Saturday, January 09, 2010

Six Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty

By Keith Fisher

My friend issued a writing challenge for the month of January. Like other writing challenges I resisted signing up. However, I started writing the sequel to my WIP and after seven days I have 6420 words.

To be fair, I plotted the book in December, before I started. I made research notes and I know where the story is going, but I started writing a week ago. On top of that, I am editing and re-writing my WIP. I was able to spend about seven hours yesterday on re-writes, and I feel wonderful today. I'm still not in the challenge, but I could be.

Writing is an interesting occupation. I got a phone call the other day from one of my writing friends. I'd just returned from the public library, and I’d checked out a few books. My friend asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was reading a list of baby names.

After a brief period of laughter, we noticed how interesting it was, that a writer would immediately conclude I was looking for names for my characters, not expecting a bundle of joy in my life.

Yes, we writers are an interesting bunch, and there are more of us each day. I picked up a bad habit recently. I eves drop on computer screens as I walk past them in the library. Many of those screens show a page full of manuscript, and I walk away, hoping I’ll finish mine first. Yes there is competition, but isn’t it fascinating that even with that competition, writers are more than happy to lend support to other writers?

I’ve attended a few book launch parties lately, and I watch my friends get publishing contracts. Some of them are so talented, they’ve found success in a fraction of the time I’ve spent, but I’m thrilled for them.

You might say. “Sure you are, but how do you really feel?”
My answer is of course I’m jealous, but my friends have stuck by me during some very low moments. They gained my love and loyalty the hard way. Therefore, I am thrilled.

There is advantage, however, to being the last unpublished writer in your critique group. I get to attend book launch parties and learn how to do them. I get to learn about publishing contracts and what to do after you sign one. More importantly I get to associate with the best writers in the field.

When I first got the urge to write, I pulled out a manual typewriter, and started banging away. I told a story that was in my heart, but having done poorly in school, my manuscript was terrible, and I never showed it to anyone.

Later, while working a stressful job, I came back to it. This time it was to relieve the pressure, but after I finished, I wanted my manuscript to be good. I wanted it to touch lives, but it sucked. Don’t get me wrong, the story was great. It was just written poorly.

Since then, I’ve spent thousands of hours in the pursuit of an acceptable manuscript. But when I’m in the zone, when I get caught up in the urgency of telling a story, then I remember why I started writing.

The other day, while writing the sequel, I imagined a character arguing with me. I’ve been writing about the protagonist and her developing feelings for a mother figure in her life. The other character comes to me and says. “It’s not fair. Why don’t you write about me? After all, I’m the real daughter, and I should get more of the story.”

Yes, we writers are an interesting bunch. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Oh by the way, I wrote about building a porch swing for my mother for Christmas. I thought you'd like to see the finsihed product. Minus the paint of course. I hurried to finish it. Now, she wants me to store it until spring.


L.T. Elliot said...

Way to go, Keith! I'm very excited about your current progress and the bench is just gorgeous. Soon enough, you'll be published and I'll be the one at your book launch. =]

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

Hmm, Keith, I wonder if there just might be a magazine out there who'd like a how-to article on how to build a swing. Just a thought. :)