Friday, February 24, 2006

February BlogClass: Guest Blogger Cindy Marolt on Contests

I'm pleased to announce someone I met on The Contest Loop. Please welcome Cindy Marolt...writer extraordinaire...who makes me laugh with everything of hers I've read...even emails. Do visit her website at or simply click the link of this blog title.

Author Bio – Cyn Marolt -
(200 words)

I claim San Antonio as my home, but since my marriage to my best friend, I’ve been on the move. (No, not running from him.) I work in the energy industry and have lived in California, Alaska, Texas, Wisconsin, and finally Oklahoma. (A Texas girl north of the Red River?)

I wrote as a teen and into college, everything from morose prose to tongue-in-cheek humor about the Disco scene. I may still have nosebleed platform shoes or parachute pants in my closet. (Can’t believe I admitted that.)

But it wasn’t until 2003 that I wrote my first manuscript, a cathartic piece. I missed living in Alaska, so I wrote about my adventures. A once-in-a-lifetime journey. Much of my heroine’s experiences were my own, embellished by the fictional perfection of ‘happy ever after’.

I prefer writing gritty suspense, but humor also appeals. Contrary to what you might think, getting into the mind of a sociopath isn’t as much fun as it sounds. And don’t get me started on the whimsical world of the serial killer.

My husband and I share our residence with a highly intelligent canine, Feliz Navidog, and her two cats of highborn lineage, Pinot Grigio and Foochie Focker.

What I write
Combine gritty suspense with a dash of mystery, then sprinkle with humor. That’s what I do. I love writing about morally ambiguous characters, flawed personalities that stumble upon the right thing to do, on occasion. Dark, brooding, angst-ridden antiheroes also have a major appeal. My stories tend to be character driven. And I like challenging a reader’s moral barometer. As in real life, when you mix black and white, it turns to pewter gray. My comfort zone.

I asked Cindy to share some thoughts on contests. Here's what she had to say:

S:As an entrant, what do you look for when selecting a contest?

C:Personally, I participate in contests for two main reasons.

Having someone else flog my work is so much better than doing it myself. I consider it a more efficient use of my time.
And I like waiting months to hear how I did. Immediate gratification is so overrated.
Of course, none of the above is true, but if you are going to do the contest circuit, YOU MUST HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR.

Picking a contest is like going on a date with Brad Pitt. BE PREPARED TO GO ALL THE WAY. (Why not?) So take a good hard look at the final judges and make an assumption that your entry will make it to their desk. (For example, select contests with final editor judges who do not accept unagented submissions.) Now you may have better odds playing Power Ball, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
If one Colin Farrell is yummy, imagine THREE!!! (Okay, that statement has nothing to do with what I’m about to say, but I just liked the idea of more than one Colin.) I pick contests that have 3 or more judges on the preliminary round, because there is always that one judge who has her thong in a twist. (You know what I’m talkin’ about…) Let the contest coordinator throw out that low score. What a liberating notion!
SIZE MATTERS!!! We all know this, right? The length of pages to submit might fit my work better for some contests than others (ie 10 pgs, 25 pgs, or 55 pgs)--so I pick accordingly. (What? What did you think I meant?)

UNZIP IT & TAKE A PEEK. (Now that I have your attention…) Check out the score sheet ahead of time. If your story has a shy hero that doesn’t show up for a chapter or so, then a contest that requires him to make an appearance within the first few ticks of a stopwatch is probably not your best choice. The scores sheets could give you an indication that the judges might be looking for a more formulaic story line with traditional elements.
Like Paris Hilton, I need a score card to keep up. (I SO wish I had her problems.) I maintain an activity log of contests I enter (for tax purposes among other reasons). If the judges' comments were not helpful or appear to come from people lacking the proper training to be a judge, I make a note of this in my log. I'm less likely to enter this contest again in the following year. So, in this case, keeping score can be a good thing.

RIGID DOESN’T ALWAYS RULE—(It’s way too easy to make a ‘rigid’ pun so I’ll pass.) If the rules on manuscript formats are too rigid, I often pass on the contest. Some chapters are very picky about format/fonts. The greater the flexibility, the better I like it. It allows me to pick the best MS for the contest rules. (If the Golden Heart allows such flexibility, why not other contests?)

S:As a trained and experienced judge, what is your philosophy on assessing an author’s work?
C:Okay—gonna get serious here for a minute. I take judging very seriously. For me, the main thing about judging always falls back to the golden rule--treat others like you would like to be treated yourself. An author's work is their life's blood. Treat it with respect.

I know. By now, you’re saying, “Duh?!!” But you'd be surprised how many judges make disparaging remarks that add NOTHING of value. (Once I’ve read what these people have say, I like to imagine them naked on a theatre stage with a bunch of people laughing and pointing, but that’s just me.)

But after saying that, I've also experienced extraordinary judges who treat my work as if they were dear friends, giving me great insight. (I've even had a well-published author refer me to their agent after she read my material.) Those people are why I return the favor--the 'PAY IT FORWARD' idea. And I have modeled my judging style after some of my favorite judges as a result. As a judge, I provide encouraging words to each entrant on what I liked most and list areas that could use some improvement. (No matter how good the writing, I try to add some areas to work on. We all need those.)

There are too many naysayers to stand in the way of what we do. A contest judge doesn't need to be another one. After all, the score reflects the judge's overall opinion of the entry, but their comments should give constructive criticism on what works and what doesn't.

I'm also forgiving when it comes to things that seem trivial in comparison to a good story well told (MS format, fonts, H/H meeting on the first page). Good storytelling is a gift. I put as much care into an entrant's work as I would my own. I usually read the entry more than once and I read it through BEFORE I pick up the pen.

Contests are for fundraising but I would like to see judges' training that actually reflected an element of nurturing the newer writer. I'm not sure if this can be done, but maybe it all starts with 'PAYING IT FORWARD'--one judge caring enough to return the favor of a good deed.

As a first time Golden Heart finalist in 2005, what did you learn that you hadn’t expected?
I entered the GH for the first time last year and was named a finalist. I was totally unprepared for such good fortune--wide-eyed and sitting on the center lane, staring down the headlights of an eighteen-wheeler. But Tina Novinski took me under her wing and helped me through the initial shock phase--my fellow chapter mate and voice of reason. (I know she is grinning at this comment.) Tina gave me some sage advice and was a great sounding board for some of my off-the-wall questions. Her advice was dead on, and as a result, I didn’t waste my time spinning my wheels on useless stuff—like arranging for a ticker tape parade in my home town or calling Oprah to see if she’d be interested in interviewing me. (grin) Don’t laugh, I had Oprah on speed dial.

Before Reno, I joined the GH email loop and met the rest of the Wild Cards (the name we’ve coined for ourselves). They also helped me through the initial ropes. Our loop is still very active and I feel plugged in to everyone’s success.

What did I learn?

Well, you know what they say--you never forget your first. (grin) I didn’t know I would shed a tear when the call came from the national office. I was at work and it made me shake, I was so excited. Who knew I could be such a ‘girl’? Great news, but I had no idea what it meant. I soon learned.
Having a website helped. I had just set one up the week prior to the GH announcements. (No, I wasn’t that confident. It was more a matter of good timing and dumb luck.)
It takes time to set up for the GH. Publicity photos, business cards, announcements and proposals to agents. This all takes time---a real distraction from reality. And it is a real drain from your normal pattern of writing everyday. It completely threw me. Tina was again the voice of reason. Both of us eventually hunkered down and kept focused on our writing while we waited for all the hoopla of nationals.
Feeding the repressed Goddess in me - Once you are a GH finalist, they can never take that away. How cool is that? And GH finalists will always get some preferential treatment for booking appointments with editors/agents at nationals.
I get better rejection letters now. Only a writer knows this can be construed as a good thing. As a finalist, you definitely will see more attention from agents & editors. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Seriously - What they might not tell you is, prior to nationals, the GH ride is a bittersweet roller coaster with amazing highs and devastating lows. You expect more of yourself and a new level of anxiety comes with that expectation. Now, after the 2005 GH is behind me, I know being a GH finalist is a great thing. But it is only another step in the journey we are all facing…and there are many ways to achieve your goals. Keep the faith, baby!
Parting words…

What we do is follow our dreams. Many people live their lives not even knowing what that means. But by pursuing this strange path, we are proving to ourselves that passion counts. My loving husband has told me how much he marvels at my unwavering dedication over the last three years and he has changed his lifestyle to support my efforts. He’s the cornerstone I use to build upon my heroes, each one. And for you parents out there-- you are a living example to your kids that personal satisfaction comes from within. And that’s a beautiful lesson.

I wish each of you good fortune in your writing journey.

I found this wonderfully insightful. I hope you did too. Don't forget to drop by Cindy's website and sign her guestbook.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

February BlogClass-Guest Blogger: Author Margaret Daley

I'm excited to announce that Margaret Daley, Inspirational Romance Author for Steeple Hill will be with us today. Margaret will be sharing her thoughts and expertise on the subject of writing contests. Visit Margaret's website at or just click the link in the title of this blog. Writing for over twenty-five years now, Margaret is a prolific, multi-published author who also teaches children with special needs. Margaret spends a lot of time encouraging, teaching, and mentoring new authors and is a tremendous friend and asset to the writing community. She speaks at national writers conferences including Romance Writer's of America (RWA), and she is the former president of Faith, Hope, and Love (FHL)-the inspirational outreach chapter of RWA. Give a big welcome to Margaret and thanks for stopping by. I'll let Margaret have the floor now...right after I hug her for being here. GGG. Blessings! Squirrel


When I started writing, there were no contests for unpublished writers. I wish there had been. It can be a good way to get feedback, but choose the contests carefully. If you write inspirational romances, you probably should look at ones that are geared toward the inspirational market and an editor as the final judge who edits inspirational romances. The same goes for other genres.
There are some houses that don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. It can be difficult to get your manuscript read at one of those houses. You can go to a conference where an editor from the house you are targeting is taking appointments. Hopefully the editor will request you send your manuscript. Another way is to target a contest where that editor is the final round judge. Sometimes a manuscript that is a winner (and I've even seen a runner up) is requested.
Also there are contests for published writers. I have entered some, again choosing the contest carefully. I especially like the ones where the readers or booksellers are the judges. That is the audience I am targeting. It can be a way to get your name out there with people who may not have picked up your book.
I have judged many contests and have enjoyed reading the wonderful talent that is in our genre. Seeing it makes me appreciate the hard job an editor has. There are some great books to choose from. How in the world do they make their final decision? I'd want to buy too many books.
I won't tell you there aren't drawbacks to contests. There are so many now so it can be hard to decide which would be the best for you and your career. The entry fees can be expensive. And lastly, some of the feedback you get can be confusing and not always right on target. Let's face it. This business is subjective. Every reader and judge has her own preferences of what she likes and doesn't. That will affect the judging.
So when you are wading through the results, you ultimately have to decide to take the judge's advice or not. If more than one points something out, I would look at it. That still doesn't mean I would change it, but I definitely would consider the suggestion. But you know your story the best. Remember that.
So whether you enter a contest or judge one, it is an experience that can enrich your writing. And good luck with any contests you enter!

Isn't Margaret fabulous?

Make sure you pop over to her website and blog and tell her so. She has a March book release too. More about that March 1, 2006. Or if you just can't wait for the info, visit her website for more information. It should be hitting shelves soon so be on the look out for her books whereever books are sold...including Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, and Sam's club, etc.

Great advice Margaret, thank you so much for doing this, it's been a joy and honor to have you on my blog.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


LERA's Rebecca contest has a new extended deadline. You have until THIS Saturday to get your entry in. That's not postmark date. That's must be received by date.

IF you've got ten pages all spiffied up...send it in.

For more info on contest rules and entry sheets...visit


Sunday, February 12, 2006

February BLOGCLASS-Interview with Contest Diva Tina M. Novinski

Today I have Guest Blogger, Tina Novinski with me. Tina is well known on the contest circuit for an outstanding number of finals and wins. You'll find a link at the end of the interview for Tina's website. Do check it's probably my favorite writer website.

S: Why did you begin entering contests?

T: I had three reasons.
1. I am rather shy but I knew I needed a marketing plan to get my name out there. Contests were that venue for me.

2. I stopped working with a critique group. Now I do readings with my sister who is an author and a reader, for continuity and plot issues. I knew that I needed a third input, a cold read. Contests provide that on new works.

3. Lastly, the opportunity for my work to be on an editor/agent's desk.

S: How long have you been on the contest circuit?
T: This is my fourth year of hitting the circuit hard, although the middle two years were the real big years. Now I am easing off as I am finding them less useful a tool.

S: How did you hear about the contests you entered?
T: Primarily I rely on the RWR and the Contest Alert Group on Yahoo. The Contest Alert is a very supportive group.

S: What kind and amount of feedback is important to you?
T: A good objective critique. Don't tell me I am great, my mom can do that. Don't cut me until I am bleeding and fail to explain why. The greatest offense is a score with no comments.

S: How can we improve the judging of contests?

T: It's a contest, it is subjective. That is the reality. RWA has deregulated chapters so there will be no continuity of judges training. The best thing a chapter can do is ask good judges back and eliminate the poor judges. This is can only be done if a coordinator takes the time to read the judge comments.

S: How can we draw more people to want to enter contests?
T: Stop having the same final judges every year. There has to be a common sense rationale for choosing a judge. They should be acquiring for the line they are judging or an agent who is actually open to new author projects.

S: How have you fared?
T: 85 percent of the time I get a good critique. I'm pleased with that. Last year was a good year and I had several agent and several editor requests from contests.

S. Did you come back to enter a particular contest during a succeeding year? Why or why not?

T: Contests get reputations. The best ones are timely, organized, contact you by email and if there is a problem, they post there is a delay.

S: Contests cost money. We have to be picky about which ones you enter. How do you decide?
T: I decide based on the final judge first. Then if I am interested I decide which project will "stage" best with the page requirements of the particular contest. This is no different from a beauty pageant. You have to look at all the factors and decide if your baby will be seen to its best advantage.

S: How do you feel about E-entry verses hard copy submission?
T: I wish there were more. Postage cost is huge and it takes time from my work day to mail to contests.

S: Do you feel contests have benefited you in your writing journey? If so, how?
T: I have gained confidence to do cold agent and editor queries. The other side of the coin is judging. I judge more contests now too, in the spirit of giving back, and I have a feel for what the competition is. That is a tremendous help. Writing is a solitary journey. We spend a significant amount of time thinking our work is sub par. Judging and entering contests lets you know where you really stand in comparison to your peers.

S: What was your worst contest experience?
T: As with anyone with a professional background, it is always a hoot when someone corrects your knowledge base with misinformation.

S: What was your best contest experience?

T: You know I continue to have them. A really good, strong critique is the best experience. I don't care if the pages are all full of corrections, it is all in the delivery. I love being nailed. I love it when someone sees my story from another angle and gives me a wake up call on a plot problem. I find that perversely exciting.

S: Do you know of anyone who sold as a direct result of a contest placement or win?
T: Most recently Sharie Kohler and I tied for best of the best in the Winter Rose and got an agent review. That agent got her a multi book contract. You can see her news at THAT IS SO EXCITING.

S: Advice to someone entering contests for the first time?
T: Find a mentor, someone to help you evaluate your results.

S: Any general contest thoughts you'd like to add?
T: I have heard comments about contesting such as: you would be better off spending your money on a professional critique or it costs too much money to enter. Writing is a business. I keep detailed records and file a Schedule C with the IRS. I consider contests an investment in my business. My business plan is my business plan. As long as I have one, and am constantly reevaluating it then I am satisfied. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Nor should it.

S: Do you like judges to point out strong points along with areas that need work?
T: I learned the sandwich technique from The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers years ago. You sandwich your potentially negative comments with your encouraging ones. After all we as writers need to know what works as well as what does not.

S: Do you think as you progress in your craft you tend to depend on that less?
T: What happens to a writer is growth. You get to know your voice, your style and what works for you and what doesn't. There is a certain confidence in that.

Speaking of voice. I will mention something that was an epiphany for me that happened years ago at a "live in person critique group." I began to read my work and suddenly stopped. I recognized that my work now sounded like the person at the table who was verbally the most opinionated. I was devastated. This can happen with contests too. When you get that manuscript back review it. Then set it aside. Come back to it later. The old rule applies. Change nothing unless there is consensus and even then, be cautious.

Have you ever read a story that was technically perfect but had no spark? That's what happens when we critique the life out of a story. Contests are a great venue if you have a business plan, a strategy. But don't let them change your voice or your style.

FYI: Tina has THE coolest writer website! Check it out at


Friday, February 10, 2006


Through a misunderstanding, the Orange Rose Contest missed the deadline to be in the RWR. (Rpmance Writers Report..a publication released by RWA (Romance Writers of America)

Several people, including FHL President Kelly Mortimer asked me to post the info.

..........Permission to Forward............

The Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America turns twenty-five this year! This is a special year for a special contest -- the 23rd Annual Orange Rose contest is one of the only contests in RWA judged completely by published authors, and the feedback for contestants is wonderful. It was named one of the four most prestigious contests in the RWR.

Contest deadline is April 8, 2006.

Entry fee is $25 for OCC members and $30 for non-members - all must be RWA members in good standing.

Forms and rules are available on the Chapter website at

Preliminary judging will be done on a point basis, with all manuscripts judged by three published authors. The three scores will be averaged to reach the preliminary score. Finalists are chosen by their overall score, NOT by category.

Finalists will be announced July 8, 2006 at the OCC/RWA?s monthly meeting. These manuscripts will be read by two editors whose scores will be averaged to determine the winners.

Categories are: Contemporary Category Romance Historical Inspirational Mainstream w/ Romantic Elements Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy Romantic Suspense Single Title Romance (over 70,000 words)

Winners will be announced and awards presented to the top four scoring manuscripts on October 14, 2006 at the OCC/RWA?s monthly meeting. Winners receive OCC/RWA?s highly coveted Crystal Orange Rose.

Warmest regards, Jennifer Crooks Orange Rose Coordinator


February Blogclass: Contests-Lesson 2-Welcome Guest Blogger Cynthia Ruchti

I met Cynthia online through and then in person at the ACFW conference in Nashville Sept 2005. Cynthia does a radio program among other things and though not yet published, I predict she'll one day be a household name. She's one of my favorite authors. Everything she writes touches me to the core of my soul and makes me laugh from my toes on up. Cynthia shared something on another writing loop, and with her permission, I'm forwarding it here. Her bio is below her article.

I know it will encourage you.

YOU'VE SENT MAIL By Cynthia Ruchti

So, what happens almost immediately after you stick your Genesis Contest submission (or book proposal, or agent query, or final galley proofs) in the mail?

The enemy will find a way...some clever, twisted, sadistic mess with your mind.

I must have missed something! Did I fix that typo? I'm just going to embarrass myself! What was I thinking? The judges will laugh...and not at the humor. Sure my mom thinks it's brilliant! She's the same one who put my elementary school pottery project on the coffee table and then had to explain to all our guests what that thing was. "Welcome to our home, and have you seen the lovely C-A-N-D-Y D-I-S-H my daughter made at school?"I'm in Junior High all over again, hoping the phy ed teacher will make me a team captain today so I get to choose instead of waiting and waiting and waiting for the next to the last round when the only other one still unchosen is the girl who weighs way too much for someone her height...or species...and sniffs her armpits in public.Why did I think anyone would EVER want to read ANYTHING I've written?! Those poor contest judges. I should contact them and apologize for insulting their intelligence...or pay them for their time.

That's what the enemy says.

But the Voice of Truth rings out when I give the Lord audience.

He tells me that I wrote from my heart and exercised my gift.

The guy who comes in tenth place at the Olympics still did better than a gazillion other people in the world.

And I already won by standing in line at the post office and letting the lady behind the counter pry my entry out of my hands.

At the very least, the very LEAST, I win the Lord's medal of courage. the illustrious words of Karen Ball, "It's all good.", when the enemy comes in like a flood, precious writer friend, count yourself blessed.

You matter enough to the Kingdom of God to stir up the evil one's ire!

Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia writes and produces the fifteen-minute daily radio broadcast, THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME ( which airs on 24 stations across the country. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has had numerous articles published in outlets such as The Christian Communicator,, Adoption Blessings Journal, Quality of Life Times news/mag, Write to the Heart e-zine, Victory in Grace, and Wisconsin Christian News. She and her husband live in central Wisconsin in their almost-empty nest.

February Blogclass: Contests-Lesson 1-Introduction and call for suggestions

Welcome to my first Blogclass.

For the next few weeks I'm going to be discussing writing contests here. This is a learning tool of sorts, only there's NO homework. I hope you'll find the information I provide you about contests over the next few weeks helpful. In addition to providing helpful links and information about contests, I'll post interviews as well as feature guest bloggers.

I'll be taking suggestions (just email me or add your suggestion to my blog comments) this week . So tell me what you'd like to see in this class and I'll do my best to find answers to your questions. I hope you tune in each day, and tell a few friends who you think might benefit from this Blogclass.

A little about why I'm doing this:

I've been a contest entrant, a contest judge, and contest coordinator for multiple contests. I've came in dead last in contests and I've finaled and even managed to place in a few. I have a huge heart to mentor other writers and so I'm sharing stuff I've learned about contests to those of you who might benefit from my experience and research into contests.


Name of manuscript & year/contest/placement

AMBIENT BETRAYAL 2004 /Where the Magic Begins /First!
OMINOUS CODE 2005 /Jasmine /First!
COVENANT SEAL 2005/ Noble Theme /First!
CODE YELLOW 2005 /Heart of the Rockies /Second
(Covenant SEAL) 2005 /TARA /Second
(Ambient Betrayal) 2005/ Touched by Love /Finalist possibly second...not 100% sure but I'll find out.

In addition to this I have some "out there" that are pending.

Kind regards,

Cheryl Wyatt (Squirrel)

Thursday, February 09, 2006


When I commented on this book.....I told you all to go to the store NOW and buy the book. Wellllll....9insert sheepish grin) since I'm a member of Harlequin Steeple Hill's book club I got the book early....the book will actually hit store shelves FEB 28th, 2006.

If you actually listened to my advice for once and went to the store to buy it before now and couldn't get it....sign my guestbook between now and the 28th and I'll draw for a name....winner will receive a FREE copy of A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter for my flub up. What a deal, eh?



Wednesday, February 08, 2006


You like it? I LOVE it!

Heather Tipton from Out There Author Services did it in a snap.

Click her link to the bottom right, or go to and click De-Stress for more information. Hey, while you're at it...why don't you click the other two links and check out her partners in crime....Eileen Key and Janice Thompson too.

I highly recommend them. Outstanding work. Heather goes above and beyond to make clients happy.

YAY! I LOVE my new blog.


Monday, February 06, 2006


Go to and see why you should NOT wear a white brassier beneath a black sweater. LOL!

Steeple Hill author Dana Corbit has posted some pics on her website of a writing conference we attended this past year. Yes. I'm the cover model for "What Not To Wear To An Editor Appointment." LOLOLOLOL! I hope this doesn't make Dana feel makes me laugh every time I see it and so it's therapeutic. When I'm in need of cheering up, I go there. Maybe you'll get a good laugh out of it too. Just click the blog link above that says "Blush and Cringe Feb 6, 2006" or click on her link in the body of this entry. Then navigate around her beautiful site until you find the pictures. You can't miss it, believe me. :-)


WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK: A Family Forever by Brenda Coulter

Just finished A Family Forever by Brenda Coulter.

ISBN 0-373-87358-1

Go NOW to Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, or Sams Club or whereever else Harlequin sells their monthly category releases and spend the three or four bucks. This is one for the keeper shelves.

She had me laughing out loud one page then sniffing tears back the very next. Excellent, heartfelt story with deep, poignant moments. I love how she executes those. I loved Shelby and Tucker. Brenda made them seem like real, every day people. I always know an author has done well with characterization when I find myself thinking about the characters days after reading the book.



Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Wicked "WAS"


I once had a contest judge who was on a search and destroy of every single WAS in my entry. Here's the deal: I think using was sparingly is all right except when you're also using it with an "ing" verb because that makes your story be more tell than show. Unlike Kindergarden....acquisitions editors don't want you to show and fact they don't want you to tell at all...just show. Using "was" next to an "ing" verb or an "ly" adverb weakens prose and tells rather than shows. Example: He was running down the road. That's telling. Hot asphalt flew beneath his feet as he sprinted across the parking lot. That's showing. See how much weaker the first sentence reads? Find a more powerful and descriptive way to say what you're trying to get across. You don't want to narrate a story to readers. That's old school fiction and editors aren't buying it. You want your characters to act the story out before your readers' eyes like a video.