October 21, 2019

Going it Alone?

By LuAnn K. Edwards

Over my lifetime, I’ve described myself as an avid reader. My favorite pastime, better than movies or television, is to read novels. I’m not picky. I enjoy several genres.

My love for reading and stories that flooded my mind placed in me a wish to one day become a novelist. I hid that desire inside my heart until a friend asked me to write for our church blog five years ago. After I submitted a few posts, she told me I wrote clean, and she encouraged me to attend a writer’s conference.

At the conference, I met with the author who taught the fiction track. She reviewed the first page of a short story I’d written. Her advice: “Show not tell. And increase your dialogue to move the story forward.”

I put the story aside and began my first novel. I added dialogue and action. This same novelist presented the next year at the conference. She read my first page and said, “We need to see the action.” She gave me a few ideas.

I rewrote my first chapter to pull in more expressive action and asked my friend from church to critique what I’d written. She asked, “Have you considered a writing coach?”

One problem I wrestled with was cost. Not cheap to hire a coach. But the bigger obstacle was making myself vulnerable. Exposed. Ask someone to read my entire manuscript? They’d learn so much about me. I wrote what I knew.

When I weighed my insecurity against the benefits of having a knowledgeable author tell me what worked and what didn’t, I decided to move forward. Not only did my coach find where my writing could be better, he gave suggestions for improvement. He encouraged me with a “Nice” or “Wow” when what I’d written was good. He pointed out rabbit trails, and he pushed me to add more tension. We focused on deep point of view, richer dialogue, and setting.

In working with a writing coach, not only did my confidence grow, but my manuscript became stronger. My coach pulled out creativity I’d hidden away.

If you hope to write your first book, I recommend you hire a coach. An invaluable resource. If you’d like a recommendation, please shoot me an email.
LuAnn K. Edwards lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and youngest daughter. In addition to writing a weekly blog, she looks forward to publishing her first novel and finishing her second book in the series. She enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family. You may find her online at Email:

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