This post has been almost four months in the making, and now I think is the right time to publish it because I finally have a conclusion.
In September, I went to the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas with high hopes. I had spend the past year building my platform and revising my YA novel with the help of a freelance editor. When an agent wanted to take my business plan and first three chapter, my confidence soared.
Four days later, the agent e-mailed me, stating my writing had problems, mainly in the area of “show, don’t tell”. I couldn’t understand it. My editor had pointed out those areas, and I thought I had fixed them.
The next few weeks, my mind was a tornado of questions and doubts. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough to be a published writer. Maybe I should just write for my own enjoyment. Perhaps I was too old to master a new writing style. To say I was depressed is like saying the Arctic is brisk.
And then I noticed something. Even while I was questing my talent as a writer, I was still thinking like one. I’d see an unusual sunset and file it away until I could find story to accompany it. Someone would make a joke, and I would wonder which of my characters to give it to.
I finally realized that regardless of whether I ever got published, I was a writer. I enjoyed the art too much, and my brain seemed designed for it. I had to be a writer. God made me that way.
Six weeks after the conference in Dallas, I went to one in Cincinnati. I was in no mood to go, but since I had already paid, I went.
Sponsored by Serious Writer Academy, it was the best writing conference I ever attended. Since it was small, I had many opportunities to take to attendees and instructors. Author and agent Tessa Emily Hall taught a class on “show, don’t tell”, and I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. Now I had to figure out if I could actually implement what I had learned.
In my next post, I will discuss what I discovered was my key to understanding “show, don’t tell”.