Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ready, aim, fire!

As part of my Citizens Police Academy class, I spent Saturday morning at the shooting range learning how to hit a target with a Sig Sauer P229. Thanks to the Seven Fundamentals of Marksmanship, I did pretty well (see photo).

I love the objective nature of shooting at a target. You either hit in the critical area or you don’t. No guessing there. If only there were seven fundamentals of writing that could guarantee a hit.

Certainly there are things writers must do if they want a sale, but there is no set of rules that if followed precisely will ensure a publishing contract. Still, I thought there might be some correlation between the fundamentals of marksmanship, and what it takes to sell a book.

1. Stance: To hit the target, you need a solid foundation. We must study our craft and write regularly in order to build a good story.

2. Grip: Hold the weapon firmly. Hold on to your writing time. Don’t let family, friends, or other commitments keep you from it. Schedule your writing hours and stick to them.

3. Sight Alignment: The front and rear sights should be aligned on top and with equal space on either side of the front post. Align your daily activities with your writing goals.

4. Sight Picture: The sights must align properly with the target. Stay focused on your ultimate writing goals and evaluate regularly to ensure your aim is still good.

5. Breathing: Remember to breathe! Working toward publication can be stressful. Remember to take care of yourself along the way. Deep breathing, yoga, exercise, time with family and friends, and plenty of sleep can keep you refreshed.

6. Trigger control: Use a slow, consistent pressure on the trigger. When you’re ready, start submitting. Do your homework about agents/editors, get your MS, synopsis, and query letter to a professional level, and then fire away.

7. Follow Through: Keep your eyes on the target and finger on the trigger, ready for the next shot. Never give up in the face of rejection. If an agent or editor passes, send out another query. While you’re waiting, start working on the next book.

These rules may not get you published, but they can’t hurt. What are some of your fundamentals of writing?


Heather said...

Fantastic rules! Number seven if my favorite. It is easy to get "gun shy" and not want to follow through/try again.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Thanks, Heather! I like that one too. It seems like a lot of people let rejection knock them off target.

Carla Swafford said...

Great analogy, Gwen!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Thanks, Carla. I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it work. ;-)

Louisa Cornell said...

This is terrific, Gwen! You should do a workshop at RWA base on this. Great rules and great analogy!

My number one writing mantra?

Finish the darned book!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Aww, thanks, Louisa! I had fun with it.