|When it can't put it into words, |
my gut uses anti-aircraft fire
Your talent is in your gut, IMO. Regardless of how much you've got in there, your gut needs to be trained and trusted.
Read, read, read. And then be a five-year-old and ask why about everything. Why did this scene bore me? When did the asshole character turn into a good guy? How many loose ends are "okay" in a story? Why did I know the surprise twist was coming?
Don't limit yourself to "your" genres, either. Read everything and subject it to the same level of scrutiny. Especially stuff you thought was lame, ineffective or dull.
Literature classes are great, but I have to admit I don't think they're a requirement. Maybe because I didn't take many myself. Movies are also great for studying a lot of techniques relatively quickly -- but books are not movies.
The purpose of training is to show your gut how to express itself by exposing it to both good and bad expressions. Then you have to let it express itself.
This is the tough part. Personally, I wanted some proof my gut had a clue about what it kept insisting is "right."
This is why betas are priceless. They can tell you if your gut is pointing you in the right direction. They can tell you what your gut is good at and what it's not so good at. Where you can trust it and where you need to go back with your brain and revise the story to work better.
Because you're going to find that your brain and your gut are at odds, often. But antagonism is dynamic, so let 'em fight it out.
Those things that your betas keep bringing up, keep asking for more of, are the things your gut needs to work on. Maybe you're not letting your gut speak freely. Maybe your gut's strengths are in other places. Maybe your gut is having trouble finding the right words and mechanisms to express itself (as in, it needs more training.)
Personally, my readers keep asking for more of my characters' thoughts and emotions to get onto the page. They want that subjective voice, and they're happy when my gut produces it. For whatever reason, objective voice comes easily to me. It's part of why I gravitate toward science fiction -- that voice is more acceptable in that genre. When I write fantasy, it's something of a problem.
Is my Talent lacking? Am I just holding my gut back? (shrugs) Learning is a continuous process. I'll keep working at it, either way.