With my largest Starbucks mug filled to the brim with strong, steaming coffee, and my laptop ready for me to pound out my final few fifth-draft chapter edits, I find myself in a slump. The continuous flat bark, bark, bark of a neighbor’s bored canine, interrupts my thoughts. Trying to ignore the dog, I work on updating my various versions. When I am done with that tedious chore and ready to work on my manuscript, another neighbor starts her lawnmower.
By the time the yard is quiet, except for the usual summer sounds of tweeting birds, I am ready to write. But my mind does not translate the words on the page. I cannot tell which scene belongs with which chapter. I have too much random info and I don’t know where it goes or if I should use it at all.
I cannot forget the last agent’s’ comments:
“In places your story felt more like a reflection on the past, more ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing,’ and I lost the story arc.”
I understand the general gist of what she is saying, but I do not know how to apply her observations. If she were commenting on the chapters I’m working on now, I would get it. I’ve already determined that I do too much “telling” in these unpolished chapters. But the chapters I sent her are some of my best.
Kim Barnes, one of my favorite writers, says “Balancing reflection with action in a memoir is always the trick, and every memoir does it differently.”
Still, my creative juices are plugged up; I’m feeling uncomfortably inadequate.
I wish I could pay a book editor to fix it for me, but this expense is out of the question as I am currently unemployed.
Maybe someone out there with the skills to recognize the above-mentioned “telling” parts will come to my rescue by volunteering to read those chapters and graciously inform me without charge
where I “reflect on the past.” You’d think I could do it myself, but as of this moment, I am too creatively obstructed up to continue without some help.
Please help me unlock this intensely discouraging Writer’s Block!