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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 295

Updated on February 10, 2020

The Inspirations Just Keep Pouring In

Up north about fifty miles, in an area of our state quite prone to flooding, where the rains meet the snowpack, and the melting snow meets the creeks, streams, and rivers, there are towns under water. A picture on the local news a couple days ago showed town people getting around by kayak and rowboats. Strange site, that; not particularly funny for those people, but fodder for any writer for sure.

I write fiction but I swear, no matter what creative story I come up with, it is pretty much overshadowed by real things I’ve seen during my lifetime. If you stick around for seventy-one years, like I have, there is no shortage of inspiration.

Still my favorite sight . . .when I was about ten my dad took me to a minor league baseball game. We bought our tickets and walked into the stadium, and in the main aisle there was a man walking a potbelly pig on a leash . . . and the pig had a pink dress on. It was so strange, so out of character with the whole scene, that it has stayed in my memory banks for sixty years now. My dad and I laughed for years over that encounter.

Keep your eyes open. It will happen to you as well.

It’s time for the mail!

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Where Are the Commas?

From Zulma: “ I've been rereading some old articles about writing this past week and noticed an odd trend: the dash replacing the comma. Ex: However--as you may know--it was inevitable.

“I'm not sure if this was because the style of the article was meant to sound like you’re talking to a friend, but I found it off-putting and mentally replaced it with a comma. I usually only use the dash in dialogue when the speaker is being cut off by another character.

“Thoughts?”

Did you know, Zulma, that a dash is actually called an em dash? I didn’t know it until I started doing some research for this question, and I still don’t know why it is called that. How did I miss out on that piece of grammatical trivia?

An em dash and commas are both used for the same purpose. The difference, I am told, is that the em dash is used when you want more emphasis.

So sayeth the Grammatical Gods of the Internet.

I had no idea!

How Do You Begin a Novel?

From Sandy: I just read your novel “Resurrecting Tobias,” and that introduction about the stoning to death of a woman blew me away. How does that happen? How do you come up with ideas like that to start off a novel? I had no idea what the story line would be, but I was hooked from the first page.”

Well thank you so much, Sandy! That particular introduction was born from the knowledge that my main character, Tobias, would end up being a journalist. I thought about things that journalists see while on the job, things which are shocking and meaningful and so beyond the scope of what normal people witness . . . and that introduction was born.

On all introductions I try to think of a scene which relates to the plot and is captivating/shocking/unforgettable. I am a firm believer in the Ten Second Rule. If I have failed to grab the reader’s attention in ten seconds, I most likely will lose that reader. That concept comes from the fact that most people shopping for a novel will decide based upon either the jacket summary or the first page, so I make sure my first page is a whopper!

Start with a bang!
Start with a bang!

Making the Time

From Ann: “I think if I want to write that novel, or memoir, I shall have to lock myself away for weeks and even then I couldn't stay away from everyone all that time! What does it take to be of strong will to write a good portion each day and not lose friends or loved ones?!! I know we have to make them understand and I know it's setting a routine but I just can't do it with all the other stuff. Maybe I should just take an away break alone. Any thoughts?”

I can only answer for myself, Ann. Writing is vitally important to me. It is almost an obsession. I don’t have a ton of friends. I have very few relatives. I would much rather write than interact with people, and I know how odd that sounds. You, on the other hand, are much more “normal” than I am. LOL And I mean that as a positive for you. You have other interests. You have grandchildren to pamper and spoil. You have traveling you want to do. I have no desire to travel.

I think we are just two different people with two different agendas. I suspect the only way you will be able to do what I do is if someone else locked you in a room with a computer and did not allow you out to become “distracted” by loved one and desires.

Anything New on Hp?

From Carol: “I had mentioned I am thinking about writing again for Hubpages. Gotta figure out the navigations...anything new I should know... The mail box #294. where has the time gone?? Hope all is wonderful in Olympia..It is a great city because my husband was born there.”

Carol, welcome back! You have been missed by little old me.

Anything new on HP you should know? I’m the wrong person to ask. HP and I have an agreement: I completely ignore their desires and recommendations, and they in turn leave me alone to do my non-profitable thing. Lol

I’ll tell you what works for me: 1250 words, three photos, and two videos. I rarely stray from that formula. It seems to satisfy HP’s minimum requirements, and I’m so accustomed to doing it that it is no problem for me at all.

I can tell you that HP conducts edits on our writings much more now than in the past. They will just randomly change your article if they deem it necessary to do so. That is something they never did in the past, but they sure love to do it now. It doesn’t much bother me, but it sure bothers a lot of writers on HP, so be aware of it. Your writings on HP are not really your writings, so you need to get comfortable with that fact.

Again, welcome back!

Inspiration?
Inspiration?

Pigs and Other Inspirations

I also once passed by a tree in New Iberia Parish, Louisiana, that the locals called “the hanging tree.” You can imagine how that tree earned that name.

Inspiration is all around us. Open your eyes, clear your mind, and allow it to spread over you like your favorite comforter. It really is a wonderful feeling, snuggling with you muse.

A short one today, so I will bid you farewell until next week. Thank you for stopping by. If you have a question, drop it in the comment section below, or email it to me at holland1145@yahoo.com. And if you would like to hire me as a writing coach, I guarantee you won’t find a better price, so email me and let’s get started.

And please, remember, to do all things with love!

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Richard!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Not dumb...just send me a copy through email...send to holland1145@yahoo.com

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      7 days ago from Texas

      Bill

      Well, I went ahead and posted the article. Please feel free to check out and give a brutally honest review. Any suggestions and criticism will be taken as genuine, honest help for the next attempt at improve my writing skills.

      Thanks very much for taking the time.

      Richard

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      8 days ago from Texas

      Bill,

      I'm sure this sounds dumb, but how do I send you my article through HubPages or personally?

      Regarding the probation; that wasn't the right term, but my understanding was that you must submit 5 articles ("Boot Camp") to be sure the quality is up to standards before they'll let you publish.

      Richard

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      The weather sucks right now, Zulma, but thanks for the well-wishes. Better days ahead, as you say. Until then I have no shortage of indoor projects. Unfortunately, Netflix has some great shows I want to see. lol

      Happy Weekend my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't think so, Richard. Why probation? I didn't even know they did that? Well, send it to me and I'll take a look at it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Dora, but one of the readers gets the credit for this one. I was in the dark until I looked it up.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for that, Rochelle! I'm wondering how I made it this long without knowing that. lol I must have been daydreaming in class that day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Devika! Enjoy your weekend!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      8 days ago from United Kingdom

      Just keeping you on your toes, Bill. Your welcome. ( Oh, I'm such a devil. lol)

      We're due another storm today. Many areas up north are still cleaning up from last week's flooding while at the same time battening down the hatches. February can be a real b****, no doubt. But I look at it as a test of our tenacity. It's Mother Nature's final hurdle. If we can just hang on for a couple more weeks She will reward us with the rebirth and renewal that is Spring. I can't wait.

      At any rate, enjoy your weekend, Bill. Hope the weather is treating you well.

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      8 days ago from Texas

      Bill,

      So I have finished my article and would really like for you to take a look. I'm thinking it needs a lot of polish. My question is that, from what I have read, it looks like I'm sort of on probation (if that's the right word) with HubPages. Will a bad article penalize me as I'm trying to get through 'boot camp'?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 days ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for everything, but especially the video on on the M and N dash. I've been using the M dash occasionally, but I had my own idea about it. I never even thought of researching its purpose. You're really devoted to your teaching profession.Thanks.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 days ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for continuing your helpful advice. I always enjoy the mailbag. (By the way my dad was a printer and typesetter, so I know that the em and en are printer. measurements. The M is wider than the N: the em dash is wider than the en dash.)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      9 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill you answered all questions as one would expect as you keep us entertained with all information in concerns of a writer. Everything a writer does require time

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Duh! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Anything to get started, Richard. The standard is usually 1250 words, three photos, and two videos, but don't worry about that right now. Just post something..let me know when you do..and I'll take a look at it and give you pointers.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's what I get for rushing...Monday...sigh!

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      9 days ago from Texas

      BTW, I like your comment "the mailbag for this Money is already filled up". Does that mean you mailbag is so full of money that it won't hold any more? HA

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      9 days ago from Texas

      BTW, I like your comment "the mailbag for this Money is already filled up". Does that mean you mailbag is so full of money that it won't hold any more? HA

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      9 days ago from Texas

      Thanks,

      I do a lot of remodeling and handyman work and since I'm most familiar with that, I think I'll try and post a few projects with pictures and descriptions. Maybe when I get the hang of that, I'll 'stretch my wings' a bit. I have some misgivings for this type of post since it's mostly just descriptive writing and certainly doesn't require any deep thinking. Any suggestions and guidance you can give me is really appreciated.

      Thanks again

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Richard, the Mailbag for this Money is already filled up, but I'll include this in the Mailbag coming out February 24th. In the meantime, if you have a specific question so you can get started writing your first Hub, email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and I'll answer it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I got it, Zulma!!!!! Thanks for the not-so-subtle suggestion!!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I got it, Heidi ,I loved it, and thank you very much.

      Happy Valentine's Day to you and Happy Weekend to us all.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      9 days ago from United Kingdom

      'Travels with Maggie'. 'Travels with Maggie'. 'Travels with Maggie'.

      And Toby too, of course. :D

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 days ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Thursday? Okay, it's been a few weird weeks. Anyway...

      Just wanted to let you know I finished reading your memoir. I submitted a review via my Kindle, but it's not showing. So I tried to resubmit and it says "your review already exists." Oh, yeah? Where? Maybe it's just taking a while. So we'll hope to see it posting soon. It's a 5-star. And I also suggested that we'd love to see a "Travels with Maggie" book. No pressure.

      Hope you had a great week! Happy Valentine's Day!

    • Richard Hampton profile image

      Richard 

      10 days ago from Texas

      Bill, I’m brand new to writing and I’m quite intimidated, not knowing just how to ‘kick start’ this endeavor. I’m still trying to figure out Hub Pages. I signed up using my laptop with Microsoft OS and thought Hub Pages was about the poorest looking website I’d ever seen. Since then I’ve started using an iPad and what a difference! Why is that?

      There was the mention of mail boxes in HP. Should I have that as well?

      Thanks for any help you have for a novice. Really love you writings.

      Richard

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Shaloo, I badly want to do podcasts, but so far I haven't found the time to write and do podcasts. Thanks for the thought.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dipali!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no patience, Zulma, for those who don't want to put in the time to do things correctly.

      End of rant!

      Happy Thursday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad we could be of assistance to you, Lori!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, MizB! You and me both! I'm way too old-fashioned to change my opinion on this.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I actually have had that happen, Fellow Hubber. There was a young woman awhile back . .. well, how about I tackle this in the next Mailbag so everyone can learn from it? Thanks for the question.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      10 days ago from India

      Another great mailbag. Have you ever considered podcast or YouTube channel?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Lori!

    • Dipali Ingle profile image

      Dipali Ingle 

      10 days ago from Nandura

      Very useful article

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      10 days ago from Pacific Northwest

      By the way Bill, enjoying your memoir.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      10 days ago from United Kingdom

      If you plan it, they will come. Maybe build a baseball diamond too.

      Of course, it's hard to maintain standards, but it's the foundation that makes betterment possible. How can we hope to advance and improve ourselves if we have no basis for comparison?

      Don't mind me, Bill. It just irks me when I see people waste their potential by taking the easy way out.

      Enjoy your day.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      10 days ago from Pacific Northwest

      Stopping by to say hello. Never heard of an emdash so I learned something new.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      10 days ago from Beautiful South

      My 2 cents worth on writing standards: Go back and read some old documents, stories or poems of 300 to 600 years ago, and I think you'll agree that there is an advantage to holding to some writing standards. I still have arguments with our friend Elijah who wants to interpret the Constitution using modern English. LOL But I do cringe when I see Merriam Webster adding all this bastardization of English to their dictionary.

    • profile image

      Fellow Hubber 

      10 days ago

      Legitimate question. Have you ever had a follower with maybe low social skills who leaves too many comments because let's face it they take effort to respond to and they try to teach or inform you as an authority on any toic you wrote on? I log on and at any time will have 15 comments. Sadly, 8 will be very long comments from this one person. I want to roll my eyes every time I see their name. It also makes me not want to log on or respond to anyone. What would Bill do (WWBD?)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for weighing in, Ann! I think I'm starting to sound old, but at what point do we say "enough is enough" about standards. We can't just drop them all because it is easier to do so.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 days ago from SW England

      That's exactly it, bill. There are times when writing needs to keep to long-held standards. That's not being old-fashioned, it's making the difference between so many nuances. You put it much better than that though!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rochelle and blessings to you always.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      11 days ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Hi Sir Billy I'm happy to read about the memory you had with your father :) Congratulations on your new line of work! I'm certain that you are a fantastic inspiring teacher :) Thank you for sharing tips and experiences :) Take care and may God bless you !

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita my friend and again, wishing you a Happy Birthday filled with love and blessings.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I wonder how many would come, Zulma, if I actually planned one about a year in advance? Something to think about for sure.

      Happy Wednesday to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, regarding grammar, I do think it is changing in subtle ways because society is getting younger. I think social media is a huge influence, and I'm not sure how I feel about all that. Just because something is easier to do doesn't make it the new standard, does it????

      Wishing you a hellacious Hump Day, Ann!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you do well with your travel writing, Bill, but I also think we could all improve.

      Thanks a bunch and Happy Hump Day to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's an interesting question about creativity, Liz. Hopefully I can give you an interesting answer next week. And I do think grammar is changing with the times. Not sure how I feel about that. I'm a bit old-fashioned.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It's just second nature for me,Eric, unless I'm having a senior moment and forget what I was supposed to do next. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you found it helpful, Hari! Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      11 days ago from london

      Yes Bill, that is so, about the em dash, it adds a little more value and emphasis to the piece, while the comma flows gentler, like a stream.

      I chuckle to your answer to Ann. I'm sure she'll agree that it fits.

      Overall another great mailbag and with another 'crest' of the journey in site. Way to go!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 days ago from United Kingdom

      A writers' retreat in your beautiful neck of the woods sounds ideal. Surrounded by so much inspiring scenery couldn't fail to spark the imagination.

      Have a great weekend, Bill.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 days ago from SW England

      Great opener regarding inspiration!

      That's a good take on my question, bill, and thanks for answering. Yes, we are all different and that's a good thing of course. I tend to do a rush of writing and then not much for a while and that seems to work most of the time. I shouldn't worry about the time issue as I have no deadlines.

      You made me smile at the thought of someone locking me away in a room. I can think of a few who would be tempted! As for me being anywhere near 'normal', well...... Many would dispute that!

      For me, a dash or hyphen is to indicate a pause, maybe for effect or to slow the pace or as an aside. I have never heard of an em dash either! I wonder if people make up these things to 'modernise' grammar. To me, grammar is the basis of writing and remains pretty well fixed in stone, apart from getting rid of really archaic stuff occasionally.

      A tough, though fun, few days with 3 grandchildren, including the youngest who has more energy than I knew existed and doesn't sleep enough so I'm going home today to sleep for a week!

      Have a great week, bill, and enjoy your peace and quiet!

      Ann

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      12 days ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. What a sight that must have been? A potbelly pig in a pink dress, interesting. I totally agree with the ten second rule and I think it definitely applies to travel writing also. Probably something I need to work on. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Time really flies, Nikki, when you are 75! lol Thanks my young friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dipali! I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny about NYC, Zulma. True words, my friend.

      A big dream of mine is to run a writer's retreat out in the country. Have workshops every month or so, a weekend long....that would be heaven for me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Truth, Mel! I used to love going to the Tacoma Giants baseball game. It was always a unique experience.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Becky, I'll be laughing the rest of the day about the plane on the road. Truth is stranger than fiction quite often. Thanks for sharing that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, I've never heard of that book or movie, but now you've got me seriously curious. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      12 days ago from UK

      Thanks for sharing about inspiration. How much of your creativity in terms of plots comes from events you have come across in life and in the news and how much would you say is just off the top of your head and from your imagination? It's a fascinating exercise to analyse how a creative writer works.

      It seems like grammar is constantly changing. I wonder how much influence the digital age has had on it. I suspect quite a lot.

      Time is a precious commodity that seems to be getting in short supply.

      I was interested to read about the changes on HubPages. I assumed that the editors had always been this active.

      I hope you have a good week, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Well there you go, Randy! Will wonders never cease? lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, what I think is there is a lot I don't understand or know about dashes. lol A motorboat going down the streets of Lubbock rates high on the strange list for sure.

      It's not raining here right now...shhh...don't jinx us!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Brian, but I expect nothing less from you.Thanks for sharing your experience and suggestions, my friend. Valuable always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Meg! I'm going to look that up right now. Thanks in advance!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You are a kick, Alyssa! Same attitude about HP that I have. I leave them alone to do their thing, and I get a free platform. I'm not so invested in my articles that I really care what they do. lol

      Happy Tuesday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know, Denise. I think what you described happens quite often but is rarely talked about. I don't think you would have to spice it up at all to make it relevant to quite a few women. I hope you write it if for no other reason than to raise awareness.

      Blessings always...thanks for sharing such a personal journey.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting question, Ruby! I'll do some research and have an answer for you next week. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Good question, Kari, and hopefully I'll have a good answer for you next Monday. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Once in a lifetime experience, Linda. I have never seen a pig on a leash since.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's interesting and funny, Verlie. The curse of the small town.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I truly do appreciate it William. Thanks so much for the support and kindness.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the effort and thought, Mr. Happy! Better luck next time for both of us.

      Blessings

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pamela. I'm relieved to hear my approach is working for you.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I follow the formula of 3 photos 2 videos and 1250 words. Now that is just old habit after it was "suggested". A discipline turned into a habit.

      Consistency is your middle name. Do you still work at that or is it like a free flow. And if so how long did it take you to reach that point.

      Of course this has to do with time set aside for novel writing also.

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 

      12 days ago from Bangalore

      Thanks for the series bill. "250 words, three photos, and two videos" is my take away from this hub. :-)

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      12 days ago from London

      295# installment, wow, time flies so fast. Thanks for entertaining us each Monday, Bill.

      Blessings to you and Bev!

    • Dipali Ingle profile image

      Dipali Ingle 

      12 days ago from Nandura

      Knowledgeable n attractive...

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      12 days ago from United Kingdom

      A pig in a pink dress? Bill, I'm from NYC, this is just another Tuesday for me. lol

      Thanks for the grammar lesson. I can understand using the em dash for emphasis, it makes sense as it does catch your notice. I personally felt it was overused in these articles and thus lost its effectiveness.

      Storm Ciara has passed and people, especially up North, are trying to pick up the pieces. Those who had been evacuated due to flooding are returning home, shops doing business while the cleanup, and one guest house that had an entire section fall into the sea when the foundation gave way, well, I imagine the owner if furiously filling out insurance forms as we speak.

      As Brian Leekley mentioned, there are writers' groups that one can escape to and be with other like-minded people. There even writers' weekends where one can work on their magnum opus. The ones I've looked at are located in some beautiful areas where inspiration abounds. They even have workshops for those in need of a tune-up.

      Good mailbag this week, Bill. You have a good one.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      12 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I won't be able to forget about the pig in a pink dress now that you've mentioned it! A pig on a leash would be interesting to see, but the addition of a dress would make it a very curious sight.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      12 days ago from San Diego California

      Nothing like minor league baseball. A now deceased buddy and I used to have a great time watching the old triple-A Phoenix Giants on the cheap, back before the major league D-backs moved in. You would never see a pot-bellied big in a pink dress at a big league ballgame. They would lock you up like a terrorist if you tried a stunt like that. Oh where has the simplicity and innocence gone?

      Fantastic work.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      12 days ago from Hereford, AZ

      My most unusual experiences all involved one little bittie town in the middle of nowhere. I had a bunch of relatives living there, and when we went to visit them, something strange always happened. Once, we got run off the road by an airplane. The Air Force had forced it down, because they were running drugs. They were towing it into the Air Force base in Fallon, NV, when we went to visit my dads brother and sisters. It was so wide that even with them going as far over as they could, we had to go off the road to avoid hitting it.

      A couple of months later, we went again. That time, we were escorted out of town by the police. Four motor homes and campers, with very respectable middle aged couples and some of their children. We got escorted to a wide spot to park the motor homes and camp for the weekend. We were there for a celebration that they had every year. There was always a logical reason for those strange occurrences.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      12 days ago from Toronto, Canada

      "in the main aisle there was a man walking a potbelly pig on a leash . . . and the pig had a pink dress on" - Haha!! At first I thought: it's gotta be a late 60s acid trip that somehow got mixed in the timeline. Then, I remembered "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (a book which changed my life like not many others did), the scene at the bar when Raul Duke says casually to his lawyer: "There's two women fucking a polar bear". To which he responds, while twitching from the amount of drugs they were on: "Don't tell me those things. Not now man."

      Haha!! What a brilliant book that was. Here's the 10 second clip from the movie, which does the book some justice just because Benicio Del Toro and Jonny Depp were so amazing in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv-6Ci-trbE

      Alrighty, I'm gonna let You be and forget all the crazy stuff I wrote earlier, which vanished. You know, that's probably why it vanished. Haha!!

      Cheers!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      12 days ago from Southern Georgia

      I've been using the em dash for over a decade, and didn't realize it had a name. LOL!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      12 days ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I was going to mention the en dash, but I see that Brian beat me to it. Something about the em dash or long dash, as some people call it – I've noticed that some writers are replacing it with ellipses, which I don’t like at all. To me the ellipses should be reserved for their primary purpose, to replace text left out. I’m a fan of the em dash in creative writing for emphasis, not the ellipse. What do you think?

      Strange things we see are fun to write about. Even stranger than a boat going down a flooded city street in Washington or in Arkansas – is a motorboat going down a city street in the West Texas desert. Wouldn’t you agree? Lubbock, at least when I lived there had no drainage sewers, and a rare deluge caused a real flood. The daily newspaper carried a photo of a ski rig traveling down 36th Street in Lubbock.

      Speaking of which, we are due a week more of rain. Oh joy! Let’s do our best to stay dry, my friend.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      12 days ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      There is also an en dash. See "Hyphens, En Dashes, and Em Dashes: When to Use Them and How to Type Them" at the Get It Write website.

      One of the ways that those whose living situation makes it difficult to find time and space to focus on writing solve that problem is by joining a writing group whose only purpose is to give each other an excuse and chance to write. At a meeting, conversation is kept to a minimum and the only agenda is for everyone to work on their own on their current work in progress. In past years, I've been to such a meeting a few times, when I've been attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge. Being with colleagues intent upon writing is inspiring. And "I have a meeting today" is an excuse for not socializing with friends and relations for a scheduled chunk of time. I've noticed that Meetup has "Shut Up and Write" groups in many localities.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      12 days ago from Northern Ireland

      Years ago, I was writing a novel on my first ever computer and I was also doing a part time research degree with the Open University. Some papers were required for the University degree but guess what got the attention? Yes, the novel. This is called structured procrastination. You get work done, if it is NOT the work you should be doing at that moment! Search online for structured procrastination, it's a domain name. Very funny and very true.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      13 days ago from Canada

      Hi Bill, thanks! I was named after my Mom's best friend. It has no actual origin that I know of. Although my English prof in University told me it was a British stage name at the turn of the century. A made-up name I think. Not too many around. And it's really hard to say on the phone. In my small town, if 'Verlie' did it, it was me. Can't run, can't hide.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      295, but who's counting? That's quite impressive, Bill. To turn out important information week after week as you do is incredible. I'm sure glad you're here.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      13 days ago from Ohio

      Another great edition! I had to laugh at your interesting experience.. I have a handful of similar situations that stick out in my mind as well. As for grammar issues, I've been reprimanded for using too many commas and exclamation points.. it seems that some people just aren't as excited about life as myself. haha! I just laugh and carry on. Same for the edits.. Every week my inbox is flooded with an email from HP telling me that the editors are doing their thing with my articles. I get a good chuckle from the follow ups -- Congratulations! You're article ... meets the standards for whatever niche site. Like, yeah, of course it does.. haha! It is what it is. I figure, HP lets me write and publish my content for free, and sometimes gives me a little money for it. What's to complain about? I have my blog for everything else. Have a wonderful week!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      13 days ago from Fresno CA

      I do understand what you mean. I'm a loner myself. I'd rather be snuggled with a book than a grandchild (I'm sure that makes me a bad grandma so don't tell anyone). However, I've never tackled anything longer than a HubPage or my children's books to write. I'd rather be painting anyway. Maybe someday I'll tackle a memoir but I don't find my life as pathos-packed as yours. I'm about 7 years your junior so I missed the flower-children. I didn't get to go off to a major university and my parents loved me. It wasn't till I married that things went sideways. I marred one of those wife-beaters you always hear about but never expect to marry yourself. That only lasted 4 years till I got some self-esteem and decided I didn't deserve that and left. Not too exciting really. To make a good read I'd have to spice it up some with fiction.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      13 days ago from Southern Illinois

      I have a question. I wrote my last article and a notice came up telling me that I hadn't written a summary, so I wrote one, but it wasn't there when I published the article. Did I miss a step? What do you click after writing the summery? Thanks for all you do for we Hubbers.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      13 days ago from Ohio

      I love when we experience surreal things. The unexpectedness of seeing a pig dressed in pink at a ballgame would have made me laugh with wonder.

      All this talk of dashes has me wondering. What is the correct way to place a dash between two words? Do you leave a space before and after? Or, just put word-word? (BTW Zulma, I agree the practice is just odd.)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      13 days ago from Toronto, Canada

      Well, I managed to fumble with my keyboard and with the different windows being opened and I erased my entire comment. Haha!! I was at t he bloody end to!!! Haha!! Sigh ...

      I'm done. I honestly don't have the time right now lol What a donkey move on my part.

      Gonna pass by later. Haha!! I never cease to amaze myself.

      You have yourself a good one and thanks for the piece of writing. Cheers!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 days ago from Sunny Florida

      A pig in a pink dress is funny and I see why that vision lasted over the years, Bill. I hate to hear about the flooding as I know it is sure tough for the people that live there.

      HP has not been changing my articles as often lately. I don't know why as they drove me a little nuts for a while. I have quit putting any caption over the pictures because I read HP was changing some articles. I use the 2 videos and 3 pictures with each article as well. Your method works well for me.

      Have a good week, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Snuggling, Verlie, and Happy Monday! What is the origin of the name Verlie? I've always meant to ask you that. Or did I already?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry I confused you, Eric. LOL I will never forget that damned pig.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Peggy! Stay dry and safe. They tell me that spring isn't far away.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, yesterday was pretty nice, yes? and today? I am planning on a lot of outdoor chores today, so the weatherman better not be fibbing.

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