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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 195

Updated on March 26, 2018

March 22nd? Really?

Is it the fact that I’m old? I swear, time is speeding up. I know that defies all laws of physics, but I just looked at the date and I would have bet it was March 5th or 6th, not the 22nd. How am I supposed to meet all these deadlines I have imposed upon myself when time is breaking speed records?

That’s how it feels sometimes inside my head. I am constantly chasing deadlines and constantly falling just short of them. Mind you, nothing of any importance will happen if I don’t meet those deadlines, other than the fact that I will feel like I let myself down. I had a mentor tell me once that the most dangerous real estate in the world is located between my ears.

Truth!

Shall we get started while we still have time? LOL

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

TMI

From Kristen: “Great mailbag as always Bill. Short, sweet and simple--straight to the point. I have a question to ask you. Do you ever suffer from Too Many Ideas Syndrome (aka TMI for short)? And what do you do if you have new burning story ideas in your head?”

Kristen, see the section just before this question for your answer. My mind is swimming in too many ideas, and when it gets bored swimming in writing ideas it switches over to farming ideas. This is my life!

What do I do with them? Seriously, I start a new Word Doc for each new idea. I give the Word Doc a title and I write one or two sentences on it to remind me what the idea was, and then I save the document and put it in my Ideas file for later review. This system actually works for me. The trick, again, is in finding the time to go back to that file.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

From Eric: “Hey Bill, do you think your time away from the writing and just being out in life will improve your writing? For me it always seems to. The more vigorous life leads to a fresher mind at the keyboard. How about you?”

Thanks Eric and yes, it always has for me.

I’m in that period right now where I simply don’t have the time to write creatively. I am so busy with customers and with urban farming that I don’t write anything in the creative realm, but man alive is my mind ever preparing for the day when I can once again create characters and weave plot lines. Oddly I don’t have to write any of these observances down; they go into some brain file and stay there until I can retrieve them. Something happened just the other day that went into the file, and the file heading is USE THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It will be there when I need it.

This sort of stuff dominates my life right now.
This sort of stuff dominates my life right now. | Source

Best Platform

From Shaloo: “Thanks for another informative mailbag! I have a question. I don't know if it has been asked before. Which platform is better for publishing ebooks- amazon or smashwords?”

Shaloo I wish I could give you an informed opinion, but I can’t. I have no experience with Smashwords. All of my self-publishing has been done through Amazon and I’m satisfied with them for the most part. I find Amazon easy to use, and there is no doubt their distribution network is Primo! I don’t particularly trust them but for now they meet my needs. Perhaps one of my readers will be able to weigh in on Smashwords and share with us their experience.

Weather or Not Lol

From Ann: “Does the weather affect your writing? I find that dull days can make me a little depressed; sometimes they allow me to write instead of going out, other times they just drag any energy and sense from me and I can't get any ideas written down at all. The sunshine boosts me no end but then I want to go out rather than sit indoors and write. So what about you?”

Just the opposite of you, Ann! Sunny days are always calling me to go outside and do chores around the farm. My concentration level is at its lowest on warm, beautiful days. On the rainy, blustery days, I am full-speed ahead with my writing and will, in fact, extend my writing day. It is also perfect weather for my type of novel writing, the thriller/killer/suspense genre. It puts me in a dark mood, and a dark mood means someone is going to die soon. LOL

Someone will die on a day like this!
Someone will die on a day like this! | Source

Editing and No Money

From Rodric: “Next question: When submitting a manuscript for the final draft, is it better to pay for editing or try to do it? See, money is always an issue. I figure if I have a problem with my spelling or grammar I can blame an editor. I, however, can see no benefit to having an editor if the work is published and the embarrassment experienced! I will not work with that editor again, of course. The risk in doing it myself is missing something. Paying someone(s) to guarantee no errors is also a risk. I suppose I have to determine if my work is worth my own investment. I just need to hear you say it.”

Well then, Rodric, you will hear me say it: it is always better to have an editor rather than do it yourself. You are just too close to your own work, and that means you will, inevitably, overlook or miss errors either in spelling, sentence structure, or storyline.

I know all about money problems. You do have other options. Find some writing friends to be beta readers for you. They may not catch every error but they can sure help to narrow down the list of errors for you. You can trade off with someone…they will edit your work and you will edit theirs when the time comes.

Neither of those options are perfect solutions, but they are infinitely better than you editing your own work.

Good luck!

Unreliable Narrator

From Zulma: “I'm curious. Have you ever written anything where the narrator is unreliable? As I understand it, an unreliable narrator is a character who tells the reader the story, but may not be telling it accurately. Therefore the reader may not be getting all the facts. This may be because the narrator did not witness the event and does not have all the facts himself, he has added embellishments that confuse the issue or he is deliberately misleading the reader for reasons of his own. Anything the unreliable narrator says is suspect.”

Zulma, you completely stumped me, and I do mean completely. I had never heard of an unreliable narrator until you asked the question. My immediate answer is no, I have never written anything like that, but now I’m fascinated by the concept. What if your narrator is the main character . . .first person POV . . . and they are telling a story about a crime committed, leaving out details which would point towards him/her as the perpetrator of the crime . . . that would be a fun writing exercise! It would be like a criminal talking about a scenario where a crime is committed, and it’s a real crime that he committed, but he keeps saying “this is just an imaginary situation.” That would be a very fun write for sure.

Anger and Writing

From Sally: “A curious question but short question Billy. Do you ever write out of anger? If so, do you think it improves your writing?”

Sally, that question is a first!

No, I never write out of anger. I write when I’m feeling other emotions, but I really don’t trust myself to write on those rare occasions, and they are rare, when I am truly angry. Now, if I could only learn that lesson with regards to speaking out of anger, I would be in the running for sainthood. J

I Think That’s About It for This Week

Time’s flying, you know, so let’s wrap this up. My birds need me.

I should spend an hour working on my novel for the first time in two months.

I should build a new chicken coop.

I should, I should, I should . . .

See ya next week!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, thank you for sharing that. It has me intrigued for sure,and ideas are popping into my head as I write this.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I once came across a story like Zulma mentioned, and it was an amazing story.

      The writer was from Morocco, and used a North African way of telling the story.

      The main character was a traditional storyteller who was investigating a story he'd heard about, but each one who told the story told a slightly different story, some had the main character as being a murderer, others had the same person as the murdered!

      It was only right at the very end you worked out what really happened, but the book kept you turning the pages, wanting to explore more.

      It's a great method of storytelling.

      As for the other, Grammarly wont miss a spelling mistake, though it may struggle with local 'idioms' and slang expressions!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Dee, I have issues for sure! LOL Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the heck out of your Sunday.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 months ago

      I like your reference to the weather, Bill. Seems easy to write on a rainy day for me but when it's sunny it's very hard to focus. Glad someone else has deadline issues!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kari! I had never heard of an unreliable narrator...turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      I don't know why I didn't leave a comment yet. The idea of an unreliable narrator is very intriguing. I'm glad to know your opinion on editing. It is something I will store away for another day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It was my pleasure, Shaloo! Thank you!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      3 months ago from India

      Thanks for answering my question...And a great mailbag full of helpful information as always!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya, and Happy Easter to you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 months ago from Dubai

      Great mailbag installment, wishing you and Bev a Happy Easter.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Easter to you, Nikki, and blessings always.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      3 months ago from London

      Very Happy Easter Bill, have a good one with your wife and family.

      Bless you my friend :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Brian! Thank you for sharing those examples with us...."I should" read those. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Easter to you, Manatita. Love and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope I didn't kick too hard, Shannon. :) Just a gentle nudge, maybe.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Replace "I should..." with "Shall I...?"

      I intend to follow your example more of setting myself deadlines.

      A famous example of an unreliable narrator is Nabakov's LOLITA, in which the narrator is a self-justifying pedophile. In spite of his self-serving bias, the harm he has caused is heartbreakingly revealed.

      Another famous example is the Robert Browning poem "My Last Duchess."

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 months ago from london

      Great mailbag with some chuckles in there as usual. I thought you did a fine job! Nothing really to say. Happy Easter to you, Bev and family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I would describe our weather as good, but at least it is mild. I don't mind gentle rains where I am not shivering. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, you are the best. Thank you! The critters and garden get my attention in the afternoons....and I smell flowers in the evening. I'm a compartmentalized guy for sure, but it's the only way I have a chance of getting everything done.

      Hugs from the Mail Room!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh wow, Rodric, thank you very much for purchasing my book. I'm so glad you are enjoying it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Louise!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, it really is my pleasure. I'm just giving back what was freely given to me when I first started on HP....so thank you for being here and blessings to you always.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 months ago from Texas

      There, Bill. You got me. It's about time (pun intended). Haha. And here I am wasting it this morning when I need to hurry up and get ready for work. Just letting you know you kicked my butt into gear and it's published.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 months ago from United Kingdom

      (Hee-hee) So when can we expect to see this 'imaginary' story?

      The idea of the unreliable narrator intrigues me as the storyteller in one of my games is one. But I didn't find that out until years later when the next game in the series was released. Since then I've played the game a number of times to see where the narrator was being dishonest.

      Hope you're having good weather where you are. It's still pretty unsettled here, but it's getting better. Have a great day, Bill.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I don't know bro. How WILL you meet all those deadlines you impose upon yourself!? Beats the hell outta me. As I've said before, it makes me tired just watching you.

      I've told you baby bro, listen to big sister & smell the damned roses now & then. Your critters, garden, novels, chicken coop, farmer's market, articles, outside jobs.....blah blah Oh God. Whew!

      You inspire me and many others. Fortunately, I'm decades beyond sibling rivalry!! LOL Now I just appreciate and don't even consider competing! I'll just admire you and take my nap! Love, Sis/

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      3 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      I am reading your book The Ultimate Writing Guide. I am finding gold! Best purchase for my writing career ever!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 months ago from Norfolk, England

      That's a great mailbag, Bill. I always enjoy reading them. =)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Ann, regarding the unreliable narrator. It sounds like a great challenge for this writer; now to find the time.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Devika...no, not always free-spirited.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, welcome! The betas I have worked with do it with the idea that reciprocation will come for them when they have a novel that needs editing....scratch my back sort of thing. It works well for many writers strapped for cash.

      The sun is out and I'm going to follow your advice soon. Be well my friend!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      3 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, you have inspired me again. I tried leaving a comment yesterday with a long thought out and worded post. My profile logged me out and I had to start over!

      So, I appreciate what you said about starting a new document with each new idea along with a few sentences of explanation/inspiration! I have done that in the past, but not deliberately. I will make it intentional now.

      Thanks for the advice on editing. I have 2 friends test reading for content, but not grammar. I will see if I can find someone who needs help with a project that I can edit. I am good at editing other people's works. I have found several grammar errors in some recent books I purchased. They just jump out at me--unless it is my work!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your technique, Venkatachari M.I appreciate you sharing your writing journey with us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Mary, for that example of the unreliable narrator. I will check it out to see it in action. I am very curious about it. Good luck with that weather...great excuse, by the way! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure always, William...thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Pop! I plan on doing that this afternoon. Thanks a bunch as always!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 months ago from SW England

      I totally agree with you about the 'file for each idea' exercise. It's vital for me as I never remember that brilliant idea and it's frustrating knowing that I had one but am unable to recall it!

      Thanks for answering my question. I also love the question about 'unreliable narrators'. I have come across the concept but never tried it myself - filed for the future!

      Ann

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Writing through ones experiences is not always a free spirited take on it. An interesting and well written hub.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like that, Cynthia...the riddle o the Sphinx....brilliant! Wishing you a splendid day as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Tim! Writing is therapy for sure, whether with anger or grief or whatever...a great release!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! No sun but at least no snow.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, it's too bad some violent people can't find release through writing. We would have a lot fewer murders.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nikki, and blessings to you always. Let's hope spring arrives soon.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      3 months ago

      Hi, Bill, much longer mailbag with many interesting questions, too. In fact some I've never thought of myself, so I learned a lot this week. I'd never heard of an unreliable narrator. It seems to me like it would take a long story, like a novel or a novella, to write that type effectively. I don't write mysteries, so I won't be trying it.

      You answered one question this week before I could ask it. I was about to ask you about how to get beta readers and if they need to be paid. The only thing I knew about betas was when my husband and a business partner years ago got beta testers to test out a computer program they wrote and marketed. The betas were compensated by getting a free copy of the program which sold for about $200, so a free copy of a book wouldn't be much pay for all that work.

      Warm weather is here, so let's go outside and enjoy!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      One more addition to the treasure of writers. All questions are unique in this mailbag and you answered each one very intelligently and good advice.

      I keep my ideas in my blogger posts in a draft form. Each idea with a short title and one or two sentences. And, I have six places (six blogs) to put them in their relevant field. So, I have about 20 ideas scattered in three of those relevant blogs. Only two ideas turned into complete posts and published last week. Others are in queue when I can get the time and inspiration to complete them.

      Wishing you a pleasant warm and cool day.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I can't write when I am angry, or at least not anything that should ever see the light of day. The language is colorful, and my words are full of venom and hate. They are better to stay hidden, buried in a folder somewhere in a dark corner of my the laptop.

      I have a hard time writing when the weather is good, and alas, our weather is always the same year round. Yes, I'm blaming the weather for my lack of writing. LOL

      When Zulma asked about the unreliable narrator, I instantly thought of the film Kind Hearts and Coronets. The main character is leading us through his journalling of events, in prison. He is more (un)remoreseful than unreliable but I can see how this could be an interesting idea for a story.

      Wonderful mailbag this week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, here is some good news for you: you will always be younger than me and better looking! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure,.Shannon! You need to be writing again. No more excuses, please!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill! I left angry in the rearview mirror eleven years ago....I'm much happier now and just trying to spread the love to others.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure always, Dora! Thanks so much!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      it has for sure, Frank...all eyes are on April now, buddy!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another fun mailbag, Bill. I think I can relate to most, if not all of the questions, so thanks for the help. I appreciate the questions as much as I do the answers.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done, Becky! I'm pretty good at editing but I invariably miss something or six in a novel. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Flourish, I guess I need to read more. I don't remember ever seeing it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Elf! Great insights about editing and I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally! I wish you a fantastic week as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts and your question, Emese...hopefully I can come up with a good answer which will help you. See you on Monday!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like that,Clive! Thanks my friend!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      3 months ago

      Time is flying for me to, billy. Let's both get outside and enjoy the arrival of Spring.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      3 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Thanks for sharing with your answers Bill. I at times do write with anger. I will begin in my journal and morph to the beginning of an opinon/informational article. Most usually it is a therapeutic device. Look forward to more next week.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      3 months ago from Georgia

      Yes, Bill, time is flying and more ideas means it's tougher to reach completion on any, especially if you have customers! It may just be like the riddle of the Sphinx: maybe it's unsolvable. We just have to keep it moving and pretend that one day time will slow down and we will catch up.

      Take care and have a brilliant day!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      3 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for another great mailbag. Hope you have a sunny and inspirational week.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A very enjoyable mailbag, Bill.

      Oh, in regard to Sally's question. I have written out of anger a few times. There may be some event that has angered me and I need to write my opinion on it, or as just a way of relieving anger and frustration. I find writing (especially poetry) helps a lot.

      Like you, also write best in grey cloudy or rainy weather.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      3 months ago from London

      Another great episode of mailbag Bill, many new things learnt, like unreliable narrator, interesting.

      And of course, weather does effect writing moods, like if it’s spring, I love to write about beauty of nature and in winter I long for spring, so can be bit sad writing because of weather.

      Many Blessings to you and yeah!

      Time to Spring Bill :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Time seems to be speeding up for me, too. Easter seems to be approaching very quickly. You've created another interesting edition of the Mailbag, Bill.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 months ago from Texas

      Geesh. This time thing. I really can't escape it. I suppose that must be one kind of sign. LOL. Time has been on my m8nd lately and now it's a topic seen over and over again. So.... Time for me to write that hub. ;)

      Great mailbag, as always.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I’ve thought for years now that life seems to be speeding up. Wish I understand this so I could slow things down? It seems to be a common complaint among my friends and family. When you figure it out please write a hub and share it with us.

      Never really thought about writing when angry. I don’t get mad often so I don’t ever recall trying to write while angry. Not sure that would end well while writing travel hubs. Great mailbag. Have a wonderful week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for taking the time out to continue this very meaningful mailbag. Always interesting and informative.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      another mail delivery under your belt.. Writing while angry, I like the question too kind of different.. and Eric had a good question too. Keep it up before you know it it'll be March 2018... oh wait that has already happened...

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      3 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I go through my work and edit it, and then again before I hit publish. I rarely find errors the 2nd time through. Sometimes, I find typos, but never bad spelling. I seem to have a sense for spelling and if I misspell a word, it jumps out at me. I am not as good at grammar, but seem to have picked up from my grandmother, the teacher, pretty good speaking grammar. I do not do as bad as many do. I do worse on punctuation. I think I put too many commas in sometimes. I was taught that if you pause while speaking it, it should have a comma. I try to remember that. I have been asked by a couple of friends to edit their work, because of this. One of them insists on paying me when I do his books. I also have enough sense to leave the 'lingo' in, since they write westerns.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Unreliable narrators are my favorite technique when well done!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 

      3 months ago from Canada

      Always interesting to read your insights. I wholeheartedly agree about self-editing - bad idea.. Yes, absolutely edit it yourself for grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., but we all can get too close to our work.

      A good editor can spot things you miss - a place where the action may have stalled - regardless of how good the writing, that bit may need to be shifted or cut.

      A good editor can divine your intentions (from what you've put on the page), and suggest where the story might go - or ask if that's where you want it to go. It can be surprising - your editor only has your written word, not what's still in your head and didn't make it to the page, LOL. Sorry - this is turning into a HUB. Love the mailbag.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      3 months ago from Norfolk

      Thanks for answering my question this week. I share your desire not to react in anger but I guess it happens to the best of us. You have a great week Billy.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      Emese Fromm 

      3 months ago from The Desert

      Great mailbox, as always, Bill. Too Many Ideas Syndrome, I have it, and I do what you do with it: write it down, in a new Word doc. Or write it down in a notebook. But, I rarely ever go back to any of them. So my question is: how, or when, do you 1. find time for, 2. remember to do, 3. feel like developing any of these ideas. Granted, what you do might not work for me, but I'm curious because this happens to me all the time. I am cluttering up my house, my computer with the ideas that are waiting to be developed, it is starting to get overwhelming.

      Unreliable narrator: it doesn't seem something new to me. I'm sure I've read works written from that point of view, I can't think of a specific one though. I am pretty sure they are children's books, written in the first person. Which makes perfect sense, since the narrator is a child, and should be someone kids can relate to, which means he/she is allowed, even expected to be biased.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      3 months ago from Jamaica

      Billy. You are like Duracell batteries with all these mailbags

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful comment, Linda! Eight articles waiting? You are an overachiever and putting me to shame of late.

      I love the downslope analogy. It is right on for sure.

      Chores await me as well. Have a great Monday!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, you are a braver soul than I am. I'm afraid to go back to my earlier stuff. lol Interesting that you have written from anger. I would have never guessed it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, you just summed it up perfectly regarding editing...we never see our own errors, as odd as that may seem. Thank you for that and I agree with you about Frank's works.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, it's an interesting question and I thank you for it. I'll have an answer for you next Monday after I've had a chance to reflect upon it. Thank you!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Bill, I'm happy that in spite of your busy schedule, you keep doing this. I always learn something or feel encouraged when I read the mailbag. I sometimes wonder why there are some novels or stories that are flawless but they make you go down into boredom when you read it. Do you think it reflects the inner state of the writer?

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, what great questions!! As a few others have commented, the unreliable narrator is a fascinating concept. I'm pretty sure your wheels are turning and this will be a topic in your "USE THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE" file.

      As for time flying, my theory is that I'm over the hill and slipping down the other side. Depending on the degree of slope, you and I might be picking up speed on the descent.

      Weather or not? The allure of the garden always tugs at me. (On beautiful days I always wished that the school building was windowless). But when rain is pelting the window, I'm writing up a storm. I have 8 articles waiting for me to hit the 'publish' button. I'm releasing them one per week so that I can go out and "play" when the sun shines.

      Well, I should let you get back to work dear friend. Thanks for a great mailbag. Have a wonderful Holy Week.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Great article. I do think though that writing in anger can be very good. If it is a subject that needs a little anger, that is. Actually writing from anger is what got me into writing and I suppose that seems very strange since most of my writing is so Polly Anna.

      I have been going back over old stuff lately and rewriting and wow all the errors I found. I never mind friends pointing out my errors in writing and it does not insult me at all.

      Love to have you make me think, Bill!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Janine, you guys are still getting snow. Of course you are confused. lol

      Have a great week my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great questions and answers, as usual, Bill. I found the unreliable narrator to be an interesting concept. It reminds me of Frank Atanacio's crime stories where the main character thinks they are above reproach, infallible, and smarter than everyone else.

      Also enjoyed reading your take on editing. Funny how the errors of others jump out at us and our own errors appear correct.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the question, Eric! As for writing out of anger, I guess I do the same thing you do...most of mine sits in a folder never to be seen.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Kristen, and thank you for weighing in on Rodric's question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You were first, Heidi! Congrats! It's hard to beat Janine, but you did it!

      Thanks as always for letting us pick your bran for free. Your comments are like getting a free coupon for a great product at the grocery store.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      3 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I am with you. Seriously both Kevin and I just were commenting this morning that we couldn't believe it is just about April here. So, time seriously is flying and also like you constantly chasing deadlines, as well. Happy Monday now and hoping you have a wonderful week ahead, as well too :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill it is cool that you do this first thing Monday mornings. It starts my reading and writing week off to a fresh start with more ideas. I just love learning and you are a great teacher.

      Funny about that anger writing I do it as second nature nowadays. Write it and delete it.

      As for editing and HP. Do you think their format and standards for featuring are helpful for discipline?

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, thanks for answering my question and sharing your words of wisdom. For Rodric, if he could afford an editor, he should go for it. But I think it would be wise if he found a beta reader, a critique partner or local crit group, or join some crit lists online for free. But IMO, sometimes it's best to get it polished via self-editing first. As for self-publish books, I've heard great things about KDP via Amazon.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 months ago from Chicago Area

      As it looks right now, I may be the first to jump into the Mailbag? How is that possible? :) Anyway...

      Re: TMI. Happens to me all... the... time! I keep my notes on my iPad and develop them into something coherent over time.

      Re: Smashwords. If you're looking at Smashwords, don't do Amazon, too! It could cause problems and be a maintenance headache on both platforms.

      Re: Weather. I have a devil of time writing on sunny days. Not because I want to go play outside. :) It's just I'm not inspired. I love it when it rains. I get so much done.

      Re: Editing and No Money. Agree with enlisting as many capable (emphasis on "capable") friends to do beta reading, etc. if you're broke. But in addition to that, my best self editing tip is to put your work away, the longer the better, before looking at it again. It will give you a fresher perspective.

      Re: Angry Writing? Unlike some people who find emotional release when they write, I am completely unable to write when I'm too emotional. I've never been able to journal either. For me writing is fun and happiness and I don't want to associate it with being negative.

      I can't believe it's the end of March either. Where is this year going? Gotta get to work! Have a great week!

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