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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 206

Updated on June 11, 2018

Questions Trickling In

Maybe it’s the fact that nice weather has arrived, and people aren’t writing as often, but for whatever reason the questions are few and far between this week.

Oh well! The mail must be delivered! Let’s answer a couple and then we will all go out and dance in the sunshine.

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

Different Reviews

From Lawrence: “I've got a question, it might be a bit of a strange one, but it might also be 'enlightening' See the last few days I've been doing some marketing research on my books and discovered something strange. For one book on the Amazon USA site there's one review (five stars) but when I went onto the Amazon UK site the same book had two five star reviews, different reviews to the USA one! Have you come across where Amazon has different reviews on different sites within its network?”

Lawrence, I have no clue. I went online to find the answer, but failed miserably. It seems odd to me, and I’m not sure why they would do that. Does anyone else know?????

The Perfect Pitch

From Eric: “So the question goes like this; When, in writing do you hit just the right mark? I know that it is inside not outside. That perfect throw and your own pat on the back. You spit on the ground, have raspberries and raise your hand in victory of your own.”

Eric, I’ve never experienced the perfect pitch in writing. I’ve had a few out playing baseball, but not while writing.

Just one of the many crosses I carry. Lol

Seriously, I never think my writing is perfect. I eventually just throw up my hands and say ENOUGH!!!! I then publish and five minutes after publishing I will wish I had written some chapter just a bit differently.

Now a certain amount of that type of angst is normal, but I know some writers who never get beyond it. That fear of not being good enough keeps them from ever publishing, and I find that very sad.

So, I continue to throw the change-up, mix in a few four-seam fastballs, and tantalize with the occasional circle curve. Mister Junkball, that’s me. There will be no no-hitters in my future, but I think I can count on a few W’s along the way, and a whole lot of No-Decisions.

I love baseball talk! Thanks, Eric!

Get it? The perfect pitch? Baseball picture?
Get it? The perfect pitch? Baseball picture? | Source

A New Series

From Angela: I’m thinking of writing a series of stories about growing up in rural West Virginia in the 1960’s. Do you think anyone would be interested in that type of series? There will be no murders, no juicy love scenes; it will just be a story about life at that time in that place. I’ve been wanting to write it for quite awhile now, but I’m not sure if anyone else will find it interesting.”

Angela, who cares what anyone else thinks?

I’m serious when I say that. You stated that you’ve been wanting to write it for quite some time now, so write it for you. If no one else reads it, oh well! At least you wrote it for you and you scratched that itch.

You mentioned the story would have no murders or love scenes, which is fine, but remember this: if you do want others to find it interesting, there has to be some sort of plot/storyline/antagonist/protagonist. A random story about a random time about a random town needs a spark to propel it, and that is one of those golden rules of writing which is pretty much set in stone.

Best wishes on your project!

Travel Articles

From Steve: “I’m pretty new to all of this, so this question may seem a bit silly, or even redundant. I spent quite a few years in the military, and I’ve traveled pretty much all around the world. I was thinking of writing a series of travel articles. My concern, though, is that there is a glut of travel articles online. Would anyone really find mine interesting or worth reading?”

Well, Steve, it seems to me that the answer to your question is pretty much up to you. In other words, will you make those articles interesting?

I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as a new storyline in fiction, and there are very few new topics in non-fiction. What makes a book interesting, even one which is covering territory covered thousands of times earlier, is the author and the way they tell the story or present the facts.

Guy meets girl, guy dates girl, guy marries girl…that story has been told ad nauseum….and yet we see it told every single year in new novels and in new movies. Interpretation….unique voice….different approach….those things are what differentiate the mundane from the interesting. You want to write travel articles. My advice to you is to find a new, vibrant, unique approach to writing those travel articles. Put your own personal stamp on them. Come from a direction no one else has come from before. See things differently from all the other travel writers. Write about an aspect of traveling no other writer has covered before.

Build a better mousetrap and the world will come to your doorstep! I’m mixing metaphors but I think you get the point.

Find a new way to tell a familiar story
Find a new way to tell a familiar story | Source

And Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Short and sweet! No 1,250 words to appease the HP gods, nothing to designate this as a classic piece of literature . . . just another Mailbag, one of hundreds, and with it the tradition continues.

And I find great satisfaction in that fact.

Have a great week!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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