Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Kick in the Behind

By Keith N Fisher

When I started this blog, I intended to use it to promote my writing career. It got derailed somewhere and I’ve neglected it, and you. With the excitement and promise of getting my cookbook published I resurrected my camp cooking blog. Now it’s time to get this one back on track.

I am a writer, and I want to be successful. Like everyone, I get discouraged. So, I gave myself a kick, with goals to move on. I’m waiting to hear from a publisher about The Hillside. If it gets rejected, I’m going to rewrite certain parts and make it national market. I will be shopping that book, along with others.

I’ll still write in the LDS market, but most of my effort will be National. I need to start socializing with agents at conferences and get my name out there. I need to change my business cards that say, (Writer of LDS Fiction) because that is limiting. I’m making a list to help me move forward.

I just received my Star Crossed manuscript back from a proofreader and I think I’ll make it national. Anybody interested in a book about a woman who gets driven apart from her lover as a teenager, struggles with alcoholism, divorce, abandonment, Goes through detoxification. Then, she meets her former boyfriend and discovers that, unbeknownst to her, his daughter plans to marry her son. He’s a minister and he’s married. Sparks fly when her feelings flare up, and she tries to seduce him.

How about a book about a man who, after suffering devastating losses on his farm, leaves his family and goes West during the California gold rush? The relationship he never intended to happen leads him into unusual places, and he ends up broke, homeless, and unloved. That’s when he runs into an old adversary who wants revenge. All that Glitters is one of the only books I’m writing with a male main character.

There are many books in my project file and they will delight every reader. There are even more bouncing in my head.


Oh, Yeah, that Writing Thing

By Keith N Fisher

Garrison Keiler, on the Prairie Home Companion, usually starts his monologue with,

"Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie."

I like his writing and I especially like the feel of the radio show. Keiler tells it like it is, so be careful when you read some of his writing. Still, he is a national treasure.

When I started writing this post, I thought of Keiler’s signature start of the monologue and this post began, Well, it’s been a quiet week in the cyberspace of writing. I took a break from the world and began to analyze my life. I’m making needed changes and setting goals.

One of those decisions was to write for the national market. I will continue to write LDS fiction. At least until I exhaust all of the story outlines (and there are many) in my project file. I got my manuscript back from my cousin, (one of my beta readers). She knows who she is, and she did a wonderful job with Star Crossed. No, I won’t give you her name, because I don’t want you to steal her. It’s hard enough, to find proofreaders who have time these days and I need all the help I can get. She’s mine. J

I talked about this in a recent post, but have you ever contemplated the amount of time it takes to get a book published these days? It probably takes longer for me than most, because I just can’t get it perfect in the first draft. I was thinking how nice it would be to write well enough that I could submit my work as soon as I write the words, The end.

Better yet, wouldn’t it be great to have a publisher anticipating my next work? The old stop the presses Keith just sent his next book, cliché comes to mind. If I could just write, without taking time to edit, I could get through my project’s file in no time. If I didn’t have to work a day job, I could write all the time.

Of course if I were a best seller, I could hire an editor. I could write everything with the discovery method, turn it over to the editor, make the changes, and leave it with my secretary to shop the agents and publishers.

Writing is getting easier for me all the time. Waiting for Critique group edits takes time, but I wouldn’t make a move without them. Then, even after I make those recommended changes, I still need proofreaders. I need other eyes looking over the manuscript. Besides, hearing positive comments about the plot is good for my ego.

Like I said, I wrote about this process a couple of weeks ago, but I’m grateful to my cousin, even though I wish I could just write and not worry about the quality. I was writing posts for other blogs and thought; oh, yeah, I need to write the writing blog. That's how the name of this post came to be.

As Garrison Keiler says at the end of his monologue, "Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Good Luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I can be Anything, Go Anywhere

By Keith N Fisher

As a writer, I’m sure the possibilities have occurred to you. Yes, Characters really talk to you and try to enforce their wills over the story, They also live through you. Moreover, you live through them.

Just like parents relive their past through the antics of their children, writers live the lives of their characters. "What?" you ask. But I’ve written some really bad characters and I don't want to be like them."

I agree, I write women’s fiction and I have no desire to be the women I write, but those women teach me valuable lessons.

These were my thoughts the other day during our critique group meeting. I brought a chapter from my cookbook and graciously distributed it as homework. I also brought chapter ten of The Trophy to read. I wrote Christy into that story several years ago, and I like her. What’s more my critique group likes her.

I live parts of her life every time I read or edit one of her chapters and I admit, her life is more exciting than mine. I guess you could say she is written well, but then, I’ve had a lot of practice with her.

Writers are a crazy bunch, we travel to far off lands, do dangerous, and romantic things. Our characters take us there. Sometimes they take us to places we don’t want to go, "But," you say. "Don’t the characters we write come out of our head, or from people we’ve known?" Aha. I guess we really are crazy, but most of us were very good at playing make believe as children and writing a just an extension of that.

Doesn’t that make you wonder about some writer’s childhood? Is there a place you always wanted to go? Did you always wish you were more . . . Then Write it.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nothing to Write

By Keith N Fisher

I’ve been so busy trying to finish my cookbook, cooking new dishes, and doing research, that I couldn’t think of a topic for today. I spent all day bouncing ideas off myself but I couldn’t come up with anything. I cleaned out a shed, cleaned the truck, (Which was a huge deal), and made chili.

Still, I couldn’t think of anything to write that would bolster your resolve to keep writing. I thought about a political situation that ticks me off, but I promised to leave politics off this blog. I considered writing about writer’s block itself, but that would be copping out. (Just like this post).

I will say, I’ve been having formatting problems with the cookbook. I put all the recipes in two columns, single spaced. All the other stuff was one column, double spaced when I tried to insert the recipes the formatting went crazy. I think I’ve got it under control now though, at least I have a system and it seems to be working.

Hopefully, things will go better this week and I’ll have something worthwhile to say. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It Takes a Village

By Keith N Fisher

If it takes a village to raise a child, How many people do you need to publish a book? Many of us are enamoured with the idea of being a solitary writer. He/she spends months in seclusion, knocking out that book. Then, after the publisher takes it to market, the writer spends a couple of months doing other things, like plotting the demise of the mailman (See the movie Funny Farm).

Perhaps that reality once existed, but not today. When Hillary Clinton published her book, It Takes a Village, I Liked the concept the title implies. It does take many influences to raise a child. Publishing your book does too.

It starts with whoever provides the inspiration. What made you want to write a book? As with all artistic expression, writing is driven by passion. Something must’ve lit that fire.

Next, there are the teachers and conference presenters who help with your presentation. I know things I learn at writer’s conferences have immensely boosted me.

The cooperation and support of those you love must be listed. I used to write into the night while my wife went to bed. She never complained, but it goes deeper than that. I know many women who write while their family qtakes up the slack.

One can not leave this subject without mentioning the opposite. When a trusted and treasured friend, or family member, expresses their disdain about your choice to be a writer, it can be overwhelming. The influence of those who provide support by keeping quiet makes all the difference. If those people express support, the writer is lifted.

The help of an honest critique is invaluable. A good critique group is essential. Writers need group partners who will build, but still tell you when something stinks. I can’t begin to express how much my group has helped me become a better writer.

Next in our village, is the willing beta, or proofreaders. Another set of eyes can find typos and plot mistakes the writer just never saw. They can also tell you if the story works or not. If they don’t like what you wrote, book buyers probably won’t either. A writer needs many beta readers to get an accurate picture of what changes are needed.

We could list mail carriers, agents, editors, and slush pile readers. Then come typesetters, printers, and distributors. Bookstore owners and managers, come in there next. Not to mention, the good recommendations of bookstore employees. Suffice it to say a best seller is not born in a vacuum.

I want to thank all the people in my village. I might be somebody someday because of your support. More than that, My children (books) will go into the world and be successful.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Life In the Fast Lane

By Keith N Fisher

Are you old enough to remember life before the microcomputer? I remember a time when a computer filled whole rooms. (Many rooms.) In those days, socializing was done in person. Facebook hadn’t been invented. The guy who started Facebook hadn’t been invented either.

Writing in those days was done on a ribbon typewriter. I had access to an electric one, then I got a manual. Pushing the keys down gave me strong fingers, but mistakes usually meant starting over.

My typewriter sat on my desk. It was too cumbersome to lug around. Now I can write anywhere. I take my computer with me. I’m writing this post from my front porch on an 11 X 9 netbook. I just finished my Dutch oven blog and tried to log onto the Internet, but there was a problem.

Something is wrong with my router, it keeps flaking out. My computer can’t find it, until I shut it off and turn it back on. It could be some kind of conflict. Perhaps somebody is stealing my bandwidth. I’m not sure, but it’s such a simple temporary fix. All I need to do is go back in the house and reset the router.

How many of you remember when watching television meant getting up to change the channels? Lately, I’ve been known to sit quietly in front of a blank screen, because I can’t bring myself to get the remote from the kitchen.

Still, a writer can use those moments to plot his story. Writers can write anything, anywhere, but how did I become so dependent on technology? I don’t answer the house phone anymore. There’s a phone is in my pocket if I need to make a call. I can go for a ride on a hot day and crank up the air conditioning. What did we do when I was a kid?

Writers have it easier these days. I know, they didn’t have to market back then, but I can submit a book in seconds and never see my words on paper. Then I can build a following by posting something witty on Facebook. I can correspond with my writing peers and make appointments for book signings. I can do all these things in the bathroom, before I take my morning shower.

When I think of how we got from then to now, I’m reminded of my pile of computer parts. Most of that stuff was cutting edge back in the day. Now it gathers dust, because I can’t seem to throw it away. I think about the old Commodore 64, the XT and the AT I had. I remember needing a math co-processor to do graphics. At one point, I went from and two-foot tower to one half the size, then my first laptop. Oh, baby we were stylin.

Occasionally, I fire up my old 486 with the co-processor, and play with Windows 3.1. It was leaps and bounds ahead of what came before. Typing on a manual typewriter, pushing lead around a sheet of paper to make a blueprint, and playing solitaire with a real deck of cards.

Well, enough of my blabbering. It’s time to bite the bullet and go reset the router.

Good Luck with your writing—see you next week.