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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 255

Updated on May 9, 2019

It Finally Happened

I have finally reached the point where I have taken on too much, and the quality of my work is now taking a direct hit. Change is in the wind.

For those of you unaware, besides writing for HP I also have a freelance writing business. I currently spend about twenty-five hours per week writing content for customers. I also am a part-time chicken farmer, and I spend about fifteen hours a week taking care of chickens. Toss in ten hours per week working on farmers market business, and then the usual chores and errands and, well, I’m spread a bit too thin. So I need to make a decision pretty soon and cut back on something.

Change is in the wind, as it is for all of us.

Let’s find out what our questions are for this week, shall we?

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Novel in Past Tense Third Person

From Venkatachari M: “Recently, I have got one question. Is it okay to write the entire novel in the past tense as a third person? I mean that if I am telling the story of a person who is no more to the readers. I may include very few dialogues here and there as conversations between the main character and the other ones.”

Is it okay, Venkatachari M? As far as I’m concerned it is totally all right. If that approach works for you, and for the novel, I believe it is then the right approach.

Listen, you will read many, many articles about “how to write a novel” and “proper technique in writing novels,” but they are all a fair amount of hogwash. What they reflect is that writer’s viewpoint on how to write a novel, but they do not reflect all opinions and viewpoints. A novel is a very personal undertaking, and it should reflect your style at that moment….your novel, your style!

Yes, there are many grammatical rules which I believe are sacred, but not even those grammatical rules are untouchable in the writing of a novel.

Go forth, my friend, and write in any tense or person you choose.

Choose the style that works best for you
Choose the style that works best for you

Inspiration or Mirroring

From Mary: “You have said often that your favorite writer was Harper Lee. I even think you mentioned that your next book will be in honor of Lee, a novel more in her style than anything else you have ever written. What do you mean by that? Aren’t you afraid you will be copying her style and not writing in your own style?”

Great question, Mary, and I can see where the confusion might come from. I admire Harper Lee so much for her simple story technique. She did not go overboard with her embellishments when writing. She was not in love with adverbs. She believed that a compelling story trumps adjectives. She was, in my opinion, a master storyteller, and I would like to try and write a story so compelling that “tricks of the trade” are not needed to tell that story.

Would you like to see how I started that new novel? The introduction is below for your enjoyment...but HP won't let me publish it....sorry about that.

The setting for my new childhood home
The setting for my new childhood home

Uploading Cover

From Mike and Melissa: “I’m paraphrasing their remarks here….”any progress in uploading the book cover for Kindle ebook of “The Magician’s Shadow?”

No progress at all, Mike and Melissa, and I’m starting to feel frustrated. I’m not sure what the problem is, but Kindle will not accept my JPG image of the cover. Everything else is ready to go. The ebook could be published by tonight if I could get over this hurdle.

Damn it!

Stay tuned!

Actually, I could publish it without a cover, right? It’s only an ebook, and people buying it don’t really care if it has a cover or not, right? Maybe I’ll do that.

Time to Go

Not many questions this week, but it goes like that from time to time on the Mailbag. Next week there will probably be too many. The fact that this series has continued for 255 consecutive weeks is remarkable, and far exceeds my expectations; thank you all for the support.

Have a great week!

Change is in the wind!

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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