Saturday, September 28, 2013

They never go Away

By Keith N Fisher

Okay, I know, the last quote wasn’t exactly on everybody’s list of favorite cultural clich├ęs, but I wanted to include it, because it reminds me of the old days. It was from a phone conversation Bob Woodward had during his investigation of the Watergate burglaries. He hoped to prove President Nixon was involved in the cover-up.

The book is called All the President’s Men. Written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. While working for the Washington Post, those two invented what we call investigative journalism. Since I included the quote, I’ve been contemplating their role in our society.

Richard Nixon said it best when he said, "People have got to know whether or not their presidents a crook."

That’s true, but there are some things we might be better off not knowing. I don’t know. Maybe we’ve taken the investigative journalism thing too far. But that’s a subject for a different blog. We try to stay out of politics here.

So, let’s move on, to another quote. You should remember Parting is such sweet sorrow.

I’ve heard writers talk about characters as if they say goodbye to them at the end of a book. Some authors wait until the book is published. If the story won’t carry through a sequel, they say goodbye to their characters and move on.

I can’t seem to do that. I don’t necessarily love them, and I’ve killed some, but my characters live in my mind like real people do. They are my friends and I know more about them then my real life friends.

I guess there are other writers who feel that way, or we wouldn’t have the Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich. There’s Alex Cross written by James Patterson. Jimmy Fincher, Samantha Shade, and Shandra Covington. Written by James Dashner, Kerry Blair, and Jeffery Savage.

Now, J K Rowling is writing another Harry Potter book. My friend, Heather Justesen has written several books about the family and friends she created for one of her books. It’s not a series, just different stories about those characters. I wrote several different characters with their own stories into one book, called The Hillside. It occurred to me that I could write several books based on those stories. I would keep the characters alive and I wouldn’t have to say goodbye.

Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow, but not in this case. I think it’s interesting that given any situation, I can tell you how each one of my characters would react. Each reaction would be different and individual. I hope that means I’m becoming a better writer.

Have fun making friends and enemies with your characters. I hope you don’t have to kill any of them.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hero Worship

By Keith N Fisher

Yes, the quote from last week was from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. The idea of the ultimate self-sacrifice has always touched our hearts in literature and reality. The concept of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few goes back several generations. It is the premise of the sacrifice made by Aslan the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia. Of course, all the examples point to the real sacrifice made by Jesus.

I’ll provide this week’s quote below, but first, what would you do if you met a famous person in an elevator? What if they moved into your neighborhood? What if that person is a personal hero of yours?

I have very few heroes in my life. They are people who reached a high station in my estimation, through their actions. I often wonder how I would react to meeting those people. I’ve sent letters to some of my heroes, and sometimes regretted saying some of the things I wrote. It’s funny what being in their presence can do to us regular people.

Recently, Comic Con was held in Salt Lake City, and although I couldn’t go, I heard many reports. There was high praise for the experience. In some of those reports, however, I heard about the fees several of the, would be heroes charged for the privilege of having your picture taken with them.

One of my good friends from Dutch oven competition days wrote about that and was criticized for his opinion. He, himself, makes his living in the public eye. He mentioned the fallacy of charging large amounts of money. I believe he said, we, the fans, purchased their work. We watched and made them what they are. Now, rather than pay back, the famous people take more.

Let me say, I agree with my friend. Although he is not a personal hero of mine, I wouldn’t mind meeting William Shatner and even posing for a picture with him. Paying seventy-five dollars for the privilege, however, is bogus. Especially when I would’ve had to purchase tickets for the event.

With that being said, let me point out something. Famous people, and even our heroes, are just people. They deal with some of the same issues we deal with. Many of them have personal lives we shouldn’t emulate. Why do we get flustered? I once had the privilege of shaking the hand of an elected official. I didn’t vote for him. In fact, I disagreed with most of his policies. When I met him, I wanted to point out his errors, but I didn’t.

If I were to meet one of my heroes, Why should I feel any different? Not about my personal opinions, but why shouldn’t I meet them like the human being they are?

As writers, many of us have opportunities to meet and associate with famous people. We hold many of them in high esteem. How we react to meeting them determines how they feel about us. Do you want them to say, "Oh no, here comes that crazy lady who can’t keep herself under control"? Or "Quick let me duck under your table, her comes that guy with his manuscript again."

Just a little food for thought before you attend that major event, and meet some of those famous people. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

. . . . . . . .

Oh yeah, the quote for this week is, Hi, I'm _______ of the Washington Post . . . and . . . what's that? You've never heard of me? I can't help that—you don't believe I'm with the Post? What do you want me to do, Madam, shout extra—extra?

This quote might be a little harder. It’s from a memoir written by two people during a very trying time in our nation’s history. Now, that ought to help. Good luck and don’t forget to comment, (whether you know the answer or not). I can’t put you in the drawing if you don’t comment.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Want to be a better writer?

by C Michelle Jefferies

Simple.

Volunteer your time.

Not only does volunteering time in the community improve the way you feel about yourself. And helps others. It sets a pattern of giving that benefits everyone.

Even better?

Volunteering to read, critique other authors work, brainstorming and helping other authors feeds your muse. It sparks your own creativity and teaches you a ton about the writing world.

Try it. I promise you'll thank yourself later.

~ The path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Escaping

By Keith N Fisher

First, the contest and the quote: I was hoping for more comments last week, but yes, Kurt Kammeyer it was, Chevy Chase in the movie, Funny Farm. I made reference to it in my post a while back. The film was adapted from a 1985 comedic novel of the same name by Jay Cronley.

It’s about a sportswriter who buys a house in the country to write the book he’s been given an advance for. As you might imagine with all Chevy Chase movies, It’s hilarious.

Kurt, and Heather Justesen will be entered into the drawing.

And this is our quote for today:

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
This quote from a book was also used in a Star Trek movie. That ought to be enough of a hint that anyone can figure it out.


---------------------
Have you ever been discouraged? I’m not talking about normal setbacks. Some people suffer through calamity. How does a person keep going through all that? I used to write.

I actually began in the nineteen-seventies, using the medium to explore my imagination. In the nineties, I used it as a stress reliever, a way to escape discouragement. I didn’t get serious about it until my first rejection, which happened to coincide with getting fired from my job of fifteen years.

To be honest, when I considered the future and what I should do for a living, I felt I should finish the rewrites. Perhaps that was a way of escaping my obligations, but it was something I needed to do. That was, eight books ago. I now have nineteen project files, including one for many other new ideas.

Writing was for me, more recreational than occupational. Now, I can’t put it down, but I want that publishing credit to my name. I used writing before, to escape discouragement, now it’s a major part of my life. What should I do with discouragement about writing? What do you do?

Many writers have wondered why they ever got involved in this crazy occupation. It’s normal. Between family obligations and starvation prevention, it seems like there’s always something getting in the way. Watching people launch ebook careers, and reading about, yet another, publisher calling it quits, doesn’t help. How do you keep going?

Reading this blog, and others like it, can help. Seeking the company of other writers is also a good way. Flooding the market with ebooks of your own is another way. Escaping to a remote location will help give you clarity. It does for me. Taking my laptop into the mountains to write helps me remember why I started writing.

How did you decide to write? Good Luck with your writing—see you next week.

 

 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

It's All in the Words

By Keith N Fisher

How many of you remember or have heard the words, Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. This dialogue spoken by a character in a movie seems to be part of our culture. What if I quoted, Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead? Would you know where it’s from? The quote is attributed to Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, a union officer in the civil war, and the eponym of a federation starship in Star Trek.

Since Farragut’s story wasn’t written until years later, many doubt he actually said those words. Also, if he could’ve even been heard over the roar of the cannons. Still, it’s a good quote, and the navy used it for recruitment purposes for years.

From, frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn, to I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, sentences and colloquialisms from the media have wriggled into our culture.

I was thinking about clich├ęs and how they influence our society. Also, I wondered how many of them became so familiar. When I talk about, the whole nine yards, most of you would admit to using the expression, but how many know where it came from? Using Google to answer the question isn’t fair.

Some of you might know that dump trucks hold nine yards, and if I were to use the expression it would be in reference to receiving the whole load, or being dumped on, take your pick. Our expressions are interesting. So are the phrases we remember from literature and movies.

Wouldn’t you like to be the guy who gave Sergeant Shulz the words, I know nothing, nothing. Or the writer of Land Before Time who gave Petrie the phrase, Yup, yup, yup? Then there’s the old, One of these days, Alice . . . pow! right in the kisser.

I’m sure you can think of dozens of quotes like these, but I think it would be fun to have a contest. Here’s how it works. I’ll post a quote. You comment and tell us where the quote came from. Everyone who comments will be entered into the drawing for a Walmart gift card. I’ll post a new quote each week for a month. Comment each time for more chances to win. Good luck and let’s have some fun.

This week’s quote is from a movie: As a novelist, I turned out to be a pretty good sportswriter.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

One Thing That Will Kill Your Writing Career

By C. Michelle Jefferies

Jealousy.

Yep. I could just leave my post at that. However, let me explain.

One of the first things were taught in Martial Arts both when sparing and practicing is to keep your hands loose.

Why? What is one of the first things we do or describe a character do when we or they experience negative emotion? Clench our/their hands.

What does it do to us? It focuses the negative emotion into something physical. It makes it manifest. In a sparing situation it wears you out. You're wasting energy you could be using to defend yourself.

Jealousy can do the same thing to writers mentally in regards of writing and their writing career. It takes a lot of negative mental energy to be jealous. It can dominate thoughts and make people unbearably miserable. Let alone not a pleasant person to be around.

Instead of writing, a jealous person stalks other peoples websites, Facebook profiles, and Amazon pages and staring at numbers, statuses, and pictures that will do nothing but make them more miserable. They compare themselves to other people that either have had that lucky break or have spent the thousands of hours and written the millions of words to earn their success. In that negative world they are living in, they don't see that they could be the same if they weren't so busy being green. They let those little doubts that could normally be kicked to the curb become insurmountable walls and they have defeated themselves.

I'll be the first to admit that when a friend or acquaintance gets a six figure deal or signs with an amazing agent or publisher or has a massively successful signing or launch I feel a little green. Hey, I'm human. It's what I let it do to me after those initial moments that matters the most.

I let it go. Often times I sit my butt in my chair and open a document and stele my resolve to write something better. Something amazing. Or make new and more ambitious goals, or submit to that agent I was a little timid about approaching.

We have a choice.

Let something like jealousy kill our potential. Or let it motivate us to make us better.

What is yours?

The path to wisdom is not always straight