By Keith Fisher
Have you ever wondered what happily ever after means? In the old days, stories always ended with "And they lived happily ever after". Or for the not so imaginative was the plain old, "The end".
I am about two weeks away from finishing the final edit before submitting my manuscript to a publisher. (Give or take a few weeks.) I have been living with this particular manuscript and the characters therein, for about 10 years.
When I started writing I had the whole concept in my head. I knew how it would end and I knew where it would go. I was wrong! I soon found out about plot holes and character dictation. The book I wrote is a pretty good mystery story but I didn’t submit it. Fifteen years later, I’m glad I didn’t.
Over the years, I have learned what good writing is and what it isn’t. That first story is a good story but not well written. I have plans to rewrite it and hopefully turn it into a thriller but I have many other projects in different stages of development and I’m not sure which characters will want their story told first.
The book I am finishing has been submitted and rejected before. But then . . . it’s really not the same book. After the first rejection I rewrote it. After the second rejection, I began to get help. I felt that it was a good story, and I felt I had some talent. I knew I lacked the knowledge that wise old authors have, so I consulted with them. I found their books in the library and let them teach me.
From Sol Stein I learned how to capture a reader in the first sentence and keep their attention at the end of a chapter. There were many lessons learned from him and others. Of all the lessons I learned, perhaps the most important lesson was realizing that I look at life "through a writer’s eyes". I discovered obvious flaws in my writing and I got to work correcting it.
I have been associating with good people who want to write in the LDS market and they have been teaching me volumes. They force me to relearn lessons I should have learned before.
Now I feel the book is ready. It’s basically the same story I started with but it has evolved. The characters have asserted themselves and they have grown. They are living "ever after". Not necessarily happily, but ever after just the same. And I cannot bring myself to write "the end" because I know it’s not. The story will begin again every time someone turns to page one and begins to read. My characters WILL live ever after, sometimes sadly, but then, it all turns out OK, in the end.