The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 179
Happy December to You
One month away from 2018!
As I write this, twenty days away from the shortest day of the year.
A little over four months from Income Tax Day.
One month away from my anniversary here on HubPages . . . seven years and still kicking up dust here on this site.
Time marches on! Trite, for sure, but also true.
I love HubPages, the community. I most likely wouldn’t be a writer today if it were not for HP.
And so I thank you, the HP community, for your support, your friendship, and your love.
Let’s do this!
Quotation Marks or No Quotation Marks
From Eric: “Bill I did a piece recently about a Man talking to a Boy. I chose to have the boy speak in quotation marks and the man not. OK?”
Eric, the grammar gods would be violently shaking their heads in response to your question. My old elementary teacher Sister Mary Agnes would slap the back of your hand with a ruler for doing such a blasphemous thing.
Me, I say go for it!
Yes, it is poor grammar, but there are times when poor grammar works just fine. I would imagine some people will complain about it but, if you are consistent throughout, I see no harm in it and actually see some benefit to it. At least you are making it easy for readers to identify when the boy is speaking.
Yes, there are rules in grammar, but unlike a tombstone they are not etched in stone. Sister Mary Agnes is dead now, so there’s nobody standing by with a ruler. Relax and do your thing.
One final note: my advice is based on you self-publishing. If you are trying to find a publisher, breaking grammar rules is not the way to go about it.
Where’s the Money?
From Paul: “Does anyone make any money here on HP? I’ve been writing articles for over a year and haven’t seen a penny yet. How much longer am I expected to wait?”
As my grandma was fond of saying, Paul, you’ll wait until the cows come home, whenever that is.
Yes, people make money here. It depends on so many factors I can’t go into it here at this time but yes, there is money made. Mine has fluctuated over the years, from three figures per month to nothing per month, but I do, on average, make money monthly.
My best advice: read the guidelines, keep writing, and be prepared to wait for those damned cows. Sometimes they don’t move too quickly.
First, Second, and Third Person Point of View
From Mary: “Maybe you’ve mentioned this before, but is it okay to mix points of view in one story or book, flopping back and forth between first and third person? I’m not sure what that would look like or if it would be too confusing.”
Mary, I refer back to my comment to Eric . . . the grammar gods aren’t looking right now, so do anything you want to do.
Yes, you may go back and forth with points of view. I’ve done it in several novels of mine, and I don’t believe it is confusing at all. I do believe you should wait until a chapter break to do it, to avoid any possible confusion. As for second person, that’s a weird one. Using pronouns “you” and “yours” is pretty clumsy, and I really only see it being used, in a novel, in maybe a dream sequence or something like that.
And by the way, I’ve seen quite a few famous novelists switch back and forth between first and third, so it is done and it is done with success.
From Shannon: “What exactly is a logo file?”
Shannon, congratulations, you stumped me. I had no idea what a logo file was, or is, or will be. Zero, as in zilch, nada, clueless . . . well, you get the picture. I went to look it up and found very little information about it. What I did find suggested it had to do with graphics for logos, but I read further about it and still didn’t understand it. Regarding technology, and apps, and the like, I’m pretty clueless. Bev usually installs stuff online for me because I always manage to screw it up. Perhaps someone will enlighten us all in the comment section because, once again, I am clueless.
I’m really sorry, but any answer I would give would be complete guesswork on my part. Readers? Anyone?
From Prabock: “I’ve been following along with your short story chapters ‘Letters From War,’ and I find them to be fascinating. They also remind me of a question I don’t know the answer of: what exactly is historical fiction? Can a writer alter history in a historical fiction? How much leeway does a writer have when writing about events from the past?”
Prabock, this is actually a first for this question, so congratulations.
The definition of historical fiction, from our friends at Wikipedia: An essential element of historical fiction is that it is set in the past and pays attention to the manners, social conditions and other details of the period depicted.
Now, this is just my opinion, but I think others will support me on this, but in historical fiction, history cannot be changed. If you change history, say Lincoln surviving Ford’s Theater, then it becomes strictly fiction, or fantasy . . . historical fiction must stay true to the actual events of history.
I can insert anyone I want into any historical moment; they can walk around talking to historical figures, but history itself cannot be altered in a historical fiction.
As a former history teacher I love historical fiction. It gives me a chance to revisit some of my favorite historical moments and actually “be a part of them,” if that makes any sense.
No More Questions, No More Babbling for Today
I can only do what I can only do. That was all of the questions for this week so let’s not drag this on. Thanks to those who asked questions. If you have a question of your own, either include it in the comment section below, or send me an email at email@example.com.
Twenty more shopping days until Christmas! Please, don’t spend too much money on my gift.
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”