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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 204

Updated on May 28, 2018

Odds and Ends

As some of you may know, I help manage and run a local farmers market every Wednesday. It keeps me pretty busy and it is definitely not a one-day gig.

I recently received an email from a local author asking if she could rent a booth and sell her books at the Market. I had to smile when I read her email. Last summer I tried exactly the same thing and I sold one book in five weeks.

Not exactly a profitable undertaking!

But you never know unless you try, and that’s my message to you. If you never try you can count on zero results.

I don’t know how that woman is going to do at our market, but I hope she sells hundreds of her novel. She should be rewarded for getting out there and taking the risk.

Great questions this week . . . let’s do this thing!

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

OBSESSION

From Ann: “How does a writer contain the obsession? We need it to keep writing but if we go on too much, it destroys us and bores or annoys the reader. In other words, how do we give ourselves a day off? So, how do you know where to draw the line and how do you make yourself have a day off?”

Ann, I’m laughing as I read this. I’ve been forced to step away from my writing obsession by other responsibilities. I haven’t written anything on my novels in over six months. In that same time I’ve probably written a total of maybe five short stories. I’m having serious withdrawals from my creative writing, and I can tell you without any hesitation that the obsession does not go away. I may not be able to write at this time, but the obsession screams at me almost daily, and my muse is still paying attention and filing away information for when I do finally start writing again.

Contain the obsession? I’m not sure it is possible and, in all honesty, I’m not sure I would want to. I love being a writer. I love crafting the perfect sentence, and I love affecting people positively.

And I miss it terribly!

I have several paths of obsession!
I have several paths of obsession! | Source

More on Dialects

From Nikki: “As with dialects, I agree with you, they work very well until they don’t seem to be difficult to understand for a reader. I’ve a question, how do they effect the story to make it more interesting and how to make some great dialects language to put more spices in the curry?”

Hi Nikki!

How do dialects affect the story to make them more interesting? I think they add authenticity to a story but again, I caution everyone, only use dialects as long as they can be understood and they don’t distract a reader from the story. Some dialects, like an Irish brogue, or a Liverpool dialect, are fairly easy to comprehend over the span of a book….the same can be said for Cajun in Louisiana . . . but . . . step lightly into that swamp. Always remember that the story is the central focus and not the dialect.

How to make great dialects? There are actually computer apps and programs which will translate a sentence into a particular dialect. I have not used any of them, but I do know they exist. Truth be told I’m a pretty lazy writer when it comes to research like that. I prefer to write my stories using good old English. I might toss in a little variation based on a particular era, or a spattering of southern dialect, but no way am I venturing overseas and tackling some of those dialects.

Are There Boundaries?

From Eric: “You fight for good. What are the boundaries in your mind and teaching? Oh let us not forget your condemnation like when our Black man went north and our beloved steer wagon friends went with his family. You attack social ills. How? Without being a jackass of sorts?”

Eric, I have always been concerned that I might sound like I’m preaching on those social articles. Pontification is something I abhor in writers, so I’m always aware of it. And buddy, to some people I am always going to sound like a jackass, so not much I can do about that.

For those of you fairly new to my show, I used to write social commentary articles. It was my thing for a couple of years. Now I tend to toss social commentary into my stories. I’ll have the main character expound on my beliefs. That way I don’t get in trouble or have people hate me. LOL Sneaky devil!

The other thing, Eric, which you share with me, or I share with you, is the fact that people basically like us. I have a pretty loyal gathering of friends, and even if they disagree with what I am saying, they will be respectful in their comments. I love that, I really do. Hell, it would be boring as hell if everyone agreed with me. I encourage people to disagree with me. Just be respectful when you do it.

Now, if you want the names of a couple jackasses on HP, who are never respectful in their comments, I’ll be happy to share them with you. J There are two in particular I can think of immediately.

Our Duty as a Writer

From Pam: “What do you think is the Number One duty of a writer? I guess I should clarify that and say the Number One duty of a fiction writer.”

Fascinating question, Pam! There probably are going to be as many opinions on this as there are fleas on an old hound, but to me, the primary goal of any fiction writer is to tell a captivating story. Fiction writers are entertainers. That is our job, to entertain our readers. We are the storytellers of our generation, practicing a craft which has been handed down from generation to generation by other storytellers. We captivate. We spin tales which suspend reality for a period of time. We allow readers to escape their troubles and become immersed in a fictional world.

And I think it’s important that we do our jobs well. The world needs entertainers and storytellers.

It is a grand and sacred calling.

And, as a bonus, I’ll toss this into the mix for non-fiction writers: the main goal of a non-fiction writer should be to tell the truth as best you can. Of course, then we get into a hornet’s nest concerning what is truth, and is your truth the same as my truth, and are my sources accurate or are they “fake news.”

Thanks a bunch, but I’ll stick with fiction.

These guys take up a lot of my time
These guys take up a lot of my time | Source

And Now It’s Time to Say Farewell

Just for a week so no worries. I’ve got chickens to feed and fences to mend, so I need to get myself in gear.

I wish you all a successful week, no matter how you define success. If you are writing this week, remember to enjoy it. Writing should be a fun activity, for goodness sake. Open your heart to your muse and turn her loose!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't blame them, Rajan! I've had a couple too.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      One more interesting lesson. The hens seem to be having a siesta.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence! It's always good to hear from you, my friend!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Really great stuff here, totally agree with the 'dialect'. Just a 'smattering' carries a story on, but too much can ruin a story.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Dee! You are very welcome. Thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      11 months ago

      Chickens are well worth the distraction! Thanks for the advice.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Far from it, Audrey, but I thank you for your confidence in me.

      love,

      bill

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      11 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Well, I'd like to know what happened to my comment! Now, I can't remember what I said 2 weeks ago. But I do know this much...you are a God send to we writers. I like Pam's question. It ties in with your comments you sent to me today on Chapter 1 for my book. I really needed to hear your suggestions. You are just brilliant!

      love,

      audrey

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nikki! It's always a welcomed pleasure when you stop by. Blessings always!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      11 months ago from London

      Bill my friend, thanks for your great answer to my question.I’ve found one website online which changes dialogue into dialect.

      But I’ll have to be careful to use them as don’t want to distract the story.

      I’m so sorry to reply so late, been bit busy because of Ramadhan.

      Blessings to your your family always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! I'll tell the girls you mentioned them.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      More great advice! Thank you, Bill! Also, I love the picture of your chickens!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jackie! I totally agree and have had the same happen to me...it will surface one day for both of us.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      11 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I started a novel years ago, Bill, and have lost it somehow but the story line will never leave me. (Hidden in a folder somewhere I am sure.)

      I keep looking though because I know I could not give it that energy it was born with. So in other words, I don't think it matters how long we are gone from something we gave birth to, it is still ours to bring up, whenever that is.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your experience and suggestions. It's a tough call for a writer, authenticity in dialects...you bring up some great points.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      11 months ago from Chicago, IL

      The question of dialects is something we have talked about in my writing group. Do you have a character talk in dialect and attempt to faithfully communicate the sound of the language throughout the whole novel? Or do you represent the dialect only for a little while when you first introduce the character to establish the sound of their speech in the reader's mind and then stop, trusting that the reader will make sure the character sounds right in their head? I actually have a preference for the former though I think many would say that drives the reader crazy. I suppose I've only done it when it was a single character who wasn't in every chapter so the reader only had to deal with it sporadically. I worked very hard to make sure the way the dialect was written was easy to read and pronounce. This meant sometimes a word or phrase might have been slightly off though it sounded correct for those who didn't speak the dialect, in order to keep it simple. I guess time will tell if I was successful or not. Thanks for another great installment!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I may have to re-think that time off thing. This boy is getting older whether he wants to admit it or not. :) Thanks so much for being here! Have a great weekend!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      11 months ago from Central Florida

      Great mailbag this week, Bill. I love your response to the fiction writers' responsibility question. You said it beautifully. It's why I prefer to read (and write) fiction.

      I also found it ironic that you posted this on Memorial Day, when most of us had off, and your first question was about giving yourself some time off! I know you never take a holiday through the week, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am with you 100%, Chris, in that we are storytellers first and foremost. I do not want to be preached at in any genre of book. I have a low tolerance for pontificating. :) Thanks my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Charm, thank you so much for stopping by. Don't be a stranger now!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I love that it does that for you, Dora! Thank you and best wishes always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Kathleen....I'll be happy with 250 copies....just keep publishing and it all adds up.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can always count on wisdom from you, Heidi! Thank you...good luck catching up!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I can hardly wait,each day, to go out to the farm and hang with my birds. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      God hates a coward, Larry, or so my dad used to say. Thanks my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I'm still waiting for that one perfect sentence to arrive.

    • CharmMatters profile image

      Charm Baker 

      11 months ago from Los Angeles

      Awesome article and interesting point of views. I strongly agree with you about the non-fiction writers responsibility to conveying the truth and the dangers of spreading "fake news". I'm a newly resurrected Hubber and have only contributed 1 hub so far, but it's on that very subject. Thanks Bill - I really like your MAILBAG.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      11 months ago from Lowell, MA through the end of May, 2019.

      Bill, I agree with you fully that a fiction writer's responsibility to his/her readers is to entertain to the best of their ability. You also mentioned fitting social commentary into a story by letting a character communicate your point of view. I agree with that as well if it is a natural part of the story. You do it very well. I read a novel by a popular author a few years ago that was his social commentary on global climate change. He didn't believe it, and he hammered away at the subject for hundreds of pages. I don't believe he did his fans a good service in that book.

      As fiction writers, we are storytellers. I am proud to play a tiny role in such an important aspect of our culture.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      "We are the storytellers of our generation." Suddenly I feel that I have lots more to write. The mailbag leaves me feeling connected and motivated.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      11 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good luck to the lady wanting to try selling her books directly. I've tried just about every piece of advice given to struggling authors with no satisfying results. But I recently attended a national writers workshop and heard a great truth I wish I'd heard years ago. I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars. A publisher told us this fact: The average fiction book sells 250 copies. The industry is carried by about 25 major authors who sell millions of books. Did this information depress me? No. It put my situation in perspective. Finally!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, we probably have eighteen Rhode Island Reds. Great egg-layers that breed. Can be a bit feisty, but love their consistency. :)

      I love your need to be accurate. It will carry you far once you retire and start writing full-time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, that is crazy weather even by Minnesota standards. Way too weird for this boy. I love our calm,mild, boring temps. lol Day off? What's that mean?

      Thanks as always my friend. Enjoy the remainder of your week.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      11 months ago from Chicago Area

      Okay, a day late to the Mailbag. But I got a BIG edit project last week (of course, the week before a holiday!) which was due this AM. Priorities!

      Speaking of priorities, this week I'll comment on today's Artistry With Words email. I think there's no such as work-life balance. It's balancing of priorities, and it sounds like you've got yours straight.

      Gotta get back to catching up after last week. See you back in the 'Bag next Monday. Make it a great week!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      11 months ago from England

      Great advice as always Bill. And I love all your 'farm' animals. I love chickens, my mums friend had a farm, and we were always out there feeding the chickens and other animals, ah memories!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Nice chickens. Do you have any Rhode Island Reds? That’s quite the assortment you have there.

      Concerning our duty as a writer, for me writing about travel I feel I need to be as accurate and truthful as possible. I would never want to mislead someone when they are spending their hard earned money to travel so I try very hard to get the facts correct.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      11 months ago from Oklahoma

      I would go as far as to say that you're going to be a jack*** to everyone's sentimentalities at some point.

      Just got to put your thoughts out there and if folks feel your off the mark sometimes, even friends, well that's just a part of this rich tapestry we call existence.

      Always enjoy hearing your thoughts on things, friend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - Some people write in hopes of writing a sentence like this: "The pen felt like a sledgehammer in his hand." - Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      11 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Tuesday Bill! I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I would ask if you took the day off, but after reading your news letter...you never take a day off!

      I, on the other hand, enjoyed my weekend and did pretty much nothing productive...lol. We were actually at 100 degrees (not even factoring in the humidity) on Monday. That means in May 2018 we got 12 inches of snow and 100 degrees. Crazy!

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Darn it, Frank, I don't look anything like Abby! lol Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm just doing what I love to do, Pop, but thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, cravings? Me? Chocolate...always chocolate! lol Come visit any old time, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is a wonder, John! I'm trying to start a new short story and my muse is fighting me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dancing will do that, Eric! It is good for the soul....and I'm glad for the glove as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda, and my chickens thank you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, that's sweet, Shyron! Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I figured you hadn't fallen for me, Shannon. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Bronwen..thanks for stopping by once again.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hen fruit, MizB? LOL...it's been a long time since I heard that phrase. Priceless! And you and I both are doing the world a service by not writing poetry. :) Enjoy that heat while it lasts; fall is right around the corner. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      11 months ago from Shelton

      Eric's no boundaries question and the selling one book at the market et al really caught my attention.. Again you tell it like it should be.. and that's what gives your the Dear Abby-ish authenticity.. thank you for sharing the bag...:) Frank

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Flourish, it didn't take any time at all for me to think of that list. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, what are we going to do? We have to live life as it comes to us....so might as well enjoy it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well there you go then Mary! Joy from flowers is a very nice distraction indeed. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, thanks for that dialect example.....great example for sure. I appreciate you doing that for my readers so they can see the difference.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. Yes, it has been that long and yes, it is unimaginable!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you for mentioning the entertaining thing for non-fiction. As I told you early on, you hit a homerun with your food articles because of that very point. And thank your daughter for me, for remembering this old man.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William! Without my readers this series would be an afterthought, so thank you for mentioning them.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      11 months ago

      Your chickens look like they know they are in good hands, as are all the people you have helped with this series.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Bill I came back to say our gloves are already getting better. But maybe that is just the fun of dancing on them. Thanks.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      11 months ago from london

      Nice chickens. Well feed ones too. I need to visit you. Do you have any cravings Bill? I digress a bit, but here in Kenya I miss my Chinese movies. Lol.

      Obsession? Strong word! Both you guys are odd. Lol.

      The few you mentioned are rude, unhappy, accusatory, narrow- minded as well as disrespectul. It is a colourful world indeed!!!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      11 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Very good mailbag once again Bill. I have been writing a lot more over the last couple of months but I have a pressing urge to write more. The trouble is I have no idea what I want to write. I haven't written a short story or flash fiction in awhile so maybe something along that line. We will see. It is a wonder we get time to write at all with life as busy as it is.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I hope you're able to get back to your creative writing soon, Bill. I was happy to see a photo of your chickens in this article. They are attractive birds.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      11 months ago from Texas

      Bill, where would we be without your mail bag? You don't know how much your readers depend on your advice on writing.

      Blessings my friend.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      11 months ago from Texas

      *I feel for you, not fell for you. LOL Damn phone. Auto-correct changed it and I changed it back. I guess it still won somehow!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      11 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Love reading your mailbag, the replies can be so helpful - and fun! it makes me think I should get out that novel I began some time ago and get it moving again. Thanks for the impetus.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Hilarious that you could name a list of jack holes on HP. I’d love to see us vote on that!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      11 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, you had some very interesting questions this week, some of which I just take for granted and would never think of asking, such as Ann's question about containing a writer's obsession. Honestly, why would I want to? Just as my friend, a most prolific and talented artist and art teacher would never think of containing her talent for watercolor. The world is a better place with her not containing her talent. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, I'm just awed by real talent. However, there are a few writers (and artists) who might make the world a better place by containing their obsessions. Now I am being a smart aleck, but you do understand why you rarely ever see me write poetry.

      Dialects: A reader complimented me on my expertise with dialect I used in my Arkansaw hubs. I said, What dialect? That's my native language! Thanks for telling us about the dialect programs. I need a French dialect for one of my short stories.

      I understand your busy time with your chickens. Our Hennypenny laid a double-yolked egg about 2 weeks after she started laying. The others aren't old enough to produce hen fruit yet. The weather is in the low to mid 90s here, but after the frigid last winter, I'm not going to complain. Have a good week, my friend.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      11 months ago from Texas

      I love the first question and your answer. I keep telling myself I need to sit down and write some things and life keeps getting in the way. I fell for you both! LOL

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      We watched the movie Trumbo last night and there are interesting debates there about the role of a writer when many of these writers were placed in the "black list". I like your idea of putting your social commentary on your stories. I, too, hate pontification but I admit I do it sometimes given my roles in the past. The outdoors take so much of my time, too. I have not published any article lately but my flowers like your chicken give me so much joy.

    • profile image

      John M McNally 

      11 months ago

      Hello Bill, I agree with you about dialect. I hadn't heard of the dialect translators so I thought I'd give them a go. This is the result and while they are not accurate you can have great fun playing with them. Maybe there are better sites the one I tried, it gave the following translations for 'Good morning how are you'

      Top o' ye mornin' ter ya 'oweya. (Irish)

      Awright y'alright. (liverpool scouse)

      Gran' mornin 'a eur theur. (yorkshire)

      I live in Yorkshire but while we may say Grand Morning I don't know what the rest of the translation is meant to say. It isn't easy though because of the dialects within dialects.

      I don't think that just America and the UK being divided by a common language!

      Good entertainment though.

      As you say it would be easy to distract a reader or lose them altogether

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      11 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great questions and smart answers again in this mailbag.

      Ann, Eric, and Pam all sported good questions that need a great contemplation in answering and you did it perfectly well. Very intelligent words from you.

      But, I can't believe that you have been away from your books for the last six months. Unimaginable! But, I believe it happened. You are too busy. And, that great.

      Wish you a nice week this time.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I appreciate all of these mailbags, but the tone of this one just really tickled me. Much fun and humor and good feelings. Like you, I have not done any serious writing on my "novel" (will it ever BE?) since December. I hope my Muse is taking good notes.

      May I add my 2 cents worth to your response on the duty of a writer? You said (I'm paraphrasing) that a fiction writer must entertain, and a non-fiction writer must tell the truth. I believe that to be really good a non-fiction writer needs to entertain as well. Engage all of the senses. That's why, when you visit my articles, you won't find simply a list of ingredients and how to put them together in the kitchen. Tell a story, give your reader a reference that they can relate to so they will remember.

      I hope you have a great rest-of-the-week. (BTW, my younger daughter met you last week at the Tumwater Market. She remembered the guy with the quail eggs and goat cheese!)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thank you, Bill, for another great week of answers, and I want to thank your readers for another week of great questions. They ask some questions I haven't thought about, but yet I'm in need of the answers to grow as a writer. So thank you for being here!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I look forward to it, Lori!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestion, Kristen! Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I had no idea, Mike! Shows you how much I know. :) Thanks buddy!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great questions and great answers. See ya next time

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      11 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great questions and answers Bill. For Pam's question, we should write everyday even if it's fifteen minutes of free writing. As long as we should put it out there on paper and computer screens, we'll be writing up a storm to share with other readers and tell great stories, no matter what job and market we're in.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - Yet another Mailbag done, recorded in time. I bet you never thought there could be so many questions about writing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, as long as we are vigilante, we never have to worry about boring.

      We have weed-whackers here for the really long stuff. That's what I did yesterday. Major job!!!

      Happy Monday dear friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Karen! I appreciate you finding the time to read the mail. You are welcome any old time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my friend, and Happy Memorial Day to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Cheers to you, Verlie! I have to admit, as self-serving as it may sound, that I love the Mailbag and the sharing of information on it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I am happy you have returned, Vidya!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Me, Eric? A know it all? LOL You could write twenty volumes about the stuff I know nothing about. Cool question, though. I'll try to have a cool answer next week. In the meantime, good luck with that glove.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, now I'm howling at 240. I didn't get it until I thought about how an Irishman would say 240 and then it became obvious. Way too funny!

      About chickens...there is some debate about feeding them. If we had unlimited pasture, with guard dogs (or geese) we could just let them free-range and they would be able to get all the nutrients they need...but....limited room makes that impossible. We only have about a 1/4 acre for the chickens, and they can't graze enough on that plot of land and stay healthy...so we supplement with organic feeds.

      Always good to hear from you; thanks for the laugh.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 months ago from SW England

      Thanks for a great answer, bill! I can identify with what you're saying. I get itchy feet too. I was thinking that the obsession might come out as a boring story but then we make sure our style stays effective, don't we?!

      Super mailbag again. Keep 'em coming; we all love them.

      Sunshine after the rain and thunderstorms so I'm happy. Off to mow the grass which I'm sure grows more quickly just to keep me busy.

      Ann

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      11 months ago from New England

      Great article, Bill. I read this series when I can and it's always a pleasure and a rich learning experience. Thank you for your dedication!

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      11 months ago from Pa

      Always a good read to delve into your mailbag. Happy Memorial Day!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      11 months ago from Canada

      Thanks again Bill, mail bag Monday just keeps getting better. I'm intrigued with the dialect discussion, and I appreciate you including a link for that. Cheers!

    • Vidya Mallar profile image

      Vidya Mallar 

      11 months ago from India

      I feel blessed dear Bill.. Now looking forward to explore your hubs..

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Janine and Happy Monday to you. Enjoy the holiday, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am fine, Vidya, and I do not forget friends. Blessings to you always, my dear!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Bill I got to this through FB before it even hit HP. Now I am not saying I am an obsessive fan - but I am. Perhaps I am stalking you?

      I get fairly excited about your technical stuff but like with our friend Linda with food, I get life lessons in your mailbag.

      I have no question on that because I know it is a side effect of love of life.

      So to it now. I think you do like I do and research about all the stuff you write about. Some things we know about through life and it gives us a start but to be true to our readers we have to be very accurate. As we correct our grammar we correct our facts.

      Are you a "know it all"?

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Regarding the selling of books at a farmer's market, I think it could work if they're books about gardening, or agriculture. I could see myself buying a book in that circumstance.

      "my muse is still paying attention and filing away information for when I do finally start writing again" - I've done this many times, when I am driving alone countless hours throughout the back-roads of this province dodging deer and bears: I "write" in my thoughts. It all gets prepared and then, when I do sit down, it all just rolls-out.

      So, I got a little story about dialects. I found it hilarious but it did show me how different people deal with dialects in different ways.

      I came across a joke on some internet website, a few years ago and the joke went something like this: "Why can't the Irish man eat more than 239 beans? Because one more would be 240." Haha!! Any time I need a serious laugh I tell myself this joke. I immediately texted the joke to one of my buddies and he didn't get it. He called me to ask me what's was so funny about it?.

      You see, I have what they call I guess a musical ear, or something like that. I pay close attention to sounds but especially to tonality, to accents, to dialects, etc. Often, I repeat what I hear, exactly like a parrot. That's how I learned English for the most part.

      Now, back to the joke. When I hear someone talk about Irish people, I immediately hear their dialect in my mind and when You say 240 with an Irish voice, well it sounds a little funny but to understand that You would have to know how an Irish man/woman sounds.

      "The world needs entertainers and storytellers." - Yes, for sure.

      "for non-fiction writers: the main goal of a non-fiction writer should be to tell the truth as best you can" - Yup. That's what I do, to the best of my abilities and I have tried to do that in everything I have ever written.

      "I’ve got chickens to feed" - What are You feeding them? It's nice outside, can't they run around and feed themselves with bugs, worms, grass, etc.?

      Nice to read your thoughts again - thank You for sharing them. You have yourself a joyful week! : )

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      11 months ago from New York, New York

      Happy Monday, Bill and just had to stop by before this holiday Monday gets away from me to say hi and wish you a wonderful week ahead now!! :)

    • Vidya Mallar profile image

      Vidya Mallar 

      11 months ago from India

      Hi Bill.. Hope you have not forgot this humble friend of yours.. I have joined again after a long gap.. Hope you are fine..

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