Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom

by Keith Fisher

In the past, on this blog, I’ve talked about the lessons I’m learning about the craft of writing. We’ve explored together, some of the basics. I sat down to write a blog this week and asked myself, what pearls of wisdom can we explore today? What insights have I learned that might help others on the path to publication?

I thought back on my week. It’s been a great writing week. The new book is flowing from my fingertips. Characters are telling me their story and I find myself correcting them saying, you can’t talk about that in the LDS market. So I tone it down and change words.

I took the first draft of the new book, to critique group and read it there. I hoped for praise because of the fresh idea. I got feedback about the exposition on the first page. I listened, with gratitude, to their findings and I took it home. I need to say that I knew about the exposition. Since this book deals so much with the personal feelings of the characters, I have to work hard at telling the back-story in subtle ways, without turning conversations into info dumps, or worse, having too many flashbacks.

It is a story that must be told, and I’m working hard, telling it right. For the most part, I write the story on notebook paper, including all the back-story and flashbacks. Then, I blend the exposition into dialog and actions. I’m still keeping a few flashbacks, but it’s coming together. I have a feeling that when I bring it to group, the watchwords will be back-story and exposition.

Also, in my weekly recollections, I found another lesson. Because of the cost of a necessary home repair project, we had to refinance our home. During the "paperwork gathering" portion of the refinance, I printed copies on discarded, critique group corrected, manuscript pages. I never thought about using fresh paper.

While I signed my life away, the loan officer commented about reading my manuscript. She seemed curious about it. I asked her if she liked it, and told her I’m an unpublished author. She told me how exciting that is, and that she couldn’t wait until my book comes out so she could read it and have me write something special inside the cover.

Clearly she exaggerated my celebrity. Either that or she’s not familiar with the LDS market, and thinks I’m going to be on Opra. I, of course, being a man, ate it right up. She had me believing I would be a rich, best selling author, and we would finance all our mansions through her.

That delusion lasted all of thirty seconds. Then, my feet touched the ground again, and I returned. If the truth be told, I really spent the whole time trying to explain the LDS market, but it’s great to have someone think I’m special. When My Brother’s Keeper, (the working title of the book I’m submitting), comes out, I hope it touches her heart. Then, I will have my reward.

Those are all the pearls of wisdom I can muster this week. It takes a long time for a clam to manufacture those things.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week.


Kim Thompson said...

Great thoughts, Keith. I'm excited about your new book. Loved the first chapter and can't wait to read more.

LexiconLuvr said...

Loved the name of the working title. And hey, that kind of reaction from anyone is always great news! I'm excited for you!

ali said...

That IS a cool reaction you got from her. She didn't have to say anything nice at all you know.

Keep those pearls coming!

LexiconLuvr said...


Sorry to do this to you but you've been tagged by me to do a post about "7 things you never knew about me." Sorry. It had to be done. You're one of my favorite people to read and one of the first people I thought of when I wanted to know more about someone.

*crossing my fingers that you won't be mad.*