Hello everyone!!
I've been writing for over 10 years (and been pretty serious about it the past 4-5 years) and I have learned so much about the writing process, from this forum, from books on the craft, from podcasts like Writing Excuses, and from attending some conferences and workshops. At this point, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what makes a good novel. I'm pretty confident in my world-building abilities and character creations and, while I don't think my plots are mind-blowing, they're definitely not bad.

However, what I struggle with the most is the words themselves. I often find myself telling more than showing or falling into a group of sentences that are all basically "He did this. Then he did that. But he didn't want to think about doing something else." Blah, blah, blah.... Granted, not every sentence is like this, but I definitely feel like they get grouped together in a paragraph when I'm not sure how to balance description and emotion and not include words like "think" or "feel" or "knows". I know a lot of these I'll probably end up fixing during edits, but I fear there are a lot I just don't know how to fix.

So, my question is: How important are "pretty prose" for first-time authors wanting to submit to agents? Obviously, I know the novel needs to be grammatically correct and I need to fix as many of these "tell-y" instances as possible, but if there are some paragraphs that I'm struggling to re-word, will it make or break a submission? I feel like the story itself is what makes a good novel and that it's the editors job to help make the words read well, but I know authors have a responsibility to have a good understanding of how to do this, too.

I'm probably over-worrying about this, as I know it's still going to be a while before I stand a chance of getting published, but it's something I can't put out of my mind. Does anyone have any advice for avoiding the "He did this. He did that." kind of sentences? Or any recommendations on books to read about improving the prose themselves? Any advice would be greatly appreciated