Friday, February 3, 2012

Bistro Guest, Byron Mettler, Shares Writing Experiences

Byron Mettler, writer and publisher.
"Words, thoughts, characters, outlines, plots, story lines, themes, and ideas float around my mind struggling to get out to be indelibly stamped on the pages of a book." ~ Byron Mettler

Please welcome author and publisher, Byron Mettler, this week's guest of honor at the Cyber-bistro.  Byron, a senior member of my writers critique group, met me at our neighborhood park to share his writing experiences for members and guests who want to get some writing pointers or learn how to get the attention of a publisher.

Thank you, Byron, for meeting with me today to get your perspective on writing and publishing.  Let's get started...

Spoons:  When did you discover you were a writer?

Byron:  People don't know they're writers until they start writing.  When I was about ten or twelve years old, I read Sea Hunt and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Then in high school, I wrote a short story about a surfer.  My teacher said, "Great story."

When I was in my twenties, I wrote a story for a local paper and got rejected.  Sixteen or seventeen years ago I wrote my first novel, Oak Creek Adventure, followed by two more in the series, Speed Kills and Chandler.

I attended  a Christian Writers Guild Seminar about fifteen years ago and showed Chandler to a publisher.  He reviewed the book and later told me, "this book is eminently publishable."

Spoons:  How did you find your first publisher?

Byron:  That first publisher eventually rejected Chandler so I ended up self-publishing.  Self-publishing leads to conventional publishing.  Speed Kills and Out of Darkness both won awards at the Writers Guild.  An advantage to receiving awards from local critique groups is that it piques the attention of publishers.  I hope to see these books published by Lamp Post. 

Spoons:  How do you handle writer's block?

Byron:  Here are three ways to overcome writer's block:
  1. Keep writing.  If you're working on a character and he or she looks too calm or sedate, put your character in a corner - a storm drain, a blind alley, a roof top, surrounded by three bad guys and your character has to find a way out.
  2. Introduce a new character.  In Out of Darkness, Thomas hears a voice out of the dark.  A new character emerges out of a dark warehouse.
  3. Start a new book.  Some stories aren't meant to be finished or they are meant for a later date.

Spoons:  How did your career in law enforcement help you with your writing?

Byron:  In my Police Explorer series, I gained the ability to develop characters and create crime drama.  Law enforcement teaches that you can face any conflict and come out on top.  This works especially well when dealing with publishers, editors and critics.

Lastly, I learned to see and understand the darkness some people have in their souls, in some cases, through no fault of their own.

Spoons:  What's the biggest lesson you learned from your writing experiences?

Byron:  Don't give up.

Spoons:  What are you working on now?

Byron:  I'm in the process of finishing three books on hold, I Feel Like Writing Poetry, Things My Mother Taught Me, and 52 Great Bible Object Lessons.  (See photo for books).  In addition to these three projects, I'm re-editing Self-publishing with Createspace.

Byron's three latest writing projects.

Spoons:  How important are writers groups like the critique group we are in now?

Byron:  They're important for three reasons:
  1. Forces deadlines.
  2. Allows you to receive criticism without feeling insulted - not from a family member or loved one.
  3. By critiquing others, you become aware of your own mistakes.

Spoons:  How does a novice writer begin?

Byron:  Decide what your passion is, focus on one thing, and set a timetable for completion.

Spoons:  Do you set daily writing goals?

Byron:  No. Not by time, like writing for one to four hours a day.  I do set writing goals by the deadline of a project.  Then I write daily or weekly to hit the deadline.  When I'm in the zone, I write ten or twelve hours per day.

For me, the writing zone starts in the mind.  Once I get an idea for my character, my goal is to put it in a paragraph.  I get anxious to see what happens next and keep writing.

Spoons:  What writing resources can you recommend for  Cyber-bistro members and guests who  may want to become writers?

Byron:  Here are three ideas-
  1. Read books in the same genre you want to write about.
  2. Read books about grammar and sentence guidelines.
  3. Do word searches on the internet for the topic you are researching.
Thanks, Byron, for sharing your thoughts about writing on Cyber-guest Friday at the bistro.  Here's a link to Byron's

Would you like to leave a comment or question about today's guest interview with Byron at the Cyber-bistro?   Click on the comment button below.  And don't forget to come back next Friday for Cyber-guest Friday.  Email me if you would like to share your writing expertise at the bistro.  Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Byron. I wanted to add how helpful your book was when I self-published my first book. I highly recommend "Self-publishing with Createspace" to any writer publishing independently.

  2. Great interview. Byron was an invaluable ally for me at the San Diego Christain Writers Conference this past year. He is a great encourager that is forever sacrificing his own time to teach newer writers the ropes. I discovered the art of writing dialogue through his example and critique. Thanks Byron! Congrats on your contract with Lamp Post!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Stacey. Yes, Byron is a great encourager. Another member of the Guild commented in an email how much she liked the interview and agreed to be next Friday's Cyber-guest. I would like to invite you, Stacey, to share more about your writing experiences. Can I reserve Friday, 2/17 for you to be my cyber-guest?