMPROVING, AND PERFECTING!
GET ON THE WRITE TRAIN!