Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sadistic Pleasure

By Keith N Fisher

To those who read my blog each week: I’m sorry. I got caught up in stuff and didn’t post last week. It’s the first time I’ve missed, but I feel like a flake.

I took a turning point chapter to critique group this week. It was one of those, put your character in peril so they can overcome, type of things, but it wasn’t strong enough. After getting feedback about the writing, I asked my group what they thought. Should I make it stronger? Does the character need more peril?

The next several minutes were spent bouncing plot twist ideas off each other and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose. I was reminded of the old axiom, coined by others, in act one, put your characters in a tree. Act two, throw rocks at your character. Act three, get your character out of the tree.

I once heard Josi Killpack add more to it. She suggested that we throw rocks and set fire to the tree. We shouldn't be in a hurry to get our characters out of peril because it doesn’t give them a chance to grow, and it isn’t believable.

I’m also reminded of how this relates to real life. Every one of us has problems. I prefer to call them trials because overcoming them helps us grow. Eventually, passing through enough trials will help us be the people God intended us to be.

After critique, I began to think of myself as a sadist who enjoys putting my beloved characters into terrible circumstances. Then I remembered the axiom above. If I want to write a great book, I must turn on the heat of tribulations. I’m not sadistic, I’m a loving creator.

May you have the courage to be cruel to your characters. Help your protagonists grow, but go easy on the antagonists.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stuff Happens

By Keith N Fisher

Are you a half-full or a half-empty person? When you see a container with the contents measuring exactly one-half of the total capacity, is it half-full, or is half-empty? We’ve all heard this metaphor and we try to look at life with a positive twist.

After all, look at the biblical prophet Job and all he went through. He remained positive through horrific times. Half-full people are great examples to us all. While being interviewed for television about their house burning down, they say, We were blessed that nobody was hurt.

It’s true. It is a blessing and they really believe it, but I think many of them are crying out in silence, but it really sucks to lose my house. Also, with all the stuff that happens in our life, it’s amazing we don’t all, go screaming into the night.

Years ago, I managed a bar and I listened to dozens of hard luck stories every day. Now I work nights at a convenience store and I’m still listening to sad tales. Sometimes they help me feel grateful that I don’t have the same experiences. Other times, I’m reminded of my own trials and the weight of the world descends on my shoulders.

As writers we tend to think of our work as half-empty. Then inspiration comes from somewhere and we marvel at what we’ve written. The secret is to never stop believing in the silver lining. When, (like a house fire), the red pen strikes our manuscript, we can look at the good parts and be grateful they weren’t destroyed, too.

You must believe in yourself. Take compliments when you can get them. Listen to criticism and improve. Dear writer, you have chosen a difficult career path. Learn to be your own cheerleader. Remember stuff happens, look at what’s left instead of what’s missing.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Please Comment

By Keith N Fisher

I’ve been on this site for six years now. Posting about writing, and the struggles associated with it, has been therapeutic. Having people read and comment is icing on the cake. Many of the people who commented in the beginning were published authors. Others have since become published authors, and most of them have blogs of their own.

As we all know, struggling to get noticed as a writer is difficult and there is so much competition. Many of my contemporaries are very good at it, but I wonder about relevance. Recently, I noticed several blogs dealing with subjects I wrote about years ago. I even noticed a credit given to someone else for a concept originally coined by another.

Six years ago, at the LDStorymakers conference, I glanced at those in attendance and marveled that so many people felt an urge to write. I wrote how we seemed to be poised on a precipice waiting for God to use us in the battle for souls. This year, the numbers had more that doubled many times. So, I wonder about relevance.

Have you ever wondered this same thing about your writing? I don’t mean to be glum, but it’s that kind of day. Keep your head up and your fingers poised on the keyboard. Search your heart for inspiration. Its what I do. Sometimes, I write from the parking lot of the temple, hoping to reach my readers. It helps with my perspective. Don’t worry, I will continue to offer advice on this blog because I’ve grown accustomed to posting here. However, your comments are more than welcome.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.