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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 199

Updated on April 23, 2018

One to Go

I truly had no clue what I was starting when I posted the very first Writer’s Mailbag. I had a backlog of questions people had asked me, and I thought I would just post an article, answer those questions, and be done with it.

That was almost four years ago!


You folks are the reason for the continued success of this series. In truth, each of these installments receives modest views. They top out at around 200 views and then probably drift towards the HubPages graveyard, but I believe those 200 views are important.

This is a safe place for writers. We do not attack each other like you might see on the forums. We do not debate political or religious issues here. This is simply a place where writers can learn from other writers, and because of that I believe it has great value.

Obviously you agree with me.

Shall we begin #199?

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

How to Be More Entertaining

From Mary: “I will come back and watch that video again. I need to watch it when I'm not in a hurry. You have gone out of your way to help us out and we really appreciate it. Bill, my problem is I am too serious in my writing. When God spread humour around, I was not there. I also don't like trends. That makes me so conservative. So what can I do to make my writing much more interesting and entertaining?”

Well first of all, thank you, Mary, for those kind words.

Secondly, I find your articles interesting and entertaining, so I’m not sure what you are talking about. Travel articles do not have to tug at the heart strings, nor do they have to be funny. Their primary purpose is to inform, and you do that. You also include wonderful photographs, which I find helpful.

Write in your own voice and don’t worry so much. If you must do something, remember that we all share the same five senses. Practice writing descriptions which play to those senses. Tell us about the sounds and smells of a place, since we cannot experience those on our own. Tell us what the people were like, their own unique characteristics, so we can relate to them. Those things might help.

And give us something about yourself that we can relate to as well. Let us in so we know who you are as a person. In the end, I believe writing should be personal. It is, at its most basic, a personal communication between two human beings

Keeping Resentment at Bay

From Eric: “I am like you about short notice family interruptions. So as a shrink and a writer how do you kick out the resentment (or any issue like it) and get back in the groove? I mean, how do you do it so fast? Does just sitting in your chair clear your mind?”

Eric, what the hell makes you think I get rid of resentments so fast? LOL Seriously, I can hold onto a resentment like an old hound dog holds onto his favorite bone.

I made a comment on someone else’s article a couple weeks ago. As you may or may not know, I don’t engage in political debates. I simply see no point in it. I also don’t attack others for their viewpoints. I’m not on HP to debate with anyone. I’m here to support writers and receive support.

So anyway, I made a generic comment on this one article (a political article) about loving the passion of the author and supporting her right to speak her mind, and some guy jumped on and attacked me for not having the courage to state my mind, and for being so wimpy that I wouldn’t state my opinions.

I’m still pissed about that!

In the final analysis, I silently say “SCREW HIM” and move on with my life. His opinion of me is at best a pimple on my butt.

Does that answer your question? J

Working on resentments
Working on resentments | Source

Liking Your Characters

From Zulma: “My question today is this: Do you like all your characters? Even the less savoury ones? While reading a Stephen King novel, one of the main characters, a writer, felt that liking all of his characters, even the unpleasant ones, helped him see the world through their eyes and understand their motivations more clearly. I suppose this helps create more fleshed-out characters as opposed to one-dimensional ones. Any thoughts?”

I always have thoughts, Zulma!

I was going to immediately answer yes, I do like all of my characters, but that’s not true. The very first killer I wrote about in my first suspense novel “Shadows Kill,” I did not like him at all. I was happy when Eli Baker killed him, with malice, and I’m still happy he was eliminated,. He was a vile character who preyed on the weak, and he needed to leave this earth . . . and I didn’t miss him one bit after Eli pulled the trigger on his .357 Magnum.

I don’t know exactly why that one character bothered me so much. In subsequent novels I’ve had many other killers, but they did not affect me like that first killer.

I would not argue with the writer in that Stephen King novel. I believe what he said and I always try to get in touch with my characters and like them in some way.

Here's one character I like quite a bit. :)
Here's one character I like quite a bit. :) | Source


From Venkatachari M: “When I went through my paperback version last week, I noticed that there is no numbering of the pages in it. Further, no space is left at the top of the page or even at the bottom in most cases. It should have been fixed by the publisher before printing. Now, what to do? You may answer it in your next mailbag.”

I’m looking at your book right now, Venkatachari M, and by golly you are correct. There are no page numbers in it, and the spacing is a bit cramped, especially at the top of the page. By the way, it is an excellent book on Economics and I applaud you.

Now to your problem: I assume this was published through CreateSpace and Amazon. If so, your only recourse is to go into your publishing page and do an edit. Make the necessary changes on your Word Doc and then download the entire book again. It is a fairly easy fix. I’ve done it before myself, and you can get it finished up in one day. The page numbers and the spacing will have to be fixed on the Word Doc. To my knowledge that is the only way to make the necessary changes.

And while you are at it, you might consider adding a Copyright page at the beginning. That is a fairly standard page to include in any book.

And again, I commend you on your book. For those interested, the book’s title is “Introduction to Economics – Basic Principles & Concepts,” by Venkatachari M.

Another One Put to Bed

Next week will be the 200th consecutive publication of the Writer’s Mailbag.


I’m fairly impressed that I didn’t miss a week. This last week was hectic as hell. The farmers market started, which meant I lost Wednesday, so I am cramming five days of writing into four…but the mail must be delivered, so here we are.

Have a great week ahead. Thank you for the great questions, and thank you for the great friendship and loyalty.

And to that guy who criticized me for not engaging in debate . . . you should be so lucky to be me!

Blessings to you all!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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