More High Points Along My Writing Road

Sitting in my car waiting for my nephew who needed a ride home from university, I took out my iPhone and jotted down some ideas for today’s post.  It is a bit of a sequel to Tuesday’s work, as well as being a bit philosophical.

Writing a novel is a little like playing checkers.  There are lots of different moves, not all of them good if you want to be successful.  Going out to the London Writers Society and joining one of the critique groups really helped me jump over the red checker with my black one.  Now I’m fairly flying down the board to the end, ready to shout, “King me! King me!”

Before I get there, though, I have more learning to do.  Right now, I’m contemplating finding historical fiction writers to work with me in a group because they read the genre and love it, as I do. I have appreciated all the criticism, good and bad, over the last four years, but must confess to wondering how valid people’s points are when they write about chickens traveling the world and I write about real wars and chopped off legs. They’re not quite the same. And a great crime novel also has a very different feel from a marvelous historical novel.

Attending the Algonkian-Niagara conference was another leap.  I learned to write pitches and got requests for partials from a great agent and a New York senior editor. In the next few weeks I’ll be moving these pieces down the checker board.  And this weekend I am excited to be attending a workshop near Toronto with a well-respected agent, Sam Hiyate, owner of The Rights Factory.

Part of the reason for going is still to hobnob with other writers, for sure, but mainly I’ll be honing and improving my first 20 pages, my 1-2 page synopsis and my query letter.  “King me! King me!” I’ll be shouting, the whole time.

What are pivotal moments in your writing career?  Is there a person or course that has ‘made all the difference’? Consider leaving a comment below.


6 thoughts on “More High Points Along My Writing Road

  1. Elaine, I belong to the Toronto Romance Writers and they are an amazing group of talented writers representing pretty much every genre. (many historical romances out there). When I finished my historical, The Botanist’s Daughter, I put my synopsis on their critique loop and received one of the best critiques ever. The difference? A historical author suggested I set the tone/customs of 18th century New France in the first paragraph. It’s definitely helpful to get feedback within your genre!


    • You are so right, Sharon. And what a great outcome from posting for critique in the right group. Right now I am doing a similar thing with my critique group from Author Salon. So far, two people out of five have critiqued my profile information there, and all of their comments are worthwhile, thoughtful points. I can hardly wait to read the other three. Of course I am critiquing for five writers there as well. I expect to learn from their work as well as to help them in the same manner as they have assisted me. Sharing is so great.


  2. I completely understand the need to find someone of your own genre to critique your work. When I first started writing I tried a local successful writers group, but when I read the first few pages of my WIP (then a contemporary suspense) and one of the main people asked where is the heat. (Okay, he used a different word). I realized that I needed romance authors to work with. That is when I joined the Colorado Romance Writers, where everyone realizes you need more than just a “hello” before moving on to the next step. Getting someone in your genre can be critical.


    • And again, we have something in common. See my comment above in reaction to Sharon’s points. And sitting in a critique group where you do not know the others is upsetting. Not because you need to be friends with everyone but because you need to know what they bring to the critiquing table. they published? Do they write in your genre? How long have they been writing/critiquing? Did you like their work?


  3. Hello Elaine,

    Congratulations and I really like your blog post. I understand exactly what you mean. Living in Gemany, (I am an American) I miss having contact with an English speaking group in my genre which is inspirational, multicultural romantic suspense.

    Good luck and all the best.



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