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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 260

Updated on June 10, 2019

Seeing the Truth

I’m busy working on my memoirs, “And the Blind Shall See,” and it’s really a fascinating, liberating, and gratifying process.

When I was a child I did not know what it meant to “see the truth.” I just was. I was experiencing life and just trying to move forward without any major pitfalls. As a teen I suspected there were truths, but I wasn’t completely sure how to discover them. As a young adult I chased after false truths, and some valid, attempting to discern which was which, often with painful results. And now I know the truth and I’m just trying to milk it for all I can in the time I have left.

It’s been one hell of a ride, and it isn’t over yet!

Thanks for being a part of my journey.

Let’s do this thing we call the Mailbag.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

More on Hooks

From Linda: “Good morning Bill. I saw this bit of advice online "Every sentence must do one of two things--reveal character or advance the action." A penny for your thoughts on that.”

I won’t even charge you a penny, Linda. I agree with that statement to about a 99% level, and the only reason I’m not willing to give it a 100% is because full-length novels are impossible to police that closely. Occasionally a throwaway sentence will be inserted which neither reveals character nor advances the action.

Perhaps the truly great fiction writers of the past, and present, were and are able to write 100,000 words without any waste or fluff, but I’m not one of them.

Just call me a rebel without a cause and be done with it.

Now, if you had said “every paragraph,” I would be more willing to say I agree 100%.

More on Hooks

From Flourish: “I enjoyed the discussion about the hook. I wonder if we have hooks in our lives that drive us forward and if so what that would be for each of us?”

Flourish, this might just be the most fascinating question I have ever been asked on the Mailbag, and that’s saying quite a bit. Because I’m writing my memoir at this time, this question really hits home for me. I can see now, with great clarity, certain events and circumstances which “propelled” the action in my own personal story. If I were to ask all of you, right now, to make a list of the five most impactful events in your life, what would you write? I know what mine would be, and I can now see how my life has been shaped by them.

Here’s an excerpt from my memoirs, describing my adopted parents and an event which shaped them:

The Code was the determining factor.

The Code . . .

There can be no understatement when describing the importance of The Great Depression on those who grew up within its grasp. It changed people on an almost molecular level. To lose almost everything you own, to wake up daily not knowing if you were going to eat, to see the world you once knew undergo a complete metamorphosis, to watch loved ones commit suicide, to witness despair in the flesh, to see the darkness inherent in the human species, and to be completely and utterly devoid of hope, those things will chisel your psyche and leave you with permanent scars, the type of which will never fade away.

The Code sprang up out of that experience. There was an almost fanatical need to work, and work hard. There was a wary distrust of authority. There was a willingness to help friends with unquestioned loyalty, and family was sacrosanct. If you believed in the code you treated others with respect, and you were unfailingly polite to others until they proved themselves undeserving of that politeness. You never quit a job, you prayed to the same god in different churches, you had very little faith in financial institutions, and for whatever reason you still clung to the belief that the American Dream was real. President Roosevelt had assured his “children” that fear was crippling and to never allow it. President Truman had showed the world that you didn’t mess with Americans, God bless them all and the red, white, and blue, and President Eisenhower brought the illusion of stability to a nation desperately in need of that stability.

Those Depression survivors were some of the hardest workers I have ever known, some of the most generous I will ever know, and they were card-carrying believers in The Code.

The Code . . .

Always try your best. Never waste an opportunity. Hard work plus determination will get you whatever you want in life. Never, absolutely never, give up ground. Lend a helping hand. Show compassion for those less fortunate. Work hard, play hard, and when your time is up, and the final whistle has blown, leave not one ounce of unused effort on the field of play.

They showed me the way
They showed me the way


From Liz: “What, exactly, do you mean by an e-newsletter?

E-newsletters are publications that are most often developed and distributed by businesses, charitable organizations, societies, clubs and religious bodies. They have also become a popular way for online writers to share thoughts and opinions about specific topics with their friends and followers. Based on topics that interest customers, they are an effective way to maintain contact. Businesses also use newsletters to promote products or services, as do individuals who just want to advance opinions or causes.

Would you like access to some of the e-newsletters available online? Go to Newsletter Access, an online directory of online newsletters available to you. It is organized by topic, so just click on a topic which interests you and you will find e-newsletters for you to browse through.

Would you like to make your own e-newsletter? There are a number of online companies with free templates available, so just go online and type in “e-newsletter templates. Any of those sites can have you publishing an e-newsletter like a champ in a matter of an hour or so.

What’s Happening With Hp Earnings?

From Robert: “Any idea why HP earnings are down?”

None! Zero! Zilch! Nada! Rien! Niente! Intet!

Get the picture?

HP and I have an understanding. They leave me alone and I leave them alone. I used to be critical of HP, but those days are gone. They are what they are, a content site where we are allowed to post our works, for free, to the world, and we are also paid to do that. What we are paid depends on HP algorithms and lots of other technical crap I just don’t understand.

I’m just happy to be here. This is where 90% of my online friends hang out, so it’s like a secret clubhouse or something similar. I’m still waiting for someone to teach me the secret handshake, but I’m sure that will happen soon.

Seriously, Robert, I don’t know. I’m sure they will increase in the next few months. There have been fluctuations to HP earnings for as long as I’ve been here.

The Truth

Do you know what the “truth” is that I referred to at the opening of this Mailbag? Share with me in the comments section what you think it might be. Let’s find out just how well you know me. It should be obvious for anyone who has read my works over the months and years.

Have a fantastic week! Make it count! Time is a’wastin’!

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

My truth!
My truth!

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