Saturday, September 02, 2006

In the Palm of Her Hand

By Keith Fisher
One day at work, I was involved in a "what will happen in the new Harry Potter book" conversation. I enjoyed listening to all the theories and conversations about plots and who has done what in which book. I came up with the totally off the wall suggestion that Harry is re-living his life and in reality he is his father and Hermione is his mother. "Ew," was the comment expressed at my off the wall plot.

You should know that I’m not a fan Harry Potter . . . Before you decide that I’m weird and string me up for misbehavior, think of this: I‘ve seen every episode and all the Star Trek movies. I glanced at few of the books too but I don’t enjoy them as much as the video media.

I have been involved in many discussions about Star Trek and seen others turn away with grins on their faces because of our obsession. The conversation about Harry Potter was like that except we kept getting more people into the conversation and no one was shaking their heads or turning away. I have a working knowledge of Harry Potter because of what I hear people say about him.

I was listening the other day when I was struck by a realization. I thought about the series of HP books and all the mania that has risen from them. I watched as my friends recited this or that about HP. And I thought about the author. What a great sense of power she must feel to have the reading public in the palm of her hand.

She is successful, not because of the money she has made, or the castle she lives in, and certainly not because of being published; she’s successful because she created believable characters and made everyone care about them. Not only do they care but they obsess. I learned a lesson about my own writing while I listened: I realized I want my characters to come alive for my readers as they have for me.

So to that end, I attend classes and conferences, read books and write. Now that I’ve got your attention,


Chapter One
"Shut up and go to sleep," said one of the boys as they passed by. She looked like a cornered animal, ready to strike out at anything that came close to her. Denise noticed the girl because she had shared a class with her in high school. Denise thought her name was Amy.

Crouched on the ground with her back against a large stone, Amy had beads of sweat on her forehead. Her hair was matted and dirty, like she had been rolling in the dirt. She was crying and clutching her jacket as if it were her lifeline. Her eyes were wide open as if she was frightened by something Denise couldn’t see.

Feeling sorry for Amy, Denise kneeled down next her to try and help. She turned and glared at Denise as if she were waiting for an attack. Denise carefully stretched out her arm and tenderly touched her cheek to wipe away a tear. The action was met with a shriek and a backward lunge that caused Amy to bang her head on the rock.


If Jeffrey R Savage can do it in his blog, I ought to be able to do it here. Seriously though, How am I doing? Do you want to read more? Do you care what happens to these characters? What was your opinion of the boys who passed by?

I want to be remembered for what I wrote like the author of Harry . . . what’s her name? You know . . . the author with the castle? Oh yeah, J.K. Rowling.

4 comments:

Tristi Pinkston said...

I know you weren't looking for an edit, but it's easier for me to get into the heart of a story once it's been polished, so this comment is in two parts. Part one:

"Shut up and go to sleep," said one of the boys as they passed by (take out some stuff, glue it together) the girl, who looked like a cornered animal, ready to strike out at anything that came close to her. Denise noticed (reword) her because they had shared a class in high school. Denise thought her name was Amy.

Crouched on the ground with her back against a large stone, Amy had beads of sweat on her forehead. Her hair was matted and dirty, like she had been rolling in the dirt. She was crying and clutching her jacket as if it were her lifeline. Her eyes were wide open as if she was frightened by something Denise couldn’t see.

Feeling sorry for Amy, Denise kneeled down next her to try and help. Amy (when you put "she" in, and Denise is the last name we've read, the "she" would automatically mean Denise. You need another name in order to shift the "who" we're talking about.) turned and glared at Denise as if she were waiting for an attack. Denise carefully stretched out her arm and (take out "tenderly" -- too many "lys" in the sentence and it's implied from the fact that she's trying to help) touched her cheek to wipe away a tear. The action was met with a shriek and a backward lunge that caused Amy to bang her head on the rock.

Part Two:

Yeah, I do want to know what happens next! I want to know why Amy's so upset, and why they're on a campout, etc. Are you going to post more later?

Keith Fisher said...

Thnak you for pointing out my errors. the she and her names thing has been a struggle for me in this first part at one point I named is person and recieve a critique that I was using the names too much. I loosely edited that and you are right I didn't pay attention to what I was doing.

thank you I am on the last read through before I send it to a publisher. I am going to tighten up the first paragraphs but as they say this is where the talent rises to the top and the rest of us rise to mediocrity. :)

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm feeling the need to make a public apology -- it wasn't my place to tweak your sample and I feel bad for doing it. Sometimes it's easier for me to understand what I'm reading if I rearrange it a little, but I should have kept that rearranging to myself. You are a very talented writer, Keith, as I've mentioned, and I didn't mean to diminish that in any way.

Keith Fisher said...

No I appreciate all the help I can get