Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awaiting Creation

Color has no rhythm
And harmony no hue
Art is a scream never uttered

Fiction is oil paints for the blind,
Mixing color, hearing silent backbeats
Psychedelic metaphors for those
Shards of surreality, painted on a canvas of air
and shorn trees

Greens and blues, orange and scarlet
Hang in the balance of words
Wild silhouettes, written first in the nude but
Clothed in experiences

Empty symbols, never meant
Are gnawed, chewed and swallowed
By the teeth of fashion

A masterpiece awaits
Its own creation
Waiting only for its master

To get around to it.




By Weston Elliott, copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I Passed? !


By Keith N Fisher

Last week I talked about being in training for a new job. With much consternation, I fretted. After several nights with little sleep, I passed the test, which means I get to keep my job for now. Hopefully, I won’t screw up. :)

With that worry out of the way, I can concentrate on my writing. I started a new story last weekend. I love the characters and I’m excited. Have you noticed how distracting life can be? For centuries, artists and writers have escaped the daily grind so they could exercise their passion. The lure of uninterrupted writing has driven many to mountain cabins and shacks on the beach. How many times have you been in the zone and had to stop because of a pending task or prior commitment?

I would be a much better writer if I didn’t have to work. Then again, having to work gives me time to organize my thoughts and work out plot holes. My new job, however, is all consuming. Multitasking skills must be used for the job and I don’t have time think about plots. How do I keep from going crazy? 

Who says I’m not insane? Anyway, there’s always driving time. Time spent behind the wheel can be a great buffer between being in the zone, and something else. I use it to voice the residual thoughts that built up from the session, and I re-discovered a tool that helps.

I now, use my digital voice recorder for the stray thoughts. I also dictate the next few paragraphs or continue the dialogue. Saying it out loud helps me remember the concept, but I also have it down to remember the nuance. Then, I write the notes into my book when I get back to writing.

Whether because of age, or national market success, there will be a time when writing will take up most of my time. Hopefully, I can stay “In the zone”. Until then, stolen moments are all I get.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Archives and Forgotten Treasures

Would You Pick Up This Book to Read?   

"The story I tell is not one of happiness, neither is it one of sadness.  It is simply a tale of four people bound together by one common thread—a bond powerful enough to bind them together, strong enough to break them, and cruel enough to do both at once.


          It is my story. It is only fitting that I be the one to tell it, in all its brutal majesty. "




Make you want to read more?
Me, too!!

Here's the problem. 

I came across this wonderful intro in an old archived writing file saved on a hard drive.  I have no idea what the story is, or was going to be, I only know that I penned this sometime in 2006. It has lain, forgotten, on a virtual shelf gathering aether-dust until now.

Man, that's frustrating!

The good news is that now I have found it again, and it sparks something for me! I don't remember what the story was going to be all those years ago, but I'm having inklings of what it will become now.

This is why I love archives: whether it be electronic, or old fashioned paper notebooks (which I also have at least a dozen of laying around). They are the figurative nooks and corners where ideas are swept off to, forgotten and left alone until someone notices them again, fishes them out, dusts them off and uses them to some good purpose. Leafing through a writing archive, mine or someone else's, is like finding buried treasure - just as exciting and just as rich!

So my advice to fellow writers today is simply this: Keep an archive, be it whatever sort of file, notebook, or other thing that you wish. Fill it with these bits of ideas, photos, anything that you find sparks your imagination. Keep it always, even when you don't think there's anything worth keeping. You never know what bit of coal might become a jewel, when given time!






PS: If you've never heard of it, or looked at it - www.pinterest.com is a wonderful electronic way to hoard and save ideas from all over the internet. I have a board for writing, and I use it regularly to archive ideas, quotes, photos and everything. I even have a secret board that I use to cast my characters with the appropriate photos. Be careful though, once you start, it's highly addictive!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

In Training



By Keith N Fisher

While training for a new job, I’ve had a few rude awakenings. The worst of which, is the realization that I’m old. The technology that brought us into the twenty-first century is going away. Some of the procedures that took me days to teach myself, are being replaced. The parents of some of the children, who are now my peers, weren’t born when I learned to write programs in Pascal, to display loops on an Apple II-E.

I also, discovered I’m out of touch. My peers at my new job talk about things I’ve never heard of. Yesterday, however, I heard a comment that made me think. Our trainer was talking about customer service and mentioned how difficult it can be to teach an old person how to reset their password. Walking them through it while on the phone is apparently problematic.

Suddenly, I realized several things. One is that I’m in that age group. Although it was my generation who created the original systems upon which, everything was built. I’m lucky I was blessed with a basic grasp of the technology and that I was able to teach myself. I built my first website before many of my colleagues were born. 

While listening, however, I thought of the generation before me. It’s true, the whole technology thing can be overwhelming for people who grew up listening to the radio. My parents were children at the end of the Great Depression. Color television became the big boon to society. They watched with quiet reverence as Neil Armstrong coined his famous words on the moon.

So, the fact that most of them, who grew up on a farm, have the courage to even attempt an Internet presence is heroic. Even in my generation, there are many who resisted the Internet and technology itself and are just beginning to discover the wasteland that is social media.

Some of them never will discover, but those who venture forth must be praised. We might be a little slow, but there is a learning curve and the new generation speaks a different language.

Now, before you think I’m too old to breathe, another thing I learned is about fans. I listened without contributing, to a conversation at work the other day. They were talking about books, and I saw what it means to have a fan base. They love Brandon Sanderson, and I kept quiet about my associations with him. A remember his keynote at an LDStorymakers conference years ago. It was before the Robert Jordan transition, but he’d just signed a big book deal.

Brandon is a normal guy, but he’s a great writer. His phenomenal work has earned him a wonderful fan base. Some of those fans were talking about him the other day, and I was amazed. I might never have fans like his. Mostly because I don’t write in that genre, but I would love to have people talk about my writing the way they talk about him.

Because I’m a writer, and I’ve heard him talk about it. I know how Brandon started. I wanted to share that with his fans in my classroom, but I let them talk about their fascination. They don’t know about the long hours Brandon spent as a clerk in a Provo, Utah hotel. Working through the night and writing in his spare moments. His fans might not know how many words Brandon wrote before finally getting published.

It’s probably better that way, because Brandon is a rock star. He is a gifted writer, but his fans think he was born perfect. Let ‘em think so. I am a fan too, but it helps me to know, although he is phenomenal, he still had to put in the hours.

So I listened to his fans sing praises and I took pleasure in knowing that people are reading. My colleagues might never read my women’s fiction, but they are reading.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.
  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Titles Inspired by Life

They say the best books are the ones inspired by true life. With that in mind, I've decided to begin a series of kid's books. These will be my titles:

The Naptime Wars
Zerbert Juice
Just Wait Till Your Dad Gets Home
101 Ways To Get Mom's Attention While She's On The Phone
The Grouchy Mom Book, A How-To Manual
Inside Voice, Outside Voice

Stop Chasing the Cat!
Go Play!, and its sequel Go To Your Room!
The Homework Incident
I've Told You a Thousand Times

Okay, these are (mostly) just joking. 

On a serious note, they say we should write what we know. But have you ever really sat and thought about what, and how much, you really do know?  Thinking about this, even as a joke, brought up some good ideas for future works. 

If your next work was to be one inspired by your life, what will your title be?


Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Good Idea? Part Two/The Research.



By Keith N Fisher

Last week, I wrote about my idea file and why it is sometimes hard to turn them into stories. I talked about one of those ideas and how it would have to involve time travel. This week I’ll talk about the research I’m doing in order to write the story. Did I mention I’m doing a presentation about research for discovery writers? Tell you more, later.

We all know from Star Trek, that changing something in time creates a paradox. Like tossing a pebble in a pond, changing events creates ripples of change. Each life effects other lives. What would happen if I wrote a time travel book and changed things, but those changes didn’t create a paradox?

Would I be burned at the stake? SCIFI junkies don’t forgive those things. Think not? Read on. While attending a LUTE symposium back when they were still in the Wilkinson Center at BYU, I learned just how fanatic SCIFI fans can be. I think I wrote about the experience of attending Richard Hatch’s class when I asked a clarifying question.

For those who don’t know, Richard Hatch was the actor who played Apollo in the original Battle Star Galactica series. At the conference, Hatch spoke about his plans for another series that continues from the original series. Although he was involved with the recent series, he wanted to a new one, and he showed us his promo.

The premise of the new series revolves around the Apollo character as the leader of the whole band. What I didn’t notice at the time, was the total erasure of the Doctor Zee character. The promo centers on the next generation launching a plan to rescue Starbuck from the opposing forces. My question went something like, “I thought the series ended with the Starbuck character stranded on a planet. Did I miss something?”

Recently I figured it out. when the original series was canceled, a letter writing campaign brought it back, but the executives changed the format. They brought in a new cast and it was set farther into the future. As part of the new format, they added the Doctor Zee character. In an effort to explain where he came from, they made an episode where the Starbuck Character got stranded on a planet with a Cylon and a pregnant woman. The baby was Doctor Zee.

Do you get it? Did you know about Hatch’s intentions? I didn’t. it was obvious I wasn't well versed in Battlestar Galactica, and you might’ve thought I’d asked something like, who was George Washington? I was looked down upon. I never got the answer. I had apparently messed with the forces of nature.

To be fair, I suppose I would’ve acted similarly, if somebody had asked how Spock could be in undiscovered country, when he died in the Wrath of Kahnn? Still, I wouldn’t ostracize them. So, in an effort to avoid the censure, I want my time travel story to play out like what’s been done before. I also need to brush up on the quantum mechanics.  

While doing the research I realized something. Do you remember a television show called Quantum Leap? While it played in first run, I wondered why the character bounced back and forth through time. While watching it on Netflix I realized that in the pilot, the protagonist changed something causing the ripples we talked about. From that point on in the series, he was condemned to leap from life to another, setting things straight.

Look at what happened in Back to the Future. Marty inadvertently screws with events and has to put things straight or risk being erased from time. The whole paradox issue seams to be constant and my character will deal with the ethical issues of whether she ought to change things or not.

I need to research another TV show called, Sliders, because like what happens when you create a ripple in time, that show dealt with other dimensions. It explores the premise of what would’ve happened if such and such were changed in time.

So, I will write my story with an eye on the ripples. My character wants to change the future, but will she? Hopefully you will enjoy reading.

Good luck with your research, uh writing—see you next week.   


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

You Know You're A Writer When...

You can’t read a book without finding all the typos

You can’t read a book without finding plot flaws
You can’t read a book without thinking “I would have done that differently”

You own at least three different books about writing
You talk about the voices in your head without worry of being committed
You converse with the voices in your head
You love to talk to other writers about the voices in your head, because they understand you
You have been heard to say “That sounds like the title of a book…”
You have been heard to say “That would make a good book…”
You have ever jotted down the name of a person, place or road to keep for your next book


You have at least one friend with whom you discuss people who don’t really exist
You have at least one friend with whom you discuss places that don’t really exist
You have at least one friend that doesn’t really exist
You have at least one friend with whom you've discussed writer's block in depth
You’ve ever contemplated the best way to remember where an apostrophe, comma
or semicolon belongs

You’ve rewritten the same paragraph five times or more
You’ve rewritten the same page five times or more
You’ve rewritten the same story five times or more

Your computer is named after a legendary author
Your child is named after a legendary author
Your main character is named after one of your children
Your child is named after your main character
You feel naked without a pen and paper, just in case
You love the feel and look of blank paper
You enjoy experiences others would find intolerable, because they give you experience to
write about later

You’ve ever contemplated the perfect bank robbery, murder or government overthrow
You can’t stand a certain author because they “ruined” the story you liked the beginning of
You loved the movie “Secret Window”, “Paris When It Sizzles”, or “Funny Farm”
because you can identify.

You’ve ever told someone else “You should write that!”
You've ever told someone else "I should write that!"

You have ten or more Facebook friends you’ve never met in person, but know because they write, too

Or, simply, you know you're a writer because you do!


(Originally published in 2008, updated 2015)