Sunday, December 30, 2012

An End and a Beginning

by Donna K. Weaver

This year has been such a mixture of blessing and struggles. But, I guess that's the way it tends to be anyway. Like the characters we write, we need to earn our happily ever afters.

Hubby and I watched the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith last night. It's the story of a couple of assassins who marry not knowing what the other really does. Their life together is built on lies. When things fall apart and they each receive an assignment to assassinate the other, the sparks fly and things get real. During a low point, Mrs. Smith makes a comment about a happily ever after simply meaning that the story isn't over yet.

Well, the movie's a romantic comedy, so you can figure out if they get their happily ever after. But her comment--even though it was made during that dark moment we writers are familiar with in stories--is one that I disagree with (and the characters reach a conclusion more like mine).

The truth is this:

And I suggest that our writing doesn't have to be perfect either. As human beings, we keep growing and changing. Our writing will keep growing and changing--maturing.

As you face your hopes, dreams, goals, resolutions--whatever you want to call them--for 2013, realize that your book doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. Get it where it can fly and let it go. And then move on to your next project.

This is my last post as a member of this fun blogging team, and I've appreciated the opportunity. Thank you. And Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas, and Other Distractions

By Keith N Fisher

I was going to write a depressing tirade about how 2012 didn’t measure up and Christmas didn’t make the list of memorable events, but I need to give thanks for last minute blessings.

It’s true. It’s been a hard year, culminating in the devastation of a dead car. How could things get worse? No money, and we had to carefully orchestrate the use of our one good vehicle. "Ah," you say, I should be grateful for the one vehicle, and you’re right.

I’ve been discouraged. Even writing has suffered. I’m still writing, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I’ve been at it so long and others are much more successful. I needed an attitude adjustment.

We took a leap of faith with the car. Sold the old piece of crap for pennies and looked into another. Payments, and how they will be made, are scary, but we trudged forward. Thinking I had a reserve, I offered a certain down payment. The paperwork went through and I had no reserve.

That’s when the Christmas miracles began. We received several anonymous gifts of cash and my family gave us money for Christmas. We had the down payment. Now, God willing, circumstances will change so we can make the payments.

I bet you’re about to jump to a conclusion. No, my writing circumstances haven’t changed. I still plug away at it. I’m getting close to having several manuscripts ready for submission at the same time. I’m waiting to hear from a publisher on one, and I have several more in different stages of being finished.

Until now, submitting manuscripts has almost been a distraction. It took time to edit, and I hate editing. Still, I’ve been faithfully submitting. Now, I’ll have several to fall back on, while I write more. I’m about to enter a new phase in my career. I will be in salesman mode. Along with writing, submission will be a daily task.

Anyway, now that Christmas is over, I can turn my attention to amending my circumstances. I’m hoping for a great year in 2013, and I pray yours will be also.

Happy New Year—good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Year in Review

by G.Parker

Well, it's the end of December and the new year is only a couple of days away.  I find this time of year kind of interesting, and I watch the days like they're going around a corner.  What's on the other side?  It's unknown, it's a little scary, but it's also more of the same.

I thought first I would contemplate much of what we covered over this past year.  We added some new writers, we had a couple of contests (No, I haven't forgotten you, winners of my contest, I'm just lame at getting things out) and there was much advise given.  In reviewing my articles in comparison with the rest of our group, I think that my writing has tended toward the philosophical point of view, and what's going on in my life.  Not necessarily something that helps with writing.  I guess I should apologize for that -- it's not what you are reading our blog for.

But perhaps the few that read my posts are.  I mean, who knows?  I sure don't.  We don't get a whole lot of feedback on this blog, so what we do get we cherish.  We salute all of you who have made comments over the past year, and know that at least some of you are appreciative of our efforts.

Now that we are coming to a close on 2012 and looking toward 2013, I hope you're not superstitious.  Some might think that the year 2013 would be unlucky, like Friday the 13th, or 13 people at the table, etc.  I have no such fears.  I think 2013 is going to be awesome.  You see, I never thought the world would last this long in the first place...so much like the turtle in Over the Hedge, I think things are going great.  "...I thought we'd be dead by step 2."

I would suggest that you start planning what you want to have happen in the coming year.  What kind of things are you hoping to achieve?  What goals would you set?  I don't believe in resolutions, and I've written blogs on that, so I won't cover it this year.  I do think as a personality, the human mind needs goals to force them onward, so that is something we should all be focusing on.

I figure 2013 is the year I'm going to get published.  Either in ebook form, or physical, or perhaps both.  I promised my hubby, so I try to keep my promises.

What are you going to do?  We'd love to hear about it.

I would toast you all if we were together on Tuesday evening, so picture that in your mind and enjoy.  See you next year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone.

by C. Michelle Jefferies

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/cLQsmxvXtOI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I have had such an amazing Christmas season this year. Wonderful gifts, time with family, and great reviews. Thanks Donna Weaver.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

by Donna K. Weaver

Source
 This lovely carol, Jesous Ahatonhia (Jesus is born),
was written for the Huron Indians in their own language by Father Jean de Br├ębeuf,
Jesuit missionary to Canada. It was first sung in 1642.
English interpretation by J. E. Middleton



“Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled,
That Mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel-choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wond’ring hunters heard the hymn—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
The helpless Infant there.
The Chiefs from far before Him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and Heav’n
Is born to day for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy,
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Doomsday. How is Your Writing?

By Keith N Fisher


My apologies for posting a similar blog as Gaynell's. I already had it written and there isn't any time to write another one.


You might remember my post from December 31, 2011 when I wrote about the Mayan calendar and the forecast of gloom and doom. I heard a cute analysis the other day that says it all: "The Mayans didn’t predict the invasion of the Spanish, how would they know about the end of the world?

Still, It’s interesting that even though our logic prevents us from believing there is still something in the back of our head that asks, what if? What if the Mayans were right and the asteroid hits us? How will we deal with the zombies?

My friend asked a question on Facebook the other day, which got me thinking. He said he wondered how many ward members would be visiting his bishop this week. You know, to take care of for unresolved sins, just in case? His sister wondered, in the comments trail, if he had anything to confess.

I suppose for some people, the night before the end came, would be a good excuse to party. I joked about sending greeting cards to everybody, stating I didn’t buy Christmas presents this year because the world was supposed to end. Then in a postscript I’d add, Merry Christmas, you didn’t die.

Sure, it was all a bunch of hype and mystery, but what if? What if the Mayans meant that the twenty-first would be a last day, and the world would end on the next? Hmm. Maybe we haven’t taken leap year into account.

I wonder how many of us will use the next few days to thank God for letting us live longer?

How is your writing? Are you finding satisfaction in your hard work? Tis true there will always be those who find success without really trying, but that applies to every endeavor. Writing should always be more than a career. It’s a way of dealing (or not dealing) with a world of trouble, and the possibilities of zombies. It should be part of you, and you should find joy in doing it. If not, it will become drudgery that never pays enough to survive.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays and Last Day of the World

by G.Parker



Well, the month has gone by faster than a rabbit in search of a carrot.  I can't believe it's only 4 days till Christmas, and (no big surprise to anyone) I'm not ready for it.  This month hasn't seemed very Christmassy to me.  My daughter commented that she felt the same way.  I'm not sure why - I looked forward to this month with great anticipation.  But, I've also looked forward to January so much that this month has faded in comparison.  I'm not sure.

But anyway - in the large scheme of things, we aren't supposed to be here tomorrow.  Personally I don't think that's going to happen -- it would be too easy.  Life doesn't work that way.  ;)

If that were to happen though, what would be your thoughts?  I watched a sitcom that I've been recording called Go On with Matthew Perry.  It's pretty good, but this one was about the last day.  One of the characters had survived past the point his doctors had said he would, and he'd made a list of all the things he wanted to do on his birthday.  It kind of sounded like a bucket list.

I'm not sure how I would approach it.  There are many things I want to do in this life, being a well known published author is one of them.  But on the other hand, I don't have lots of things I want to do that aren't the unusual.  I just like spending time with my family.  Writing.  Reading.  Doing some cooking.  That's my idea of a good time.

There was a time when I wanted to do a lot of travel, but that has changed.  While it would be fun to go to New Zealand and Australia, Scotland, and Hawaii with my family, it's not the panic it used to be.  It doesn't really  matter in the eternal scheme of things.

Family does.

So, while you contemplate the last day of the world, and your family, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend.  I hope you spend every day with loved ones, remembering the reason for the season; our dear Savior Jesus Christ.  I know we will.

Merry Christmas.  See you next week.  ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why I Write

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I had an awesome time, over the weekend, at a book festival. The people coming to the festival were awesome. I did really well in my class, I didn't speak too fast and have tons of time left over with nothing to say. In fact I still had one point in my presentation left when my alarm went off. I had a blast with my roommates and the people I drove down with and learned so much from them and just had a great time. I sold some books and got to meet alot of people.

The two keynote speakers were wonderful and left me rejuvenated and ready to dive into writing again and to be all fired up about my career choice.

One of the awesome things was a "favorite book character costume contest" for the grade schoolers in the area. The winners were able to choose one book from an author at the festival. the fifth grade boy who dressed like Sherlock Holmes chose my book Emergence. At first I was afraid that it was a little too adult for him but he came back to my table the second day and told me how much he liked my book. I was thrilled.

There were a few drawbacks to the festival, the weather was rainy and overcast and it seemed to influence the ammounts of people that came to the festival. Who can change the weather though? Not me.

The second one has bothered me since it happened. This is the reason for this post. There were two speakers that addressed the general audience that shouldn't have given the message they did or it should have been in a workshop not a general address. The first speaker must have published twenty years ago. The information was so antiquated that I worried for those new authors that took the information as real and up to date.

The second speaker was not only so loud it hurt your ears, but the message was full of venom and spite toward the publishing industry as a whole whether you published traditionally or independantly. It was also a sales pitch for their small pub business. Bad form in my opinion. They labeled the traditional and indie published as being stupid. That they wern't getting as much money as possible from the manufacture of their books. That the only way to publish was through them. That they could save you money on printing so you have more in your pocket. I was unimpressed with their covers and would never choose them as a pub for that reason alone. Not even considering their attitude. While some people might like this position and method, I do not.

You see this person has either forgotten something or not realized something.

Not everyone who writes, is in it for the money.

I'm not. I knew when I started out that I wasn't going to earn alot. That's okay. I wanted to delve into worlds that make me  happy. I want to hold a book that I wrote in my  hands. I want to teach others about the joy of writing. I want to hang out my my tribe of writers and enjoy people who get me. None of the authors that I was with over the weekend are in it for the money. We're in it to tell stories, to change lives, and to inspire people. Especially the youth of our world. We write to get kids excited to read. To allow adults to excape the drudgery of life for a few hours. To cheer to excite or to make a reader think or feel deeply.

There are so many reasons to write for me, but making lots of money isn't one of them.

The path to wisdon is not always straight.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Challenging Times

by Donna K. Weaver

It's been a challenging few days, and I've found myself emotional and responding to things a bit differently than I usually do. At times like this, I find comfort in the knowledge that everything isn't really horrible in spite of what a particular incident might make us think.

Following is a link to incidents showing how awesome people can be. I hope you're as uplifted as I was. It made me cry.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Donny Osmond

By Keith N Fisher
calihotcakes.com

I had a birthday last week. It was one of those days when, according to the law of averages, you realize you’ve lived more days than you have left. And that was a long sentence. Now that I’ve reached this milestone, I think its time to make peace with something.

Years ago, I discovered I have the same birthday as Donny Osmond. Not only the same day, but the same year too. A girl who I liked made the fact known to me. It probably happened on my birthday. She was gaga over him, and I never got anywhere with her.

My research over the years told me that he was born in Ogden, Utah. I was born in Provo, Utah. I used to claim I was a little older than he, but I don’t trust that information any more.

About that time, I heard a few stories (probably rumors) about his junior high experience. He had a tough time, like I did. I learned to defend myself and developed an attitude. He wasn’t allowed, due to image and publicity.

Newspapers ran stories about his birthday over the years and I threatened to demand equal time. It probably stemmed from that rejection I mentioned, but I was jealous. He was a singer and TV star. I was not. When I turned twenty, he turned twenty. When he turned forty, I did too. The local paper did a big story on him. I wasn’t famous.

As the years have gone, I’ve had a good life. I have a great family, and I’ve achieved many things. I’ve been on TV, and been applauded by youth groups. I write pretty good fiction, and I’m still breathing. Donny hasn’t got a clue about me, or our connection. I watch him sing and I’m proud that we share a birthday. He really is a good man.

So, now, I pause on the downhill slope, to let go of the past. That girl that made me jealous has long since passed from my life. It’s time to move on. Happy birthday, Donny, I hope you are blessed with much joy.

As for you, my dear readers, good luck with your writing—see you next week.

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Out!

by G.Parker



Well, I've held back for as long as I could, and now I have to say it.

My book is available!!!

Yes, I decided to do an indi publishing of an ebook for Christmas.  It's a story I self published (as in printed the pages and glued them into a little book) for my relatives about seven years ago and decided it would work in the ebook format.  I thought I'd see if it would go anywhere, you know?

Well, the first night it was up, I had five buys.  The next day I had one more.  This has been without any type of promotion AT ALL.  Of course, there hasn't been one since.  lol.  So, I thought since Donna did a post about indi publishing Wednesday, this would work for today's post.

Personally, I think the business of publishing has become a crazy world and the writer doesn't have a lot of options left for him/her.  I am of the side of self publishing.  The only problem is, as a self publisher, you have to do all the leg work.  I think ebooks are the next new horizon, but since I don't own anything to read ebooks on, and am not really in favor of getting one -- it's kind of hypocritical to say that.

If I had loads of money, I would say you could all go download it for free.  Since my pockets are not that deep, I'm afraid I'll have to just say go look at it and see what you think.  I'd welcome any comments here.  I'm thinking of adding pictures to a print version and making it more kid friendly, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it's out there, it's live, and apparently it supposed to end up at Amazon and other sites because it passed Smashwords review.  As soon as I know that for sure, I'll let you know.

Until then, I hope you have a great weekend (count down til Christmas is only 11 days...) and keep writing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keep Going!

by C. Michelle Jefferies

This coming Saturday I will be teaching a class on "The Power of Persistence". I will be at the First Anual Mesquite Book Festival. If your in the area come and say hi. I'd love to meet some of our readers.

Persistence is an interesting thing, while it is not being stubborn it is the ability to focus and dedicate yourself to a goal or task.

Writing to be published takes persistence. I often hear that the difference between published and not is persistence.

I have to agree, it took me over five years and 44 rejections to find a home for Emergence.

To be persistent is to set goals and be able to not only break them down but approach them in a way that they are achievable. To look at being a writer one day, one month, one book, or chapter at a time.  It takes the ability to face and admit failure sometimes. To delete a word, chapter, or scene, or even to scrap a whole book or theme in a manuscript.

I can tell you that persistence does work. I know friends who are getting contracts and seeing their books coming out and they are just like me years of practice, and enough rejections to paper a table.

To those who aspire, hang in there, it'll happen.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Self-Publishing

by Donna K. Weaver

Have you heard that Simon & Schuster is now offering self-publishing services? You can read the New York Time article here for more details.
Authors can buy packages ranging from $1,599 for the least expensive children’s package, to $24,999 for the most expensive business book package.
 I don't know about you, but those prices have a real choke factor for me. How many books would you need to sell to make back the cost? And it's not like S&S won't be taking their cut, just as Amazon will.

What do you think? Are there any real benefits for going this route? Is this just a different form of vanity publishing? Does vanity publishing even exist today in a world with so many self-publishing options?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Accepting Invitations

By Keith N Fisher

I think I’ve written about it before, but I loved to play make believe when I was a kid. I got to exercise my imagination and it was fun pretending I was anything I wanted to be.

We spent hours, my friends and I, losing ourselves in our game.

Later, when I grew up a bit, make believe was pushed aside for other recreational activities. Some of my friends kept it up only we call it drug abuse and alcoholism today.

Now I sit for hours in make believe sessions and I call it writing. I realized the implication, while writing, the other day. You see, dealing with real life and the horrors that go with it is hard. It’s much easier to escape into a world where I can be anything I want I can do anything I want and not think about real life problems.

So I sit on the fringe. Characters I’ve created call to me. They hold bright invitations of solid gold. Offering a chance to come play make believe. You’ll have to excuse me. I’ve gone away—I escaped—I’m with my friends.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week—maybe.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Now That It's Over...

by G.Parker

(photo courtesy of fanpop.com)


I almost feel like Inigo in The Princess Bride.  "I've been in the revenge business for so long, now that it's over I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."

Well, not quite - I know what to do with the rest of my life, but it's hard to get back into focus.  It's like my brain is fried and I've had so many other things to get done, I'm not sure where to head now.

Ever feel like that?

It doesn't help that Christmas is three weeks away and I haven't even decorated my home.  The kids are starting to get restless.  I'm hoping to take care of that tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I hope to come up with something a little more worth while for next week.  I hope you're still writing, and still plugging away at your dream.  That's the only way it will come true.  See you next week.  ;)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

NaNoWriMo and the Writing Conference Season

by Donna K. Weaver

First off, I beat NaNo. My fastest time ever.


I've found that where I live and with the writing groups I associate with, the first half of the year is filled with writing conferences. It's a literal feast of opportunities. Here are a few I'll be attending:

January 26 - iWriteNetwork Winter Workshop - (I'll be a presenter along with the awesome Sarah M. Eden, Michele Paige Holmes, Elana Johnson, and Gregg Luke)
- What I love about this conference is that it's hands on, so the classes are constructed so participants can actually work on the techniques they're being taught in the class.

February 14-16th - Life, the Universe and Everything (LTUE)
- Two years ago I went to this for the first time. It was my first writing conference, and I was a volunteer (and have been since). This is a large conference and has a combination of individual sessions and panels. While its focus is fantasy/SciFi, there's plenty of craft instruction in all of them to be worth attending even if you write other genres or nonfiction. It's also amazingly affordable.

February 21-23rd - American Night Writers Association (ANWA)
- This will be the first out-of-state writing conference I've traveled to. My hubby's sister doesn't live too far from where the conference is being held, so he'll tag along and visit while I attend classes. They even have a Protagonist Ball.

May 10-11th - LDS Storymakers
- Once again, I attended my first Storymaker conference two years ago. It was a wonderful experience and I met so many awesome people. The classes here are more class-like than at LTUE which has more panels. Two years ago I attended a Bootcamp critique session, and last year I added Publication Primer (a more intense critique session with a focus on publication). I learned so much!

Well, that's what I've got scheduled for the first half of my year. CONduit is also held in May each year though I haven't attended that one yet.

How about you? Have you attended a writing conference? Do you like them? What about national conferences? Ever attended one of those?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

My Computer Ate My Homework

By Keith N Fisher

Like an obedient computer operator I saved after every paragraph. Don’t you think I deserved a positive outcome? Read further. During my writing session the other day, I’d found the zone, and I felt golden. That’s when my operating system arbitrarily decided to close my word processor. I’d written a whole scene of great stuff and was in the middle of the next one, when it quit.

Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem. I could just reopen the program and all my saved stuff would be there, but not this time. The writing gremlins or a sadistic operating system had other ideas. I lost the whole thing up to the first paragraph of that session.

In the old days, I could rescue a document by opening the temp files in the register. Of course the old days taught me to save frequently, so I shouldn’t need to do that now. I couldn’t even find the temp files in the new system. It has caused more problems than its worth.

Have you noticed I’ve avoided mentioning names? I’m trying to keep from being arrested when I mention my plans for murdering the software engineers. In an effort to clarify, let me tell you about my problem. I have a word processing program developed in 1997. My current operating system, developed recently by the same software company, is not friendly to my older stuff.

I can almost understand them making the system so that old DOS based programs don’t work. After all, it’s hard to make a do all application that takes every situation into account, but wouldn’t you think they should at least honor their own programs?

Okay, I admit I’m holding onto the old tried and true applications and perhaps I should jump into the twenty-first century, but I don’t have that kind of money. Besides, when did we become a disposable society? Are we supposed to change computers and software like toilet paper? Should I have to purchase a new car when I get gas?

So, after I ranted and raved about the loss. I tried to rewrite the wonderful prose I’d written, but it was gone. The ideas were there, but the perfect arrangement of words had slipped from the pages and my mind. It didn’t help to reflect on what the software company had done to me, so I opened a new document and wrote this blog.

Don’t worry, I’ll get over it, but I hope you’ll understand when I threaten to kill the engineers. I won’t really do it, but then again, maybe I’ll get a light sentence. Who would convict me? I'm sure the jury has the same problem.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm a Winner!

by G.Parker


Okay, so there are a lot of us out there, but I figured it was worth saying.  ;)  I think it's the earliest I've met my goal in all the years I've done this contest, as I finished on Monday.  My daughter was typing late last night, and will probably be typing till late tonight, though she only has 3000 or so words left.  My other daughter met her goal last night, so I'm in good company!

My husband teased that I could have reached 60,000 words.  If I'd been working on a different story, I'm sure I could have, but 53,000 words are enough for me this year.  One of my daughters is writing a fantasy novel, and so she's probably going to end up with over 100,000 words.  It blows the mind.  ;)

Anyway, it's the end of the month, the end of another writing craziness and the beginning of the Christmas season.  I hope you're ready.

I'm going to go take a long hot bath and eat some chocolate.  My nerves need it.

I also thought I'd post the past year little buttons.  I really like the one from last year, but I'm not consulted on these things, lol.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do Over

I think I've previously mentioned that I have 2 WIPs right now (and no, I didn't do NaNo due to my day job thinking it had a swing shift for the first part of the month). One of which is a Y.A. Sci-fi. The other is a general fiction that would be romance if the main characters ended up together, but I'm not nice enough for that. So that story is deemed "literary". And that's the story that is the inspiration for this post.

See, when I was a teenager,  I had come up with a place and a bunch of characters with an ongoing story.  I knew exactly who ended up with whom and who killed whom and...yeah...basically, this was a literary soap opera.

Recently, I had the idea to try and write that series and self-publish it as novellas. I wanted to go with the soap opera concept and have an ongoing story taking place in one city and have all the characters interact and be confusing as you-know-what. But then I realized, that's not very marketable.


So, I have to rethink my strategy. The thing that really made me feel comfortable in writing the first of the series was I saw a story. One that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now, even though I had an outline I was "supposed" to be following, I realized I had an over-arcing story I could use as the main storyline. It'll have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Also, it can stand alone as one story.

And with that, I have to pull a do-over. I have 2 1/2 chapters written in this random endeavor of mine. And the first, despite needing some revision, still fits. But the second pulls in a different point of view and a direction I may not be taking the story. Problem is, I could discard it and then rewrite a new chapter two (because chapter three would not make sense), I could discard two and my half of three and go the direction I'm seeking. I could edit chapter 2 to take it the direction I want.

In the end, I'm always worried that a do over will make things worse than help. I'm always worried that keeping things as they are is going to kill the whole concept. This is what I get for trying to write new and uncharted territory for me. Oh well.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The details of detail

by C. Michelle Jefferies

While I have thought about what to write about, my thoughts have repeatedly wandered back to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I just finished it a few weeks ago and am enamored with it.

What I liked about it:
The deep southern charm of it. The cooking, the rythms of southern life, the weather, the accent.
The deeper world of the Casters. Their traditions and lives. How intertwined the human and Caster world is.
The library(s)
The areas relationship to the Civil War. Both Human and Caster
The magic system

What I didn't like about it:
I felt the ending went too fast and I wanted more.

While detail isn't everyting to a story, it makes the characters, plot, and conflict more interesting. I am one writer that believes that we need to make at least one edit round purely for detail oriented issues.

I hope one day to write a book as deep in amazing details as Beautiful Creatures is.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rewriting the Script

By Keith N Fisher

I began to notice a trend while watching television back in the seventies. It seemed that different shows repeated scripts from other shows. It was obvious that the writers of those shows were borrowing form what had come before. Well, not really borrowing, because in most cases, it was almost the same script with different characters.

I realize, it’s hard to write a whole new plot each week, but I remember being disappointed to know the outcome before each story played out.

Through all the reading writers must do, much of their writing is influenced. We tend to write copies of what we have written. Rather than take from others and improve our style, some writers become clones of their favorite authors.

Although I understand how it happens, It really irks me to discover elements of other work in my own. I wrote a piece once my wife read, and said it sounded like Diagnosis Murder. In fact I had written it while watching an episode of that show.

Most of us write from our experiences. That includes what we’ve read and seen. The problem lies in the fact that many readers have read and seen the same things. Be careful what you allow be published. You might find out its been done before.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

by G.Parker

I know Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I wanted to take this time to mention all the things I'm thankful for.  There is so much to be thankful for in today's world, and I would like to mention the ones that are at the top of my list.

I'm thankful for:

A loving husband and family.  There can never be enough said about that, especially my husband who supports, loves and is simply the most amazing man on the planet.  ;)  My extended family that we just spent Thanksgiving day with.  Who else can you go shooting with, and then having a large feast with and will still want to play card games until all hours of the night?


A warm house to live in - especially when so many are struggling to make ends meet and keep their homes, let alone the weather issues that have created so many homeless.


Running water (not to mention HOT water) and electricity.  I'm thankful every day for modern conveniences, let me tell you.  I remind myself what it would have been like for the pioneers and having to wash things by hand by a river or over a rock...shudder.  And electricity for the internet...where would we be today without the internet?  You wouldn't be reading this for one thing.  ;)  With that goes computers and word processors.  I grew up with typewriters, and remember being thrilled when I first typed on an electric typewriter.  Wow!! That was amazing.  Now it's a whole different world, and I love that most about my computer.  I could actually loose the internet and most other functions of the computer, but take away some way to write and I'd be really depressed!

The nation we live in.  Yes, it has it's problems, and I may not always agree with the people who are running it, but it's still better than anywhere else on the planet and we're still free.

Food.  Especially bread and pizza.  Okay, and chocolate.  Green veggies are there too.  I guess a stove and oven would go with food (or else electricity or gas, depending on which you use.) And I would like to add microwaves to that group...they are a marvelous invention!!  I remember when I came home from my mission and my parents had one.  Wow.  (I guess that dates me...)

Cars.  I'm very thankful for having a car that runs and I don't have to walk everywhere or depend on a bus.  Not that those things are bad -- walking especially is good for you!  But when you're in a time crunch, or it's in the middle of a rain storm or it's freezing outside, a car is a very handy thing.

And this is only last because I wasn't going to mention it, and realized it was missing.  The gospel of Jesus Christ.  Where would we be without that??  I'm hanging my head in shame now....

So, as we contemplate the Christmas season, I would ask that you keep the spirit of Thanksgiving in your heart every day for the air that we breath, the bodies that we have, and the people in our hearts.

Thanks for being part of our lives, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  See you next week.

By the way...by the end of today I will have finished Nano.  Have you reached 50,000 yet?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I have learned from NANOWRIMO

by C. Michelle Jefferies

This is the fourth or fifth time I've done NANO.

In the process of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I've learned alot. These are a few of the tricks. The great thing is that this can be applied to any writing of a novel whether in November or not.

1, Plan your novel. Know your structure, know your story, know the characters.

2, Think about the story for the few weeks before you start on the MS. Take notes, work in your project notebook, gather character pictures. Get your head IN the story.

3, It's okay to take something you wrote and didn't like and use the "strikethrough" element. It still counts as words.

4, It's okay to write crap in a rough draft. It's okay to write bare bones and flesh it out later. It's okay to write flowery and cut later. It's okay to write telling and then write the showing later. It's okay to leave blanks where secondary characters names should appear, you can figure them out later.

5, It's okay to cheer for yourself and post progress and to pat yourself on the back during and after. I mean come on who is crazy enough to write a book in a month?

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting Excited Again

By Keith N Fisher

Our critique group met in an unusual place, this past week. I’m not going to tell you where it was. Like all good restaurants, fishing holes, and parking spots, a little word of mouth can ruin the exclusivity. Let me just say, It was one of my better ideas.

I’ve been threatening for years, but lately, I returned to my humble beginnings. I went back to my first novel. I started re-writing because I believe in the characters and the plot. It was painfully obvious from the poorly executed writing craft, that I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but it’s also been like visiting an old friend. I love the characters and they chastened me for leaving them on the shelf.

I’ve also discovered a technology gap. I had to give my characters cell phones and bring them up to date on the Internet. I’ve got to get that thing published before we have more breakthroughs.

I’m still writing my other stories, waiting to hear back from a publisher on one, and taking another to critique group, but it’s been good to return to the beginning. I’m getting excited again.

Good luck with your writing--- see you next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Funeral, 2 Weddings a Play and 40,000 Words

by G.Parker

Well, as many things do in life, it feels like we have come full circle.  Not only do I remember having this same type of title sometime before, but I feel like my life is de ja vu lately.  We were helping with a Pow Wow last weekend, and while there, my sister-in-law's father-in-law (are we confused yet?) passed away.  It wasn't like it was totally unexpected, he had been ill for a while, and was in the hospital when he passed, but it was still something I don't think anyone is prepared for.

So the viewing was Wednesday and the Funeral was Thursday, in Heber.  Which is at least an hour away from us.  Neither of us could take the day off Thursday to go to the funeral, so we ran up Wednesday before a meeting where our church was introducing the new Sunday School and YMYW curriculum to the parents. Nothing like spending two hours in the car...

Anyway, we have a wedding reception tonight, and then my husbands nephew is getting married tomorrow in Logan and we are going to be tied up with that all day.  On top of that we spent Thursday night at a school play so my son could get credit for his drama class.  And then this afternoon I had apple crisp to make for the wedding breakfast/dinner.

That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing.

Thus, I am thankful that I've been able to get more writing done before now, and am at 38,000 words.  I can probably squeeze a thousand in before the reception tonight, and then hopefully another thousand before bed...so that I won't have to stress during the weekend and be able to finish easily before the end of the month.  Unless something else crops up...lol.

I used to wonder how some of those people could get in thousands of words.  I have discovered it's all a matter of organization and how fast you can type.  I have another story that I think I'll be trying to get as many words in that I can before the end of the month as well.  There's no way I'll make another 50,000 words, but it should be interesting to see what I come up with.

Hopefully everyone is at least close to 20,000 words.  What is your goal for the weekend?  Going to attend a write-in?  Going to hide down in the basement and see how the muse works?  Good luck on whatever the plan, I know you can do it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I've learned.

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Well the launch is over and my office is filled with boxes of decorations and stuff that I have yet to put away. My freezer is filled with baggies of food that people didn't eat and that wasn't because I send plates home with people.

What I learned was that books sell because of personal connections and not fliers and newspaper articles. The people who showed up were family (of course) and friends that I made contact with. People who I talk to whether on the computer or in person.

I learned I didn't need that much food. and that my gut was right on the ammount of books I needed. I also saw that the effort to make the place look nice was worth it. That door prizes and a reading of the first page were "hooks" to keep people there for a while and talk and make friends.

I'm glad I studied the subject of book launches. I'm glad I made the extra effort of things like bookmarks, boomerangs and origami butterflies.

It was succesful and that was because of time and effort. And people who answered questions for me.

~ the path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When the Whole World Goes Crazy

By Keith N Fisher

I had an idea for another, new book, the other day. It would be based on my observations of the current political climate in the USA. It would be a good story full of intrigue, but I won’t write it.

I added it to the list of books I’m going to hire someone else to write, someday, when I become famous, like James Patterson. I’m sure you know his prolific success has come because he drafts some of his stories and gives them to other people to write. It’s a great way for new authors to make a name for themselves. Patterson also benefits, because he shares his name, and makes a lot of money.

Anyway, I have a file of drafted novels I’ll never have time to write, so I’ll save them for when I’m famous.

As you might have noticed, I check Facebook a lot. For me, it’s a nice way to support my friends and family, and it entertains me. It’s also a great way to procrastinate writing, but lets not go there, right now.

You also might have noticed a slight depression in my attitude over the past year. I’ve been discouraged, and I couldn’t figure out why. Which, leads us to what my book idea and Facebook have in common. About six months ago, I realized to my horror that many of my good friends and family had succumbed to hate and negative comments originating from political points of view.

We, here at the Blogck, have managed to keep politics out of our blogs. We didn’t want to offend anyone and we don’t all agree. I’ve also been proud of some of my Facebook friends for taking the high road, but the hatred has been grating.

Now, the book idea: A while back, at the rise of a certain political movement I predicted a sad condition that would envelope our country and lead to a second civil war. I wondered how long it would take for conditions to degrade enough to make it happen.

During this last election, we’ve all noticed the polarization. Most of us, in our arrogance, have convinced ourselves that we are right. The attitude that followed was curiosity about the stupidity of our friends. Many became convinced that God was on their side in the fight. None of us, I assume, considered the effect we were having on ourselves. I noticed more negative mud slinging politics on Facebook, than came from all the superpacs combined. They don’t need to spend money on their ads. Status updates and rebuttal comments accomplish their goals much better.

For a while, right after the election, there seemed to be peace on the Internet. People were trying to move on with their lives. It was wonderful to read about cookie recipes and how many words were being written, but the hatred has begun again. Why can’t we realize that political opinions and agendas just aren’t important in the eternal scheme?

My book idea explores the beginning of the end. The time when the whole world goes crazy and the civil war begins. Then again, it might have already begun. I get depressed to think about it, therefore, I won’t write that book.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Week 2, Day 9

by G.Parker

Welcome to the crazy world of writing, where each person is unique in style and desire.  Each of us that writes on this blog write's something different.  Some of us write adventure/fantasy, some write romance and some write mystery.   It's a great combination that makes for variety.

We humans seem to thrive on variety, though there are times when I think there's a bit too much to choose...lol

Anyway - here we are in week two, day nine.  Are you where you wanted to be?  Are you getting your writing in every day?  My three participants are doing various levels of achievement.  My youngest is happy that he's reached 5,000 words, and I don't think he's really going to get close to 50,000.  My oldest is trying to get to 20,000 this weekend, but she works 12 hour days and doesn't get a lot of writing in on her days off.  She tries to do mega words on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I'm meeting my goals, so far.  I will be at 25,000 words by the end of the day, which makes me happy.  

I have a son-in-law who wants to be a fantasy writer.  He asked me to read some of his stuff the other day and give him my opinion.  I told him what I thought, and asked him if he was going to participate in NaNoWriMo.  (Big surprise)  He said no.  He felt that they promoted the word count, and not the quality.  He claims someone could just sit and type 50,000 words with "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."  He has a point.  If someone wasn't really picky about how they earned the certificate that we get doing NaNo, then yeah, you could write whatever you wanted.  You could write the word 'stupid' 50,000 times.  It wouldn't mean you were a writer, but you would be the only one that knew.

I could see his point, but I also pointed out that the quality and skills come later.  For some people you just need to start getting the words down on paper, and then you can learn how to do it right.  He's also trying to write with a two year old running through the house and several different people living with them.  I didn't write for the first ten years of my marriage as there was simply too many other things that needed my attention.  (Like seven children...)

So, hopefully you are meeting your writing goals, and making that time slot every day.  It will come.  It's just one word after another...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NaNo Not Me

Every year I wish to do NaNoWriMo. Every year, I don't. It's just bad timing.

But that's something I want to talk about "timing". See, there are a lot of people who do NaNo and schedule their lives so that they can accomplish this awesometastic task. I envy them. For me, I have month end/financials the first week of the month at work, followed by the possibility of staying late at work getting budgets ready. This doesn't mean I can't find time to write.

Like blogging. I've been lousy at it in 2012. My own personal blog has been a disaster. I blog at Mormon Geeks and haven't done well at that since my 3rd child was born.

But this Sunday during priesthood (as it was wrapping up), I jotted down a To Do list on my Nook. It was quite ambitious. But I put on there all the things I'd like to do this week. And my goal is to update the list next Sunday. I have two books I'm writing right now and a third that I should be revising (I just don't have the heart to destroy that book further and maybe it'll have to sit in oblivion for now.) My goal this week is to just write a chapter for each this week. I have my chapter for critique group ready but knowing where the story is heading more will be good. And on my other book (a novella), it's more being written "for fun" than anything and will most likely be my first book as I intend to digitally self-publish it. Still, I want self-imposed deadlines to give myself achievable goals.

I'd love to see my YA Sci-Fi finished with its first draft by the end of the year. That will require a lot on my part. So it's about finding the time to write.

Speaking of finding the time, I'd love my novella (I'm going to call it general contemporary fiction) to be done by the end of the year as well. But, I'm just gonna take it one week at a time and one day at a time.

I wish all you NaNoers luck. And those who aren't, I'm sure you have plenty of writing related things going on to keep you busy this month too.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

It's almost here!

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I have books. Actual physical books I can hold in my hands. I'm so excited I snapped a picture of them and posted them on my facebook. Today I was baking treats for my launch so I post my progress also on facebook.

While social media is fun and an easy way to get the word out to lots of people, it can also be bothersome. (How many of you are sick and tired of political post on Twitter and Facebook?) 

Where is that line?

At what point does somone get to the point of being unfriended because of excessive--whatever it may be posts?

What do you guys think?

The path to wisdom is not always straight.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

November

by Donna K. Weaver

It's NaNoWriMo, and I'm feverishly working on a companion novel to my adventure romance, A Change of Plans, which comes out in June with Rhemalda Publishing. I've been planning for this most of the year, and it's exciting to see the story unfold.

Since it deals with a broken secondary character from the first book, there were things that happened to him that I glossed over with references. As I'm getting into his story, however, I'm realizing that some of those things would have had a much more profound emotional impact on him than I ever touched on in that first book.

What can I say? I love him even more.

Unless I finish my book before the end of the month, this will be my only post for November. Happy writing everyone!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Requiem, In Support of my Sisters

By Keith N Fisher

It started on a Saturday morning, after a Storymakers conference. There were two published writers, A beginner, and two wannabes. Our work was varied and original, like fine wine that needed a chance to breathe. I brought contemporary fiction; there was a romance, a contemporary mystery, a true story, book one in a string of romances about a group of sisters, and a cozy mystery.

We lost one of the group right away, because of time restraints, but we kept meeting.

Shortly afterward, I cooked a Dutch oven meal in my backyard and we read our chapters. Cooking was my way of giving back to the ladies who helped me so much. Soon, we were taking turns hosting our weekly exploration into the fine art of novel writing.

There have been weeks that we couldn’t meet, but we always managed to provide homework chapters to keep the work going. Through it all, I’ve been learning my craft, but most importantly, I grew closer to my sisters, the ladies of my group.

I found I could relate to Jeff Savage when he spoke of his group, and called them The Ladies of Thursday Night. I was the lone testosterone laden voice in a room full of estrogen. With all this romance being written, is it any wonder that I changed my genre? After my contemporary novel about two brothers, was rejected, I brought another story. It had a more feminine feel to it, and I became the writer of women’s fiction.

I discovered a wonderful symbiosis that was my group. Each of the ladies specialized in a different aspect of writing. I received extremely helpful critiques and plot suggestions from a woman’s point of view. I tried my best to fill their pages with red ink, but often, I settled for being the lone masculine voice.

I often got so caught up in their stories, I forgot to look for errors, but the ladies were patient with me. I became a better writer, and cooked for them as often as I could.

After a while, we added a long distance member, but she has her own, more local group. We also auditioned others and added a few who left us, but five of us have stuck with it. When one married into a combined family of ten children, her time was spent elsewhere, but she tries to keep in touch.

I’ve heard stories about critique groups who didn’t mesh with each other. I’ve heard authors tell about writers who just didn’t get it, but I’ve never met five people who care more about each other than we do. We’ve cried about rejections, kicked each other in the pants, and cheered our successes. There have been many, published books come out of our group. I’ve included cover pictures here. Now, with Nichole’s contract, one of those books will be published in the national market.

We met at my house this week, and turned a page. I cooked in Dutch ovens. We cried because one of us is moving to Texas. No worries though, we’ll keep meeting through Skype, or in email, but it won’t be the same. We still have to take the road trip we always planned, but we won’t be able to meet, physically, once a week.

Perhaps, when we’re on the Times Best Seller list, we can meet each week in Honolulu, or in the Cowboy Bar. I promise to keep Tristi out of trouble.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Week 1

by G.Parker

I have a house full of NaNoWriMo participants this year.  It's strange, I didn't really encourage this, but I guess children follow your example despite what you say...

My husband isn't thrilled.  He doesn't like National Novel Writing Month anyway. He always asks me every year, "Why didn't they pick March?"  But such is life.

I have a bargain with my eldest daughter.  We can't have any chocolate until we reach 1000 words.  We have to take a break every hour.  We don't write on Sunday (which means we have to write more during the week) and we can't take our stress out on the rest of the family.

I found myself wanting to munch on something the whole time I was writing yesterday.  It was crazy!  I hate how a habit comes back to haunt you, even when it's been a year!  I managed to control myself.  Once I really get into what I'm writing, then the cravings and urges go away.

I have three children doing the competition this year.  My youngest is actually writing his story.  I was surprised, as he's talked about writing several books in a "Halo" type story.  I asked him yesterday why he was writing his story, and he said he just wanted to get it down on paper.  I'm still surprised.  I think it's cool...but you know, I'm not sure it's going to fill out 50,000 words...he's only 17.

Anyway - this is day 2 of the month, so hopefully you've gotten started and have written at least 3,000 words.  I'm working on getting to 6,000 words today.

I went out and did the early voting thing because the lines are insane on voting day.  While I was in the line at the library, I thought about having a write-in at the library or somewhere else.  I think the library would be best...the whole idea is to write while you're in a group, correct?  If you have a write-in at a cafe or something, it seems to me it would be too loud and too busy to be able to concentrate.  But then, I write best to music without words because the words distract me.  You could never tell my kids have ADHD, right?

Well, good luck to all who are writing.  To those who think the rest of us are crazy and don't need something like this to keep you motivated, I'm impressed.  You see though, it's come to the point where I do this because it's fun and I like to see the numbers rack up.  Not because it's the only thing that gets me writing.

What's your reason?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Seize the Moment

 by Donna K. Weaver

A coworker (of sorts) is going through a very tough time right now. Her husband suffered a double stroke a couple of weeks ago. As if that wasn't hard enough, he slipped into a coma, and his doctors had no idea where the clots had come from.

Things got even more challenging when they discovered a mass in his liver, and the doctor said the big "C" word. Further test determined that he has cancer in his liver that has metastasized throughout his body. Seems the strokes may have actually been a blessing. There's so little hope with his body riddled with cancer and so much brain damage from the strokes they must now decide whether or not to take him off life support.

I really feel for this coworker. I was a widow at 26, and I remember days when I would take my two children to the park after work rather than go home to the empty house. How long and miserable Saturdays and Sundays were because those were the days his absence was most keenly felt since he'd have been there with us. When suddenly you're the only one to comfort and console your children who don't understand why daddy isn't there anymore.

It's also a wake-up call to see someone younger than you die. That could be me. Who knows what's going on in my body? I might live to be ninety like my fraternal grandmother or drop dead tomorrow.

The life we have is precious. I believe our priorities for how we use the hours of our lives  are critical. We should decide what's really important to us and invest our time in those.

What does this have to do with writing?

Where do our dreams of writing/publishing fit in our eternal scheme? Only we can decide if watching that TV show (or whatever our distraction of choice might be) is important enough to pay for it with hours of our lives. Do we give up doing something higher on our priority list? Are we putting off to a later time--a time we may not have--the people and things that are most important to us?

On this somber Sunday, I challenge us each to review our priorities and compare them with how we're actually spending our time, make sure we're being with the people and doing the things that mean the most to us.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I'm Off to see the Wizard

By Keith N  Fisher

I couldn't think of anything that would be relevant today, so I'll be back next week. Until then, make sure you check your facts. If you reference a website, check the author's credentials. just because somebody writes something doesn't make them an expert. Use the sources written by those who were there.

good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Follow the yellow brick road, a huh.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Money for a Good Play

by G.Parker

My son is taking an intro to drama class that requires he attend two plays per term.  While that doesn't seem like a big deal, it's a stretch when money is tight and there's a wedding going on.  We didn't even have time to look into it until after the wedding, and then I discovered that the term ends next week.  No pressure!

So this past Monday I took him to a little neighborhood theater that we'd been to once before that was doing something called "The Drowsy Chaperone."  I thought it was interesting because I remember the high school doing it last year and we didn't go see it.  I figure if it was something the high school could do, then perhaps it wouldn't be too crazy.

We really enjoyed it!  It comes kind of from a different perspective, as it's being told by a person who is sitting in his little apartment listening to a record.  It's kind of a spoof off musicals, and it's very entertaining. It was really interesting to me as a writer because I've flirted with the idea of writing a screenplay.

Play writing is so different from a book.  With a book you need to put everything in the pages; emotion, scene, atmosphere.  In a play, you have to write what people are doing, where they're going, what they need to do, and then each person and their lines.  The whole set up is different.  I'm not sure that switching to plays would be my thing, but I know there are several out there that do well at it.

One of our favorite movies is one called "Noises Off."  This is a movie about a group of actors and the director doing a play from opening night in some small town to ending up on Broadway and the relationships and trials in between.  It's strange to watch sometimes because it has Christopher Reed and John Ritter, both of whom are greatly missed.

But anyway - if you have a desire to write a play, that is something you can do during National Novel Writing Month, though they actually hold a different one toward the spring for screen/play writing, which might be more to your liking.  I'm just suggesting that if you are thinking of giving it a trial run, November might be a good time.

It's always a good time for a play.

Five days and counting...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grammatically Speaking

by Donna K. Weaver

Apostrophes show a contraction or possession.

Example (Wikipedia):
Kingsley Amis, on being challenged to produce a sentence whose meaning depended on a possessive apostrophe, came up with:
Those things over there are my husband's. (Those things over there belong to my husband.)
Those things over there are my husbands'. (Those things over there belong to several husbands of mine.)
Those things over there are my husbands. (I'm married to those men over there.)
Wow. This lady's been busy. Forget Polygamy. Go for Polyandry. O_o

She learned her ABCs.
the 1990s not the 1990's
the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70’s
She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.

Exception: Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers
when the meaning would be unclear otherwise.
Example:
Please dot your i's.
You don't mean “is.”

Do your tricky fingers ever slip an apostrophe where you KNOW it doesn't belong?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writing Politically

By Keith N Fisher

No. It’s not what you think. I haven’t bailed out of the non-partisan boat. I’m talking about the things we write without thinking about our readers.

Let me explain. I was writing in a restaurant early in the morning the other day. The music coming from the kitchen was from my era. I didn’t like the Black Sabbath, although I did back in 1972 when I bought the album. I enjoyed hearing Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon again, though.

From somewhere behind me, A customer made a comment. She liked the Pink Floyd and went on to compare it, unfavorably to the Beatles. She criticized I Want to Hold Your Hand by singing part of it with a nasal tone.

I was shocked. Obviously to me, that person didn’t have a clue. In my mind, I argued that Paul Mccartney and John Lennon were some of the most talented writers ever. Elements of their music can be found in almost every Rock n Roll song ever written, the rest, were probably from the Rolling Stones. I went on to analyze I Want to Hold Your Hand by pointing out the necessary link it provided in the evolution of the medium.

 
The music turned to a Jimi Hendrix song, I also enjoyed hearing again, but the customer left and I didn’t get her opinion of him. Hendrix was extremely talented, but I suppose there are many who don’t like his music either. Bringing me to the point.

As a writer of fiction, I labor over my work, choosing words carefully to express my thoughts in the most succinct way possible. I hope readers will like what I’ve written. Most often, however, I don’t stop and think about who might disagree or be offended by what I’ve written.

Writing in the LDS market is limiting. My work will be held to something I call, the Deseret Book Standard. Simply put: If DB wouldn’t put it on their shelves then it won’t be successful in the market. Also, there are hundreds of words and touchy situations I can’t write. I'm constantly being corrected by my wise critique group.

Of course the market is changing, but writing nationally is easier. Nevertheless, I run the risk of offending someone. What happens if I write in both markets? Will my LDS fans shun me because I use a word? Must I write under a pseudonym? What about what I say on social media? Perhaps, politics shouldn’t be discussed, although some LDS writers think it’s their sacred duty to do so. Well, you get the point.

I’m talking about platforms and image. Promotion begins when you start writing and never quits. Be careful. Your snide remark might destroy years of public relations. Stand up for principles not people. Don’t be negative, and if you’re writing in the LDS market, don’t use swear words on Facebook.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.
   

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Don't See Anything....

by G.Parker

Like the penguins in Madagascar, I'm waving my hand over the computer and wishing it made it happen.  You see, I was supposed to be out of town today.  Sitting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Enjoying the brisk fall air, gorgeous scenery, and yummy pizza.  Oh yeah...they have a killer pizza joint there.  Anyway - that's where I was supposed to be right now.  But then life got in the way.

Tires on vehicles, for one.  We needed new tires on both cars that would hold everyone.  OUCH.  Didn't happen.  And, then our oldest daughter threw out her back and she would have been left home alone.  Double OUCH.  That also wasn't happening.  So we ended up having to stay home.

That meant that I could either sit around and mope (which let me tell you, it felt like everyone was sitting in a morgue yesterday afternoon) or figure out funness to do here.  I like that word.  Is it really a word?  I'm not sure.  Spell check doesn't like it.  We ended up doing a combination of things.  We did get tires on one of the cars, it was a necessity, and we discovered the joys of used tires of KSL.  Amazing how people will take perfectly good tires off their cars to put on something fancier.  Works for me when I get two with good tread for the price of a cheapo one.

Anyway, we had lunch with my hubby in Salt Lake yesterday, and then got some applesauce made and the laundry room cleaned and then folded clothes while watching a movie and then had fondue for dinner and watched Star Trek.  (The original series)

That brought on a conversation about how my oldest daughter (who is following in her mother's footsteps in wanting to be a writer) really likes the original Star Trek series because you never knew how they were going to end the show.  They always came up with something original, and it was usually something pretty good.  She liked to watch them because they made her think.

I think that was probably the biggest compliment the series could get.  Not only were there some fun actors on there, who totally made the characters, but there was a good story line as well.  Yeah, I know there were a lot of politics involved with the show, and that it ended just as it was really going to take off and ended up in rerun heaven for the next 20 or so years, only to spawn a whole new generation of trekkies...but it was a good show.  And it was based on solid writing.

So, while I "suffer" here at home instead of relaxing in Steamboat, I'll remember that my chance to get my writing to the solid stage is still coming...only 13 days and counting...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Core Four (In My Viewpoint)

Again, I apologize for not posting in a while. Maybe that's expected. I have a million excuses, but in the end, no one really cares.

Today, I want to write about four basic elements to a story. For me, there are key elements that every book needs that some books out there are stronger at giving than others. I just want to point some out for you.

Conflict: Ever read "And they lived happily ever after. The end."? You know why there's no sequel? Cause there's no more conflict. I remember school giving different examples of conflict: Man vs Man; Man vs Self; Man vs Society/Gov't (which to me is a broader Man vs Man); Man vs Nature; Man vs Machine; and Man vs God. I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I can recall







Man vs Man is probably the most common. A good example of Man vs Machine is I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. Never read it. Saw the movie though, so the conflict didn't change. The Hunger Games is a great Man vs Man, but really, the trilogy seems to be more Man vs Society/Gov't. But the first book I remember reading that wasn't Man vs Man was John Grisham's The Summons.


My wife and I have discussed this a few times. She's explained to how it's Man vs Man. And even though I can see why, I really see the main character's biggest enemy is himself. If he did the right thing to begin with, he wouldn't have been running for his life. Best example of Man vs Self that I've read.

Character: If you have a conflict, great. But you need the right characters. As it comes to reading a book that has strong character development and really gets into a character's head, I can think of none better then I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. Maybe I haven't read enough books, but Dan's ability to let us deeply inside John Cleaver's mind, whether it scares us or not, is what makes him an award winning author.

There are other great stories where we get into the character's mind and are able to really understand that character. Hunger Games and Harry Potter are good examples of a 1st person and 3rd person-close respectively that I see great character development.

Theme: Most my teachers: "What is the theme to this book?" Me: "(Some pseudo-moral)." Teacher: "That's a moral, not a theme." This is how my life has been and still is. But as I've read the Newport Ladies Book Club series (yes, I have done so and couldn't care less what you think), I've been understanding theme better.





After I read Olivia, which was probably a day or two after my wife finished it, we were discussing why she was dissatisfied. I actually really liked the story. I loved how Olivia realized the other characters weren't as perfect and wonderful as she'd projected onto them. And that was one of the main themes I've seen in the stories. There just isn't a way to know what's going on with a person's life when we're on the outside, that's more Olivia's theme. The books also have a theme of self-reliance. (Haven't read Athena yet, but this is true for the others.) Olivia, Daisy, and Paige have to learn how to be strong and independent with the cards that they've been dealt, so to speak. If not, their lives can be miserable and each is faced with that misery. (Moving on so I can keep my man card.)







Plot: Okay, plot was essential in the olden days. But today, it feels like the "what happens" falls lower on a priority list when I hear authors speak of different important aspects of a story. I love plot-based books. Personally, one of my all-time favorite books is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.


Yes, we do get inside the mind of a few of the characters, even so close to experience one of the character's deaths from their point of view. But the plot itself is what drives the story forward. The only thing the reader is supposed to care about in a book like this is "who did it?"

This is actually one of my favorite books ever. I have no idea why, but it's something that just has stuck with me after reading it years ago. The story goes from character and character. The reader has clues, but is always thrown off. But even the story itself tells the reader who did it, if the reader pays enough attention.

Anyway, when I start thinking about a story, I remind myself that even though I have plot points and characters, I need conflict and an overlying theme to make it a complete story. (Yeah, the theme sometimes comes in afterward.)

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.