ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 245

Updated on February 25, 2019

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

That’s what a mentor once told me: “Bill, don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.”

Now you may disagree with that statement, but for me it holds great truth. For me it’s all small stuff compared to the only thing that really matters . . . love! I can sweat deadlines, and I can sweat an aging computer or an aging body, but at the end of the day, after the tally is taken, the only thing that really matters is did I love and was I loved. If I loved, and if I was loved, then it was one hell of a successful day in the Big Ledger!

Just one man’s opinion. I’m glad I lived long enough to gain some semblance of wisdom.

This is a small Mailbag today, so let’s get it done and then move on to more pressing matters.

The Mail  Room
The Mail Room

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

From Linda: “To prologue or not to prologue? That is the question. Bill, talk to us about the prologue. Dickens wrote the perfect one, and Stephen King pulls it off well. I know what it should NOT be. It isn’t an information dump filled with trivia you somehow couldn’t work into the remainder of the novel. It shouldn’t be “skippable.” The prologue needs to be the opening statement by the defense attorney, the overture to the symphony. Are you a believer? Have you written one? Would you?”

Linda, I am a believer, and I think I’ve written a prologue for each one of my novels other than the first one. For those who are not quite clear on the purpose of a prologue, let me borrow a definition from “Literary Devices”

Generally speaking, the main function of a prologue tells some earlier story, and connects it to the main story. Similarly, it serves as a means to introduce characters of a story, and sheds light on their roles. In its modern sense, a prologue acts as a separate entity, and is not considered part of the current story that a writer ventures to tell.

And now, for an example, allow me to share my prologue from my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.”

I once witnessed a stoning. I was in Iran covering a political story and had just left the Shah’s palace. On my way to the hotel, I noticed a crowd forming in the public square. A woman, dressed in traditional Islamic hijab, was buried to her shoulders, and ten men stood about twenty feet away throwing stones at her. The stones were about the size of a football, or maybe slightly smaller, all with sharp edges. The woman had several cuts on her face by the time I arrived, and the pain was obvious, but she did not cry out. Stone after stone hit her head, and the cuts increased, and as time passed, her skull appeared, and then brain-matter, and her blood flowed down to the dust, turning it red under the scorching sun.

Only an army could have saved her, certainly not a lone outsider to that country and culture, who would only have become a second victim. Any attempt to do so, by me, would have been suicide.

Hundreds watched the spectacle as though it were entertainment, many nibbling on fruits, some drinking from tiny porcelain cups, sustaining their bodies with fluids as the young woman’s fluids mixed with the dirt and her life ebbed.

That shit will stay with you once you see it. That shit will alter the course of your life and put you on a path you never envisioned when you were a youngster playing Kick the Can. It did for me, and my writings today reflect those moments when mankind’s brutality overshadows all advancements made in the past two hundred thousand years.

I am a poet trapped in a prose-writer’s body. I am the long-haired, unwashed, higher-than-a-seagull bong-tokin’ coffee shop muse, staring out over the audience, bongos playing in the background, as I read my latest series of beatnik-inspired tripe.

I am a windmill-tilting, self-righteous sonofabitch, perched precariously on a soapbox hoping the wind does not topple me, and I am the pimple on your ass that no salve can make better.

And then Chapter One begins shortly after that! The prologue has basically set the tone for what is to come . . . we now know a little about Tobias . . . we know how he thinks . . . the mood has been set . . . and then we dive into the story itself.

I hope that answers your question, Linda!

Prologues in novels, for me,  yes!  In novellas, no!
Prologues in novels, for me, yes! In novellas, no!

OUTLINING

From Betty: “Bill, I’ve heard you say in the past that you don’t do outlines when you are writing a novel. I was taught, many years ago, that outlines are almost mandatory when writing a book. I’m wondering how you manage to write a full-length novel without the tedious business of creating an outline first?”

I think, Betty, your question calls for some clarification. I don’t do a formal outline on a piece of paper, but there is an outline in my head. That’s just the way I rock n roll. Most times I see the story in my brain before I start writing, or I at least have a general idea of the storyline before I begin. Call it a virtual outline, if you will, or an e-outline instead of a hard copy. The one thing I often don’t know when I start a novel is how it is going to end. I usually trust my muse to figure that out as I write the novel.

Having said all that, I do write out character biographies before I start, and as I go I write out a timeline so I can keep track of events However, and my apologies to Sister Mary Elizabeth, my 4th Grade teacher, I do not do a formal outline. What can I tell you? It works for me!

Let love grow!
Let love grow!

Let Love Grow

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Let love grow!

I’ll leave you today with the words of my musical muse, Dan Fogelberg:

“I'll bring fires in the winters
You'll send showers in the springs
We'll fly through the falls and summers
With love on our wings.
Through the years as the fire
Starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the
Pages start to yellow
I'll be in love with you.”


My love to you all!

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, my blessings and love are sent to New Zealand. May you all find peace during these troubling times.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Its a week after the terrible events in Christchurch, and I think the one thing that has come out of it is the country is determined to do a whole lot better at 'loving your neighbour'

      I think the prologues in my novels don't have the main characters in, but I like to think they set the tone of what you're going to get.

      Great stuff here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tamara! I hope you are well!

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      Tamara Yancosky Jankowska 

      2 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      I loved your words about “Love”. ♥️ This is a beautiful start to my day! Thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Devika. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy to have you back, Ann. Of course I'm jealous of your travels, but that goes without saying. :) I'm glad you had a raucous time down under.

      All you need is love...indeed, my friend!

      bill

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      No matter what we do the focus of love carries us through any time. Another well-advised hub from and most helpful too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel...I love that King doesn't outline. His explanation is perfect.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great minds think alike, Genna! :) Fogelberg was a rare talent indeed.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's very nice to hear, Jo! Thank you!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 months ago from San Diego California

      I'm with you on the mental outline thing. If I ever wrote a formal outline I would be sick of the project before I started and scrap it.

      Even greats like Stephen King don't outline. His opinion is that there has to be an element of unknown for the writer too that is slowly uncovered, like an archaeologist. On the other hand, writers like JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame spend years meticulously outlining before ever writing a word. Two approaches, both successful.

      On love:. In my dotage I find it less and less important for myself to be loved. The fact that love exists around me makes me happy. Great work.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill. Short, perhaps, but excellent. Your prologue to “Resurrecting Tobias,” was superb, and pulls the reader in. By the way, Fogelberg is a major fav of mine.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 months ago from SW England

      It's great to get back to the mailbag, bill! It focuses the mind after being on holiday, bringing me to sensible and comforting reality.

      My sister and I met some lovely people in Australia, as well as seeing some magnificent scenery and wildlife. It emphasised how important it is to listen to others, learn from them and become all the richer for it. You can of course do that just by walking down the road! All you need is love.

      Happy to be back and thanks for more of your wisdom.

      Have a soul-lifting Saturday, bill!

      Ann

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      2 months ago from Tennessee

      I love that prologue, Bill. Makes me want to go read the book.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! Haven't heard much from you lately. I hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lori! You might just give it a try and see how you like it....you don't have to keep doing it, but it might surprise you too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill! Prologues for non-fiction articles are a bit problematic. I think your approach is the best to take.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good to hear from you again, Gilbert.Thank you sir! I admit, I love prologues, but I also believe they are not for everyone.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Wonderful advice and wisdom! I hope you are having an awesome week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Eman! Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kristen, that's interesting about prologues. Since I probably will never be picked up by an agent, I guess I won't worry too much about it.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I liked hearing about a prologue. I've never given it much thought but I can see where one would go good in one of my stories.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Short but excellent as always, Bill. The prologue question got me to thinking about travel articles. I will usually try to start my hubs with a brief summary of what I am covering before jumping into the meat of the hub. Seems to work for me. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! I in no way follow established rules of writing, but that's really my primary lesson to all writers...do what works for you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Venkatachari M....your support of me is humbling.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I'm with you. On articles I never write a draft. I'll check them once for spelling and then I hit "send." Now novels...those are different, because I'll edit them compulsively, and I guess, technically, my first go-through is a draft of sorts. Maybe I just don't like the word "draft." Just add it to the list of things I don't like. It will get lost in the sheer numbers. lol

      Hugs and love always

      Bro

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nothing warm about us here, MizB....35 and windy, thank you very much. lol Outlining...hate it...hated it sixty years ago..I don't see that changing anytime soon, do you? :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      Thanks for sharing some details of how you work. It's fascinating to read how a writer like yourself works. Having studied English many years ago, I found your comments on and example of a prologue very interesting. Likewise the plotline in your head and the thoughts on characters.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I once did the same thing,so you're not alone in skipping them

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for taking the time to read it, Linda!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! I'm happy you liked my prologue.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, you'll be ready to do it when you're ready to do it! No charge for that advice. lol

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love is certainly in your wings these days Bill. Your prologue really sets the tone. That example explains it clearly. I will now be more conscious of reading the book prologues, not just ignore them as I often do.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your prologue is dramatic, Bill! Thanks for sharing it.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      Bill, I consider the prologue as a tone setting for a novel. Yours is captivating making me want to go for the novel. It is enlightening to learn how writers go about writing a story. Thank you for this interesting mailbag.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      2 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      I like your descriptive example of a prologue, Bill. I think you've justified my own use of it in a fantasy science fiction novel I'm currently working on. Sometimes I outline stories, and sometimes I rely on my creative energy to sense the direction of the wind. I remember Folberg: he was a great recording artist.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 months ago from Texas

      I hadn't intended to try starting with the ending. It just happened that way when I sat down to write......But it's been sort of my baby and I can't seem to convince myself to finish it. I'm afraid it will be a terrible story and I don't want that because it's on a subject that affects a lot of people. Let me put it like this......I started this damn story something like 5 years ago!

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      2 months ago from Egypt

      Don’t sweat the small stuff! I enjoyed reading this mailbag so much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thanks for finding the time, Janine. i know all about getting sidetracked and playing catch up. Have a fantastic week and remember to take some time for yourself.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Heidi. I got Cs in English as well. I was not a nuts and bolts kind of guy.My creativity was screaming for an outlet and all I got from the nuns was outlining and diagramming.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Melissa, for your thoughts on prologues. As for the weather it is mild here; chilly but mild. I could use just one fifty degree day to warm my old bones. :) Have a great week my loyal friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, you actually hit on a problem I face as well with the no outline approach...there are times when I will catch myself making an obvious mistake, like you mentioned.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! I honestly can't tell you how I do it. It's just the way my mind is wired and organized.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Whatever works for you,Flourish! Thank you for sharing your approach. The world needs structured people, me thinks!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I can certainly relate to Tolkien, which isn't a bad person to relate to. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peg! May love and blessings be you constant companions today and always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shannon! I've thought about starting with the ending, but I haven't tried it yet.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I hope today is a good day for you,and those sons call you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Nell! Good luck with that galloping! lol

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, sorry I missed last week's mailbag due to computer issues. As for prologues, most agents/editors prefer not to read them. It's best to start with chapter one. For example in my eco-thriller Venom, I had a prologue in the beginning. But other people told me to ditch it, even from pitch contests, so I've moved it to a flashback scene in chapter 6. It worked better that way. As for outlines, I've been dream-plotting since Nano and don't do outlines much. Like you, I use my head and do some light research and sketching of the plot.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A small but very nice mailbag.

      That Prologue is mind-blowing! I enjoyed it very much. I am going to read your book (kindle version) in the next week.

      The importance of writing a Prologue is clearly portrayed here. Many thanks for it.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Dan Fogelberg's "Longer," is such a pretty song......sweet, touching & calming. The very kind of music I love on lazy days. Thanks for choosing it, Bro.

      About this mailbag....Maybe I should hesitate to admit these things but in my decades of writing, unless I had a wild thought come to mind & needed to jot it down, I have never written a draft.....ever. Is this a terrible thing? When the mood strikes me to write and I (sort of) have a topic/theme in mind, I park myself in front of this contraption and begin to click keys. That's it and it's all I've ever done. Now & then, the finished product isn't what I "thought" I had intended to write about. Most often, I keep it as planned. This must sound crazy. Now that I've disclosed it, it even sounds a bit bizarre to me. Perhaps this is why I'm merely a mediocre writer, floundering around in the dark? Oh well. As I say repeatedly, "I am who I am & do what I do."

      Of course I read it over and over, make corrections, maybe change this or that, add or delete, etc.....and then do my final screening before I publish. Then I just walk away and hope for positive reactions from my readers. I can hear the great authors of history rolling in their graves!

      So, go easy on me bro, it's enough that one member of our family is a Writer Extraordinaire. You write, I'll read, review and ...yes, brag like hell!..........Peace & Love, Sis

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      2 months ago from Beautiful South

      Oh, outlining, I never have gotten the hang of it either. I used to write my paper and then go back and pick out the points and put them in outline form in the order of their importance. I don't think my teachers ever caught on because I consistently got As in English. When I took basic speech in junior college, my instructor asked me if I'd considered writing as a career because my speeches were so well organized, so I guess I didn't need to outline. So, my friend Bill, I guess some of us just got it and some of us don't. Your method sounds like you got it.

      Fifty-five and sunshine here today (and yesterday), but the breeze was cooler than I like when I'm working outside. Hope you have a great warm sunshine all this week, my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      It’s interesting to see how various writers approach their work. I’m a pretty structured person so I usually have things softly scripted.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 months ago from New York, New York

      So sorry I am so late to the party today. I got busy with video editing for my YouTube Channel today and only now playing catch up. But of course, I had to stop in and say hi. Hoping that your day has been a great one so far and also wishing you the best week ahead now :)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Monday!

      Re: Outlining. For me it was 9th grade English that drilled the necessity of outlines. I never really did quite get them perfect... or so my teacher said. Probably why I would get Cs in English those first two years of high school. (Surprising I make my living by writing today.)

      I'm more of a "write first, organize later" type. Though I logically understand the value of an outline, I feel that doing it first forces the creative process. I prefer to think of it as blocks and buckets. Each idea is a block that I throw into a related block bucket. Then, when it's time to put it all together, I organize the blocks in the buckets. Sometimes blocks move from bucket to bucket, too, and buckets might move positions. But I prefer to go with how my mind works.

      Well, it's cold here again this week, but not polar vortex cold. So all good.

      Have a great week!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! How is the weather treating you this week? We just had another dump of snow and a blizzard...BUT, spring is right around the corner, right?!

      I know they aren't always considered appropriate, but I love to read a well-written prologue. It gives me a glimpse into what lies ahead and a good one always leaves me with some questions and wanting to read the rest of the book in hopes of finding the answer.

      Have a great and productive week!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think most writing would require some form of outline, just not always one that needs to be wrtten down.

      I've tried to write them down and the writing just felt too disjointed!

      I also don't do character outlines as I want the characters themselves to tell us what they're like!

      That gets interesting as i can be half way through a piece and a voice inside my head says, "He wouldn't do that, but she would!" Then I have to re-write the whole thing

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      2 months ago from Dubai

      A great mailbag installment, thank you for sharing. Writing with an outline all worked out in your mind is quite the feat. I wonder how you do it!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, thank you for taking my question, and you've let me know that I'm not wasting my time on this notion. I've heard that Tolkien did not outline and often wrote himself into a "(figurative) corner and then he might set his writing aside for weeks or months until he thought of a solution.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Love the message on the short and sweet mailbag, today, Bill. About the outline and the ending of the book, bravo! I like that. It's amazing where the muse will take a writer when allowed to write freely.

      Thanks for the message of love and the information on Prologue. Very powerful one you shared here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday Chitrangada Sharan, and thank you. Wishing you a brilliantly creative week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! I'm so happy you enjoyed the Tobias prologue and the song. I'll be humming it all day long.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 months ago from Texas

      Short and sweet bag this week. I like the opening message! The prologue question is an interesting one. I've done them, but not with everything. With one story that I'm working on, I started at the end as a sort of prologue and then the main story will go full circle back to that point. I don't do a formal outline either. I have a similar system as the one you describe. I've also got a sort of outline that I tend to fill in as I write, or fill in the blanks as I write so that I can. keep track of what I already wrote and connect to the dots to points I already had mapped in my head.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Bill, I heard "Don't sweat the small stuff" years ago, and I agree. Love is the most important thing. Two of my sons don't live near me and for a long time I have said it is a good day when I get to talk to all 3 in the same day.

      Your prologue in Resurrecting Tobias really touched me when I first read it, and its not like you can forget seeing something that horrific.

      Good article and I hope you have a good week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Verlie, about outlines....a useful guide. I wish I had the time to use that guide for my novels, but I have a sense of "time running out," if you get my meaning. :) Thank you always and Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike! I wish I could find about 100,000 more people who love Tobias as much as you did.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 months ago from England

      Great advice as usual Bill. I tend to write 'as I go' too. in fact my characters go off on a tangent all of their own and I have to gallop to keep up with them! lol! I am only on my second full length novel so I will take your ideas on board, thanks

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill and a wonderful week to you!

      Liked your answers to the questions in this mailbag—very helpful.

      Your poem is also nicely expressed. Thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Your priorities are great ones! Love is the answer, the cure-all, and a potion which could heal most of the problems existing in today's world.

      Your prologue in Resurrecting Tobias is a doozy, and that is a sincere compliment. It alone should help the sales of your incredible novel.

      I am very fond of that song you inserted at the end of your post today. Thanks! Enjoy your day today.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, always good to get through Monday morning in writer's mode reading your mailbag, and pretending I don't have to go to work at my real job. The prologue to 'Resurrecting Tobias' is shocking, it must have been very unsettling to visualize, and to write that passage.

      I studied novel writing at University, and the outline was drilled into us, pretty straightforward really, although at the time I thought it was too 'formulaic' to use a pattern, I can see it being useful now as a guide. I still have my notes, just in case...

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hi Bill - In the olden days when a novel might take yeas to complete and there were plots and subplots, an outline was likely a necessary step. Now that 'all us writers' can knock out a finished product in a matter of months the outline, in my opinion, is an antiquated step.

      Not sure why you are not living off the royalties from, “Resurrecting Tobias.”

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop....let's do our part by spreading some today.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      2 months ago

      I agree with your assessment. Without love, there is nothing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, a mother of six is a master at organization....bravo to her and the lessons she passed down. And I'll bet that letter to your older children is a doozy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Older, William, quite possibly, but she will always keep you younger.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Dora! I think that will be a wonderful birthday present for you. Best wishes!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Once again I am over blessed by your writing. I wrote that and then giggled. Can you be "over" blessed?

      Your question and answer on "outlines" touched me. I do outlines about 2 to 4 times a day. I even write on them. Of course I keep 75% to myself. I just outlined a letter to my elder children.

      On my mom's stone it is written "lets get organized" a proper notion indeed especially for a mom of 6+. If we organize our thoughts we learn from it.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Oh yes, Bill - Longer. That was the song my new bride and I danced to 38 years ago. I don't want to say she's my old bride, but she's still around. Thanks for a short but sweet mailbag today.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, happy new week to you! Thanks for the helpful answers to these two great questions. I have set my 70th birthday as the deadline for a book I'm writing. I am thinking of writing the preface last. Thanks for giving me such a clear lesson on what it needs to be.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)