Tuesday, February 26, 2013

March Madness

I look forward to this time of year, that transitional season between winter and spring called "March Madness." Of course, if you're not a college basketball fan, the fascination with brackets and rankings may mean nothing.

What does basketball have to do with writing? It might seem incongruous to compare the two, but while the goals are disparate, they are geared toward accomplishing an objective: whether getting the publishing contract or making the three-point shot.

Take drills. In writing, these would be drafts, flash fiction exercises, writing warm-ups, anything to prime the imagination. The adage "Practice makes perfect" applies here, with the assumption that each exercise helps improve a person's writing.

I see critique partners and beta readers as being a writer's team players. Their goal is to help the writer improve his or her story, to make sure the writer turns in the best draft possible. The opposing team? These could be the acquisition editors or agents, those readers who read through the story with a critical eye, giving a "yea" or "nay," depending on their predilection. This is not to say acquisition editors or agents want to say no. But they're going to block poorly written stories from getting contracts. This is a case where a writer needs to make his shot count.

I've compared acquisition editors to the opposing team, but if a story is accepted, then the content editor and line editor take on another role, that of coach. Their job is to help a writer polish his or her story to be the best it can be before it's released to the public.  

Basketball is not a one-person game, and neither is writing.

Here's hoping you're working well with your "team."  

No comments: