Friday, August 15, 2014

My GPS Writing Life: Recalculating

by Elva Cobb Martin

Driving the other day with our GPS, I suddenly saw how my writing life resembles this navigational gadget. My husband looked on with raised brows as I burst into uproarious laughter. If you read on, get ready to laugh and release some healthy endorphins into your system.

In writing I “put in” my goals and happily slam my foot on the gas doing what I love most these days, writing. But then I find the pavement running out from beneath my wings and must “recalculate.”

Goal: Write the dream novel.

Fall in love with an idea, a genre, a character, a setting, a theme.
Research, research and read tons of novel writing books.
Join a writers’ group.
Attend an expensive writers’ conference.
Plan like crazy getting the main plot points, conflict, MRU’s in order.
Gas up to the speed limit, getting the first draft down on paper.

Email: “Cozy mysteries are no longer selling well.”       Recalculating


Goal: Get an Agent

Research sites, friends, writing groups, the kitchen sink and the fence post for good measure.
Research query letters.
Research agents not on the any kind of predator list and their submission guidelines and blogs.
Revise, critique, and polish the query. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Send it to The Agent.

Email: “Sorry The Agent is no longer accepting fiction clients.”  Recalculating

Goal: Submit to an Editor Myself

Research fiction editors and publishers. Repeat, repeat.
Learn how to do a great One Sheet.
Join or start another writers’ group heavy on critiquing.
Attend some more expensive writers’ conferences.
Get editor appointments.
Get some nibbles.
Memorize every word the editors say.
Revise, get critiques, polish, check DPOV, pesky words and tricky errors. Repeat till done (or till you hate the novel).
Send full ms to first editor asap.

First editor response: I really like this but we have just bought a novel with similar theme and setting. Sorry.

Repeat most of the above.

Second editor response: I like this so far, but we are really looking for novels of 95,000 – 100,000 words. Yor're about 20,000 short. Sorry.

Repeat most of the above.

Third editor response: I like this but it’s too wordy. You need to cut about 20,000 words.

RECALCULATING! ---The thing I now do best.


What about your writing life? Ever feel like you are on a GPS merry-go-round?

The good news is that my auto GPS, most of the time, even with several recalculations, manages to get me to my destination. I hope the same holds true for my writing life, especially since I have the best model on the market, GHS, God's Holy Spirit.

Somehow I believe we will get somewhere.

If this article made you smile and feel less alone as a writer on the uphill, curvy journey to publication, please leave a comment, tweet it and share on Face book.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Elva Cobb Martin