Sunday, April 13, 2014

Perplexed, and a Question

By Keith N Fisher

You should know. In my youth, I spent a lot of time in Boy Scouts. I also spent a lot of time drinking beer in Boy Scouts. As a scout leader, I never drank beer, but I could’ve in my private time.

As some of you know, I work nights at a convenience store. The other night I had two customers. They bought two 30 packs of beer and I checked their ID. One of them wore a T-shirt that said something about the BSA (Boy Scouts). I made a snide remark about Boy Scouts and drinking beer. One of the guys chuckled and they both left.

A few moments later one of them (not the T-shirt wearer) came back and told me they didn’t appreciate my comment about Boy Scouts and drinking beer. I was perplexed. If it’d happened twenty years ago I would’ve argued, but I immediately apologized.

I apologized four times in fact. When the guy with the T-shirt came in, I said please accept my apology. The other guy just kept on beating a dead horse. Finally, they left.

Now, if this had been twenty years ago, I would’ve said look, I’ve apologized four times now leave it alone. I would’ve taken it to another level and I would’ve regretted doing that. As it was, I shook my head and went back to business.

Now, I ask you, What was so offensive about my comment? I don’t get it. As I said, I’m perplexed. Have we really come to a place where humanity can’t speak to each other for fear of offending? Being politically correct is one thing, and using correct pronouns is a personal thing, but was my comment offensive?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Yes, I’m Still, Alive

By Keith N Fisher

Although I’ve missed posting for too long, I assure you, I’m still here. While getting dressed the other day, I thought about the plot from a book I wrote, years ago. I suddenly realized I’d written something that could’ve happened.

Basically, a teenage girl sneaked out through her bedroom window. There were bushes and a lawn below. Later she tossed her luggage out the window and it landed in the driveway. Couldn’t happen in the same house.

Now I have to fix that in my rewrites. I’m sorry for not posting here. I think it might be time to move on, and turn it over to others. Maybe not—I’ll let you know.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another Day—Gone & A Pile of Grain

By Keith N Fisher

Another Saturday passed away without my posting on this blog. What’s up with Keith? You might ask—not much. I just haven’t been able to think of any object lessons you could use, that would help you to become a better writer.

I’ve been gathering my wits lately. Trying to get back into a rhythm. In a previous post, I talked about flaking out. I don’t want to go into the causes of that failure. Besides, you are not my therapist, and this is a blog about writing.

I got most of my cookbook edits back now, so I will be submitting it soon. It’s time to finish shopping The Hillside. Starcrossed is going in the e-mail. All my finished manuscripts are going out now, or in final stages of preparation. My National market book is in third draft and I love it.

The Trophy is going to critique and my partners love the story. I stare at the manuscript that predicted my daughter’s life, hoping to rewrite and submit, but it scares me. Still, I’m going to fix, and get it out there.

In trying to be productive, I’ve found many more things that needed doing. Discouragement will not be an issue. I’m moving forward.

Now, a little food for thought. How many of you, as writers, can’t find the switch to turn it off? Do little things or objects spark long scenarios in your mind? Do you speculate about the life story of every person you pass on the street? Are you usually right? Well, me neither, but I get it right more than half the time. If you saw the bag on the floor in my house, what would your mind make up about it? Would you think that a cat urinated on it, making it stink, but its leather, and I can’t just throw it away.

If you do these things, then chances are, you are a writer. Making up scenarios is an occupational hazard, or a blessing, depending on your perspective. I saw an example of this recently. My wife had to briefly go to work on Sunday, so I drove her there on our way to church. I wrote in the car, while I waited for her.

While driving into the parking lot, we passed a pile of brown stuff that I assumed was wheat. Further investigation confirmed my suspicions. How many of you would, (from a distance) recognize the wheat for what it was? Apparently, some wouldn’t. It depends on your experience.

The point, however, isn’t recognition, but your explanation. Because she is a custodian, my wife wondered who put it there and why? Basically, it was a mess she will have to clean up. In answer to her question, my mind provided several scenarios. The one I’m using is this, Since it was Saturday, and spring, somebody was doing the spring-cleaning. They found weevils in the wheat and poured it out on the pavement, hoping to save a portion of the grain. What they left behind wasn’t savable.

Simple and to the point, but the other stories were rich in imagination. It’s the other stories, to which I refer for this article. When your mind races toward different scenarios, embrace the phenomenon. Don’t try to turn it off. We writers have a name for it. We call it plotting.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

It's that time again.

It's conference time! The time where writers run around preparing submissions, entering contests, packing suitcases and counting out change from the couch to buy books that will be signed by presenting authors and special guests.

For most of us, this is better than that mass of holidays that happens at the end of the year.

Okay maybe not all of us, but some of us I'm sure.

I had the privilege in February to attend both Superstars in beautiful Colorado Springs CO and LTUE in Provo UT. I can safely say my head is still partially numb from Superstars.

I won the KOBO scholarship for Superstars. I cant even begin to thank them or imagine the wealth of information I received on their dime. It was simply amazing. This conference isn't about writing. This conference is about how to conduct yourself as a professional writer. How to understand contracts, how to deal with editors and agents. How to manage your time and your appearance and image.

While I know how to write, this information was new and so needed. The networking opportunities are amazing and the atmosphere is energizing. This is a more expensive conference but if you have the writing pat of the business under control, and are ready for the next step this is worth your time and money.  

While I was still recovering from Superstars and trying to put my house back together from being gone for four days, I was also preparing to present on some panels at LTUE. This conference was also an amazing experience on the other side (read author side, rather than student) of the writing realm. Again the connections, the atmosphere and networking is awesome.

This is the perfect conference for the beginning writer. Lots of classes and panels to choose from. Great price, lots of amenities around for meals and lodging and lots of authors and fellow writers to hang out with.

I will be at Write Here in Ephiram on March 29th, and Storymakers on April 25-26. I will be teaching classes at both of them. If you are going to either of these conferences please stop me in the hall and say hi. I will apologize in advance if I don't immediately recognize your name or face. As icon pictures are tiny, and I will be seeing numerous people just by nature of where I will be at and if I am heading to or preparing for a class. Still say hi. I love to connect with friends and fellow writers. I might even have chocolate somewhere on me.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

My Life, Writing—Writing my life

By Keith N Fisher

To my horror last week, I, once again, lived a chapter from a book I wrote. I first wrote about this experience back in October of 2012 in the blog post called, Be Careful What you Write—it Might be your Script.

I wrote,

Parts of that story came back and slapped me in the face, the other night. Not in a good, editorial way, but as I lived the plot. Many of us write from our experiences, but how many of us experience what we write?

Because of privacy issues, I won’t tell you the details. Suffice it to say I keep living the plots I wrote in a story fifteen years ago. It’s a coming of age story about a girl and her father and it’s haunting me.

The manuscript was rejected when I submitted it, and I’ve always planned to re-write to resubmit. To that end, I got into it about a year ago, but had to stop. I realized the similarities and I couldn’t bare to see my daughter go through all, that.

Fast forward to last week and the incident I lived through. To my chagrin, the déjà vu

was almost unbearable. I was proud, however, to find myself doing the things my character did.

I’m still a little afraid of the plot I wrote, but I realized the real life details could improve the story. Of course I’ve got to write the improved version, but I might wait until my daughter grows up.

I’ve been writing stories for so long, I guess it was bound to happen. I hope it doesn’t happen again. Has this ever happened to you?

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Star Struck at LTUE

By Keith N Fisher

The symposium this year was better than ever. With the exception of a few things said in panels, the information was helpful and inspiring. I’ve been attending LTUE for years and I must say it’s getting better.

With that said, I want to talk about something I’ve seen before, but never in a conference in Utah. Several years ago, in an effort to become a better writer, I attended my first writer’s conference. One of the things I loved about it, was the human qualities exhibited by the major talent. Those who’d made a name for themselves, were just the same as me.

I experienced a sense of community that made me feel like a family member. I made friends who are national market superstars today. I walk down the hall at a conference, and they call me by name and ask how my writing is going.

The bottom line is they are human. They are normal people with some of the same problems we have. Some time ago, one of the superstars, a science fiction author, was the keynote speaker at an LDStorymakers conference. I didn’t know who he was because I don’t write science fiction, but he’d just signed a book contract that would net several figures.

That author was treated like any other author. I felt comfortable being around him. He makes a lot more than that now, and he was at LTUE this year. To say, I was shocked by the way he was treated this year, would be an understatement. The behavior didn’t come from by those who usually attend, but the people I’ve never seen before. The superstars are just people, writers who feel sad when they can’t spend time with each attendee.

I never realized how bad the problem was, until I tried to leave a conference room at the end of a presentation. The next panel would have some of the superstars in it and there was a solid mass of people trying to get in while many of us were trying to get out. It was like trying to continually fill an elevator. Eventually, the cable will snap, and it will fall to the first floor.

I waited for a second, asking to be let out before they rushed into the room. Finally, I realized those crazed fans were fighting for a place inside. The blank stares said it all. Being a large man, I was able to push my way through the crowd. Like moving through a heard of cattle, They moved aside. I was able to get to the next panel.

Please know, that although, I am jealous of my friend’s contracts, I have no axe to grind. I am reminded of when a famous entertainer moved into my LDS ward. In my neighborhood, there are many famous and successful people. They are people who I admire and look up to. I want to grow up and be like many of them. I saw many of those successful people grovel and kiss up to the entertainer.

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. They eventually got over it, but just like the aspiring writers I saw at LTUE, they were star struck. I hope my superstar friends find the peace and quiet they deserve. Now, that the conference is over.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Flaking Out and LTUE (Life The Universe & Everything)

By Keith N Fisher

Okay, I’m ready to admit I’m a procrastinator. I didn’t use to be. I used to plan ahead, thinking about up coming projects. I used to promote my writing career. What happened? I’m not sure. Middle age, maybe. Sudden life changes are a major factor, but I suspect a PTSD condition of sorts.

I planned to write an LTUE (Life The Universe and Everything) preview for today, but as you can see, I’m late posting. Webster’s second definition says this about flaking out. 2 slang: to be overcome especially by exhaustion. Yep, a condition of sorts.

I missed the early registration deadline for LTUE, but I evaluated my finances. I’m going to be there. I won’t be wearing any bells, but I needed the networking time. I made a comment on Author’s Incognito recently and somebody asked who I was. I’m the middle aged big guy with a beard that runs around acting like he’s a writer.

If you see me at LTUE, please say hello. Be advised, however, I shaved my beard. I assure you it’s me. I still feel naked, but some people say it makes me look younger.

I started this post talking about flaking out. Please be patient with me. I’m trying to rebuild a life. If it goes well, I should be back soon.

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