The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 174
One of my guilty pleasures is an online game called SimCity. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of time to play it, but when I do I find it comforting.
What I like about the game is the creation of my city. In fact, almost the entire game is about creating your own city. There are no deaths, no wars, no crimes . . . players just build cities from the ground up, and keep those cities functioning at a high level.
Which brings me to writing . . . I’ve written six full-length novels now, and I think five novellas, and after all that I can definitely say the part about writing a book I like most is the creation of the story. I love building the plot line; love developing the characters; and love walking them through that plot line. What I don’t love is the end result. When I finish a book I’m left with a hollow feeling, and I can hardly wait to begin the process again . . . to feel the high of creating!
I’m sure some of you can relate.
Let’s do this! Installment 174 awaits.
From Linda: Linda actually found this link to a question about Hub Scores and sent it to me. One of the former HP workers, Simone, answered a question about Hub scores, so follow this link and helpfully it will help to clear things up a bit.
From Anusha: “Bill, thanks for giving such detailed and explanatory resolutions of my queries. But you didn't answer the one about meditation. Has it helped you, or someone you know, after dreaming of such scary characters day and night? I specifically asked that one, because, although I love the genre of Romance infinitely more than anything else, let alone the creepy world of scary villians and horrific locations, I was just curious whether the career path is totally out for me or there is still some hope.” :D
Anusha, forgive me. That’s what happens when I get in a big hurry.
Does meditation help me? Most definitely it does, in every facet of life. It is my way of shutting off the world and getting back in touch with my core so yes, after writing about human monsters, meditation definitely grounds me and returns me to the land of the normal.
Meditation is something that has helped me for eleven years now, ever since the day arrived when I realized I had no answers for life and I was on a path of self-destruction. For me, it is one part of a new pattern of living which brings me happiness.
From Donna: “Bill, was there one person who inspired you early on to become a writer, one person who stands out as being instrumental in your development?”
Donna, actually yes, there was, and that person was Mister Jahner, my English teacher sophomore year in high school. Mister Jahner gave us a short story assignment, and I dove into that assignment with gusto because, secretly, I loved to write. Mind you, I wasn’t about to tell my sports-playing friends about my secret passion, so I kept it all to myself and never discussed with anyone my desire to one day write a book.
Anyway, the assignments were eventually turned in, and days passed, and finally we got our stories back, and on my story Mister Jahner wrote this note: “Wonderful story with an exceptional ending. Keep working at your craft. You have talent!”
That was the first time someone had told me I had a talent for writing, and it was just enough to stoke my fire and keep me on that path. So thank you, Mister Jahner! You made a diference.
The power of positive strokes!
The Cost of Editing
From Kaitlin: “Bill, I’m about finished with my novel, and it’s now time to edit. But I can’t afford to pay someone to edit, so what should I do?”
Kaitlin, it’s a problem many writers face. Most of us are low-to-middle class income folks, and paying an editor $500-$1000-$5,000, or more, is way out of our budgets. There are, however, a couple options still on the table.
Look around, online, for a writers’ group where members help other members with editing and suggestions. They are out there and they are fairly easy to find.
Enlist some friends to be beta readers. Although they are most likely not professional editors, at least they have the ability to catch most mistakes. You can probably clean up 90% of your errors by having two or three separate pairs of eyes read your manuscript.
And trust yourself. The simple act of reading your manuscript out loud will help you to catch quite a few errors.
It’s not perfect but then this ain’t a perfect world. J
From Layma: “I’m pretty new to this site, but I have written five articles, and so far I’ve received a total of three comments. What am I doing wrong on HP?”
Well, Layma, this is a pretty common question among newcomers to this site. I did read your articles in preparation to answering your question, and from those articles I surmised you have some writing talent, so the quality of your articles is not the problem.
What is the problem, or so I believe, is your lack of commitment to the process. People on HP most often comment on articles written by people who comment on their own articles. It is a quid pro quo situation here, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Now there is no way for me to know how often you comment on other articles, but I suspect it is not very often.
So get busy! Take a couple hours and do nothing but comment on some of the really good HP articles out there. Write meaningful comments, not just “nice job!” Most veteran HP writers will return the favor, and once you are established as a person who is going to stick around awhile, your readership will grow.
It’s all part of the process. Building a writing platform takes time and hard work.
Photos and Createspace
From Chris: “Hey, Bill, I’m writing a children’s book, and it has pictures, and I’m having a hard time transferring those pictures into the CreateSpace template. I can’t make them fit properly. What am I doing wrong?”
LOL . . . Chris, I have no clue.
Seriously, without me actually following along with you in the process, there is no way for me to answer this question. I will refer you, however, to a great book I use often when self-publishing . . . that book is “A Detailed Guide To Self-Publishing with Amazon” . . . it is my Bible when it comes to formatting and self-publishing. I originally got it at the library and was so impressed by it that I purchased it for daily reference material.
I’ve also found CreateSpace staff to be pretty accommodating. Get in touch with their support staff and ask your specific question. I’m sure they can walk you through the solution.
A Short One This Week
But short is good when it is quality, and these questions were quality, so there you go!
Besides, we all have other things to do. We have characters to create, and stories to tell. We have information to share and “how to’s” to write. There is no rest for writers.
Have a great week, and if any of you should run into Mister Jahner, tell him Bill Holland says “thank you” for the words of encouragement.
Now back to the high of creating!
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”