Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The End of the Trail

Keith Fisher asked me, once, not too long ago, if I would keep the Blogck going if anything happened to him. Looking back, he must have had an idea of what was to come, though he gave no hint of it at the time. Now I'm left with the heartbreaking job of deciding what's to become of his legacy here. It's a trust that I do not take lightly; I have agonized over it. After discussing the options with my fellow blogger here, C. Michelle and I have come to the following conclusion.

From his first post in July 1996, Keith became the backbone of the Blogck. When everyone else moved on, he kept it going - faithfully posting almost every week of the nine years the site has been in existence. For the better part of a decade, Keith was the solid voice behind the Blogck, 

Those who ever had the blessing of meeting Keith know what a great person he was. He had a big, vibrant personality within a gruff, mountain man exterior. He loved his wife, who he called his sweetheart, he was my go-to authority for dutch oven cooking, and he loved to write. He carried this blog for the love of the readers that came here to read what he had to share.  

Without him, the Blogck seems empty. I can't bring myself to fill his shoes here, I feel unqualified to even try. Somehow, it seems he took the spirit of this place with him when he left.  

And, somehow, that's okay.

So, with a heavy heart full of respect for a good man and his efforts for the writing community, and the love in my heart for my late friend, I'm announcing the retirement of the LDS Writers Blogck.

The archives will remain in place and available. Keith's words can live on, and continue to share the insights and lessons he shared with such loyalty and love, along with the writings of all those who have come and gone, and come back again, over the years, whose efforts we also so much appreciate.

Thank you, Keith, for your wise words, for steadfastly keeping this blog going for so long, and your friendship for all those who knew you in person, or just in words.

Thank you readers and fellow writers, for sharing our journey here. We've reached the end of this trail, and now must part.


God speed, and farewell.




Monday, August 24, 2015

So this is good bye . . .

by C. Michelle Jefferies 

As I prepare my three older children to start school tomorrow, and my youngest on next Monday I am reminded that to everything there is a season. A season to be a full time mom, a season to be a part time writer, a season to rest from creative endeavors and a time to dive in head first.

With my youngest going to school all day I will have all sorts of time to write, work, edit and the other things I have abandoned lately. This is a welcome but bittersweet moment for me. I don't have little kids in my house anymore. But I am looking toward a time where my creative pursuits can get more and well deserved attention.

With Keith's passing I am also at a changing of season. We, the junior powers that be, have decided to close the blog but leave it available and honor Keith's amazingly large and generous memory.

So to all of you who have faithfully followed, read, commented, and supported me and the others. Thank you. Good bye. Keep writing.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I can't even . . .

I had this huge eulogy in my head all day long. As soon as I am expected to put it all on paper, or screen it's too hard. Too painful.

Keith was a huge amazing teddy bear. He was always happy, always positive, always giving everyone a smile and a hug.

One evening at storymakers conference I had been talking to a publisher, they gave me an answer that wasn't upsetting, but wasn't all positive either so I walked away a little befuddled. Keith was right there at my side making sure I was okay, that no one had said anything to hurt my feelings or make me sad. He gave me a hug and told me it was going to be all right. He made me believe in my talent, believe in myself, and to be positive.

To my dear friend, and ever protective bear. I'll miss you terribly.

Enjoy yourself up there, and see you topside.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Keith N. Fisher Obituary from the Herald

1957–2015

Keith Neff Fisher, 57, of Orem passed away on Friday August 7, 2015 in Salt Lake. Keith was born on December 9, 1957 in Provo to Phillip Neff and Carol Hettie Ostler Fisher. He attended Orem HighSCHOOL. After High School, Keith served an LDS Mission to Nova Scotia, Canada.
He worked for several companies over the years including: Mountain Country Foods, Allred Heating and Air Conditioning, then Klemp Inc., MyFamily.com (now Ancestry.com), 7-Eleven, Amico and finally atBLUEHOST.
Keith enjoyed the outdoors, working inTHE GARDEN and especially camping with his family. He was a writer and was working on a book that was just about finished. He worked with the Boy Scouts. He and his wife Wendy were the 2005 World Champion Dutch Oven Winners.
He was active in the LDS church, serving in the Elders Quorum presidency, and as Sunday School President.
Keith is survived by his wife Wendy and daughter Keisha, his mother Carol and two brothers Brent (Shauna), and Fred Fisher. He is preceded in death by his father Phillip and his grandparents Neff and Erma Fisher, Lavell and Hettie Ostler.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, August 15, 2015, 11:00 a.m. in the Cascade 2nd Ward, 481 East Center Street, Orem. Friends may visit with the family Friday evening from 6–8 p.m. or Saturday morning from 9:30–10:30 a.m., both at the church. Interment will be in the Orem City Cemetery. Condolences may beOFFERED to the family online at www.walkersanderson.com

See the original HERE

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Keith N. Fisher, Funeral to be Held Saturday

Keith Neff Fisher, 57, passed away Friday August 7, 2015 in Orem, Utah. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday August 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cascade 2nd Ward Chapel 481 East Center Street, Orem. A viewing will be held Friday August 14, 2015 from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday August 15, 2015 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the church. Interment will be held at the Orem City Cemetery, 1520 North 800 East. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.walkersanderson.com

Friday, August 07, 2015

Sad News, I'm Afraid...

With a shattered heart, I am here to let our readers know that Keith Fisher passed away this morning.
I will post a day and time for his funeral when I learn the details.


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Describe a flower garden, but you may not use the names of any colors.

Monday, August 03, 2015

A Momentary Lull

For those of our regular readers who aren't aware Keith Fisher, our main author and backbone of the Blogck, has been having some health issues as of late. Last Saturday may be the first time in ten years he has not been here to post.

So for the moment, you're kinda stuck with me. (Please don't run screaming from the room...) I've promised Keith I will keep this blog up and going till he gets back to take the helm once again.  I know, I know - the sooner he gets back the better, right?

In all seriousness, though, we wish Keith a quick and easy recovery. Any prayers in his direction would be greatly appreciated, I'm sure.  All comments and well wishes left here will be forwarded to him.

Hurry back, Keith! Get well soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


 Today's topic: Things I wish I didn't know now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Growing Pains or Death Throes

Today, I'm writing about something that has been bothering me for quite a while.

Social media is going to be the downfall of civilization as we know it. Starting with writing.

When I first went to a writing conference, a hundred years ago, it was a small group of dedicated people willing to pay to garner advice from the professionals. We were thrilled to find others with the same interest, amazed at what we learned there, and energized by kindred spirits.

Ten years later, writing conferences are bigger than ever. So is the group of people that are writing books.

What once required dedication, sacrifice and practically blood is now readily available at any computer terminal. While I am not downing Indie authors, (since I am one, myself) it is ridiculously easy to publish any piece of work with little to no quality control. There is nothing to police whether it is original, plagiarized, true, accurate or even acceptably well written.

Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary pursuit. An author must have time alone and without distraction, to get those words on paper. But suddenly, thanks to social media, the job of writing now comes with extended staff - groups for research, cheering squads, critique groups comprised of people the writer may have never actually met and whose skills are unverifiable. Did the opponents of Gutenberg have the same concerns?

It is a double edged sword. One one side of it - I, myself, am involved in a writing collaboration made possible by the internet. On the other, that same site that makes this possible is the single biggest detraction from the writing I should be doing. On one side, an author doesn't have to rely on a publisher to put their work out there. On the other - electronic books make it easy to download, adjust and resell someone else's work with little to no effort. On one side, more people than ever are accomplishing their dream of publishing a novel. On the other, the craft is in danger of being cheapened by low quality, unedited, unprofessional quality dime novels flooding the book selling outlets.

So where do we draw the line between progress and keeping the best parts of the old ways?

Are these the growing pains of a rapidly expanding world, or the death throes of quality literature?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Perhaps There are Times to Leave the Brakes Alone


By Keith N Fisher

I was sitting in my car, parked in the shade of a tree, next to a gated community. While writing, I heard something approach. I looked up to see a little girl on a bicycle, speeding down the sidewalk on the other side of the fence.

In front of where I parked, a locked gate stood waiting, as she approached. I went back to my writing, assuming the girl knew what she was doing and how to get through the gate. After all, she lived there, right?

A thump brought my attention back up, from my writing. The little girl apparently, didn’t know how to stop and crashed into the brick wall next to the gate. She had apparently slapped the wall with her open hand because she looked at it for a long time. Next to her hand was an electrical box with the kind of switch they use for emergency stop buttons on machinery.

After a few seconds the girl pressed the button and got off her bike to walk it through the gate, but it didn’t open. Rather than push the button again, the girl looked around, apparently not sure what to do. Then after a car went through the big gate on the other side of the trees, she walked her bike over there. I assume she followed a car through the gate.

I stopped writing and thought about what I’d seen. I wondered what had been in the girl’s mind as she approached the gate. Maybe she didn’t know it was locked. Maybe she got confused and couldn’t remember how to use the brakes. Maybe, and this is not likely, she planned to hit the button without stopping her bike.

Whatever she thought. She crashed her bike into a brick wall to stop, and that made me think. I considered many similes and metaphors, and remembered my childhood when brakes were hard to apply, like when I crashed the tote-goat into the garbage cans because I got confused and forgot about the brake. I wonder if that’s what happened to the girl.

As a metaphor brakes can have a double meaning. Some of us prefer the freedom of going through life full throttle, never giving the brakes any consideration. I have been one who used the brakes often. Sometimes the brakes were on when they shouldn’t have been, but it’s easier to avoid crashes if you’re already going slow.

To be accurate, however, there have been times when I ignored the brakes. While thinking about those times, I remembered a fond story from my childhood I’d like to share with you. 

I think I was twelve, when I built a three-wheeled go-cart. It was what it was, because I only had three wheels. Built from my father’s scrap pile, I used a school bus seat and the frame was made from galvanized pipe that I welded together. The rear axle was from a boat trailer. I’m not sure where the front wheel came from. I steered with a piece of pipe made into a lever, and as I said, I made the poor welds. I was kid after all. I intended to mount an engine in the rear, but never had the chance.

I was proud of my creation but mostly proud of the brake system. It was no more than a lever with rubber pads made from old tires. When applied, the brakes pushed against the rear tires. It was like the brakes on a covered wagon.

During that time, I lived next to vacant lot, and it was a hillside . . . well, you know where this is going. One day, my friend helped me push the cart up the hill, and we got in. I held the brakes on for a second, then let go. The fantastic ride got out of hand. We were going faster than I’d anticipated. With an ashen face, my friend looked around. He still denies it, but I think he was going to jump ship. As you might’ve guessed, the brakes had no effect.

Keeping my head, I steered toward the spot near the road where the hill leveled out and our driveway began. As we had done with sleds in the winter, I intended to take the cart down the road and stop naturally where the road intersected with another road and everything leveled out.

We never got to the road. I miss-judged how far my rear wheels extended away from me and one of the them ran over an obstacle my father had placed at the end of the hedge to keep people from driving on the plants.

Moments later, the cart lay in pieces. The bus seat rested on top of us, and my friend was okay. We sat up and started laughing. All my work on that cart had been undone in seconds. The irony was hilarious.

Sure, getting killed in a cart crash wouldn’t have been good, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun if the brakes had worked. Just think of the terrifying ride we could’ve had. Down the road, under the freeway toward Utah Lake. When I think of the grin on the girl’s face, just before she crashed her bike, I wonder if we put on our brakes too much.

I’ve been weighing the benefits of caution VS the glorious life with no brakes. Of course I’m older, and have less to lose, but . . .

Yes, it would be crazy to not use the brakes. But there are times when perhaps we should leave them alone. Does caution inhibit our success? As writers, do we hold back on our careers, waiting for just the right moment?

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.    

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


"You have the opportunity to correct a mistake from the past." 

"Any mistake?" 

"Any mistake you, yourself, have ever made. Only one. Choose wisely."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Being a "Real" Writer

There is still a huge stigma about self publishing. I've come across it's venomous attitude myself, rather recently.

You see, I am an indie author. I chose to do so because my project could not be printed the way I'd envisioned it when done through a standard publisher. Years later and a second edition later, I decided that putting the workbook together by hand was more work than I really wanted, so I turned it over to Amazon. I also didn't have the capital to sink into a professional print, so now it is available print-on-demand.  It's still a pretty nifty book, and it sells well enough for me to receive fairly regular, if small, royalty checks.

And yet, a couple of months ago, someone actually said directly to me that I don't need to worry about plagiarism because - paraphrasing here - we small, worthless, indie authors aren't going to be worth plagiarizing.

Really? Talk about a slap-down.

Until very recently, though I have two published works - one indie and one part of an anthology- I was denied membership into a certain, well known, local writing group. Because I wasn't a "real" author I didn't qualify. (I'm sorry to say, but I'll never join now, no matter how successful I get, because I've been excluded too long.)

Well, this "real" author is available at Barnes & Noble. I know some traditionally published authors that can't say that.

What I would like to say next to all these people, I can't say out loud because my mother taught me not to talk that way...

Don't every let anyone get you down. If you feel the need to write, then you write!! If you feel that indie publishing is the way to go, then you do it! It can be done, and is being done, successfully every day, by many people.

I'm one of them!

So to every writer struggling, working hard, and still being told you're not "real" enough to qualify as a writer, I quote this ancient and well-worn saying:



(I can't translate this here due to a G rating requirement. If you don't know what this says, you'll have to google it...)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Personal Thing




By Keith N Fisher


Do you remember kindergarten, when the teacher taught you to paint? Everybody stood behind a big easel with a huge sheet of paper and we were taught how to use the paints without making a mess.

Later, a model of some kind was placed in the center and we were told to draw it with paints. During a timed session we were left to transfer what we saw onto the page. Wasn’t it interesting?

No matter what the teacher used as a model, every painting was different. Not only because of artistic ability, but interpretation as well. As in adult life, we focus on different aspects. With a bowl of fruit, some artists paint the bowl, others place the banana in front of the apple, obliterating evidence that the grapes ever existed.

This is a great representation of individuality. It proves that unless somebody gives specific instructions and watches the progress, the results can vary. It also proves that people will follow their own heart.

God in his wisdom gave us a set of instructions and left us to follow our heart in fulfilling those directions. As we fulfill our destiny, we must allow others that freedom, too.

Just as there is no right or wrong way to draw the bowl of fruit, the final drawing is up to the individual. Therefore nobody has the right to criticize another person’s painting. Why do we think we are free to judge and direct another?  As writers we tend to insert bits of personal ideals into our fiction. The rules of craft state we must remain apart, but we tend to put things into our character’s mouths the narrator must not say.

I am as guilty as anyone, but I found a problem. What if my opinion is wrong or offensive to somebody? Will the reader of my story grow to hate my character and by extension, hate me?

Even if you are not wrong, be careful with preaching through your characters. Even if that character is an antagonist, and you want the reader to hate them, there are some things that are best left unsaid.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


If she's not really a horse, who is she?




Saturday, July 11, 2015

When Talent Overcomes Training


By Keith N Fisher

I started the new job last week. Basically, it’s something I’ve done before, but the technology is different. While working, I realized I have a talent for something I really don’t like doing. Because of nondisclosure agreements, I can’t elaborate, but I learned something about myself and realized it can’t be taught, but practice makes perfect.

As writers we practice. We read everything we can find, listen to presenters at conferences, and learn the rules of writing. Yes. We’ve all heard the stories of overnight success, but training and practice are still the best ways to succeed.

Even so, I believe there is something else responsible for the longevity of a writing career. Talent shows, and those who have it, are some of our favorite authors.

“If that’s true,” you ask, “Then why are so many career launching books poorly written?” That’s a little harsh, but I’ve heard many authors agree about their first books. Look at Jeffrey S savage for example.

Jeff wrote two career-launching books. He refers to Cutting Edge, like a parent talks about a disappointing stepchild. It’s a good book, but when he discovered his Shaundra Covington character, Jeff’s talents really began to show. Now, as J Scott Savage, Jeff writes books the rest of us try to emulate.

I think every writer, when they start their career, works at getting it right. It’s an obsession, drilled into them, and that’s the way it should be. We keep to the basics, and try to remember lessons from English classes we attended. We follow the rules and write the best books we can.

As we learn more about the craft, we write even better books. Then one day, we arrive. There seems to be a marker in time when that instant comes, but most authors don’t realize the moment. We praise their talent, and we call them great. Anyone can be taught the craft, but there is a moment when talent overcomes training.

I believe that every writer has talent, because they write. Thousands of others claim, they always wanted to write, but never found the time, or whatever. If you write, you’re a step above thousands. Talent must be polished or tarnish will render it unusable. Don’t despair. Very few authors were blessed with perfect prose when they started.

Keep writing. Finish that book and move on to the next. You’ll know when you’re ready to be published. Revel in rejection, and keep going. It takes a lot of rubbing to polish silver. In like manner, it takes a lot of writing to polish talent. 

Then one day, after you write that best seller, somebody will ask for your secrets. Like many before you, your labor of love will be foremost in you mind. That’s why the best authors will always tell you to keep going. Learn the rules and follow them. Don’t let anyone discourage you.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.     



Wednesday, July 08, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


You're standing in a room with one door at the center of each wall. You just came through the one behind you, and you can't go back that way. 

Which door do you choose, and what happens?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A Different Feeling



By Keith N Fisher

I got another rejection this morning. No big deal right? It comes with the job? My first rejection, several years ago, was encouraging. It was full of great advice, which I used to start a writing career. I learned more about my craft. I attended writer’s conferences and workshops. I started another story.

The second rejection hurt. My cliché reaction was classic: I made copies and bought postage for this? How could they say that about my baby? Are they out of their mind? Don’t they know I was inspired to write that book? (I did believe God would intervene, but then again, who hasn’t?).

When I decided to chuck the whole thing and quit writing, I realized I was hooked. I couldn’t quit. I started another book. That was several books, and many rejections ago. For awhile, I went into a, writing, (not submitting), mode. I wrote like the wind. With several new books and revisiting plot ideas, I lived in the zone.

Then recently, I pulled up my bootstraps, revised my submission logs, and started back down that road.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I could pursue self-publishing, and I intend to go there, but something inside of me needs the confirmation of the publishing credit. Besides, I lost my critique group and flying solo is scary.

So, I was rejected again. Or was I? Every rejection is hard and we have a tendency to take it personally, but is it? I submitted an edgy story to an LDS publisher. Well, Starcrossed isn’t that controversial, but there are depictions of a lifestyle that must be told in order to see the character growth. Then, at one point in the story, my character hits on a married, LDS Bishop, but he was the unrequited love of her life.

While rejecting it, the editor praised my book and idea, but . . . 

Since many of my plot ideas come from life experiences, My mind could construe a rejection of my life, but . . .

Emotion surged through my body as I read. The old feelings of wanting to quit rose up. I was sad, but . . .

Of course I want to cry, but there is a different kind of feeling in this rejection. The editor liked my story, but in a strictly conservative market, especially with the changes in publishing. Well, you get the message. The point here is I wasn’t rejected. My book was, but the story is good.

I am both happy and sad today. I’ll take a moment and cry, then I will submit my book to another publisher. Starcrossed might end up being self-published, but Rebecca deserves to have her story told. After all, She overcame alcohol, drugs, and abusive husbands, to find a better life.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Write about the under-appreciated sidekick. What would the hero do if his sidekick suddenly disappeared?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awaiting Creation

Color has no rhythm
And harmony no hue
Art is a scream never uttered

Fiction is oil paints for the blind,
Mixing color, hearing silent backbeats
Psychedelic metaphors for those
Shards of surreality, painted on a canvas of air
and shorn trees

Greens and blues, orange and scarlet
Hang in the balance of words
Wild silhouettes, written first in the nude but
Clothed in experiences

Empty symbols, never meant
Are gnawed, chewed and swallowed
By the teeth of fashion

A masterpiece awaits
Its own creation
Waiting only for its master

To get around to it.




By Weston Elliott, copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I Passed? !


By Keith N Fisher

Last week I talked about being in training for a new job. With much consternation, I fretted. After several nights with little sleep, I passed the test, which means I get to keep my job for now. Hopefully, I won’t screw up. :)

With that worry out of the way, I can concentrate on my writing. I started a new story last weekend. I love the characters and I’m excited. Have you noticed how distracting life can be? For centuries, artists and writers have escaped the daily grind so they could exercise their passion. The lure of uninterrupted writing has driven many to mountain cabins and shacks on the beach. How many times have you been in the zone and had to stop because of a pending task or prior commitment?

I would be a much better writer if I didn’t have to work. Then again, having to work gives me time to organize my thoughts and work out plot holes. My new job, however, is all consuming. Multitasking skills must be used for the job and I don’t have time think about plots. How do I keep from going crazy? 

Who says I’m not insane? Anyway, there’s always driving time. Time spent behind the wheel can be a great buffer between being in the zone, and something else. I use it to voice the residual thoughts that built up from the session, and I re-discovered a tool that helps.

I now, use my digital voice recorder for the stray thoughts. I also dictate the next few paragraphs or continue the dialogue. Saying it out loud helps me remember the concept, but I also have it down to remember the nuance. Then, I write the notes into my book when I get back to writing.

Whether because of age, or national market success, there will be a time when writing will take up most of my time. Hopefully, I can stay “In the zone”. Until then, stolen moments are all I get.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Someone finds a doorway that leads to nowhere. 

Or does it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Archives and Forgotten Treasures

Would You Pick Up This Book to Read?   

"The story I tell is not one of happiness, neither is it one of sadness.  It is simply a tale of four people bound together by one common thread—a bond powerful enough to bind them together, strong enough to break them, and cruel enough to do both at once.


          It is my story. It is only fitting that I be the one to tell it, in all its brutal majesty. "




Make you want to read more?
Me, too!!

Here's the problem. 

I came across this wonderful intro in an old archived writing file saved on a hard drive.  I have no idea what the story is, or was going to be, I only know that I penned this sometime in 2006. It has lain, forgotten, on a virtual shelf gathering aether-dust until now.

Man, that's frustrating!

The good news is that now I have found it again, and it sparks something for me! I don't remember what the story was going to be all those years ago, but I'm having inklings of what it will become now.

This is why I love archives: whether it be electronic, or old fashioned paper notebooks (which I also have at least a dozen of laying around). They are the figurative nooks and corners where ideas are swept off to, forgotten and left alone until someone notices them again, fishes them out, dusts them off and uses them to some good purpose. Leafing through a writing archive, mine or someone else's, is like finding buried treasure - just as exciting and just as rich!

So my advice to fellow writers today is simply this: Keep an archive, be it whatever sort of file, notebook, or other thing that you wish. Fill it with these bits of ideas, photos, anything that you find sparks your imagination. Keep it always, even when you don't think there's anything worth keeping. You never know what bit of coal might become a jewel, when given time!






PS: If you've never heard of it, or looked at it - www.pinterest.com is a wonderful electronic way to hoard and save ideas from all over the internet. I have a board for writing, and I use it regularly to archive ideas, quotes, photos and everything. I even have a secret board that I use to cast my characters with the appropriate photos. Be careful though, once you start, it's highly addictive!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

In Training



By Keith N Fisher

While training for a new job, I’ve had a few rude awakenings. The worst of which, is the realization that I’m old. The technology that brought us into the twenty-first century is going away. Some of the procedures that took me days to teach myself, are being replaced. The parents of some of the children, who are now my peers, weren’t born when I learned to write programs in Pascal, to display loops on an Apple II-E.

I also, discovered I’m out of touch. My peers at my new job talk about things I’ve never heard of. Yesterday, however, I heard a comment that made me think. Our trainer was talking about customer service and mentioned how difficult it can be to teach an old person how to reset their password. Walking them through it while on the phone is apparently problematic.

Suddenly, I realized several things. One is that I’m in that age group. Although it was my generation who created the original systems upon which, everything was built. I’m lucky I was blessed with a basic grasp of the technology and that I was able to teach myself. I built my first website before many of my colleagues were born. 

While listening, however, I thought of the generation before me. It’s true, the whole technology thing can be overwhelming for people who grew up listening to the radio. My parents were children at the end of the Great Depression. Color television became the big boon to society. They watched with quiet reverence as Neil Armstrong coined his famous words on the moon.

So, the fact that most of them, who grew up on a farm, have the courage to even attempt an Internet presence is heroic. Even in my generation, there are many who resisted the Internet and technology itself and are just beginning to discover the wasteland that is social media.

Some of them never will discover, but those who venture forth must be praised. We might be a little slow, but there is a learning curve and the new generation speaks a different language.

Now, before you think I’m too old to breathe, another thing I learned is about fans. I listened without contributing, to a conversation at work the other day. They were talking about books, and I saw what it means to have a fan base. They love Brandon Sanderson, and I kept quiet about my associations with him. A remember his keynote at an LDStorymakers conference years ago. It was before the Robert Jordan transition, but he’d just signed a big book deal.

Brandon is a normal guy, but he’s a great writer. His phenomenal work has earned him a wonderful fan base. Some of those fans were talking about him the other day, and I was amazed. I might never have fans like his. Mostly because I don’t write in that genre, but I would love to have people talk about my writing the way they talk about him.

Because I’m a writer, and I’ve heard him talk about it. I know how Brandon started. I wanted to share that with his fans in my classroom, but I let them talk about their fascination. They don’t know about the long hours Brandon spent as a clerk in a Provo, Utah hotel. Working through the night and writing in his spare moments. His fans might not know how many words Brandon wrote before finally getting published.

It’s probably better that way, because Brandon is a rock star. He is a gifted writer, but his fans think he was born perfect. Let ‘em think so. I am a fan too, but it helps me to know, although he is phenomenal, he still had to put in the hours.

So I listened to his fans sing praises and I took pleasure in knowing that people are reading. My colleagues might never read my women’s fiction, but they are reading.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.
  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


What happens when a genie refuses to grant wishes?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Titles Inspired by Life

They say the best books are the ones inspired by true life. With that in mind, I've decided to begin a series of kid's books. These will be my titles:

The Naptime Wars
Zerbert Juice
Just Wait Till Your Dad Gets Home
101 Ways To Get Mom's Attention While She's On The Phone
The Grouchy Mom Book, A How-To Manual
Inside Voice, Outside Voice

Stop Chasing the Cat!
Go Play!, and its sequel Go To Your Room!
The Homework Incident
I've Told You a Thousand Times

Okay, these are (mostly) just joking. 

On a serious note, they say we should write what we know. But have you ever really sat and thought about what, and how much, you really do know?  Thinking about this, even as a joke, brought up some good ideas for future works. 

If your next work was to be one inspired by your life, what will your title be?


Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Good Idea? Part Two/The Research.



By Keith N Fisher

Last week, I wrote about my idea file and why it is sometimes hard to turn them into stories. I talked about one of those ideas and how it would have to involve time travel. This week I’ll talk about the research I’m doing in order to write the story. Did I mention I’m doing a presentation about research for discovery writers? Tell you more, later.

We all know from Star Trek, that changing something in time creates a paradox. Like tossing a pebble in a pond, changing events creates ripples of change. Each life effects other lives. What would happen if I wrote a time travel book and changed things, but those changes didn’t create a paradox?

Would I be burned at the stake? SCIFI junkies don’t forgive those things. Think not? Read on. While attending a LUTE symposium back when they were still in the Wilkinson Center at BYU, I learned just how fanatic SCIFI fans can be. I think I wrote about the experience of attending Richard Hatch’s class when I asked a clarifying question.

For those who don’t know, Richard Hatch was the actor who played Apollo in the original Battle Star Galactica series. At the conference, Hatch spoke about his plans for another series that continues from the original series. Although he was involved with the recent series, he wanted to a new one, and he showed us his promo.

The premise of the new series revolves around the Apollo character as the leader of the whole band. What I didn’t notice at the time, was the total erasure of the Doctor Zee character. The promo centers on the next generation launching a plan to rescue Starbuck from the opposing forces. My question went something like, “I thought the series ended with the Starbuck character stranded on a planet. Did I miss something?”

Recently I figured it out. when the original series was canceled, a letter writing campaign brought it back, but the executives changed the format. They brought in a new cast and it was set farther into the future. As part of the new format, they added the Doctor Zee character. In an effort to explain where he came from, they made an episode where the Starbuck Character got stranded on a planet with a Cylon and a pregnant woman. The baby was Doctor Zee.

Do you get it? Did you know about Hatch’s intentions? I didn’t. it was obvious I wasn't well versed in Battlestar Galactica, and you might’ve thought I’d asked something like, who was George Washington? I was looked down upon. I never got the answer. I had apparently messed with the forces of nature.

To be fair, I suppose I would’ve acted similarly, if somebody had asked how Spock could be in undiscovered country, when he died in the Wrath of Kahnn? Still, I wouldn’t ostracize them. So, in an effort to avoid the censure, I want my time travel story to play out like what’s been done before. I also need to brush up on the quantum mechanics.  

While doing the research I realized something. Do you remember a television show called Quantum Leap? While it played in first run, I wondered why the character bounced back and forth through time. While watching it on Netflix I realized that in the pilot, the protagonist changed something causing the ripples we talked about. From that point on in the series, he was condemned to leap from life to another, setting things straight.

Look at what happened in Back to the Future. Marty inadvertently screws with events and has to put things straight or risk being erased from time. The whole paradox issue seams to be constant and my character will deal with the ethical issues of whether she ought to change things or not.

I need to research another TV show called, Sliders, because like what happens when you create a ripple in time, that show dealt with other dimensions. It explores the premise of what would’ve happened if such and such were changed in time.

So, I will write my story with an eye on the ripples. My character wants to change the future, but will she? Hopefully you will enjoy reading.

Good luck with your research, uh writing—see you next week.   


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Write the unusual love story between a bird and a fish.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

You Know You're A Writer When...

You can’t read a book without finding all the typos

You can’t read a book without finding plot flaws
You can’t read a book without thinking “I would have done that differently”

You own at least three different books about writing
You talk about the voices in your head without worry of being committed
You converse with the voices in your head
You love to talk to other writers about the voices in your head, because they understand you
You have been heard to say “That sounds like the title of a book…”
You have been heard to say “That would make a good book…”
You have ever jotted down the name of a person, place or road to keep for your next book


You have at least one friend with whom you discuss people who don’t really exist
You have at least one friend with whom you discuss places that don’t really exist
You have at least one friend that doesn’t really exist
You have at least one friend with whom you've discussed writer's block in depth
You’ve ever contemplated the best way to remember where an apostrophe, comma
or semicolon belongs

You’ve rewritten the same paragraph five times or more
You’ve rewritten the same page five times or more
You’ve rewritten the same story five times or more

Your computer is named after a legendary author
Your child is named after a legendary author
Your main character is named after one of your children
Your child is named after your main character
You feel naked without a pen and paper, just in case
You love the feel and look of blank paper
You enjoy experiences others would find intolerable, because they give you experience to
write about later

You’ve ever contemplated the perfect bank robbery, murder or government overthrow
You can’t stand a certain author because they “ruined” the story you liked the beginning of
You loved the movie “Secret Window”, “Paris When It Sizzles”, or “Funny Farm”
because you can identify.

You’ve ever told someone else “You should write that!”
You've ever told someone else "I should write that!"

You have ten or more Facebook friends you’ve never met in person, but know because they write, too

Or, simply, you know you're a writer because you do!


(Originally published in 2008, updated 2015)

Saturday, June 06, 2015

A Good Idea?



By Keith N Fisher

There’s a folder on my computer where I put ideas for books. It isn’t special, just a collection of one or two paragraphs each, sometimes, several pages. Each one is a jewel, but I haven’t developed some of them yet.

I’ve been known to brood over some of those files trying to outline the idea in my head. I struggle with plotting and I audition characters, but I run into problems. Sometimes the idea is out of my expertise. I ask you, is it a bad idea because of my inability to think out of the box?

Basically, I write women’s fiction. It took years to polish what I do. My stories are about women in general life-changing circumstances. Years ago, I started a project that led me into suspense with a mystery attached. It was out of my realm and I put it away. Then, I pulled it out a while back and the pieces began to fit. My characters taught me a lot and Shadow Boxing is ready for edits.

I left a half-finished historical book in the file once. I struggled with motivation and setting. Then finally, my character showed me I had started the story in the wrong place. It was still hard to write, since the main character is a man. Anyway, All That Glitters is being edited.   

It was Denise, Christy, and Sharon who convinced me that I really do write women’s fiction. They live in my memory as wonderful women who helped me write Eternal Tapestries, The Trophy, and the Hillside. With a little tweaking and editing, those women will live in your memories, too.

You might’ve noticed I give credit to my characters, and rightly so. With the right woman, I can take an out of the box idea and turn it into a book. The trick is finding a character who is capable of accomplishing what needs to done.

When I incubate an idea into a story, I issue a casting call. If nobody shows up for the audition, I cannot write the story. Other times I get into a story and discover I’ve hired the wrong protagonist.

Equally debilitating, are the problems with sub-genre. Women’s fiction can cover a broad range of genres from romance to SCIFI, mystery to fantasy. Unfortunately, there is a learning curve and it takes a while for me to think out of the box.

Recently, an idea has resurfaced and I must include time travel in the plot. Although I love to read about time travel, writing it, is another story. I really like the idea, so I’m researching . . . by the way, have I mentioned I’m scheduled to do a presentation about research for discovery writers. It will be at the Eagle Mountain, Utah writer’s event in August.
So, how does a person research time travel in fiction? I’m sure there are real life scientists who are delving into the possibilities, but what about fiction? I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing, next week.

Good luck with your writing—See you next week.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Write a character that can control the weather, but hasn't figured out how to turn it off once they get going

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I’m Too Old for this Crap



By Keith N Fisher

Did I mention I don’t like interviews? Did I mention I loathe interviews? Well, that’s a little harsh. I want to put out a contract . . . Just kidding. Last week I wrote about similarities between pitching my book to an editor and pitching myself for a job interview. I really don’t like pitching myself, but you knew that already.

This week I showed up 20 minutes early but couldn’t find the building. It was in one of those, technology campus style complex of different buildings. It’s the old Word Perfect Campus if you are familiar. Anyway, I learned to never assume anything. I was out walking through the oldest part looking for a certain building and I had trouble breathing.

When you are my age and you take blood pressure medication, that can be a serious thing. Added to the stress of trying to not be late, on top of nerves about pitching myself and you have a recipe for disaster. I made it back to my car, rolled down the windows, started breathing again, and called trying to reschedule.

After leaving the message, I spent the next half-hour finding the right building. Another five minutes finding a place to park, and realized it would take another five minutes to walk to the door. Did I mention I hate interviews?

So while hoping I could still reschedule, I did an uncharacteristic thing and blew it off. I went to visit my father’s grave. I figured that since I was in the neighborhood . . . while driving back home, with my pulse back under control, they called and told me to go back. This time I could park in reserve parking.

I did, and I cooled my heals and they said they would reschedule. Did I tell you I hate interviews?

On a positive note, I placed my national market book in the hands of beta readers. It wasn’t edited, but they will mark it up for me.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Write about a wedding from the viewpoints of the bride's dog, and the groom's cat.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Interviews


By Keith N Fisher

Alluding to, coming changes in my life, I think I mentioned (Somewhere), my job will be changing. At the Storymakers conference, I pitched Starcrossed to Sam from Covenant. I mentioned how nervous it made me, and realized I would soon be pitching myself to potential employers.

Pitching my book shouldn’t have made me nervous, I love the book, and I can present it in very few words. Job interviews, on the other hand . . .

Sam asked me to send the manuscript, the man from HR invited me back. The whole thing reminds me of a blog post from a while ago when I wrote about writers in the nineteen-seventies, and how they didn’t have to do much promotion.

In like manner, when planning careers and the future, my generation was told: Just be punctual, be loyal, do your best. Take care of the company and the company will take care of you . . . Things change.

Although I like networking and talking about my books, I really don’t like promoting. There is so much I could do, but don’t, I feel inadequate. Am I really a twenty-first century writer if I’d rather just write?

In business, I hate trying to climb the latter. I plug away, day to day, doing my job. I don’t care if I look good or not. The same goes with interviews. I feel like saying, “I’ll do the job. I will meet, and exceed my goals. Just hire me.”

When talking to an agent or editor, I can’t say my book will be the next big thing. I can’t tell them why they should buy my book versus somebody else’s. The truth is, I tell a good story that will touch some peoples hearts. But so will the other book. Starcrossed will touch hearts, but some people might not like it. Some people are crazy, but I’m not a therapist, so . . .

Wouldn’t it be great to invent a device? I need something to wear on my wrist that will send out subliminal suggestions. “You will buy my book. You will love my book. You cannot live without my book.”

In the same vein, I could change the program: “You will hire me. I am the best man for the job. Where have I been all your life?”

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Who is this table set for? Why are they meeting here?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From Personal Experience, Part 2

 3 Nephi 23: And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them: Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not.
 And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept.
 And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said:
 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
 10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
 11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
 12 And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.
 13 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. If you feel prompted to write, then you should do so.  We may not know what purpose it will serve, we may not even live to see the effects of what we have written. But, none of us ever want to hear the Lord say: "I sent you a miracle. Why was it not written?"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hanging with the Tribe



By Keith N Fisher

As I write this, I’m on my way to the LDStorymakers Conference. During this past week, on social media, I’ve seen many writers post about how happy they were to see their tribe again. In fact, that is the conference theme. So, I’m off, to hang with the tribe. I’ve been listening to a book on tape, written by a British writer. The reader is also, so if I write strangely, please forgive. 

I don’t know whether you realize or not, but I didn’t post anything here, last week. The truth is I opened a blank page to write for the blog on the appointed day and after, but couldn’t shed the ideas for my work in progress. I’m sorry, but naturally, my characters beat you out for my attention. I worked on my story.

Currently, I’m drawing near to the end of this story, and tying it all together. As always, approaching the end means writing entirely new scenes. Of course, the new stuff is always better than the original stuff. There will be edits, but its coming together.

This is my second, exclusively national market story. Well, third, actually. As you might remember, I wrote my first book with the national market in mind. Then, thinking it would be easier to publish in the LDS market, I wrote a book for that Venue. The idea was to use my credits to publish the other book. I discovered the truth, but it has taken years to get back into national.

So, as I eluded, the writing is going great. The plotting, however, has never been so hard. I’ve never had trouble plotting a story. It always seems to come easy for me. But the desire to be accurate, and not like Perry Mason in court procedures, has driven me to my Facebook writer’s groups. I’ve driven them crazy asking questions. Some of them no longer read my posts. I need to thank them, though. I have, perhaps, learned as much from them as if I had taken a course. My book as pretty accurate and I feel great.

Now I’m on my way to hang with my tribe, and I wonder, just who is my tribe anyway? I started attending writer’s events years ago. I’ve met many fabulous people. I’ve seen most of them publish their own books. In the course of it all, I’ve been part of critique groups, writer’s groups, and I have personal friendships I’ll cherish forever. Who among those groups is my tribe?

I’m looking forward to networking at the conference. Moreover, I can’t wait to see my friends. A few of those people lament my lack of writer direction. Surely they are tribe?
In the conference, I will again, enter the crucible. I will chasten myself for not reaching goals. I will second-guess my decision to, not self-publish, yet. Through it all, I’ll offer my undying support to my loved and cherished writer friends and I will pick up sparks of wisdom I hadn’t realized before, or in the rush to get it written, had learned but forgotten.

Yes, everyone at the conference is my tribe. This blog was created as a resource for writers to feel they are not alone. We wanted you to know there are others who have the same desires, and understand the need to get out of bed in the middle of the night to write. There are others who also have deep conversations with fictitious people. Having written many posts on this blog, I hope you will consider me part of your tribe.

Good luck with your writing—give my love to your tribe—see you next week.