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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #301

Updated on March 23, 2020

The New Reality

Welcome back to The Writer’s Mailbag. Strange times are upon us, for sure, times which desperately call for writers, poets, and artists to step up and provide a distraction from the daily bombardment of negativity found online and in the media.

We are all counting on you!

I am counting on you!

These are times when storytellers serve such a wonderful purpose. These are times when poets can lighten a dark heart. These are times when artists can create beautiful worlds on canvas.

The world needs us! That is not hyperbole. It is a truth!

I hope you all take it to heart.

Now let’s do this Mailbag thing we have all come to love.

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

More on Filler

From Bill: “On the first question, my issue has always been to hold back on 'filler' and description. Let the reader fill that it in their own way. Perhaps this comes from an academic writing background, where every word had to be justified in order to be included. But, actually, is that not exactly what you suggested... description should move the story forward... Thanks, again, for everything you do!! ;-)”

Bill, I hear this often from writers who have an academic background. It is very hard to break that habit, a habit best summarized on the old television show Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am!”

We walk a tightrope with regards to filler and descriptions and dialogue. We need just enough to properly paint a picture and, as you mentioned, to move the story forward; any more than that and we risk bogging the story down in a quagmire of inessentials.

What is too much with regards to filler and description? That’s something we learn with time and practice. Awareness is a good starting point. It will grow from there.

Celebrating Milestones

From Mary: “Congratulations on completing your 300th mailbag. Wow! You're right, it's as much about the community as it is about writing. Do you celebrate your milestones or accomplishments in a special way?”

I don’t, Mary, and that is part of my upbringing. My parents were big on not drawing attention to themselves and never, ever bragging about their accomplishments or good fortune. I’ve remembered that lesson throughout my life.

Besides, my expectations and goals are pretty lofty, so in my mind I never really do anything worth celebrating. I know, I know, lighten up, Bill!

I’m working on it, Mary!

Show Vs Telling

From Tyler: “I’ve heard you say before that a creative writers mush show instead of tell. I think I get it, but could you explain that in a little more detail?”

You bet I can, Tyler, and thanks for asking this question. This is a fundamental of good creative writing, one which most writers need work on. It is also one reason why I despise adverbs so much.

Let me show you by example. First, an excerpt which illustrates telling:

What’s that?” Jake asked curiously.

Nothing,” Kate said, acting suspicious.

It has to be something!” Jake was getting frustrated.

And now the same “scene,” showing rather than telling:

What’s that?” Jake asked, leaning sideways to peek behind her back.

Kate twisted her body, hiding the package behind it, and took a step back. “Nothing,” she said.

It has to be something!” He stomped his foot and crossed his arms across his chest.

Does that make sense to you? To put it another way, summary is telling while scenes are showing.

I recently wrote my memoir, “And the Blind Shall See.” I had to constantly remind myself that a strict recitation of my life would be boring. It would be nothing more than a summary. What that memoir needed was to show the readers my life. I had to bring the past to life and not just recite it.

One more example to drive home this point:

Telling

Grandma baked a pie.

Showing

The cinnamon apple pie cooled on the kitchen window sill, the golden crust glistened, and the sweet smell surrounded Grandma’s house as we ran through the front door.

I hope that helps!

Next question?

To a writer, this is more than a woman looking at a vista.
To a writer, this is more than a woman looking at a vista.

Teaching Creativity

From Martha: “Is it possible to teach creativity in writing? I thought creative people are just born creative?

Martha, I firmly believe you can teach creativity.

I’m reminded of a friend of mine, Audrey Hunt, who teaches singing. She is known worldwide for her teaching prowess and has had some rather famous students. Audrey says that anyone can be taught to sing, that they simply need the proper instruction. I believe her, and I also believe anyone can be taught to write creatively.

There are many ways to do it. I want to expand the student’s view of the world. If a student of mine says “the red car passed by quickly,” I point out that there are many shades of red, and there are many ways of describing red, as in “blood red,” or “ruby red,” or “flaming geyser red.” And that word “quickly” drives me crazy. What does quickly mean? The car blew by so fast my hair stood up, or the car took my breath away as it passed by, easily creating a vacuum in its wake. These are things we can all think of. It just takes practice and a desire to become a better writer.

You can practice in your spare time. Take a simple, declarative sentence, and write it creatively:

The robin landed suddenly on the windowsill.

What can you do with that?

Write a creative description of this picture for practice
Write a creative description of this picture for practice

Almost Famous

From Joel: “HubPages has been around quite awhile, right? Over ten years I think. I wonder why HP has never produced a nationally-acclaimed author? Do you have any thoughts on that? Is HP broken as a medium?”

Wow! What an interesting question, Joel. You have my head spinning with this one.

No, I don’t think HP is broken. For what it is I think they do a pretty good job. They’ve outlasted the competition in a very competitive field, so they must be doing something right.

As for developing famous writers, I think that is more a referendum on the writing industry than it is on HP. It is infinitely more difficult today to become a famous, best-selling author than it was ten years ago. That’s just the real of it. The market has shifted, and it was a seismic shift for those of us who write novels.

I say this without an ounce of ego: I believe I would have been picked up by an agent and a major publisher if this was the year 1990 rather than 2020. I just started writing too late, and the landscape has changed. I can’t blame HP for a shift in the marketplace. I can’t blame them if I don’t do a marvelous job of marketing myself. And I can’t blame them if my talents are substandard. They have done what they promised to do: publish my works, for free!

I’ve got no complaints at all with HP.

Be Safe, All of You

Be smart out there in our new reality. I wish, for all of you, perfect health and smoother roads ahead. We will get through this. I’m confident of that, and I’m not blowing .smoke when I say that.

During times like these we see the absolute best of our species, and we see the absolute worst. I’m betting on the best to prevail.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”.

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great thoughts, Lawrence, and I agree with all of them. The writing journey is a long one. We need sites like HP, I believe, to give us a solid base from which to work our trade.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      So glad for your honest appraisal of not just HP but the whole publishing industry.

      I'm one who's realized he probably started writing later than he should have, but I did start,and HP is an important 'Waypoint' on the way!

      I think people think of places like HP as the destination, but its not (at least not for me)

      Waypoints are also supply points on a journey, places where wecan learn and help others on the way, that's why HP is still around, because of those who've found it and enjoy what it gives as well as what they can give back.

      My thoughts anyway.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I stored it up for a couple decades when I wasn't cool at all. lol Thanks buddy!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Really cool on filler and telling. I wonder if you will ever run out of cool.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm happy to hear that, Rajan! Thanks as always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think we are all a bit off, William, with the current events swirling around us. Carry on, my friend, thank you, and be safe.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      The show and tell explanation and examples were what I learned today. Like always I carry home something from each mailbag. Thank you.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Yes Bill, I know I'm one day shy of the next mailbag. I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll be back tomorrow for # 302.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that, Meg: the same view each day, but a different description each night. What a great writing challenge that would be. You might have given me an idea. Thank you!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      2 months ago

      I think Charles Dickens wrote a lot of "filler" in his stories because he got paid by the word and also had to provide a certain number of words each week for his weekly publication in the newspaper. Many of his stories started out as weekly serials. When I first started reading his books (Oliver Twist was the first I read), my reading speed was not very high and I used to skip over the filler because it didn't advance the story. (That's not how I explained it to myself in those days!)

      When my kids were small, they liked me to stay in their room while they went to sleep. My daughter's room looked out over the sea and I used to hand write a paragraph on the view I saw each day. (No computer then.) It was the same view each day but the weather, time of year, events, etc made it different each time and I tried to reflect that in the sentences I wrote.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll have a lot to say about this on Monday, Zulma, but rest assure that would piss me off. lol I want the ending handed to me on a silver platter. I make too many decisions in daily life. I don't want to help a lazy writer with his. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lora! I hope this finds you healthy and well! Stay safe!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish and the same to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! I don't know about you, but I always need reminders.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I'll answer this in detail on Monday but yes, keep writing them. These articles take three months to start circulating on the internet, and then they are out there forever. Your articles will always be timely.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Let's for sure do that, John! We need the Arts now more than every, my friend.

      Thank you and blessings to you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Bill.

      I'd like to get your thoughts on alternate endings. After much determination, I finally finished a mammoth tome of fan fiction. For reasons I'm trying to fathom, the author gave us a choice of two endings, one happy, one sad. (They could both be happy or sad, I suppose, depending on how the readers felt about the characters.)

      This bugs me. Could the author truly not make up his/her mind how to end the story or is it just fan service. Maybe I'm just being picky but I like one ending, even if it's an open one.

      As for our new reality, I'm right with you, Bill. We will get through this and, hopefully, we'll be the better for it.

      Take care of yourselves.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      2 months ago

      And where would we be without art? How true your words are, Bill! People will always need inspiration and hope. And I believe that writing really fills that need. Wonderful points made in this mailbag. I really enjoyed your lesson on the difference between show and tell. Excellent examples too! Hope you and your family stay safe.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      I especially liked the show vs. tell and your examples. Peace to you and yours.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Some of the questions and answers in this mailbag were reminders of some basic rudiments of writing. That's something I like about the mailbag, lest we forget.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      In these difficult times, your mailbag is a welcome link with the 'good old days' that we took for granted. As ever I feel like I have enjoyed a lesson in writing, with your comments on fillers, showing and telling and creativity. Maybe one day HP will boast a best seller among its writers and you would definitely be in the frame for that.

      I was especially interested in your comment about our writing being a distraction from the horror of this time as I have a dilemma. I recently returned from a trip abroad, just in time it now seems, and I have been working on a hotel article since. At a time when travel is out of the question is it appropriate to still be publishing travel articles? Or could they count as a welcome distraction? What do you think?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We are safe Linda. Thank you, and wishing the same to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Denise! I'll answer this on Monday, too, but I charge $50 for a month of instruction/aid. In all honesty, I'm not sure if I would be a great help to you with a kids' book. We can talk more about it if you want. Email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and we can "chat" more about it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Same here, Devika! It is what it is, and we will make it because we are survivors, we humans.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      There are some interesting questions and answers in this installment of the Mailbag. I hope you and your family stay safe, Bill.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Though times, Bill, but a great mailbag. I like the “telling” vs “showing” examples. Our state has now closed it’s borders an most things are shut down, hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and are lined up applying for welfare because the Government website crashed. It’s uncanny how similar photos are from the Great Depression (except in black and white.) But many writers, being of a solitary breed anyway, are probably less affected by the restrictions than most others. We will get through this, hopefully learn some lessons, and come out as better people at the other side.

      I agree with your opening statement,

      “Strange times are upon us, for sure, times which desperately call for writers, poets, and artists to step up and provide a distraction from the daily bombardment of negativity found online and in the media.”

      I am trying to do my bit, as I know you and many others here are. Let’s keep the great writing coming and help make this journey a little less stressful for all.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      2 months ago from Fresno CA

      Some great questions in this one. I have one. You see I think I need your help on becoming a better writer. I've never thought of myself as a writer. I'm an illustrator and never had any ambitions to be anything else. However, I got a story from my sister who refuses to do any of the writing. It's too good not to follow through with but I feel like my writing is just so lame. It has potential but it just lays there and snoozes. How much do you charge for your monthly tutoring again? Can you help with a children's book? It's different than novel writing because you aren't expected to write more than 500 to 1000 words but they have to be entertaining, contain an introduction to the character, deliver a conflict and then resolution in just those few words. I feel like I'm stumbling around in the dark. Help! I have all this time on my hands and just don't seem to be able to deliver the goods.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill we in isolation and not allowed to leave home it is fine for now and don't mind it. Thank you for another interesting and informative hub.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Linda. Truthfully, I'm amazed at some of the crap that gets published these days, and I know I sound like a snob when I say that, but damn it, what happened to higher standards?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suraj! I am, and I hope the same for you.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill I was certain that I left a comment yesterday, but maybe the hand sanitizer erased it. I can relate to the problem of creating filler. I worked in the scientific community for 30 years where every sentence needs to be precise and concise.

      Showing vs telling really got my attention too. I have (unfortunately) read far too many published authors who didn't get the memo. I'm thinking of a self-published book that became so popular it was turned into a movie (shudder). The writing was cringe-inducing. Why use 1 or 2 adjectives or adverbs if you can cram in 4 or 5 or more?

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 

      2 months ago from jakarta

      Hope you are well, Bill. Stay safe and God Bless!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, I have no doubt you are keeping busy and finding things to do during this social distancing time. Stay healthy, my friend, and be happy always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you said a mouthful. We are alive and healthy. I'll take that any day over having my nails done. lol

      Bev has six weeks off from work, which she needed anyway, so this is a good excuse for her to slow down and take care of herself. And me? I'm indestructible, thank you very much. :)

      Have a fabulous week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, we are breezing through this, quite frankly... oh, we took a bit of a financial hit with Bev out of work, but nothing we can't handle. And honestly, Bev needs the time off to get her health back. She is a walking stress factory, and her asthma is flaring up.

      Anyway, glad you are well. Mom and Dad always said you were too stubborn to die, so I'm sure you will outlive me by twenty at least.

      love

      Bro

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      An inspiring mailbag this week! It's wonderful to have an anchor that gives us a sense of normalcy in this chaotic time. :) Thank you, Bill! I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      2 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill, you had some questions today that hit right between my eyes. One concerned the difficulties of an academic becoming a creative writer. I'm not an academic, but my training as a journalist overrode my creativity. My journalism professor stressed rules over creativity. He told me that I would never be "good enough". I wouldn't have if I'd followed his rules (I think I've said this before). So tell Bill to throw out most of the rules he learned and follow his own heart. You've been a big help to all of us and my favorite advice of yours is to break the rules. I love your examples of show and tell. Sometimes I have to remind myself to do that. I go back to those years of creative copywriting about "fabulous figure-flattering flex-knit girdles" and forget the straight news reporting. By the way, do you know how to get six elephants into a Volkswagen? Why, three in the front and three in the back, of course!

      This being confined at home ain't too bad except for the one thing Larry and I each really want. That is to be able to go get our hair cut. I had a cousin on Facebook whining that she "needed" to get her nails done. I'll just pull my hair back, and I guess she'll just have to paint her own nails. LOL Life really is hard, ain't it? I'm just thankful we're all alive and healthy. So, stay home and stay safe, my friend.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Bro.....You certainly DO help writers to spread their wings and fly.......Wheeeeee! And Yes, "this mailbag thing, we all HAVE come to love." I use so many of your great tips & without a doubt, you've taught me a lot. Then, of course, because I'm me & I have this part of my DNA that literally forces me to be contrary, I have to do my own thing here & there...even if it's wrong or breaks the rules.

      To address this quasi-quarrantined life we've had to adopt, in all honesty. I haven't needed to make all that many nor drastic adjustments. I live a fairly low-profile, quiet & independent life better than 90% of the time. In this case, I'd say this is a good thing. I'm thinking this would apply to you and Bev as well. We suffer zero boredom, I'm sure.

      It's nice to know I could take you off my "worry" list.......as if worry ever changed anything? Hasta Luego! Love ya, Sis

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! That's kind of you. Snow today? My goodness you guys need to enter spring with the rest of us. lol Stay safe my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, that's the kind of positive attitude I love. Keep on keeping on, my friend, and Happy Monday to you. Stay safe!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! I think you have done a great job of growing as a writer. Carry on my friend. Stay healthy and keep a positive attitude.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Isolation Day to you, Heidi! I think people believe I'm kidding when I say that isolation is my norm, but I'm not. I can do this easily. Bev has adjusted as well. Hopefully others will learn to adjust soon.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. My how life has changed in such a short period. The new normal here is I’m working from home for the foreseeable future. It did snow here today and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed going outside to clear the few inches we got. Have a great week. I'm would also argue that to us here on HubPages you are famous.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Strange times indeed.... With so many households having to stay inside or shelter-in-place, I need to try and look on the bright side--lots of time to read and write. :)

      Stay safe and have a productive week!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Hi Bill. It takes time to learn creativity. I should know, it's taken me 10 years to learn to expound on a word. In the beginning I would write she wore a red dress, now I might add a bow and maybe how velvet- like it felt. I think we will soon be in lockdown, two cases of the C virus detected just 50 miles from me. We need funny stories, we need jokes, we need to laugh BIG TIME. Thanks again for all you do to help us be better writers.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Verlie. That's the last time I issue you a challenge. You make them a reality.

      Let us move on to more pleasant items on our agenda, like having a good, safe day!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Self-Isolation Mailbag Monday! (In the state of ILL, we're on lockdown for all but "essential" business. But all good so far.)

      Re: Show vs. Tell. Great example!

      Re: Teaching Creativity. I don't know if I'd call it "teaching" creativity so much as "reaching" the person's innate creativity. It's kind of like "not sending your ducks to eagle school" (usually attributed to Jim Rohn).

      Re: No HP Best Sellers? Agreed. The publishing and self publishing worlds have changed so much in such a relatively short period of time, in geologic terms at least. I, too, have been impressed with how HP is still here. So many similar sites have come and gone in the time you and I have been on HP. But as you always say, it's the community. And that, I think, has contributed to HP's staying power.

      Thank you for being our hub for connection when so many of our connections aren't possible during this outbreak. Bless you, Bev and the fur kids!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      My heart gave a lurch to see him flying in so fast, I waited for the thump against the glass, I thought I would be ill, but sweet robin turned suddenly and landed safely on the window sill.

      I'm sad to say that just now as I was writing this, (so upsetting!) a robin hit the window with a thud, and flew away, but no telling how badly injured he may be. That's two today, heartbreaking.

      Morning Bill, Mailbag 301 is in the bag. And so full of goodies. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! I hope this finds you well, my friend. Blessings to you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And you do it better than most, Manatita. You are very good at showing, my friend.

      Blessings and good health wishes to you!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I think I seen more news broadcasts in March than in the last 10 years.

      I especially like your show vs tell section this week. It explains it very well.

      Stay safe up there and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go, Ann! Tough breed indeed. I have read volumes about the London bombings during World War 2. I can't imagine living through that constant stress. It makes COVID-19 look like a walk in the park.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 months ago from SW England

      I meant don't panic about the fact that I'm thinking of yet another virus-based hub to join all the others! But yes, you're right, panic doesn't help anyone. We are a tough breed, all to do with being an island race I think. My family on both sides is made up of many who served in the Royal Navy so no wonder I'm fairly stoic and love the sea!

      We will get through this and I hope we learn something from it all.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wesman, good to hear from you. I get it! I think you write what you write very well. We are not wired the same, thank the gods, or it would be a boring world.

      Thanks for the visit. Stay safe and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      How boring this world would be, Bushra, if everyone agreed with me. :) Stay safe my friend, and thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And thank you again, Pamela!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I used to watch the news for a couple hours each day. I'm down to a half-hour now, just long enough to make sure we aren't at war. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, keep those girls safe, and hold your family tight. We will get through this, as we always do with any challenge. I firmly believe that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Cheers, Ann! Don't panic indeed! Fear is our greatest enemy when facing any challenge, and I refuse to give into fear. I know you feel the same. You British are made of tough materials. :)

      Blessings to you, my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for dropping by, Mike. Blessings to you and your family. All is well with us. Go ahead and ask your question when you are ready. Until then, Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathy, no need to cringe. Truth be told I haven't met many academics that I really liked. I prefer the average guy on the street who has really lived life rather than only read about it. :) Thanks for being here. Have a safe and healthy week.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Nice message to end and nice questions. Your examples, funny enough, remind me of my strong desire to create. It is not enough for me to say that she is a beautiful woman, I have to find a way of bringing her alive. A bit like how I worked with Spring today.

      Love to the family. We'll meet again before Monday, I'm sure but I look forward to enjoyment 302. Peace.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! We are safe and well, and I'm wishing the same for you.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I have people who are sometimes a bit angry with me because they believe I should be writing fiction instead of doing the kinds of things I do on these websites.

      What I keep trying to explain to those persons is that I NEVER write fiction, and the stories I've previously told those persons were not fiction at all, but things I saw with my own two eyes. I only described what I saw.

      I couldn't make something convincing up if I tried. So essentially, were I to publish "fiction" I'd have to have a fake name and use fake names and places for people and events....because I can't write fiction, I can only ever describe things I experienced myself.

      Look Homeward, Angel, or whatnot, you know.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Aishatu Ali 

      2 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      I can't agree with you where you say that adverbs tell, not show. It's about using them correctly, the way Margery Sharpe (1905-1991) does. It's hard to say exactly what makes one piece of writing readable (like yours) and another not so much.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I do not like all the negativity in the media when this is a time we all should stand together, so it is up to us to write postive and entertaining articles.

      I really like your examples of show versus tell. What a big difference that makes. :) This is another very interesting mailbag. Have a good week, Bill.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I do not like all the negativity in the media when this is a time we all should stand together, so it is up to us to write postive and entertaining articles.

      I really like your examples of show versus tell. What a big difference that makes. :) This is another very interesting mailbag. Have a good week, Bill.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 months ago from New York, New York

      Hi Bill, from my new reality as a work-at-home and home schooling mom to two, as well.That said, I am just doing what I can to say afloat right now and trying my best to make sure that my two kids are OK through all of this, as well. But, of course, just wanted to stop in to read and share with one of my favorite writers. So, thanks for the bit of normalcy on this anything, but normal Monday morning. Wishing you a productive and healthy week ahead now.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 months ago from SW England

      I'm betting on the best to prevail as well, bill. They have to!

      I like your 'practice' items; great idea. I've been thinking of yet another virus-based hub (don't panic, tenuously based!) so I'll use one of your prompts and see what happens. As I now have lots more time in our self-isolation, I'm looking forward to dedicating lots of that to writing. Here goes......

      301 and counting - looking forward to the rest!

      Happy Writing to Everyone!

      Cheers, bill!

      Ann

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      2 months ago from Missouri

      Bill, I especially liked the section titled "Show verses Telling". That is a very simple yet elegant manner of detailing the better way to write and explain this premise.

      I have a question which I will send to you when I find the right way to ask it, if that is okay.

      Take care Sir William. And thank you for doing what you do. We all love you here on this site. Say hey to Bev.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      2 months ago from Pa

      Bill, I am very glad to see this mailbag as this means you are safe! I am now cringing, realizing you come from an academic background humbled that you have read my hubs. Probably with a shaking head. Still, you are always kindhearted. Thank you for your encouragement with the call to share during these trying times. We are grateful for the tips. Blessing to you and stay safe!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Your examples of writing with creativity are on point. It can take a story from boring to keeping one on the edge of one's seat in anticipation of what is coming next. Stay safe!

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