The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 169
It’s Late September and I Really Should Be . . .
Can anyone finish that lyric? A little music trivia to start your day, a song from Rod Stewart . . .
See, we’re playing a little word association now…late September…Maggie May…the name of our new puppy…..it all ties together, in a weird way, in my weird mind. And that’s how it works for this writer. I’ll see something…smell something…hear something…and it will trigger another thought or experience…and we are off and running, a run for the roses, your moment’s at hand…Dan Fogelberg….well, you get the point.
So let’s get to the point! Welcome back to the Mailbag! September is just about gone, the autumn leaves, drift by my window, sing it with me now . . .”Autumn Leaves” . . . I used to play that song on the organ at organ recitals when I was twelve, when all I really wanted to do was play some rock n roll.
So to hell with Autumn Leaves! Let’s rock n roll, shall we?
More on Dialogue
From Zulma: “Thank you for your response, Bill. I'm not sure if this particular equine is truly deceased so I'm just going to poke it a little and see. With regard to dialogue, does adding adverbs like 'he said, warily' or 'she simpered' and anything as far as the characterization? I like writing dialogue but feel compelled to offer some indication of character's reaction.”
Zulma, I’ll answer your question as soon as I stop laughing at “I’m not sure if this particular equine is truly deceased.” Thanks for that chuckle!
Do those adverbs add to characterization? Sure they do! My only word of caution is to use them sparingly. Just like writing “he said” or “she, said,” too often, I think one can overdo adverbs like “warily” to describe mood. It becomes a handy crutch after awhile, and I know you understand my point. So pick your moments when you do use those adverbs. The other times I’m afraid you’re going to have to do it the hard way, through very carefully-selected dialogue and narration.
An example? Instead of saying “he said, warily,” you could say . . . “he looked around, checking to make sure no one else was listening, lowered his voice, and said . . . “
It’s the same thing, it describes the same thing, but one approach is easy and the other requires a little more work.
That’s what I’ve got for you on that topic. I just checked the equine and there’s still a heartbeat!
Unique Marketing Problem
From DDE: “I haven't made any business cards of that reason. It is difficult to promote my work here and still having that problem. Any advice on that?”
Devika, if I remember correctly, you live in a remote village in Croatia, correct? Or is it a city? Yes, promoting your work in such a situation would be a challenge for sure, a challenge I’m not sure I have a solution for since I can’t experience it firsthand. If this truly is a remote village, it appears to me your options are severely limited to firsthand meetings and word-of-mouth. If it is actually a city, you could try to hold a reading at a local gathering place . .. try to form a writers’ club and that way mingle with fellow writers . . . get in touch with any bookstore owners in the area, if there are any….arrange to do readings to any groups that might meet regularly in the area. I’m sorry, this answer is vague, but the problem is unique and a tough one.
Fellow writers? Any help out there on this one?
And it just might turn out that your “audience” for your writings does not exist in that town or village. Perhaps your marketing plan needs to be aimed beyond the village, an online audience located all around the globe.
Muses and Inspiration
From Eric: “Oops, my boy got up and needed our morning hugs and a short prayer to start our day and so I forgot to ask my question. This is in the category we most often refer to as Muses. I have come to the conclusion that every piece of art here among us people's has already been done. However those spiritual creatures in the netherworld need it to be made by and for man. So they enlist us and touch us to do it. The writer has such a connection. And not doing it is wrongful. I am confident you have insight. What do you think? Or maybe feel is a better word?”
Eric, this is such a loaded question, I’m not sure where to start. I do like your statement “every piece of art here has already been done.” I heard basically the same thing awhile back from a pretty famous writer. He said there are no new storylines, only new ways to tell old storylines. I tend to believe that. Plots for stories all fit into a handful of basic outlines…boy meets girls, boy loves girl, boy lives forever with girl….but it’s how we tell that basic story that makes our work unique.
I do believe writers have a special connection to the struggles and triumphs of mankind. We just see things differently. We connect to them, as you stated. Whether it is empathy or some other trait, I don’t know, but writers definitely see the world differently from, oh, say a plumber. J Is it wrongful for a writer to not follow that calling? Sheez, that’s a loaded question. I think if the writer has talent and special insight into life, it is cheating the rest of us not to share that talent and insight. I think special talents should be shared with all, and I think special talents are gifts which should not be wasted. That I feel very strongly about. We have a limited time on this planet, and to waste that time, or waste talents, to me is an abomination.
Back to Facebook
From Rasma: “Another great mailbag. Please help my muddled mind. First of all thank you for your response to my inquiry about a FB page. Further to that I didn't mean I wanted to create a group page I think there are plenty of groups on FB. What I would like to do is open a page where I could put all the poetry I post online in one place. Then once I finally get my e-book of poems published would I then have to open another FB page to promote my book or could I do that right on the poetry page I have opened. As you see I have more questions than answers at the present. Hope you can un-confuse me.”
Of course you can open a Facebook page to promote your poetry, and yes, I think promoting your book on that page would be fine. It would also be fine to open a Facebook page specifically for that book. I don’t think either option is the best or the worst. Just go with whichever you prefer, but most definitely open a page for your poetry. Check this link for more information on promotions on Facebook.
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Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
I Think We’re Done for the Week
“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray . . . “
If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, step outside and let Mother Nature provide it for you. This is a particularly beautiful time of year, I think. Go for a hike or sit in a nearby park and let the sights and sounds of Nature move your writer’s soul. Remember, to waste your talents is an abomination!
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”