Becoming a published novelist is the golden apple of the publishing world. With such high prestige, it makes me wonder why so many people follow this pursuit. Shouldn’t the prestige of becoming a published author deter instead of invite? Certainly, striving to be an Olympian doesn’t attract talent the way the dream of publishing a novel does.
But that’s just it. Talent. Many people believe they have it just because they have a story to share, but describing the actions and imagery requires a learned skill. One that can be sharpened and honed. There are certain rules that should be followed when writing, (and believe me, I learned the hard way) and they can be subconsciously gleaned through the osmosis of reading. But the rules and skills of writing still require the conscious mind to analyze and comprehend them.
I belong to the Critters Writers Workshop, a critique group that’s designed to do just that. However, the most prevalent flaw in the writing that I see coming out of Critters Writers Workshop is lack of showing, with too much ‘telling’. In fact, I’m in awe that The Hunger Games ever got published with the abundance of “telling” that occurred in Katniss’ narrations, but I digress.
Let me be clear, I do not consider myself above any of these other authors, for they have had the same driving desire to have their story told on the world’s largest stage as I have, and they never gave up which is a triumph unto itself. My biggest hurdle with my story was changing my writing style from “telling” to “showing,” so I’ve been there and know what it’s like. I was lucky to have my closest friends have the courage to provide me their honest feedback. My saving grace was my openness to criticism. Throughout writing my novel, my ‘skill’ did greatly improve which allowed me to go back and revise my earlier work; a necessary evil.
The sheer number of aspiring authors is still a wonder to behold, and its no wonder that this industry has erected numerous hurdles to prevent just anyone from taking a bite at the golden apple, such as Query Letters, Synopsis’, and author bio’s. They sound simple, but they are a baited trap if I’ve ever seen one. Designed to filter out the masses, its no wonder agents refer to their submissions as “the slush pile.” Too many aspiring authors come and go, or give up along the way. It has become my goal to rise above, and float to the top of the slush, and I will share my imagination with the world. Persistence, the meticulous formatting and care given to my queries and synopsis, along with the continual refinement of my craft are what will separate me from the crowd. To be standing at the very edge, at the precipice, looking for a bridge to connect me to the global stage… to be so close, failure is not an option.