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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 225

Updated on October 8, 2018

Remembering Back

Random thoughts stop by from time to time, thoughts about what I believe was an easier time to grow up . . . I’m referring to my childhood, of course, in the 50s and 60s. Oh sure, there were many of the same societal issues then as there are today . . . abuse, alcoholism, poverty, prejudice . . . but for whatever reason, and maybe that reason was denial, it just seemed more peaceful then, more straightforward then, and less muddled.

Anyway, I was thinking about that this week as I pondered a seemingly impossible task list. How in the hell was I going to finish everything I had scheduled? What should I do first? What was I going to do if I didn’t complete the to-do list? And I found myself so busy fretting over it all that by Monday mid-morning I had accomplished nothing at all.

That’s when I remembered back to a time with my dad, circa 1965, and I was lamenting one day about the busy week facing me, same questions, same level of fretting, and Dad, in his infinite wisdom and his bull-in-a-china-shop mentality, simply told me: “Bill, what I do know for certain is not a damned thing is going to be done with you sitting on the couch thinking about it. Get off your butt and start in on that list.”

He was correct then and his words of advice are correct now.

Let’s do this!

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

Editing Apps

From Eric: “Bill I am kind of tired having to look up words in a dictionary. My automatic edit, just as here, discount and don't know a danged complicated word. (I do believe that the concept of grammerly (sp) is just plain added to the list of sins) Note please that there is no correction for "grammerly". So what are your thoughts on this? My phone is great in making a quick note to another. I think that is OK in texting, which I do about 1 time a day. (exception when mom gives a honey-do-list) But seriously, do you use such editing mechanics?”

Eric, it’s time for a confession: I use no editing tools at all. I have no editing apps on my phone or computer or wherever. I’m kind of an old-fashioned boy.

What I do have, however, are voices whispering inside my head, the voices of Mister Jahner in Sophomore English, and Sister Mary Elizabeth in 4th Grade. They taught me grammar many years ago, and those lessons stuck with me. I trusted them then and I trust them today, just as I trust an old-fashioned dictionary and an old-fashioned thesaurus.

Just call me a dinosaur!

Seriously, most of the grammar I learned many years ago stuck. There are times, like when someone asked me recently about using “that” and “which,” when I have to do some research for the correct answer, but by and large I remember enough to get by.

This is me while I'm doing one stage of my editing . ..  relaxation helps in editing a novel . . . just let the story happen!
This is me while I'm doing one stage of my editing . .. relaxation helps in editing a novel . . . just let the story happen! | Source

More on Backstory

From Venkatachari M: “I am confused with that backstory question and answer. If it is a narrative story, is there the possibility of some backstory in it? Suppose a story centers around one main character and you tell the story chronologically from birth to death of that character. You will present all those characters involved in his life as and when the situations demand. Do you call the presentation or description of their features or the characteristics and the relationship with the main character as a backstory?”

Venkatachari M, you managed to mention the one time, I know of, when backstory and story merge into one. In the case you are referring to, there is no need to worry about adding backstory. A chronological biography, auto-biography, or chronological novel will, by their very nature, handle all backstory quite nicely.

Nice job of finding a loophole in the general rule.

My Voice, Not Yours . . . What Is Too Much Editing?

From Shannon: “But anyway.... I majorly digress. It's interesting to read the comments about reading. I do love to read. I just try not to be influenced too much by another author's style to the point it stalls me. That's the tricky part of editing, too, when I am not the editor. At what point does it no longer feel like my voice speaking and when is it still my voice but better?”

Shannon, this really is an interesting question, and I’m not sure there is a clear-cut answer to it. I believe you are referring to over-editing, or at least that’s how I read your question and yes, in my opinion, it is quite possible to edit too much and thus lose rhythm, flow, and voice in the process.

My opinion on this, especially with creative writing/ novels/short stories, is that proper grammar is simply an aid and not something that is mandatory. I break grammatical rules all the time in my novels and for the very reason you mention.

Here’s the process I use: I correct glaring grammatical and spelling errors. I then read the story/novel out loud to see if the flow and voice are as desired. I then sleep on it for awhile, and then I return to it once more for a final read-through. After that I turn it over to the literary gods and I’m done with it. Do I miss things by taking that approach? Yes! Is it terribly important to me that I miss some things, or ignore some grammatical errors? No! For me, and this is just me speaking, rhythm, flow, and voice are crucial in good storytelling, so I’m willing to risk the wrath of the writing gods.

I hope that helps!

Just get busy, Bill!  lololololo...words of wisdom from my father!
Just get busy, Bill! lololololo...words of wisdom from my father! | Source

So There You Go, Dad!

One item checked off the to-do list, thank you very much. Now I’ll move on to the next, and then the next, and, well, as Mom would say, “it will all come out in the wash!”

Since it is now Monday when you are reading this, I wish you all a smooth and productive week of writing and of life. Remember, nothing gets done until you take that first step.

Just sayin’

A Glimpse at the Future

How would you like to read a short excerpt from my upcoming novel “The Magician’s Shadow?”

It continued for the better part of two hours. The three supervisors knew nothing, suspected nothing, and had nothing of value to tell us. We told Parsons as much and then asked if we could interview Burt Slocumb, the mechanic involved with Janice Janey. Slocumb joined us five minutes after the request.

He was forty-two according to his employee file, a native of Olympia, born and raised, a graduate of Olympia High School, nothing special about him, pretty average in appearance, short-brown hair, a bit of a beer-belly, pockmarks from a childhood disease. His handshake was weak, his smile weaker when he sat down opposite us.

Before Liz could ask her first question Striker walked across the room, from his guard post at the door, pulled up a chair, sat down opposite Slocumb, pulled out his Desert Eagle, and placed it on the table.

The Desert Eagle is an impressive handgun. It is large and it looks deadly. Four-point-four pounds, a six-inch barrel, it is exactly what it appears to be, a killing machine.

“Burt,” Striker said. “Why are you vandalizing the buses?

Not a sound in the room. No one moved. The only movements were Slocumb’s eyes as they darted from Striker to the Desert Eagle. Back and forth, back and forth, he must have done it five times while sweat broke out on his upper lip.

“Burt,” Striker continued. “I’m not in the habit of repeating myself, but I’m going to do it just this once. Pay attention to me now, Burt. This is your one chance to walk out of this room on two legs, so answer wisely. Why are you vandalizing the buses?”

Plato said that courage is knowing what not to fear. If that is true, I might add that wisdom is knowing what to fear. Slocumb made the right decision. When all that separates you from Striker’s impatience and bad temper are two feet of cheap wood, the only decision possible is to simply fold your hand and toss in your chips.

“I should have gotten a promotion instead of that asshole Barker. They ignored my time and service and went with someone younger. It pissed me off, damn it. I’ve got overdue bills, and my ex is riding my ass about past-due child support,” Slocumb managed to say with trembling lips.

“Life sucks,” Striker said as he stood, picked up his Desert Eagle, tucked it in its holster, and headed for the door. “I’ll meet you two in the car. This guy stinks of fear and I feel like I’m going to gag.”

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      44 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, I did not notice it until you mentioned, but I think I goofed up and skipped #224. lol Seriously, it was a revelation to me. I'm just amazed you caught the omission. A job well-done! And thank you for your raw comments about that book you love/hate. I think many of us feel the same way.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 days ago from Peoria, Arizona

      So, I am a little confused. I have missed this mailbag waiting on 224 to appear. I might have missed something since I don't get notified about your new articles, but I know when they come out. Is there a reason there is not Mailbag 224? I am a bit OCD and it bothers me. I like to read in order and my mind is abuzz with agitation!

      Besides that, your excerpt from the book stole my mind away from the article! I cannot wait to purchase it. Striker is an interesting fellow. I cannot wait for the rest of the story

      Echoing everyone else, your dad is definitely wise. You cannot get anything done if you sit and think about getting it done.

      I like your editing technique. I asked you about it before when I told you I edited my book 17 times whittling it down by 100 pages! I hate that book now.

      I hate it with love, since it is my book. I have no desire to read it anytime soon because I read it so many times editing it. I have not touched the thing since it has gone for sale. I have not even started work on my next book due to fatigue from that editing process. I think to try your process out next time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting use of Grammerly, Liz. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 days ago from UK

      I am convinced that to do lists are longer these days! I confess that I use grammarly on my laptop. I got it on the advice of a fellow hubber to Americanize my writing for Hub Pages. It has the advantage of picking up any typos as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Lori....it helps me as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      We are amazing, Sis.....raising a toast to us both!!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Peg! I appreciate your kind words.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 days ago from Pacific Northwest

      I find reading my work aloud is very helpful in spelling and grammar and flow. I catch so much doing that.

      Love your excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 days ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OH my dear brother.....Same here! Never could I have imagined being this age and still able to pass as at least semi-coherent, half the time! Amazing, aren't we? Must be genetics!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, you crack me up! Oh, the rumors! Will they never cease? We've been hearing the same rumors for decades now, remember? LOL

      Thanks for the birthday wishes...rather remarkable I'm still here, if you ask me.

      love, Bro

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Another wonderful release of the mailbag, Bill, with loads of good questions and helpful responses. I also enjoyed the excerpt from your latest story. Nicely told.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 days ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      "Happy Birthday," Bro.......Looks like we have a secret. I was 70 in April. The way I learned to count, that's 7 months between us......you too? Soooo, we probably should keep this little tidbit of info to ourselves.

      The gossip & speculation could be huge! Love, Sis......:)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank so much, William! Who woulda thunk I'd ever make 70?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Rochelle, that comment from your teacher is a classic. Definitely encouraging, but funny nonetheless. Thanks for the chuckle and for commenting. Peace be with you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, the love flows freely here in the Mail Room. Ain't it cool?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Ziyene, it's always a pleasure. Thanks for stopping by.....and the kind words. Your gal friend is ahead of me. I've never even seen a Desert Eagle. lol

      Peace out? I haven't heard that one in awhile.. Love it! Peace to you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the questions, Rinita! I'll include in the next mai.....I think you'll approve of my answer to you second question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, the quick answer is most definitely yes. My muse never takes a break, my friend...never!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for another great mailbag, Bill, and Happy Birthday, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL, Rajan, we can only hope. Somehow, in my case, I doubt that will happen.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Dora! Like you, I wonder about those editing apps and the times we now live in.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, good luck with your to-do list as well. I, too,enjoy being busy. I'll have a lot of time to rest when I die. :) Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Chitrangada Sharan! Lessons like that one are timeless and apply to everyone, I have found.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Devika! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I think we've all been there, Linda...it was a reminder for me as much as anyone else. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, as always, thank you for your comment. Most definitely, in a case like yours, editing aids would be most helpful and necessary. I'm not there yet but I suspect my time is coming.

      Beautiful fall weather here, sunny and sixty, crisp nights...near perfect for this boy.

      Wishing you peace this week and beyond!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Mary! I'll try not to disappoint you with the new novel.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Verlie...that main character is somewhat of a philosopher...when he isn't killing people, that is.lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I will give it a try next Monday, Zulma! I promise to explain it for any five year old. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It's an interesting thing to ponder, Natalie,the skills we lose because of technology. Many things have becom obsolete and I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing. I love that you fist bump yourself! lol

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 days ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Useful tips on how far to let the editing app interfere in one's natural writing. Dads have always been wiser than us. Maybe, our children will have this to say, about us, years later.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 days ago from California Gold Country

      As I have said before, Bill, I read your mailbag articles but don't always comment-- you have enough to answer.

      This time I couldn't hold back.

      First off, Your dad's advice was spot on, as you already realize.

      Second-- my grammar occasionally needs a little tuning up. I can't believe I graduated from college (with four years of journalism) without learning the difference between its and it's ... a newspaper editor had to teach me.

      I take out my well-worn copy of Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" once in awhile to see if I still remember the basics.

      My 11th grade English teacher wrote (in red) at the top of one of my papers. "Girl, you can write !! ... Now, if you could only spell."

      That was the most encouraging comment I ever got from a teacher, especially because he recognized that spelling is less important than other elements of writing. Since then, my spelling has improved a lot, but I am still grateful for spellcheck aps.... and editors.

      Yes we were blessed to grow up in the 50's-60's.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So fun to come back and see the love for each other and the passion for writing. I grow with you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 days ago from The Caribbean

      I like your answer to "Editing Apps." Sometimes I wonder if the time has come for me to stop writing, when the apps disagree with what I always knew as good grammar.

      Thanks for sharing from your novel. You are very skilled in moving your story along smoothly.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      8 days ago from Ohio

      Definitely needed to hear your dad's advice this week! I've piled so much on my to-do list, thinking that I enjoy being busy and getting things done. I still haven't completely learned that I can't do everything. haha! Solid advice throughout the mailbag... I'm glad I'm not the only one who relies on grammar advice they've learned from important teachers. I also have to look up little nuances from time to time, but mostly get by on that advice from years ago. I hope you have a great week and get your to-do list tackled! :)

    • ziyena profile image

      Ziyena Brazos 

      8 days ago from Somewhere in Time ...

      Hello Bill, long time no see or hear ... Glad to see you're still plugging away. You're right - the sixties - and for me - the seventies, and even dare I say it? - the eighties seemed to be a better time when growing up. Less stress and real face to face life :) By the way - my long time gal friend was a firearms instructor and got to shoot a Desert Eagle with one of her SF buddies in Afghanistan when she was contracting. Caught that in your excerpt ... always a great Hubber. probably the greatest. Peace Out

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      8 days ago

      Isn't it amazing how dads are always right? Haha.

      I have a couple of questions, Bill, appreciate if you could add in a future mailbag

      1. Do you think it is bad to include a little bit of you in whatever you pen down? For example, if I write anything fictional, there is at least one character, not necessarily the protagonist, who shares some of my own characteristics or experiences in life. If you think it is not good, how do you suggest getting over it and not put any part of you in your work?

      2. This is a lighter question. You answer all of our questions, is there anyone who answers yours?

      Thanks a ton!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill your intro made me laugh. I had chores to do and basketball to play if I could get them done. Only 7 I guess. Dad came out and asked me "What the hell are you doing boy just sitting there?" I told him the truth though it may have resulted in a lecture. I was watching the old Pine tree trying to figure out what cone would God make drop next.

      He sat down next to me and made his prediction after some study. "The one most exposed to the winds". Of course he was right and knotted me on the head.

      So mine taught me it was OK to have your head high in the trees waiting for the wind to blow.

      It has made me unproductive my whole life :-)

      So I ask you straight up. When you are doing a chore, even writing for clients, does your mind do a multitask and create an idea. Possibly worth writing about? Probably just a quick answer here would work.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      8 days ago from New Delhi, India

      An absorbing mailbag, with useful questions and answers!

      I loved reading your opening paragraph. How effortlessly, the fathers teach their children, important lessons of life. Even if they are not there, their teachings remain with us, and continue to inspire us.

      Thank You for sharing this inspirational installment!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Isn't that the truth, Bill? Isn't that the truth? lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Don't mess with Striker, Mike! The man is a short fuse. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! I've spent a lifetime trying to be such a wise man.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop! What drives me crazy is the auto-correct on my Iphone. I can never make it happy with my text messages.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Venkatachari M. I'm glad I was able to clarify it for you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, the perfectionist in you will always rail against such mistakes. It's a cross some of us bear for a lifetime. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      9 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Helpful advice from you dad. Thank you for sharing another interesting and informative hub.The skillful thinking indeed!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm afraid I recognize myself in your second paragraph. I've often been in the situation where I have so much to do that I don't know where to start and waste time trying to decide. Thanks for sharing your father's advice, Bill.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      9 days ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, your second paragraph summed up my day. I put my car in the shop this morning. Just when I was wondering how I was going to get it all done today without my car, the shop called and said they couldn't get the parts in for a couple of days, and the car wouldn't be ready until Wednesday. So I just sat down and grinned. I had my excuse.

      Unlike you and Eric, I've decided that editing aids are a must for me. Now y'all know I've been an editor for a sum total of 33 years, but some severe eye problems have dimmed my vision to the point that I have to admit that I need one. I ran a spell check on this book I'm still editing, and I couldn't believe the typos I'd missed. My client turned off the spelling and grammar checker because they "distracted" him. Some of those typos were mine, too. So I'm considering getting grammarly on my computer. I may not agree with suggested changes, but at least it points out alleged errors that I need to check out. My retired English teacher friend uses it herself and recommends it highly.

      Shannon is right. We editors have to be very careful not to inject our personalities into someone's else's writing style (unless like my current client's dry writing, somebody needs to put some personality into it.) It's gonna turn fall on us Wednesday, or so the weatherman says. Have a good week, my friend.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 days ago from Ontario, Canada

      A wise gem from your Dad. I often find myself thinking about the things I need to do rather than just start doing these, one thing at a time. I enjoyed the peek into your new novel. I love those characters, Striker and Slocumb from your previous novel. I look forward to reading this new one.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      9 days ago from Canada

      Wonderful mailbag Bill. I forgot it was Monday! (Holiday here) there too? I love how you quote Plato in your story. You and Saul Bellow would probably get along. Wishing you great success, and satisfaction with your writing! Thanks, and appreciation for remembering and sharing your Dad's wisdom. We all need that push.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      9 days ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Great week for the mailbag. We may not have realized it when we were young, but eventually it dawns on us that our father’s knew what they were talking about. Have a great week.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      9 days ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the sneak peek, Bill. I can't wait for you to publish this.

      'It will all come out in the wash,' I haven't heard that saying for years. I didn't know what it meant then and I don't know what it means now. Can you explain it to me like I'm five, please.

      Have a great week, Bill. And good luck with that list. :D

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      9 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - Happy Monday. Of course your Dad was right, nothing gets done without someone doing it.

      Now, for Striker - Oy Vey.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      9 days ago from london

      Super-excellent piece at the end.

      Your dad was a wise man. Peace bro.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 days ago

      My computer frustrates me. Actually, it is worse than that, it drives crazy. It decides what I am trying to say and it changes my words. It's never right!

      Your excerpt is intriguing, and as always I am hooked!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      9 days ago from Chicago, IL

      Bill - I think it's amazing that you use no editing tools whatsoever - and amazing! I only use spell check on my word processor but my spelling is so bad that I wouldn't even realize much of the time that I'd spelled something wrong and needed to look it up. Of course it has also helped me learn to spell better because often it underlines a word that I am sure is spelled correctly so I have to look it up - to find it is in fact spelled correctly - at which time fist bump myself :) At the same time, I think kids today are growing up with so many aids that they fail to learn some of the most basic skills. This includes spelling and grammar. I don't know for certain that kids must know how to spell properly or how to use grammar correctly if they have technology to provide that for them. Once upon a time I remember needing to memorize a bunch of things that we can now just enter into the phone we carry everywhere. I guess as generations advance, skills that were once necessary aren't any longer and new skills arise to replace them.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Bill, for clearing my doubt regarding the significance of

      a Backstory in the novels. You dittoed and confirmed my earlier opinion with some more clarification.

      I appreciate your father's advice which is the best advice to all of us also.

      I liked that piece from your upcoming novel. Hope it will make some great novel in the near future.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you kindly, Shaloo! You are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Scream they do, Ann! lol

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I thought of you when I added that excerpt. So glad you liked it!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      No, Linda, Dad did not finish high school. He dropped out as a sophomore to make money for his family during the Great Depression.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Early this week, Heidi! Happy Monday to you. As always, your opinions are valuable from a marketing standpoint. Thank you for them and I hope your week is a successful one.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, John! Hopefully I'll have that novel finished sooner rather than later.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      9 days ago from India

      Valuable advice from your dad...and interesting set of ques-ans. The excerpt was the cherry on the cake.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      9 days ago from SW England

      The funny thing is that they do yell sometimes, don't they?!

      Ann

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      9 days ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Great questions and answers as usual, but a special thanks for the sneak peak! I can't wait (well, I can and I will--I'm actually quite a patient person lol).

      Hope you have a wonderful and productive week!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      9 days ago from Texas

      Is it just me or do the mail bags come faster and faster every week?

      Your dad's message to you sounds eerily similar to what I tell my son every morning as he sits and complains about how much he has to do before school. Nice to know it all may click one day. LOL

      So, the question I asked wasn't quite interpreted according to what I was thinking the moment I asked. I had third party editors in mind. they can be quite annoying sometimes. However, I'm glad you answered the way you did. I do tend to over edit my own work and I would never have anything published if I didn't stop. But I read an old article last night that I found typos and other errors in. Ugh. Bugs me to know end! Now I have to remember to go back and edit it yet again because I apparently still missed things.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, my friend, she is whispering non-stop now that I've opened her cell door and allowed her to roam free. Now my concern is she won't be quiet at all. lol Thank you, Ann! You are appreciated.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! It's nice being able to write creatively once again.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      9 days ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you and I have talked with each other about our dads, both cut from the same cloth. A lot of wisdom found in an 8th grade education (perhaps your dad finished high school, but mine did not).

      I installed Grammerly (or whatever it's called) a time ago, but the darned thing doesn't have a very lofty vocabulary, and I'm not referring to cooking terms. It was aggravating to say the least, so I un-installed it.

      You have me wanting more of that story. I hope you have the time to work on it now (and I bet that felt good, didn't it?).

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning! So glad to get to the Mailbag on Monday, and in the morning. Whew!

      Re: Editing Apps. I don't use them either. I liken it to learning music (or anything). If you don't know the fundamental skills, it'll be difficult to become a master. I think that lots of adults are afraid to admit they don't get basic language skills, and afraid to start out at point zero.

      That being said, if you decide to use these apps, use them as a check, not a substitute for genuine skill.

      Re: Voice and Editing. More editing issues! I agree. After editing to make a manuscript readable according to the audience's language standards, leave it alone to preserve the voice.

      Have a great week!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      9 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, your dad was a wise man. I found Venkat's question about backstory interesting too. The excerpt from your novel... very enticing.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      9 days ago from SW England

      I'm with you on the grammar thing. Looks like we had the same teaching! Can't be bothered with Apps either; not enough time in the day!

      And yes, the 50s and 60s did seem like gentler times, though I think it has something to do with being more in touch with the rest of the world and all the awful things happening.

      Your excerpt is tantalising. One small scene so vividly portrayed!

      I'm sure that's yet another success under your belt, bill.

      Have a wicked week with a magical muse whispering in your ear!

      Ann

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 days ago from Sunny Florida

      I enjoyed the teaser and I would like to read the finished product. Your dad was spot on as they say with his advice. oI was told to put one foot in front of the other and get busy. Great advice as always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Flourish! I'm sure my muse has a score of surprises in store for us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I have to learn not to be soooo busy...good luck with that, Bill! lol Happy Monday my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 days ago from USA

      I like that teaser. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the story is like.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      9 days ago from New York, New York

      You weren't kidding as it looks to me like you had a busy, but also a very productive week from the looks of what you shared here. Glad your dad's words came back to help you as I do think he was truly a wise man. That said, wishing you an equally productive and wonderful week ahead now :)

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