The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 139
I Read a Poem
Yes, I know, shock, right? But seriously, I do read poetry. I just can’t write it!
Anyway, I read a poem yesterday, and it was beautiful, and after reading it I was calmer than I had been in hours (national politics has my blood pressure rising) and I thought what a magnificent gift we writers give to the world each and every time we sit down and create.
I believe, and it’s just me saying this, of course, that this is a very important time to be a writer. The world needs us now. There is so much angst and anger around us…serious suffering…serious fear…serious hate….and writers capture it all, internalize it, put it into words, and share it all.
We are storytellers, we are chroniclers, and we are important.
Never forget it!
Let’s find out what others are thinking this fine Monday.
From Sally: “I am curious about the colouring book. Are the images drawings or photos converted using software and made into pages which one can colour? Happy Monday Billy, hope the sun comes out for you this week. Like me, I guess you could be getting fed up with the colour grey.”
Sally is referring to a coloring book I’m making with “urban farming” as the theme. I plan on selling it at farmers markets this summer. Anyway, Sally, there are several programs which allow you to take a photograph and convert that photograph to a sketch. Photoshop is one such program, but I’m using GIMP. It works well and is reasonably easy to do, provided the photograph is high-quality. It takes a great deal of practice using different photos, to get the desired effect, but it’s worth it when you finish.
WHAT COUNTS AS A VIEW?
From MizB: “Hey, what about those of use who open a hub start,, reading and then get busy and leave it open for a couple of hours before coming back and finishing it. Do you know if that affects scores. Use this in your next mailbag if you wish. Thanks, and have a good rest of the week, my friend.”
MizB, I asked this question of Christy Kirwan, the Marketing guru at HP, and this is what she told me:
“Hi there, Bill! Good to hear from you.
“Any time someone lands on one of your articles it's considered a view. Views are different from impressions; impressions are any time someone sees your ads. Since some readers will use ad blocking software and some leave before the ads finish loading, you will always have slightly more views than impressions. Also, be aware that your own views are counted, so every time you land on one of your own articles, you will have a new view in your stats.”
MizB, you now know what I know. Hope it helps, and thanks to Christy for her assistance.
Reading this again, a day later, I noticed, MizB, that you asked about scores and not views. Scores are a whole different animal, and I doubt anyone associated with HP could succinctly explain what makes up a hub score or a hubber score. LOL Sorry I didn’t read the question more closely. I’m hovering at 85 right now for a hubber score. I have no idea what that means and I don’t plan on finding out. A little mystery in life is juicy.
When to Do Add-ons in a Book
From Linda: “Bill - You are an old hand at writing books-- but this is all new territory for me, so I am unsure if what I am experiencing is "normal" behavior. I'm plugging away, type, type, type. (As I send you this note I have almost 21,000 words). But dang if I don't find myself going backwards, checking or rechecking something I've written--tweaking it here and there. Do you go through that, or do you plow through and write until it's done and THEN go back and edit and fiddle? I'm afraid my husband will divorce me on the grounds of desertion.”
Well, Linda, we sure don’t want you divorced over this writing thing, do we?
I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating: I never go backwards during the first draft of a book. I think, and this is just my opinion, that it ruins the flow and hampers the creativity if you are always stopping to go back and make revisions.
Instead, I write the entire first draft without once going backwards. I don’t do any editing, I don’t add-on, and I don’t revise. I save all that stuff for the second and third drafts. That way I get the basic book written and I know the flow has been unimpeded.
That’s how I do it and I’m sticking with it!
Of course, there are other writers, very good writers, who edit as they go, and they sell more books than me, and that makes what I just said null and void. LOL
Isn’t the Mailbag fun? I can say anything I want to say and it is all meaningless gooble-gobble.
A HIGHER PURPOSE
From Tom: “What, in your opinion, is the value of writing?
Sheez, Tom, why don’t you ask a tough one? LOL Seriously, how much time do you have?
For me, and this is just me, the answer was stated earlier.
We are storytellers. We come from a long line of storytellers. Civilization has always turned to storytellers to entertain and inform. It’s been that way for thousands of years and I suspect it continue for another thousand or so.
Back in the B.C. days, people sat around fires and told stories, and those stories entertained and informed. Some stories were carved on the walls of caves. Some were sent into the sky in the form of smoke. Some were painted on papyrus. And now they are tapped on a computer screen.
We are storytellers. We are an integral part of humanity and the history of humanity. Some politicians and school boards may not value what we do, but we are invaluable to the advancement of civilization.
How was that, Tom?
Where the Hell Is the Middle of This Story?
From Zulma: “Really?! Me, too. I get a well-developed intro and, sometimes, I already know how it's going to end. It's the stuff in between that's a little hazy. You should throw that out there via the mailbag and see if this is a common thing. I wonder how many out there do the same thing but are too embarrassed to say so thinking they should have the story in place before they start writing.”
This statement by Zulma came about as a result of me telling her I’m fantastic with opening chapters, but then I struggle with what comes next. I’ve always been like that. You can give me a topic, or a prompt, and I can write one hell of an introduction . . . and then I lose momentum and don’t know where the hell I’m going with it.
Luckily, for me, I usually find my way out of the maze if I just keep writing.
How about the rest of you? Do you have a clear picture of the entire book before you begin, or does it develop “in the process” of writing?
I’M ALL DONE; HOW ABOUT YOU?
I think I’ll read another poem right now, and then I’ll work on my next story. I’ve got some yard work to do, and some errands to run, but my muse is calling me, and writers don’t ignore their muses.
We are writers.
We are storytellers.
That’s what we do and thank the gods we do it.
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”