Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Learning Curve

This weekend, I attended a conference called Write on the River, which is a conference for writers. On a...river! (Bet you didn't see that one coming.) I went to several workshops, and at the end I got to meet with an agent.
Holy. Waffles.
Now, don't get me wrong. I've queried agents and publishers loads of times, but pitching a book in person is completely different. By the time my appointment came around, my palms were sweating and my voice threatened mutiny.
I introduced myself and started rambling a mile a minute about my most recent completed novel, tentatively entitled The Hostage.
This is how it went down:
"It's about this girl...whose mom dies and she and her dad move to a new city and--she really likes crime shows, so she's trying to figure out what actually happened--anyway, her dad goes missing too and...she finds weird files on his computer and goes to D.C. with her friends--and she finds out her dad was not actually her dad, but that he's really an undercover FBI agent. And the guy who really is her dad is her best friend's dad and is trying to poison the city because he's mad at the State for taking away his daughter. That's it!" *Deep breath.*
Excuse me while I go laugh and/or cry at myself.
Granted, my book isn't the easiest to explain, but I don't think that was my problem. I've just explained it so many times and I was so nervous for the appointment that I lost the pathos of my work. Instead of focusing on the character development, I just rapidly described the plot in a way that made it sound cliche and mundane. And yes, I hate myself for it. The agent was very nice, though, and recommended some books on plot development (zing!).
After thinking about my appointment today though, I realized that I--and quite a few Christians--have the same issue with Christianity. A lot of Christians have been hearing about Christ for years and are so nervous about sharing the fantastic message of the gospel, that they completely lose it. I know I do! Just like handing over your "baby" (writers-speak for manuscript) over to some lady in a black dress and heels is terrifying, so is sharing your very reason for existence. While it makes sense to you, anyone who doesn't agree with you is going to think you're absolutely insane.
Only...just because an agent (very nicely) rejected my book, does that mean I should stop writing? I couldn't if I tried! So whether you've shared your faith once, twice, or five hundred times, you should never stop because you make a fool out of yourself.
Because Christianity, just like writing, is a learning curve.


  1. Courtney,
    I'm so proud of this awesome post! How totally true that it gets so difficult to share the amazing gospel when we are worried about sounding trite. I love that you went to this conference & shared your "Baby" with the scary lady in heels! You rock! Thanks for the reminder about sharing God's awesome message of love to the world! ;)

  2. Wow, what a cool blog - I'm following it now! I really like your connection between presenting your manuscript and sharing the gospel. I bet your novel is really good, too. This is Crystal, by the way.