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A Look Inside the Creative Process

Updated on July 11, 2016

A Note from Yours Truly

So, where is the Mailbag, you ask?

It’s in your minds, I answer!

There wasn’t one single question this week, so no Mailbag. Pretty simple, right?

So, instead of a Mailbag, here is a substitute, something I had sitting around awaiting its chance to see the light of day.

Enjoy!

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU

But I’m always interested and yes, fascinated, by the process other writers use as they churn out words and those words become stories. Not that I want to replicate their process, but maybe to learn a tidbit here and there which will help me along my path….how can that be a bad thing, right?

So I thought I’d share my process with you as I begin my latest “Billy the Kid” novella, this one titled “Breathing Fire On A Cold Winter’s Day.” This is the fifth in the series, so I’m way beyond fleshing out the characters. By now my readers know Billy Fix-It very well. They know he’s an enigma, a good man who is also violent, a man who lives by a street code better suited for the times of Hammurabi than current day. Billy will do anything for friends or family, and “anything” can get a bit bloody.

The Process

For me it always begins with a vague idea, and that idea usually manifests itself in the form of an introductory chapter. There is no purpose to the chapter when I first start. It is just a writing exercise. The story, or book, will come from that chapter, and it is delivered to me by my muse.

If you are a writer you’ll understand that. If not, well, what can I tell you?

Shall we see how this works?

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon | Source

Prologue to Latest Book

Here, then, is the opening chapter of my new novella.

It’s funny what we remember from our childhoods. I mean we’re bombarded with literally millions of events during those early years but only a handful stick with us, you know? For me, a crazy Mick bastard from the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, most of those memorable moments have to do with my old man.

He was straight off the boat from Ireland, his visa card simply saying O’Bannon from Galway, no first name, not necessary or important when categorizing Irish poor back then. He fought his way through Galway and he fought his way through the Heights, two fists pounding into flesh, defending an invisible honor, upholding a long-forgotten code, his own worst enemy, he was, and I looked up to him as the Israelites to God himself.

One day, I must have been six or seven, I was riding along with dad while he delivered produce to the local markets. It was a cold-assed day, the wind whipping off the Hudson, invading our topcoats despite the new layer of newspapers just inserted for insulation. So the old man, he shuts down the truck in front of Scouzzi Market, and we both step out into that cold, our breaths pluming gray against a gray sky, and dad opens the back of the truck, grabs the hand-truck and proceeds to wheel crates of lettuce into the store. My job? I’m just holding the door for him, in and out, one load after another until twenty were delivered and it was time to get paid.

So I’m waiting in the truck, freezing my ass off, waiting like my old man told me to do, but finally I can’t feel my damned toes, so I go into the market to see what’s what, and at the counter is Mister Scouzzi and in front of him are two wise-asses with guns asking politely for money. I don’t see my old man. Mister Scouzzi opens the register, comes up with some cash and he’s handing it across the counter when the two goons notice me standing at the door, the wind blowing some street junk inside, and they start to turn towards me, leading with their guns, and one of them tells me to come to him now, and that’s when I hear my old man say “stay where you are, Billy,” and he’s approaching those two idiots and he’s holding a blowtorch, and he’s got the thing on and fired up, and a streak of white hot shoots out of it, but from the angle I’m standing, it looks like my old man is breathing fire on a cold winter’s day.

It’s funny what we remember from our childhoods.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

And Then What?

Well, then the fun begins. By the time I finished that prologue the basic outline of the story was in my head. I don’t know how that happens. I wish I could tell you. All I know is that’s how it all works for me.

I’m about halfway through the new adventure and my hero is about to be knee-deep in some serious trouble, and by the end the image of “breathing fire on a cold winter’s day” will become very clear to the reader. By the way, the title comes from watching an episode of “America’s Got Talent.” I was watching a fire-breather, and then the contrast of breathing fire in the cold hit me and a title was then born.

I’ve written four full-length novels and four novellas, and the process has been the same for each. I start with a writing exercise, a random introductory paragraph, and then the story sprouts from there.

AND THEN SOMEONE SAYS…..

But I could never write that way….I need an outline to follow, and I need to write character bios and do this and do that before I write a single word of the actual story, and to that person I say…..

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Hooray for You!!!!!

One size does not fit all in the writing game. Use what works for you. Borrow from others if it works….ignore others if it doesn’t work…find your flow and comfort level and ride the wave, baby, ride the wave!

BUT WHERE DOES THE REST OF THE STORY COME FROM?

Well, here’s where it helps when you write a series. For me, this particular novella is a natural extension of the third in the series. In that installment, Billy rescued the sister of a friend from a religious cult, and in the end he killed the leader of that cult with a burning arrow and, well, you can see how my mind works. There just has to be payback for that killing, and installment five is all about payback.

We hear a lot about the muse, and I know that can seem like a rather nebulous concept, but my muse is very real and she usually is the one who deserves the credit when I'm writing a book. After I write the introduction, I just sit back and record what my muse tells me to record.

Are you confused yet?

Final Thoughts

I can’t say this enough for you would-be writers considering your first novel: do what feels comfortable to you. If your mind works like mine, and free-form creativity is best, then go for it, and ignore those who tell you to write an outline. If you’re more structured and need an outline, then for God’s sake, do an outline.

And one final word of advice: however you approach this creative process, for the love of the gods, give it your best effort. We have more than enough mediocrity floating around the literary pond. Let’s shoot for some excellence next time we dip our toes in the water.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 12 months ago from Europe

      I believe I'm the first today! The mailbag is nice, but this was a great explanation how your creative process works. I think it works basically the same for many of us, although I don't write novella's, I believe the process works the same. Oh, I already said that :) Have a great day, Bill!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 12 months ago from United Kingdom

      I've been wondering for ages where you get your inspiration. I never asked because I didn't want to jinx you. (lol) Now I see that you and I are not so different.

      Some of the things I write about start off as writing exercises from my writers' group. Some are from people I see, stories I hear about. The ones I actually commit to are the ones that constantly circle around in my head like planes waiting for a landing strip to open up. I guess that makes my muse the air traffic controller. She decides what needs working on and when.

      If I get stuck, then I'll do character bios. It helps me understand how well I really know my character. Sometimes the problem is that I'm trying to make a character the star of the story when they would really do better in a supporting role.

      I guess I do whatever it takes to get the story out. If, indeed, it is a story worth getting out.

      Too bad there's now Mailbag today, though. I'll see if i can't come up with some questions for you for next week. Happy Monday, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buildreps and yes, you were first here today! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I think it helps all of us to share our process with other writers.

      Enjoy your week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Zulma and Happy Monday to you! You're early today and it's nice to visit with you over my breakfast.

      I love hearing about other writers. My mind is literally swimming in ideas, a bit distracting at times, but better than dementia. LOL

      Have a super week, Zulma!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 12 months ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, loads better than dementia. :D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Almost like having a conversation with you...that fast on the response....have a great day!

    • profile image

      Eldon 12 months ago

      Heya Bill. Thanks for this compelling message on a morning in which I've massaged my temples. Just the kick I needed. I rarely finish anything longer than ten thousand words. It's time I crackled my knuckles and pulverized a longer piece. You, Bill, are many a writer's muse-- the writer's voice suspended overshoulder struggling authors (devil or angel?)...

      Blessings Mr. Holland,

      E.G.A.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 12 months ago

      I love your process, and I love the results. By the way, where is Billy the Kid's third novella. I bought number 4, but couldn't find number three!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be "Ashes to Ashes," Pop, and it should be on Amazon. If you can't find it let me know.....one way or another, I'll get it to you.

      Thanks for buying my books...I really do appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 12 months ago from Fresno CA

      Once again, great advice for the novice. Excellence it is! Couldn't agree more. Thanks.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise. I appreciate you stopping by...Happy Monday to you!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 12 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you so much for sharing your creative process with us. This is just as satisfying as the mailbag.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 12 months ago from Bend, OR

      Thanks, Bill. I've been toying with the idea of writing a book, but it's beyond daunting. I imagine getting started is the hardest part since I can't seem to do that. You've inspired me to do something today -- a baby step.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 12 months ago from United States

      Loved reading how you come up with a story, Bill

      Each writer is so unique in his/her creation thus, making his/her books entertaining with a twist that leaves each book exclusive inspite of billions of books out there :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It is more than a mailbag. A single question answered so beautifully and instructively. Thank you, Bill, for this great lesson on creative writing process.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Marlene! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It all starts with baby steps, Talk...best wishes as you take your first one.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira! It really is fascinating how so many different books are created...as you say, billions...and each one unique.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M.....this may not work for many but for me it works wonderfully. Best wishes to you, my friend.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 12 months ago from london

      I miss the Mailbag, Bill, but it's good to hear of your creative process too.

      I don't know what I do, really. I have no set plan. It all comes to me of its own accord. So I say background is necessary. I read and wrote a lot as a young boy growing up.

      For my style of writing, intuition is also necessary, and perhaps I was born with the ability to imagine and feel the flow.

      Let's hope things improve for you next week. Have a great day!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 12 months ago from SW England

      How strange; I do much the same as you! For me, it's the image in my head that gets modified whilst writing down the idea, then it goes from there. I see what's surrounding that image then it fans out like ripples. Trouble is, sometimes I get stuck but then I just go away and come back to it - the image might change a bit but it's adjusted itself and therefore works!

      Does that make sense? Well, it does to me.

      I agree 100% regarding the effort and the standard; it's worth nothing without those.

      I'm amazed there were no questions this week but then I didn't come up with any so I suppose I can't expect someone else to come up with some!

      I've got a question now though: What happens if you come up with an idea and a story and then find someone else has done almost the same already? Do you change the slant of yours or do you start totally afresh?

      I have a break from the house and am looking after the grandchildren instead for a couple of days; still work but much more fun in so many ways!

      Have a momentous Monday, bill! Hope you and yours are fine and dandy.

      Ann :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 12 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - My muse often stops by and leaves a 'title,' then say, 'you're welcome,' and goes away. The rest is for me to figure out. Your way sounds one step better.

      Great looking book covers.

      I think this will be appreciated just as well as an episode of the mailbag.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I miss the Mailbag as well, but what's a guy going to do? The masses have spoken, at least for this week, and they spoke in silence. LOL have a wonderful week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good afternoon and Happy Monday! Thanks for the question. Perhaps the Mailbag is coming to an end and this is just the opening clue...or maybe it was just one of those weeks we all have once in awhile. I guess we'll find out soon enough because your question is the only question so far for next week.

      Busy times here. My "to-do" list is growing exponentially as the weather warms up. I'm not quite certain how I'm going to get everything done....probably the old-fashioned way, one step at a time.

      Have a wonderful week with those grandchildren!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, maybe your muse is asking in a subtle way for more pay???? LOL

      Great covers for sure. I hang with some quality people.

      Thanks, buddy!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Not everyone has a book waiting to be written, but to those who do, your instructions are the best. And when you take the time to encourage writers, it is appreciated by many...Thank you for all you do....

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I don't really need to say this once again, but what the heck....Most people never tire of hearing someone say really "nice" things about them. It's fascinating to me to be told your process, although I can't enjoy your work any more than I always do even knowing. IMHO, no matter how you get there, the result seems to be a unique, personal "gift" from you to me.

      My creative process is as quirky, contrary & scatter-brained as I am.....and yes, I realize those who know me have no problem believing this.

      In fairness to myself & my muse, I'm taking a break from HP. It's become glaringly clear to me I've given far too much of myself, only to be branded, demoted & insulted. Something very wrong with this picture bro. I know my worth and I'm more valuable than "they" have the brains to recognize.....See you here and there, now & then. Bless you, Bev & family (human & critters).....Love, Sis

    • profile image

      mpropp 12 months ago

      Happy Monday Bill! I think I just mentioned last week how much I enjoy hearing your personal process and then I get this Monday windfall! I think everyone has their own personal process, but I find it so fascinating to hear how each writer creates. Thanks for sharing!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 12 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      A feel for the times you've set your story in can stand you in good stead. People in all eras see/saw things differently. My own books are set in the later 11th Century, Bernard Cornwell's 'Sharpe' series starts in the late 18th and ends at Waterloo in 1815.

      There's a world of difference in thinking between those eras, and between early and late 19th Century when Conan-Doyle first penned his Sherlock Holmes stories for Strand Magazine, seen from Dr Watson's point of view. Between Chaucer and Conan Doyle you had Shakespeare, Thackeray, Swift and Dickens. They all wrote according to the time they lived in, some of the same 'flowery' phrases were used by Will as by Jonathan.

      Good luck with the new novelette, Bill. By the way, when I say 'you' I don't mean you personally. It's just the direct form of speech we have in the North (although most folk at my level talk/write the same way. That's probably a suitable case for 'treatment' in its own write).

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eldon, it's always good to hear from you, and from one author to another, I thank you, sir! May the road ahead be paved with imperfectly perfect sentences.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, as always, Ruby. Your support means the world to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, first of all, thank you! Secondly, I completely understand and totally agree with your summation about HP. They are, at best, insulting to good writers who have given so much over the years. I just hope you stay in touch because, well, you are my sister.

      love,

      bill

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 12 months ago from Chicago Area

      Missing the Mailbag, of course. Probably a July 4th thing. Holidays happen.

      But thanks for thinking of us and sharing your creative process. I rarely do an outline either. I have idea spurts and then fit them together like a puzzle later.

      Enjoy your Mailbag break!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 12 months ago from Nibiru

      Very unique article. For me, my ideas come from......wait...what ideas????

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 12 months ago

      Hi Bill. Now we know it all.

      We might have never know your ''secret" if the questions would be arriving. At the same time, as I understand you are challenging us to follow you idea -to share our way of creative process, as many great comments do already testify so. As for me, my friend - not this time, because it might sound that this ignorant guy is stray...

      Blessing and peace.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 12 months ago from Texas

      We have something in common perhaps. I start my stories and poems alike that same way. All I need is an initial idea and I go from there. Now, with the Alzheimer's project I did end up making an outline. But not for the reasons one might expect. I simply had paragraph ideas pop into my head for other parts of the story! How crazy is that? LOL. So I had to write these paragraphs and phrases down and try to keep them organized somehow. My muse must play connect the dots.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 12 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      My world is confined to a cozy bedroom surrounded by books with a small vintage desk which displays my computer and keyboard. In the corner sits a tall bookcase hand-made by my son Randy during his high school years for a work shop project.

      The beautifully carved wooden shelves are shared by Randy and myself. (I live with him.) There are six shelves in all - three for each of us. I value the space so generously donated to me. Einstein, Beethoven and Lincoln are just a few of the "guests" renting space on this property. Other "greats" living in the neighborhood are published Hub Page authors including Bill Holland.

      I wouldn't trade my bookcase and all the stories and knowledge found within each chapter of every book for all the money or chocolate in the world.

      I feel this same way with every hub you write and share here in hub land.

      Thank you for helping me with my book. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for all the guidance you so willingly give me.

      Love,

      Audrey

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a great fill-in for the Mailbag, Bill. As you said, it is always interesting to read the process other writers go through to produce their stories etc. An enjoyable read.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I was panicking when I realize there was no Mail, so I'm glad this worked out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Alan...a feel for the times is crucial for authenticity....and I understood the use of "you," so no worries. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi! It was a strange Monday without the mail, but i guess change can be good.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Clive, it's remarkable, how many articles you write without ideas. LOL Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, my friend, I suspect you are anything but ignorant, but I understand and appreciate you sharing. Blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I don't know how my muse works. She doesn't share that information with me, and it annoys the hell out of me. LOL Good to see you again.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 months ago

      Reading about your process was very enjoyable, Bill. Story ideas are all around us, as you have said. I guess being a reporter and reporting on all kinds of subjects helps me to recognize that fact. If I wrote a column every day, I don't think I could run out of ideas. I looked at the file yesterday that I keep for hub ideas. I've barely tapped into it, yet ideas keep coming because the world keeps turning. And I don't have time to write about it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, what a lovely thing for you to say. Thank you so much. What I want from you is another chapter completed so we can move that book of yours along. Get crackin' my friend.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! It was a nice break from the norm, but I sure would like to keep that Mailbag going.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 12 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Almost forgot, consistency. It's like the continuity man in films sending in the lead actor with a bowler hat and then later in the same scene you see him wearing a flat cap.

      Of course it comes with fine toothcomb editing. The numbers I've come across who bleat about the cost of editing when the best editor has to be the writer - of course it depends on how good a writer they are. Doesn't it follow that somebody who knows how to write a good story knows how to put the words - and which words - together to make sense?

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I was disappointed to not find a mailbag...but then I read this hub. What a wonderful, generous gift to share with us. I am intrigued by the creative process. Who knows, I just might write something worthwhile one of these days.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro.....Fact is, we only thought we were joining here to write for HP. It's really at the pleasure, demands & ever-changing rules of King Google. Needless to say not only am I a non-conforming, non-pliable, lone star writer, my muse has a severe aversion to being told what she & I need to do, how to write, what to write about, how many words, capsules, ads and photos............Between the two of us, I certainly realize we need to pack our bags.

      I will ALWAYS keep in touch. Google may not now or ever dictate my friends and social life! Love ya bro. Sis.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 12 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Thank goodness for Plan B, Bill...and this week's installment is filled with wisdom and inspiration.

      I'm enjoying your collaboration with Mike - you make a great team.

      Enjoy your evening. Love and thanks, Maria

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

      Fascinating to hear your process. I'm writing a novel with an opening scene that came from a very vivid dream. Things kind of unfolded when I put pen to paper.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I reckon I disagree with your assessment. Seems to me that mail is a mixed bag. And this was great mail to receive.

      In my line of writing I just have to get inspired. A little different than a muse. So I learned a great deal here. You made me ask a question.

      Does the writing come from a certain stability in your life or does the writing give you a certain stability in life?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, MizB. I never run out of ideas.....it can be frustrating, for me, because there are so many books I want to write. Sigh!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It makes sense to me, Alan.....but then, maybe I don't know much. LOL I never claimed to be Einstein, but then Einstein wasn't much of a writer, either. ha ha

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Linda, you sell yourself short. You are a very good writer, my friend. You just write differently than I do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Love ya too, Sis....everything you said is true, unfortunately.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you about Mike....good friend and he does excellent work.

      hugs and love, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Flourish! That's exactly what I'm talking about.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Eric, great question. That one is going to require some thought....answer to come Monday in the Mailbag. Thank you sir!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      It is truly interesting to find out how your own creative juices work when writing your books or novellas. All I can say is keep doing what you are doing. It works!!! I smiled when I read your comment about keeping Alzheimer's at arms length. If writing is the answer lets all keep typing on our keyboards!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 12 months ago from Oklahoma

      I always enjoy a look into writing processes.

      With me there are so many. I don't know if I have a go to.

      Great read.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      I am certainly not as prolific a writer as you, not by a fraction, and I look upon you with awe and admiration as you cheerfully perform your duties as husband, urban farmer, part time job, all in addition to your writing tasks. In contrast, it takes me a long time to get rolling in the morning when I am writing, or even in the afternoon, and I invent ways to circumvent the task as I wait for my brain to wake up. What I have found, however, is that a single word, one tiny pebble rolling down the steep slope of the intellect, can trigger an avalanche. The secret is to just start writing. The stuff that comes out can astound, but I know you are attuned to the "still, small voice" of your muse and you already know all of this. Great tips.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 12 months ago from southern USA

      Not one question for the Mailbag? Well, you certainly have written an interesting substitute! Thank you for sharing you creative process. It is amazing what we remember from our childhoods hahaha.

      I may be back with a question shortly.

      Peace and blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Peggy....let's all keep writing and let's all keep healthy! Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, whatever works for you is the process to use...carry on my friend, and thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Mel! You are correct, of course. It's always one small pebble that leads to a huge story idea. We just have to be welcoming to that small pebble when it rolls by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peace and blessings to you, Faith! Trust me, this example did not come from my childhood. It came from the nether regions of my brain. LOL

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 12 months ago from southern USA

      LOL Bill, I knew that and just wanted to restate that line you used as it struck me funny being I have been pondering memories from my childhood here of late : )

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you got a chuckle, Faith! Happy Friday to you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Encouraging and so worth reading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, DDE!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed reading about your creative process, Bill. The opening chapter to your new novella is intriguing!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia. Hopefully the remaining chapters are intriguing as well.

    • Boomer Music Man profile image

      Boomer Music Man 12 months ago

      You are very creative. I love to read every line. Just so inspiring

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      Author

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Boomer!

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      Dianna Mendez 12 months ago

      Your writing is truly an art form! Outlining is not my thing either. I do better just writing out my thoughts, reflecting often to amend my thoughts. I appreciate your sharing how the creative process flows.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the very kind words, Dee, and for sharing your process. Writers helping writers...how cool is that?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      You create as you go. Awesome! We do not have an outline for how our week will go, but at the end there's a story to be told. You're ahead of the game. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! I'm not sure how ahead I am, but I keep trying.

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      Deb Hirt 12 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I'm sop pleased that you did this! People are naturally followers and feel that they SHOULD have structure to write. I usually do my Boomer Lake column about an hour before work. Right now I have my fourth and fifth clutches of Green Herons, who are keeping me busy. Right now is is raining, so inside I sit, doing what has been sitting on the back burner. Before I forget, my column got Reader's Choice Award again this year.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I saw that on Facebook, Deb, and I couldn't be happier for you. Now that you've conquered the local stage, it's time to go national, don't you think?

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      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      This was a great 'peek over your shoulder' at the creative process you use. Mine's a bit different in that I kind of start with a 'picture' in my brain and it just comes from there.

      For the first two I've got the advantage of having had years to think over the first scene but the story usually ends up totally different from what I first thought.

      Great stuff

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And Lawrence, thanks for a peek over your shoulder. The more writers share, the lighter the load for all of us. Thank you sir!

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

      "Ride the wave". That's exactly what my writing process is. I'll get an idea in my head and jot it down. It may be a title or simply a concept. I let is sit until something further comes from my muse, at which point I may write a few paragraphs or make some notes on setting, research I need to do, or whatever. Then I get hit with a tsunami and away I go. Sometimes the waters are calm, with little bubbles of creativity popping up here and there. Those bubble end up in my "ideas" folder until the wave hits.

      So, yes. I very much relate to your riding the wave reference.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, that is the perfect description of the creative process. Thanks for stating it so eloquently, my friend.

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