Saturday, July 31, 2010

Consistancy Amid Changes

By Keith N Fisher

How do you like the new look? Yes, you’re in the right place. This is the LDS Writer’s Blogck. We lost the use of the other template and needed to make a change. I like what Nichole has done.

She’s the one that holds us all together you know, and I applaud her.

This blog, dedicated to writing tips and the struggles associated with getting published, was created by a group of Authors Incognito Members. At the time, there were few blogs about writing, even fewer discussing the LDS Market. After the LDStorymakers Conference in 2006, Darvell Hunt asked for volunteers and the first post went out on April 26.

C L Beck posted about the name Blogck, and it was off and running. The first posts were by Darvell Hunt, C L Beck, Heather Justesen, Nichole Giles, Connie Hall, W L Elliott, and Danyelle Fergusen. Karen Hoover, and Gaynell Parker were next.

I joined the team on June 24th when Danyelle bowed out due to time restraints. I got the Saturday slot and began to try and spread the message that you are not alone in your writing struggle.

Over the past four years, we’ve had bloggers come and go. I’ve been late a few times, but I’ve never missed a post. Some of my blogs have inspired some did not. It’s been a rewarding experience for me personally.

Now, with the semi retirement of Ali, we have opened up the Monday slot for guest bloggers from Author’s Incognito, and I think it’s working out great, don’t you?

Other writers might come and go in the future, but you can rest assured, the Blogck will be here to encourage you. As I stated in my first blog on this site, we all are standing on a precipice, ready to march forward with stories that will delight and inspire. Many have gone forward, many will follow as God uses his army of writers to bring souls to Christ.

Since we have so many followers, I know we are being read. One thing I’d like to know, however, have we made a difference? Do we encourage you to keep going? Please leave a comment and let us know.

In the meantime, good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


By Keith N Fisher

Where do you go when life comes at you like a freight train and you’re running across a trestle, carefully stepping on each rail tie, and wishing you’d taken the highway?

We all have troubles. Some more than others of us, but eventually we end up trying to outrun an elephant stampede, knowing one misstep would mean the end of our life in an unappealing way.

When you get to the point where you must jump off the bridge or be squashed by the train, do you find safety in the water?

From the beginning of our childhood, each of us learns to take care of our self. We learn to feed ourselves, go to the bathroom, tie our shoelaces, and talk on the phone. Later we learn things like getting along with others or staying under the radar of the playground bully. We spend our whole lives believing we don’t need anybody. We can stand on our own two feet. We can cut it alone.

Then, sometime during adolescence we lose all sense of direction. We fall in love with a member of the opposite sex. After falling off the romance roller coaster, we lick our wounds, kick ourselves for losing control and vow to never be taken in, again.

We don’t need anyone. We got along just fine without a boy/girlfriend before, and we can do it again.

Sooner or later we discover the erroneous attitude of self-accomplishment. The little red hen realized she had to do the work, or the bread wouldn’t get made. Then she refused to share, saying I did it all myself. I deserve all the credit.

The problem here is the hen didn’t remember who gave her the field to plant. Who made the seeds grow. Who sent the rain, and who helped her every step of the way. She never once gave credit where credit was due.

Recently, I heard about a study, conducted by professors at Brigham Young University and they concluded we’re healthier if we have friends. The reporter listed all the things having no friends is worse than. Such things as heart disease, and obesity. They say our bodies respond to interaction with friends.

It seems the song, No Man is an Island has connotations far beyond the simple feeling of brotherhood it represents.

May God grant you serenity to realize He is your best friend, but He has given you a life full of opportunities to embrace people who could save your life. If you cultivate good friends, they will catch you when you jump from the bridge. They will lift you up, out of the path of danger.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my good friends. Thank you for putting up with my bull headed pride and thank you for saving my life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dancing the Limbo

By Keith N Fisher

Willie had held down his job at the Pretty Pelican Bar and Grill, which did not have a grill, for almost three weeks. For Willie, this was a personal employment record.

I changed the names, but I found those two sentences at the beginning of a novel written by my favorite nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, a Pulitzer Prize winner. This writer claims to have been persuaded to write fiction by an editor from a national publishing house.

Now, I’m not an expert, attested to by the fact I’m not published, but I had trouble reading that first sentence. I think the commas saved the sentence grammatically, but it raised some questions in my mind.

Why did the bar not have a grill for three weeks? How could they call it a bar and grill if it didn’t have a grill? The second sentence is totally confusing unless you finally figure out that Willie only had the job for less than three weeks.

Okay, perhaps it would be helpful to know this author is a humor writer. The sentence draws your attention because of the imperfection. It’s funny because of the writer’s personality. It makes me want to read more because I know the writer’s work and there is a promise of more to come.

But what if I didn’t know who wrote the sentence? What if I was expecting a far different type of book? What if I were an unpublished and unknown, wannabe, author who wrote that sentence? Would it get published?

When I read old books and those written by lazy, best selling, authors, A common question comes to mind. Why did this book get published when my manuscript got rejected? As a writer, how many times have you asked that?”

There are several rejected manuscripts sitting in my computer work file, and a bunch more that were never submitted. They wait for me to either rewrite them, or delete them. Meanwhile, I continue to work on new stuff, improving upon the mistakes of the past. Still, I agonize over how to write perfectly, and I know I’m not alone.

Many writers struggle with the craft, knowing there are increasing numbers of people, just like us, who fight for the decreasing resources publishers parcel out for new authors.

It’s just the way it is. Hopeful authors accept the terms, but we never get used to it. We produce well-written books, perhaps better than the books of the past. We should take pride in that fact, but the bar is coming down while we dance the limbo, trying to bend lower with each new paragraph.

Take courage in your ability to dance the dance. You’re getting better with each round. Your writing muscles get stronger each time you bend lower. If you fall, get up, improve your stance, enjoy the music, and try again.

Have you found a favorite sentence blunder written by a well-known author? Make a comment to share it with us, and be proud of your craft. Know you are producing better work than the writers of the past.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week. Oh, by the way, Happy Pioneer Day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Trying to Make Sense out of Nonsense-Shooting off my Mouth

By Keith N Fisher

Recently, on another blog, I made the point that perhaps we should be careful what we write. I’ve said things in my life I should’ve kept to myself. I’ve written inflammatory words that came back to bite me. Often, I jump to conclusions when I should just keep quiet.

That being said, I’ve been following a news story to frustration. Without going into detail, I say, yes, punish the information abusers, but if the people on the list are really illegal immigrants, why are we not deporting them? Why is our government providing services to them? Perhaps we could approach the problem by billing the home governments of the Illegal immigrants.

The United States is having enough financial troubles without adding to it. Let’s send a collection agency armed with missiles to recoup our losses. Under our law, parents are often held responsible for their children’s actions. Why can’t we extend that thinking to include governments who do nothing to prevent illegal immigration to our country?

Perhaps the answer to all these questions is in the perception of power and the elect-ability of catering candidates. Now, I realize what I’ve said may be ill advised. Some of my friends might take offense, but I’m getting tired of this being an issue. There are thousands of wonderful people in this country who immigrated legally, from many different countries, and through the proper channels.

I extend my open arms to welcome them, but when I read about a police officer who lost her life at the hands of an illegal, It frustrates me. Especially when you consider the alien responsible had been deported before.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dangerous Places

By Keith N Fisher

I was a carpenter for several years in my younger days. I loved the aspect of standing back at the end of the day and gazing on the fruits of my labors. I could stare at the walls I’d built with gratification in a job well done. Later, as a designer of homes, I took great satisfaction in looking at those houses. I still do.

There was one part of being a carpenter, however, I found distasteful. Walking on the top of a 2x4 wall. I began my apprenticeship with a man who used ladders to attach top plating. For the most part, we used ladders to set joists too, although psychologically, hanging joists was easier.

Like joists, setting roof trusses isn’t as bad as top plating, because you have the truss to hold on to. Being a little afraid of heights is a draw back when you’re standing eight feet above the floor below. Then, you have to squat or bend to hammer a nail. It wasn’t until I went to work for another contractor that walking walls became mandatory.

As my career went forward I tried to put it out of my mind. I fell off a roof once, and I fell off ladders, but I never got brave enough to walk walls with abandon. Occasionally, I’d end up working with guys who poked fun at my cautiousness, but I gave back as well as I got. Through it all, though, I envied their confidence in high places.

One time, however, one of those guys was working beside me on the backside of a roof. We were building a house in the foothills with a ground floor at street level, but on the backside, there was a forty-foot drop from the roof to the ground below.

My friend stood up from a squat and momentarily lost his balance. He stumbled backward, toward the edge. I reached out to catch him but he righted himself with that marvelous balance he had. He made light of it, but I saw fear in his eyes.

As writers we promote our career in blogs and other venues. We have a unique opportunity to express ourselves. Sometimes it’s political, other times it’s religion. Often times we use our craft to say things we perhaps shouldn’t. The danger is there, even though we sometimes don’t recognize it for what it is.

We sit back in our righteous indignation, spewing forth. We take pride in having people agree with us, and we don’t stop to consider our words. Words can be like muddy boots on a 2x4 wall they might not make you slip and fall, but they could.

It doesn’t matter how many people agree, what we have written or said is out there for anyone and everyone to see. It resides on the Internet forever. What if in the future, you submit your manuscript to an editor who read what you wrote, and had a different opinion than you? It’s all in the past, right? Many people agreed with you then, but the editor, who probably wasn’t an editor at the time, took offense to what you said. Now, there’s a price to pay.

Writers have the ability to create worlds. To sway minds for good or evil. We walk walls with confidence, when perhaps caution is warranted. Even a carefully crafted blog or group comment can come back and bite you. You could fall off.

Think carefully and choose words with caution. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

PS Check out my review of Leaning into the Curves by Nancy Anderson and Carroll Hofeling Morris. Click on the book cover

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Leaning into the Curves

A blog tour stop book review by Keith N Fisher

I saw this book for the first time on the bookstore table, at the LDStorymakers conference. I found Carroll Hofeling Morris later, and congratulated her on the new book. She asked me an off the wall question, “Did you read the title? What did it say?

Apparently, the subconscious mind interprets it as something to do with a learning curve. I had to admit my mind wanted to do it too, but the motorcycle on the cover straightened me out. The experience made me realize how important titles can be. Since then, I’ve concluded that, Leaning into the Curves is the most appropriate title.

It’s about a woman who enters a new phase of her life. Her husband’s retirement sends her into adjustment mode. Trying to make her own life fit into his new schedule while he tries to find his place in the world.

His purchase of a motorcycle and subsequent membership in the Temple Riders Association, teach her lessons about marital partnership and being a passenger on a motorcycle.

Like driving a racecar through high-banked curves, centrifugal force pulls you around with minimal effort. It’s the same thing when riding a motorcycle. You learn to lean into the curves. When you’re riding on the back, the driver is in control. The passenger’s first instinct is to lean away and that messes up the rhythm and could cause a wreck.

Therefore Leaning into the Curves is a most appropriate title. Often times, as a spouse, we must go against our instincts and learn to trust our sweetheart. We must lean into the curves of life with him/her.

Written by Nancy Anderson, and Carroll Hofeling Morris, Leaning into the Curves, is a good story and its easy to read. I also, liked it because I have a friend who owns several Harley Davidson motorcycles and is a member of the TRA. Then, again, maybe I liked it, because I’m fast approaching retirement.

While reading, I noticed several places the story could’ve ended. I wondered if the authors were stretching out their word count. Often, in writing a book we end up short on words to fill editorial requirements, but when I came to the last page, I realized the true ending was right where it needed to be for the whole story. The added parts were icing on the cake.

Published by Deseret Book, you will find your copy at their website, and the other, usual locations. Be sure to visit the author’s website at or their blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm A Storyteller

By Keith N Fisher

As a writer, I go through dry periods for one reason or other. Everyone does—it’s the nature of the craft. Sometimes there’s a block and we just can’t think of anything to write. It feels like torture to put two words together. The metaphor of opening a vein and writing with blood comes to mind.

Time crunches, because of the challenges of life, are another reason for the dry periods. Unfriendly schedules, and sheer exhaustion, force our attention away from writing. Regret over unfinished projects can tug at a writer’s heartstrings, and he asks, “When will I ever get time to write?

I’ve been experiencing the latter. With several projects on the back burner, I’ve been trying to write the sequel to a book I need to submit. Would you like to be a proofreader? Through it all, I have my blog commitments. Deadlines come whether I’m too busy, or not.

With all the turns my life has taken lately, and an uncooperative laptop, my writing has been waiting like an unrequited lover. The wellspring of inviting water goes unused. While struggling to find time, the nagging question has been what to do with the sequel. I knew how to solve the problems, but if only I had the time.

In order to bring something to critique group, I started writing the sequel out of sequence. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but this time, I’d written the basic scenes with nothing to connect them. I needed to sort it out for continuity, and the chapters needed to be moved around.

Then, as if by magic, I found a way to make my laptop fall into line. And the Independence Day Holiday came up. The weeds in my garden have grown monumentally high, but I used the day to sit on my porch and write. It felt wonderful.

After a couple of hours, things began to fall into place. I wrote the connecting scenes and remembered where I was going. I rediscovered the joy of writing. I found myself lost in the world of my creation, listening to my characters and learning to love them more.

On Sunday, after church I went back out there. My characters suggested ways to make the story more interesting and I found more compelling reasons for readers to like the book. By the next day I was a writer again.

Over the years I’ve learned many things about the writing craft. Through the ladies in my critique group I’ve learned there is much more to learn. All of these lessons help me tell a story, and that, is the most important lesson of all. I love telling stories. Ideas for books float around my head demanding to be written. Unfortunately, I can’t write them all. There are more stories than I have years left to write them.

When I think of the possibilities of touching hearts with my stories, I endeavor to try. When I shed tears over a touching ending, I know I’m part of the way there. You see if the story can touch my heart, then maybe I can change and be better.

After the holiday, I’m a writer again. When I think about all my writing errors, I’d rather be known as a storyteller, at least for now.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


By Keith N Fisher

The Cliché “You can’t go home again,” was meant to convey feelings derived from a visit to places from your youth that turn out to be less than you had inflated them. In my case the term has literal meaning.

I sat this week, gazing at the flattened, bombed out space that used to be Orem High School. I spent three of my best years wandering those halls. I learned how to kiss girls and dissect a frog.

I remember the time we found the unlocked trapdoor in the storage room of the auto shop. It led to the bomb shelter. Also, the time when my friend, Dave Cryer, and I, wrote an argument skit by assignment for drama class. It was brilliant. We acquired a starter’s pistol with the intention of using it in the end.

We rehearsed, we had it down pat, and on the morning of the skit I drove my friends to school. I pulled in that space between the gym and the trades building and passed the school policeman. Another friend pointed the gun through the open window and . . .

Well, you can guess what happened next. If my friend had done that today, we would still be in prison. Officer Guyman didn’t want to, but he finally cut us a break. We were able to use the gun in our skit with the promise we would put it away and never bring it out at school again.

The skit went off without a hitch. I pushed Dave. He pushed me. The choreography was flawless. I fell to the floor on my back, pulled the gun from my boot, and fired. Dave reacted to each shot and screams were heard from our audience.

I recall sharing a locker with my girlfriend. We left love notes for each other. I remember the Sweetheart Ball, and Preference. Football, and Wresting. I remember driving my truck up the steps in the courtyard between the driver’s Ed room and the girl’s gym. I did it on a dare and busted my exhaust manifold in the process.

There was the night my friend Kelly Rawlings spent, tethered under the football field bleachers. He was lucky enough to be in unified studies. Oh yeah, life was grand. I was the kid who issued parking tickets in first period. I went out the front door and worked my way south writing tickets to cars without permits. Then, up the lunch ladies row with my truck parked at the end. I’d climb in and go to breakfast. Sorry Mr. Jarman, I wish I’d done better.

I had friends in every click. Friendly faces in every classroom. I was lucky to be a bicentennial senior, class of 1976.

A few years ago, our church group took on the service project to do a major deep clean, and repair the old school. Some people from our group cleaned out the bomb shelter and came out wearing so much dust they were almost unrecognizable. I helped clean windows.

After the cleaning, my wife and I walked the halls in amazement. Classrooms had replaced the courtyard between the band rooms and the gyms. Our precious little theater, was something else, they had taken part of the trades building and made the new little theater. My locker was still there. At the East End of C hall, near the Driver’s Ed Room. That’s where I hung out—across from the water fountain. I will be standing there in my mind forever. Every time I try to go home again.

Now things have changed. I was given to understand, the district was directed to bring Orem High up to earthquake standards. It was decided it would be cheaper to replace it. I don’t know if that’s true, but there is a new school, built in the old parking lot.

According to my sparse research, Orem High was built in 1956. You can see from the picture that C hall didn’t exist. Many of the things I recall hadn’t been built yet. A lot of renovation came after I left. Now it’s gone, I really can’t go home again.

Orem High School 1956-2010

Hey kids of the twenty-first century, good luck with the new haunts. Orem High School Number Two 2010-?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Greatest Experiment

By Keith N Fisher

It began two hundred and thirty-four years ago. The greatest experiment in government undertaken to that point. Well, it actually started with the Colonies objections to unfair representation, but it culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and The United States of America began the long road to a unique form of government.

I’d like to talk about that experiment for a minute. Then, I’ll talk about writing and another declaration of independence.

Like any experiment, there have been try and fail episodes. Compromise and a commitment to the greater good are what kept the experiment afloat for so long. Many people have had their agendas, but realized, no two people have the same beliefs and opinions. Therefore, a give and take relationship has evolved.

Now, we stand on a precipice. There are many, who believe their way is the only way. Compromise is seen as a sign of weakness. Our “Safe Haven” for the downtrodden is threatened.

We celebrate the signing of a great document this weekend. The day we declared our independence from an oppressive king and a group of elite society who felt that their way was the only way.

While you watch the parade, fireworks, or barbecue. Take a moment and drink a toast to the grand experiment, the monument to compromise that has lasted so long.

How is your writing going? That is the question asked of me often. I find myself asking the same question of others. When asked, I think of all the wonderful In the Zone Moments when words seemed to flow from my fingertips. The times when tears filled my eyes because of the touching scene I’d just written.

I often say, “Good,” and develop a sense of apprehension over justification of my chosen occupation.

The next question is usually, “have you got anything published yet?”

I answer with a noncommittal, “Just articles, and blogs.” I am left with a feeling of being judged, a time waster.

So, today, in honor of Independence Day I’m declaring my independence from feeling like a time waster. When I write, I’m creating something. What are you creating by wasting so many hours on the golf course?

When I write, I come closer to my Father in Heaven. For it is He who gave me this gift. It is He who sustains me while writing. Can you say the same about water skiing?

I am not a time waster! Sometimes I feel like making a living, gets in the way of my real avocation of writing. So am I wasting time at work?

Have a great holiday. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Screwtape Letters-C S Lewis

By Keith N Fisher

If you are a member of the LDS Church, You’ve heard this book quoted from the pulpit. I wanted to review it on my Dead Authors Society feature because it’s full of insights. Many people respect the author because of his religious writing. Many others don’t realize he’s the same man who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series.

In the Screwtape letters, Clive Staples Lewis created a world filled with characters who reveal the struggles of being a Christian. It is a series of letters between Screwtape, a master tempter in the employ of the devil, and his nephew, Wormwood, an apprentice tempter.

In the story, Screwtape offers advice to Wormwood, on how to lead his patient, (the man he was assigned to), down to hell. This is a good read, because it’s so true. Many of the examples of the weaker side of human character are right on. That’s why, I suppose, Screwtape is often quoted in church meetings.

C S Lewis died in 1963 and was considered to be one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century. That would explain, at least to me, why The Chronicles of Narnia seemed a little dry and clinical.

Although Lewis has received notoriety for that series, I think his other writings. Like the Screwtape Letters, are what sets him apart. His struggles with faith and religion are evident throughout. Even in the Narnia series.

In my copy, there is a dedication to J R R Tolkien, which I find revealing, because I’ve heard that Lewis and Tolkien were critique partners.

I recommend this book to everyone, but read it slow. If you’re like me, the text will float over your consciousness and major points will be missed. Savor the insights but don’t take it too seriously. In the preface, Lewis warns, The Devil is a liar. Not everything that Screwtape says should be assumed to be true even from his own angle.