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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #307

Updated on May 4, 2020

Garden Planted, Backyard Cleaned, House Cleaned . . .

If I had the energy I had twenty years ago, I’d finish up my to-do list and then go over to your house and work on yours.

It’s kind of cool catching up on projects.

It’s kind of cool saying hi to so many neighbors while out on walks.

It’s kind of cool having Bev home more.

No, there is nothing “cool” about the virus, but it has forced me to stop, re-evaluate, and adjust, and none of those things are bad. In fact, I like my current life.

But what do I really know?

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

FORESHADOWING

From Ann: “I have a question (which I sort of hinted at in a comment on another hub). When trying to drop subtle hints about a character or how events might pan out, how much 'hinting' can one do without making it too obvious? I want to try to make the reader think, to create suspense, rather than just drop a bombshell at the last moment. What's too much, what's not enough?”

This is a new one, Ann, and I’m really surprised it’s never been asked before, because foreshadowing is a major tool in any fiction writer’s toolbox.

Hallie Ephron from Writers Digest says this about foreshadowing:

“When you insert a hint of what’s to come, look at it critically and decide whether it’s something the reader will glide right by but remember later with an Aha! That’s foreshadowing. If instead the reader groans and guesses what’s coming, you’ve telegraphed.”

How many of you have watched the wildly successful “This is Us” on television? The creator of that show, Dan Fogelman, is a master at foreshadowing. He will sprinkle hints liberally throughout all episodes, and yet most viewers cannot figure out what is coming. In fact, articles are written daily about past episodes of that show, discussing what has happened and what it means for the future of the characters.

If you can achieve that kind of guessing from your readers, you will have mastered foreshadowing as a writer.

To answer Ann’s question, how much hinting can one do, the answer is this: as much as you want without mortgaging the future.

Giving Hp Advice

From Eric: “Bill I have a serious question. I follow some topics here and am treated to brand new writers here. The vast majority very passionate. I comment on their hubs and am not always bashful in giving a critique. This has created a unique loving opportunity to meet new friends. From Oslo to Kandahar to New York and Cape Town. How wonderful. Such a gift writing has given to me.

“They don't ask me much about being a stellar writer they ask me about succeeding on HP. I give them the 8X12 (8 capsules including 3 pics, 2 video and 3 text and 1200 words in text) I welcome and I encourage and suggest passion but try to send them here for advice on tools.

“Should I do more on intro? (I leave out here my criticism of HP's start up advice) So do your thing and advise me, please.”

Eric, it seems to me you’ve done quite a bit. In fact, you’ve done basically what I do when asked for advice. One thing I do add is an offer to help further if they want to contact me by email. You might be surprised how few take me up on that offer, but at least I’ve done my part in offering. What I have found, by making that offer, is that the serious writers quickly rise above those who want to appear to be serious writers. If they contact me, I figure they really are serious and really do want help. If they don’t contact me, it couldn’t have been too important to them.

Make sense?

Choose your own path
Choose your own path

Freelancing and Ethics

From Marcie: “I’m facing a dilemma. I have a company that wants to hire me to write some articles about their product, and it pays pretty well, but I have an ethical objection to their product. I don’t want to name the product because that might be revealing too much info online, but I just wondered what you would do facing the same dilemma? Thanks in advance!”

Marcie, I actually have faced this dilemma before, and I refused the gig. I was offered some pretty good money about three years ago to write for a manufacturer of semi-auto rifles, and I wouldn’t do it. I don’t need the money that badly; I’ll never need the money that badly.

But I can’t answer for you. I don’t know your financial situation, and I don’t have your ethics. I’m afraid this one you’ll have to face alone. Good luck!

Overused Words

From Linda: “Are there words (in your opinion) that are over-used or misused (and I'm not thinking of Corona, Covid, or quarantine)? For example, on the Food Network "chefs" often call a food unctuous or speak of accouterments to a dish. And don't get me started on "literally." A penny for your thoughts.”

Oh my yes, Linda! I’m not going to bother listing them. I think all of our readers here know what you are talking about. It’s a fingernail-on-a-chalkboard type of thing with me. There are what, close to a million words in the English language if you include slang; why does a writer find it necessary to use the same word over and over and over again?

Either they don’t know any better or they are lazy!

In fact, I think this is one facet of writing which separates the mediocre writers from the good ones, the willingness to pay attention to the small details, and the willingness to put in the effort so that staleness and repetition do not become an issue.

Thanks for spiking my blood-pressure, Linda!

Be all you can be as a writer
Be all you can be as a writer

Stopping the Trolls

From Victoria: “I was wondering what to do about the mean, negative comments on HP. I wrote an article once about birth control, and I couldn’t believe the hateful things that were said in comments. How do you deal with those?”

Victoria, welcome to the Dark Side of online writing! Trolls are everywhere, and really the only way to avoid them completely is to not write online. I don’t mind debating things online, as long as it remains civil, but once a comment crosses that line where I am attacked for my viewpoint, that is the time for me to say goodbye to that troll. You can always report a troll to the HP administration and let them handle it. You can choose not to write about controversial topics, but I don’t believe writers should be shamed from writing about things they believe in strongly.

It all comes down to respect with me. Tell me I’m wrong in a respectful manner and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you. Attack me and I close the door to further discussions.

Again, that’s just me and my response to trolls.

The Garage Is Calling Me

What a mess my garage is. I really need to get in there and start the purging, so we’ll call it quits for this week. Thanks for the great questions. If you have a question, leave it in the comment section or email it to me at holland1145@yahoo.com. I’ll include your question in the next Mailbag.

Have a great week a productive week, a safe week, and a week guided by love!

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Brian! Great question about scene. The Mailbag is already posted for tomorrow's installment, but your question will start us off the following week. Stay tuned.

      I hope you are doing well up north on Brainbridge Island. Take care and stay safe.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Aishatu! I appreciate it very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! I need all the luck I can get with regards to the garage.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I think your idea has merit, Zulma, but what do I really know? Next to nothing, at times like these. :) 84 degrees today...too hot...whine, whine, and more whine.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 weeks ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Bill, I've had difficulty including only telling details when describing a setting and leaving out obvious and boring details. I learned a lot from listening to the passage you read in your video. I think the author quoted was named Burke. The details he included suggest a particular location and not what might be any cheap motel that might be anywhere.

      When you describe a scene, do you sometimes start with a photo or painting? (For a sense of possibilities, at Google Images search on drunken brawl, or caught downpour, or alone midnight, or high school smokers, or dilapidated motel.) Or do you start with deciding whatever items are essential to the plot and then minimally add to that? (In "The Killers", Hemingway provides only two details about the boarding-house room: "the bed" and "the wall".) Or do you start with an actual, familiar to you setting and adapt it for use in a story, subtracting most details? Or?

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Aishatu Ali 

      3 weeks ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Great read, as always!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Interesting questions and great answers. I learned about foreshadowing, an excellent way to keep the readers looking forward to the next chapter. Trolls are best ignored, they can really mess with the mind and make life miserable. Good luck with your garage cleaning, take care.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Bill. I didn't realise it was that time again.

      Mother's Day or as it is referred to in the UK, Mothering Sunday, is celebrated in March. I keep telling my family that as an American I should be honoured twice. Hasn't happened yet. I just can't get them to see reason. They're such a stubborn lot. :)

      Have a great weekend, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never been to Popeyes, Zulma. A definite flaw in my character background. :) No mash and gravy? That's a sacrilege in my mind.

      Enjoy that long weekend, and Happy Mothers Day to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm always happy to hear those words, Pamela. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      I know what you mean, Bill. I tried not to get my hopes up knowing that I wouldn't be the only wanting some KFC. The menu is slightly different here. They don't do mash and gravy or extra crispy. (sigh) We could definitely use a Popeye's. The only one I know of is located an hour away on an air force base. Since I no longer have access to said base, Popeye's will remain a fond memory.

      Three-day weekend for us here in the UK in honour of VE Day. Gonna try to make the most of it, all things considered.

      Enjoy yours, Bill.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Another very interesting mailbag Bill. I always learn from you articles.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Rarely, dude, and I'll tell you why on Monday. :) In the meantime, be good!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Now how often do you go back and review your work from over five years ago and why or why not?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You do the same, Miebakagh! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well that is an interesting problem, Zulma. I'm going to have to give that some pondering. I'll get back to you on Monday.

      Oh how I loved KFC when I was younger. Too funny about the long lines waiting anxiously, tongues out drooling....such a sad statement about modern society, eh? Or maybe not! I wouldn't mind a thigh or two right about now. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Brenda!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I will try to always be worthy of your kind words, Dora. Thank you and blessings to you always.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, I agreed with you. Social distancing should not be sacrifice for anythinging else. Have a nice day.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Hi again.

      I read recently that in order to have an engaging protagonist they should have some agency. They should act rather than be acted upon in order to move the plot forward. However, what if the protag comes from a background where they were not encouraged to act or take control of a situation. They were expected to do as they were told without question by parents, teachers, employers, even friends. Later on in the story, as part of their character arc, a life-changing event occurs that forces them to think and act for themselves.

      So, how do you create a character that readers will become invested in until that cataclysmic event happens?

      Funny thing, KFC tried opening yesterday. My husband and son went to check it out and found about 30-40 cars waiting in a queue. Eventually, the police had to shut it down as it was becoming a hazard with cars spilling out onto the motorway and people getting lax about social distancing.

      Have a good day, Bill.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      3 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Thank you, Bill.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I can relate to the joy which comes with completing tasks, like you mentioned in your introduction. Your advice is very practical and honest and I like that about you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We are well, Linda! Thanks for asking. I hope the veil lifts soon and the risk is minimized. Take care, both of you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a pleasure, Rajan! Thank you for always being here and for being a part of this community.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I can tell you what I do, Brenda, next Monday. Not sure it will help, but I'll share anyway. Take care my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, Bill, it makes me feel great to know your garage is a mess. lol Misery loves company!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, we are in complete agreement. I wonder sometimes if they even know what they are saying. Do they even know what a Nazi was? I think we are dealing with a whole new level of ignorance.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your response, Peg...phooey on that! That says it all, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, it comes as no surprise that you like "This Is Us." I don't know about you, but I cry after every episode. My sign that the writer is spot on with his efforts.

      The garage takes some planning, me thinks. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That's a first, Mary, the brothel offer. I will be thinking about their website all day long. lol I hope this finds you enjoying a brilliant day, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for finding the time, Janine! Have a good week, and I hope you find time for yourself.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, Venkatachari M. This is a good time to look at our entire life, find ways to improve.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      3 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Very informative article and great questions. Have fun in the garage my friend. Hope you and Bev are staying safe & healthy. Sis and I are high risk and have friends shop for us. Other than walking daily, we hunker down at home. Hugs

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Some very different questions in this mailbag and very enlightening responses. Thank you for keeping this series alive and also to those who keep the questions coming.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      3 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Thanks for your article.

      I always try to help others but really don't know what to include but now I have a better idea.

      The trolls can be down right nasty and it seems if I engage a conversation it only gets worse so avoiding them is best for me.

      I would love to know your strategies for balancing out your to do list.

      It seems like lately I have put too much on my plate and do not have enough hours in the day to possibly tackle everything.

      Alot of writing, reading, groups, posting, activities waiting for me to complete without even hiving thought to my own free time.

      Any ideas?

      Thanks

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. The question/answer about nasty comments definitely struck a cord with me. I have received my share, really on just 2 hubs, and at one time I would reply to them but I stopped that years ago. Now I just read them and move on.

      Oh how I wish I had the energy of 20 years ago. And if it makes you feel any better my garage is a mess also. Have a great week, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That's funny, Zulma, about the social distancing and lockdown. I do rail when I'm told I can't do something, even if it's something I normally do. lol

      Scowling? Lots of scowling! My goodness, what a boring writer. I think you should fire him. I'm assuming it's a he because a woman would never scowl that much. :)

      Happy Tuesday to you, Zulma!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for hanging in there, Linda. That's been happening often on HP lately. I have no explanation for it.

      Friday, 83 degrees? Now we're talking too hot. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      They can be, Miebakagh. Whether HP will act on that report is another question. Thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, if I had it in me, I'd be there helping you out, but I suspect Bev now thinks I'm never going to deliver on the projects I promised her. lol Oh well, she married me for better and for worse, right?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I've had that happen as well, Alyssa. Taking a break, for me, is a dangerous proposition. It is very hard for me to hit the "go" button again. Best I just keep moving.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'll let you know if I make a dent in the garage.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Heidi. Please notice you arrived on Monday and I'm a day late. lol

      Unpaid help....people will take advantage. I've had it happen on a couple occasions. I love helping people but seriously, not for hours and not without payment of some sort. Time is money!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! I'm glad you found the video useful. Good luck with those outside projects.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I just find that to be totally bizarre behavior, Flourish, and I'm amazed someone attacked you over a song list...or maybe I'm not amazed. Sheesh!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I've actually done that a couple times lately, Denise, first time in eight years. It's a shame people don't understand decency. It's so easy to do.

      Blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      All is well here PS, and I hope you and your family are hanging in there during these tough times. The angels are busy these days, and I'm sending them back to you with hugs.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the chuckle, Mr. Happy, about the tennis machine. Just turn that sucker on high and start ducking for sure. lol Thanks for your great comments. I love that you invest so much of yourself in your comments. Much appreciated!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always my pleasure, Ruby! Thank you! I agree about working outside. I have about two hours of physical labor in me and then it's time for a long rest. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm happy to hear that, Mary! Please let me know when you would like to start on your instruction.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Meg, you are more patient than I am. I have given up trying to explain my point of view or changing the minds of others. I just do my own thing and hang with respectful people. Good luck with that troll.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      So very true, Rochelle, and I try to remember that in all of my writing. Some things don't change no matter what culture we are talking about. Writing is universal, my friend. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Marlene! I've given up on controversy. I no longer see the point in writing about those topics.

      Wishing for you a brilliantly happy week ahead!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Melissa! Spring has sprung here as well. 80 on Friday this week...almost seems too hot. lol

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Well, Bill, let's try this again (I wonder where the first, brilliant comment went?) Really good advice on freelancing and ethics. Honestly, how can you write convincingly about something you don't believe in?

      Nasty comments? I've gotten a few (I guess my topics aren't all that controversial) and they still bite. Personally, I think the best response is no response at all. If you let them know that they've hurt you, you're giving them what they want.

      By the way, you have so much time and energy. If you've run out of things to do, we're getting ready to demo the front porch.

      Have a good week my friend. Thursday is forecast to be stunning!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 weeks ago from San Diego California

      I give the trolls a warning to be nice, then if they don't behave I just delete their comments. They move on to more fertile territory after that. I am passionate about freedom of speech, but the comment has to pertain to the subject, and it cannot be stupidly insulting, like accusing someone of being a Nazi because they have a different viewpoint. Great work.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 weeks ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I really enjoyed your response to trolls that attack us personally rather than make a valid point that opposes our view. I've drawn the line a few times on those who berate groups of people as if we're all identical based on our political leanings, hair color or gender. Phooey on that. Good mailbag.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      My, you've been a busy beaver, Bill! Sounds like you and Bev have gotten a lot accomplished.

      I agree with you regarding the ethics question. There's not enough money on the planet to persuade me to forsake my ethics for financial gain. I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror!

      As far as overused words go, I learned something from a former employer I've never forgotten: he hated the word "that", especially with regard to letters or announcements, anything written. His stance is most sentences can do without it. I try to pay attention to when I let "that" slip into my writing. Sometimes it works, but most times it can be omitted.

      Excellent mailbag this week. Quite a variety of topics.

      Have fun with your garage project!

      BTW, "This Is Us" is one of my favorite TV shows.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I don't know the television show you're referring to, maybe I can catch an episode on YouTube. I really appreciate watching shows that are well written.

      Regarding freelancing and ethics, I too had to reject an offer for writing an article for a 'legalized brothel' in Germany. One woman was offering three skills that I didn't even know what they were!

      With trolls, I just refuse to give them a platform and delete them before they see the light of day. I have no time for them in a face to face conversation or online.

      Great mailbag this week.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      3 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Hi Bill, I know I am a day late and a dollar short. Just got so crazy here yesterday with the beginning of the work and school week for all of us. But finally playing a bit of catchup this morning and had to stop in to read your latest and wish you a wonderful week ahead now, my friend :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Good Morning, Bill.

      Glad to hear you're coping well with the lockdown. I have to admit I'm starting to get a little squirrely. I'm reclusive by nature but it's different when you don't have the choice.

      It does annoy me no end when I see the writer using the same words repeatedly. In my latest read, the characters were only capable of scowling at one another. It mattered not if the scene was tense or tender, scowls were the order of the day. He scowled, she scowled, they scowled, we all scowled. I remember thinking what a dull, miserable lot they were.

      And no, let's get started on 'literally'. Unless you want me to scowl.

      Have a lovely day, Bill.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Today's mailbag is very interesting with some unique questions answered by you very nicely. I gathered some good advice regarding "Foreshadowing" and "overused words". So, we are doing some good contemplation during these lockdown periods by engaging ourselves in improving our knowledge.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Thanks on the information on trolls. I do not know if due to their annoying comments, troll can be report to hp administration.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill. There are some really good topics today. I love the one about overuse of words or phrases. My pet peeve used on TV shows is "they'll enjoy for years to come." There are a lot of ways that could be said.

      I can see writers hoping that Heidi can perform miracles for them, but after working in advertising for years before I became an editor, I can tell them "there ain't no miracles in the business, just hard work."

      I usually don't comment on giving people help because I discovered the hard way that many new people don't want it. In fact, one gal basically told me to mind my own business.

      It would be great if you had the energy to come over and help with my to-do list. Larry is too lazy, uh, I mean tired to be of much help. Our weather is great right now, just the right temperature to get things done. I love working outside with the weather in the 70s and sunny, but it won't be much longer. At least the chickens are cleaning the weeds out of the atrium for me, bless their little hearts. Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Happy Monday, Bill! As usual, you offered a lot to think about. I stalled out a little bit last month and decided I deserved a break. But now I'm finding it a little harder to get my engines going again. ha! I'm hoping the sunshine and warmer temps help my ambition. Have a wonderful week my friend!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared some interesting information. I especially like the section about foreshadowing. I like the quote as well as the points that you've raised. Good luck with clearing the garage!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday... and it's still Monday! Is this a return to, dare I say it, some semblance of normal?

      Re: You Can Come Over to My House. So you opened by saying that if you had the energy you did 20 years ago, you'd come over and help with my To-Do list. Well, if you harken up the energy, you let me know. I've got a few items on that list.

      Re: HP Advice. Lately I seem to be getting a fair amount of emails via HP from writers who are looking for advice on publishing. I share what I can without becoming an unpaid consultant. I'm surprised at how determined they are, in spite of the realities I put in front of them. My summation is that they're passionate about what they do, but are hoping for magical answers which they think I can provide.

      Re: Freelancing and Ethics. I've walked away from suspect projects, too. That's the best policy always.

      Re: Overused Words. I've noticed in doing transcription for many of my videos how much I use "so" and "now." These are often called verbal tics. I think people overuse words more in talking than writing.

      Re: Trolls? Yes, for truly obnoxious behavior that violates community guidelines, report the trolls. But if you delve into controversial topics, expect commentary that is in opposition to your point. If you can't handle that, don't wander into those topics. Often these people aren't trolls, just committed to their point of view which doesn't happen to agree with yours. Know the difference between trolls and those engaging in debate.

      Have fun in the garage!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Your video on how to paint a scene was illustrative in its wording. Thank you for the excellent advice, and best of luck on your garage-cleaning project. We still have some outside projects to do before the sizzling heat of the summer begins in earnest.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      Delete, delete, delete. And don’t look back. Most of all do NOT take it personally. Yes, it can ruin your morning or more, depending on what they said, but try not give them the power and platform. I have been insulted, “set straight,” all kinds of things — over articles on cats, songs, kids, crafts, Santa, etc. Seriously, people need to ease the heck up. Some strange behavior even came from other Hubbers who got mad when I didn’t add their song suggestions to a playlist. It wasn’t personal; the song was just really old and not that relevant or popular. The nasty comment came from someone I always suspected was a little odd anyway. They were truly irate because I didn’t add their song but added someone else’s. Weird.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      I've had my share of trolls too. I do like the feature on HP where we can accept or deny a comment on our articles. For me, it means I can delete that comment and forget it ever existed. Who needs to give any credence to trolls? An honest question or even a civil opposing opinion is fine with me but I have no time for trolls.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 weeks ago from North Central Florida

      Hi,. I so agree with you about the trolls. You can disagree with me all day long but I only ask that it be done respectfully. There been sometimes while I've been on here that that hasn't been the case and I know how to close that door. I hope you are safe and well during this time you and all of your family. Angels are headed all the way out to see you this afternoon.ps

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      3 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      "What I have found, by making that offer, is that the serious writers quickly rise above those who want to appear to be serious writers." - My Sensei used to say that he knew which students would give-up soon and which ones would continue training. Teachers often have an eye for that type of thing. We're not all meant to be writers. Remember? Just because one can ... doesn't mean one should, haha!!

      "I have an ethical objection to their product" - Walk away!! Never look back. Or, go for the money and feel like a piece of #$%^ about it later ... and for ever LOL

      “Are there words (in your opinion) that are over-used" - I got some: "tremendous", "strongly", "powerful", together with phrases such as: "enemy of the people", "like never before", "nobody has crowds like I have" ... haha!! Ohh, I can keep going ... but I shall not : )

      "I wrote an article once about birth control" - Haha!! Stop right there. No bloody wonder. It's HP: site full of religious zelots, right-wing conservatives and bored trolls. If You write an article on "abortion" better be ready like a tennis player in front of a tennis ball machine: You know they're gonna come and gonna come fast! Haha!!

      Alrighty, I'm outta here. Back to God knows what ... lol

      All the best until again! Thanks for the writing.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Well, I'm still hanging in there. Summer has arrived and I love it. Working outside is a lot of work, but I love it too. OOPS too many love it in two lines. I watched your video and learned that you are a laid back fella who works hard at helping others. Thanks for all you do

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Am glad to be back again reading the Mailbag. I particularly enjoyed the first video as this morning, I was trying to do a description of the setting I am in now so I find your instruction very useful. A good start to my long distancing from HP.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      3 weeks ago

      I am currently looking at the other side of the topic of "trolls". A new person on HP wrote an article about an item that is close to my heart and has been for maybe 60 years. It's NOT one of the "biggies", where a person's beliefs play a large part in which side they take up and where I am therefore very careful about any responses, out of respect for their beliefs. I have totally remained civil and tried to explain logically why I believe their stance is incorrect but I think I have upset them. They have not provided any counter examples but are just asserting that they are correct and that I am looking at it in the "wrong" way. It doesn't actually matter, one way or the other because I will still continue doing the same thing and it won't affect the writer. I do not HAVE to be right and am willing to be convinced if you have a strong argument, yet if you want to put your side of an argument, you need examples not just assertions that your views are correct. Logic will help me understand your point of view. Just ranting because I think I was called "selfish" in a roundabout way for having spent maybe 60 years of my life trying to do something! LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you liked it, John! Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Be safe and happy!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      3 weeks ago from California Gold Country

      I really apprecaite your energy, enthusiam and positivity. My husband and I have been retired in a rural setting for many years, so staying home, social distancing and other recently mandated things things are normal for us. We even have a small stash of masks for allegies dust and wildfire smoke.

      As for writing, I need to do more. I especially liked your comments on foreshadowing. I do like to read mysteries and foreshadowing that does not telegraph is an essential element.

      I liked Eric's comment about his international internet friends. I remember once getting a comment from a man in India who said he laughed through one of my humor hubs and I appreciated that so much-- that a man with a very different culture living on the opposite side of the world, could laugh at the same things I could. As humans anywhere, we are much more alike than we are different.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No, Ann, you don't need to say anything about overused words. I know whatever you said I would agree with. :) Happy Monday my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks William! Long ago I dreamed of going viral, Now I worry about a virus. Sigh! ;)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Mike, hope all is well in Nevada for ya. I'm hoping baseball kicks into gear in June like they are rumoring. Any baseball is good baseball, right?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! Trolls are just part of the baggage we writers carry. There is no avoiding them, sadly. Social media has made brave people out of everyone.

      Be safe and well, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday to you, Chitrangada Sharan. I am doing well and wish the same for you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I'll take your double dare and meet you on the street at High Noon! Come packin', buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always my pleasure, Rosina! Thanks, as always, for the visit.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      Great questions!

      And regarding trolls, Bill, your response is right on the mark. The path I chose was to not write about controversal subjects. But prior to that, I started ignoring rude remarks altogether. I don't have time or space in my life for rude people.

      Have a wonderful week!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      3 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Happy Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you). I'm so glad to be finished with April and moving onto May....

      My work peak is finally settling down and I get to enjoy the lovely "spring" weather around here. Win/Win.

      Have a great and productive week!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, loved the questions, especially the one about foreshadowing, and the videos were great addition. Look forward to next week.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 weeks ago from SW England

      Thanks for the answer, bill. I asked because I thought my 'Killing Time' hub was maybe too abrupt at the end. I thought I'd laid some hints but no one seemed to catch on, except maybe one. I totally agree with your answer.

      As for overused words, well... Don't get me started either!

      Ann

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well, I'm all fueled up for another week. I especially liked the videos for a different look. I think all your followers should share it. I can see it going viral. Have a safe and healthy week.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      3 weeks ago from Missouri

      Overused words? Like, man whatever! How can that be?! I read an article last night on my Cardinals site where the writer (I use that term loosely) used the word "however" four times in two sentences!! Dear God man, try to not repeat yourself so much! Drives me nuts. Take care Sir William, there's things in garages! Things!! Watch out for them!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      I think you have summarised life under lockdown well for many in your introduction. It seems like foreshadowing requires a delicate balancing act. One of the great advantages of HP is the community spirit helped by the likes of you and Eric, who are always there to advise and help the more inexperienced of us along the way. I was interested to read your answer about ethics, which was delicately put and nicely balanced. I smiled about overused words. I often go through my hubs trying to root them out and think up appropriate alternatives. Sadly trolls seem to be everywhere online. I hope you get your garage sorted. Stay well, Bill.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill!

      Interesting information shared by you through your useful answers. I liked the specific questions, by the fellow writers.

      Hope you are doing well, and busy as always.

      Thank you for sharing this installment. Have a great week.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I loved Linda's question and your response. I find that I use words in strange ways. I use that to get points across. But that requires repeating the word for around 4 points of perspective in my lead in. And then I try to weave in synonyms to come at it from comparative points of view.

      This requires a competition between repitition and good writing style.

      Oops I rambled.

      Go ahead just try to have a better week than mine is going to be!! Double Dare.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      3 weeks ago

      Several great questions from aspiring writers and your wonderful answers. I liked going through this mailbag, myself getting benefited. I wish you best of luck with your home projects. Thanks for sharing.

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