I saw this book on a recent morning talk show and it made me think a bit on kids and summer camp. As I begin creating my third manuscript, I thought it might be fun to do a little "writing camp" this summer to freshen up. The following letters are from a young writer getting a dose of summer writing camp for the first time. For the sake of simplicity, I’m using one book, Stein on Writing, for the advice of “Coach Sol.”
Dear Mom and Dad and Tootles,
I know I said I wanted to go to writing camp this summer, but that was when I thought I was a pretty good writer. Turns out I was wrong. Our assignment this week was to write a short story. We received comments back today. Coach Sol said he was EXTREMELY glad I was here. Apparently I need major help. Coach said he liked my punctuation skills (big whoop) but that I needed help in other areas. Things like point-of-view, creating likeable characters, and showing instead of telling. What in the world does show instead of tell mean anyway? Then Coach said I needed to think of my reader. Do I really need to do that? I’m the one writing the story after all. It’s MY story, not theirs. I can write it how I want to.
Anyway, I am NOT having fun. I miss you and I miss Tootles. Please come pick me up soon. This camp was a bad idea. I don’t think Coach knows what he’s talking about.
Your Unhappy Camper
P.S. I hope Tootles likes the bone I gave him before I left.
Bad contest scores. An agent or editor rejection. All writers know these disappointments, but I don’t think any sting as much as that first time. My first was six years ago after receiving some not-so-flattering contest scores. My defenses immediately went up. Do you remember your first writing disappointment?