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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Fifty-One

Updated on June 15, 2015

I’m Baaaaaaaaack!

Just like Jack Nicholson, you can’t get rid of me. What was that old saying…you can’t get rid of a bad penny….well here I am again, invading your space with more questions and answers. One more week and we’ll make one year with this series, so keep those questions coming for at least one more week, please.

We have a full mailbag today so let’s get started with a question from DJ.

Welcome back to the Mailbag!
Welcome back to the Mailbag! | Source

Change in Time

From DJ: “This may seem an odd question. But, through my reading, it is not always clear

when a new chapter should begin. One non-fiction book that I read had only a

couple of pages per chapter.

I understand that a new chapter should be started if there is a major change in

the story line. Much of my story is being told by a present day person who is

remembering back to childhood. Her memories open the scene into another

person’s life. However, her memories are not very long before the memory

changes over to the upcoming scene.

I feel that her spoken words should be separate to make the reader aware that

she is remember. Right now, I’m using *********** before and after her dialogue.

In “Resurrecting Tobias” you used years to designate a change in time and a

definitive clue that the character or something major was about to take place.

Any better ways to distinguish a back and forth time line?”

There seems to be two questions here, DJ. One about chapter endings and one about time line designations. Writer’s Digest suggests a couple strategies with regards to new chapters. One suggestion is to begin a new chapter when there is a shift in the story, or a change in place. This is the method I use. The other theory is to start a new chapter when you plan on introducing a spark….this is primarily to dangle a carrot to keep your reader interested enough to move forward and read more.

As for the time line question, I’m all for the obvious, and that’s why I put the date at the head of every chapter in “Tobias.” My book bounced back and forth so much that I felt it was necessary, for clarity, to just tell the reader what time they were reading about. For some writers, I have seen italics used to designate a different time, but if you do that you can only use italics for a time shift and for no other reason.

Anyway, great question and I hope I’ve helped.

No series planned for this novel
No series planned for this novel | Source

Writing a Series

From Lizzy: “Oh, groan! Here it is Monday, and I've only just thought of a new question, so now I'll have to wait a week, chomping at the bit for time to pass and find the answer. LOL

This time, I want to know how you know, or if and when, that a book work in progress is a single book, or is going to turn into a series?

Do you have that planned before you start to write, or does the book dictate that as you move along?”

Lizzy, I just love this question. This asks about something that writers do almost instinctually and never really think about. I know that’s true for me.

I had to think about some of the classics before I answered this. In truth, just about any novel written could be a series. “To Kill A Mockingbird” could have easily been a series if Lee had chosen to do so. It seems to me that she made a conscious decision not to do so for whatever reason. When I wrote “Tobias” I knew it would be one and done. Why? I don’t know. It was just a feeling. On the other end of the spectrum, when I wrote “Shadows Kill” I knew when I started it that I wanted it to be a “Shadows” series, so the one I’m working on now is “Shadows Over Innocence,” and I have the third in the series already planned. Why? I don’t have a clue. It just feels right for that book and those characters.

I have great followers who ask great questions!

This woman does not allow me to become discouraged.
This woman does not allow me to become discouraged. | Source

DISCOURAGED

From Carol: “I was feeling discouraged today about where I am going with my book...and I am sure many often feel this way. Any ideas from you to keep the spirit and writing going when things are not happening the way we want. I may have some ideas here but I would love to know what you do.”

That’s a tough one, Carol. I can tell you what has saved my bacon, so to speak: I surrounded myself with encouraging and supportive people. Bev will not let me give up. She is my cattle prod. She believes in me and she is the one who lifts me up when I feel like I’m wasting my time on this quest. The same can be said for those of you online who support me. When I’m feeling down, a positive comment from one of you lifts me back up.

This is not an easy gig. By definition, writers are solitary creatures who work alone and in anonymity. It is tough on the psyche on the best of days. For me, I have to have support from an outside source.

Misbehaving Characters

From Linda: “Do you ever have a character that just won't do what you want him or her to do? I have a minor character (supposed to be, anyway) that wants to take center stage, and it makes it hard to write the story I planned.”

Well hell, Linda, just kill them off and be done with them! LOL

Maybe your muse is speaking to you and you’re not listening. Maybe your muse is suggesting that the character you are talking about deserves a bit more attention and more center stage in the book. Or maybe I’m just full of it and don’t know what I’m talking about. J

Is it really necessary for every character in a novel to have a unique voice?
Is it really necessary for every character in a novel to have a unique voice? | Source

Character Voice

From Zulma: “Nadine's question struck a chord with me. How exactly does one maintain the character's voice without your own slipping in? I suppose you can research the slang/colloquialism of the time, but how do you make it sound authentic? By that I mean how do you make it seem like your character really talks that way and not just the author crow-barring in some words to make him sound real. I know this seems convoluted but I don't know how to make my meaning clearer. Hope you understand what I'm getting at.”

I do understand your question, Zulma, and the answer is not an easy one. This is one of the toughest things to do in writing a novel; at least for me that’s true.

The more I read the more I’m convinced that this really isn’t necessary all the time. I’m reading a novel right now by Lawrence Block, one of the best mystery writers of all-time, and his characters all sound the same. It doesn’t detract from the book at all. Then there are other authors like James Lee Burke, whom I worship, and his characters are very distinctive in voice.

How do you keep your voice from slipping in? I think that’s nearly impossible. At some point in time, at least one of your characters is going to have your voice, or at least be greatly influenced by your voice. I don’t see how to avoid that.

In the book I’m working on now, I have basically four main characters. I have tried to give each a slightly different speech pattern to distinguish between them, but it is a very slight difference. On the other hand, I have two antagonists in this book who are Russian, and I have to constantly battle myself to give them a Russian pattern to their speech.

To sum it all up, I think dialogue is the toughest part of writing a novel, for the reasons you mentioned.

EDITING

From Linda: “Now the question: Do you edit as you go, or do you wait until the writing is done to start your editing?”

Linda, I do not edit at all my first time through the novel. I don’t want to interrupt the creative flow of the story. After my first draft, my second draft begins, and the purpose of that draft is to add depth to characters and scenes. After those two drafts are finished I will then begin editing. Again, though, that’s just what works for me, and I know many writers who are more comfortable editing as they go.

REVIEWS

From Faith: “Hey ...dumb question about the great reviews on the back of published novels by other well known authors/persons: Please excuse my ignorance on this, but are novels that are soon to be published sent out to an audience of peers for preview? How early would that process have to take place before the date of publication? I am just curious as it stands to reason the pre-published book must be sent out, but is it sent out by the publisher or the agent and do you know how they choose who will read it in advance? Well, I went over the one question LOL Sorry.”

Faith, it’s not a dumb question at all. It was such a good question that I had to do some research to find out. I actually sent an email to an agent who has a blog I follow….Janet Reid. She tells me that this process starts a year before the book is published. The manuscript is sent to a select group of published authors who then give reviews for the back book cover. Few are paid to do this; instead, it is a barter system. They do it for free and then when they write a book, other writers reciprocate with reviews.

See, not a dumb question at all. Oh, to finish the answer, usually the publisher is the one who chooses which authors will give reviews.

And That’s All for This Week

Next week I’ll return with the One Year Anniversary of this series. I’m excited for that and I hope you are as well. Thanks to all of you who have kept this series alive for an entire year. It’s been a blast.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I used to love hot weather. Now, forget about it. I don't understand people who move to Arizona when they get older. Are you kidding me? Give me 75 degrees and I'm in heaven.

      You better believe I'll be sipping lemonade on Thursday.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      99 degrees! I can't remember the last time I lived through 99 degrees. That's a definite shorts only, icy-cold home-made lemonade day. Mmm...lemonade sounds good. Right, I'm off to the fruit and veg shop.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence. I really appreciate your kind words and your faithful following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's going to get worse, Ann. 99 on Thursday. Just shoot me now. :)

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Congrats on reaching the milestone. I know its one more hub but by the time I get to read it the moment will be well and truly gone.

      I might not have any questions but the material here is always helpful. Thank you

      Lawrence

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      That's ok by me; I don't do Celsius or centigrade. Fahrenheit suits me fine! 93 is hot, hot , hot!

      Rain here today but not for long. The docks' fun day happened after the morning rain, thank goodness. Still nice and warm, comfortably!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Ann, we ended up hitting 93, so I have no clue what that is in Celsius but I know it was hot. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, it's definitely not paying the bills. It would be nice to see a little more money coming in, but then I remember how much I love doing this, and all that money worry goes away.

      Thank you for the kind words. I need to figure out how to increase my work hours without dying from exhaustion. :)

      bill

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      What a guy! Our top-notch Q&A man!....You are a teacher through & through from head to toe, bro. ....not to mention "Teacher of the Century." Such patience and perfection.

      Looks to me that there are an awful lot of writers out there who have taken the huge step to writing a book. I am so impressed.

      Without authors like you, the process could be so much more difficult. (I should say, "without friends like you," because you are so appreciated!) I know I'm always suggesting you do this and that.....but seriously Bro.....establish your own school for aspiring writers. "Appreciation" is wonderful, but I find it doesn't pay the bills.

      Another great tutorial!..UP+++

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      86 apparently; I had to look it up! Bit too hot for me but then I'm not used to it. Enjoy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm a little shaky with celsius, but I think it's going to be 30 C today....is that 90? LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, you couldn't keep me away. When we do make that trip I'll be sure to let you know when so you can tell me where. :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      There comes a time when it's too hot. In fact, we're having a hot spell now - but it's all relative! Enjoy your weekend, bill, being cool in the shade.

      Sally - same to you if you're ever in Somerset; that would be good.

      Ann

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Indeed you'd better plan on a long stay. I think by the time you visit all your friends here you'll be 'colonized', as my husband once said of me. lol

      When you do make that trip (I like to be optimistic), don't forget to visit me. I'd love to show you around my little slice of Heaven. My husband would like to finally meet this 'Bill' I'm always going on about.

      Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I hope you and Ann meet soon, and then I expect an article about it.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, thanks for the geography lesson. You must know by now that the average American is woefully ignorant about world geography...and most of them are proud of their ignorance. LOL

      You and Sally really need to meet.

      Dreadfully hot today; hotter tomorrow I'm afraid.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally! If I ever make it to England I'll have many HP friends to visit. I'd better plan on a very long stay in your country. :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      annart,

      Let me know when you are back this way. It would be nice to meet a fellow Hubber. I still have to see the Dragons in the 'flesh'. Never have enough of the hot stuff but don't mind sharing a little if you don't mind sharing:)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Oh dear, bill! Norwich is the county town (city actually) of Norfolk of course.

      Sally - didn't realise you were there or I'd have looked you up. It's the first time I'd been and I was on a steep learning curve. The dragons were wonderful! It was a long trek from Somerset though.

      It's ok, bill, the dragons are only as tall as a human, painted in various themes and made of plastic (I think)! It's a charity trail. Well.... maybe I realise why you don't understand us!

      Send some heat this way please if you've had enough!

      Ann :))

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Billybuc

      I very much look forward to that Billy. I can't promise you an urban farm but you and Bev are welcome anytime. I had not realised that Ann was from the UK and perhaps when she makes the journey to Norfolk we can do exactly that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, you and Ann need to get together and talk about life and writing. If I'm ever over there you can be certain I'll be looking you up. :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Billy, Had to butt in here - you don't understand the British:) My goodness annart was in my neck of the woods and found it wonderful! That is fantastic. It is a wonderful city, time to Google it Billy, definitely one to put on your wish list when you make that trip across the pond.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Friday Ann! It was just too darned hot to respond yesterday. I'm going to try and get my work done by noon today because another hot one is in store.

      Glad to hear Norwich as wonderful....I assume, in some way, that is part of Norfolk. I'll never understand you British. :)

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Interesting question about the reviews; never thought of that!

      I think characters often take over. I find I have something in mind and the character completely changes my thoughts once I get into it, which is a bit disconcerting, but then if they write it for me in a better vein that's fine!

      Lots to think about in this one, bill!

      Norfolk was wonderful, Norwich in particular; one to put on the travel list.

      Hope you're having another thrilling Thursday!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pretty fortunate, Deb, or at least I'm glad you think so. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      As always, you taught me a lot. I am so grateful that I have this wonderful mentoring for no charge. How fortunate is that?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once again, Harishprasad. I can't imagine doing what Pushkin did...one and done. Amazing to me...perhaps that is one reason for his greatness. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, the game has definitely changed and as you have pointed out in some of your articles, the smart businessman will learn to adjust to that change or be left behind. I'm still learning to adjust. :) Thank you and Happy Sunday to you.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Catching up with the Mailbag after a nonstop week!

      Interesting that the big publishers start sending out manuscripts for review up to one year prior to publication. For those who think publishing (especially the traditional route) is a quick process, that's gotta be disappointing. Think about it... probably a year or more to write the darn thing, a year to more to sell the darn thing, then another year or more to get the darn reviews before it goes to print? Wow. Unless it's an always relevant work, it could be out of style before it hits the market.

      Most self published authors wouldn't know how to deal with that long process. (Raising hand.)

      Voted up, interesting and sharing of course. Have a beautiful day!

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      Interesting questions and great answers ! Bill, I loved the epithet ' cattle prod' you gave to Bev, and kind appreciation of comments of fellow hubbers. Each writer's world is so unique and wonderful that an interesting book can be written about all that.

      I read about Pushkin, a great Russian poet, who never amended any poem once he put the words onto paper. Acharya Chatursen Shastri, a great Indian writer, admitted that in the course of writing a historical novel, some characters told him about them in his dreams. How curious and uncanny ! This is an interesting and lovely hub, raising our curiosity out of bounds. Thanks for sharing it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mine too, Zulma, although I'm sure I would try to act like it was no big deal at all. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kailey! I'll try not to disappoint you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I appreciate the fact that people like you have been along for the ride the entire way. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crossing my fingers and hoping, Catherine, but in the end, I have to make them so. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      An Audience with Stephen King? How awesome would that be? My mind would be blown beyond recognition.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      There were so many good questions! I definitely learned some new things, so thanks! I'm looking forward to more!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's impressive that you've been able to keep this series going for a year and that every installment has been useful! Congratulations.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You are so amazing. I know they will all be great novels.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it...Faith just called Frank a punk!!!!! Now I know it's time to retire from HP. I've seen it all. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Catherine! Two or three? I'm planning ten. LOL Why think small, right?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Audrey. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Woo, I see your "funny" response up there my dear virtual Freakie Frank friend ...it is best not to mess with the Reaper LOL ... You know that old song, "Don't Fear the Reaper" ...well, the opposite is true for you punk!

      Hahaha ... I already told "dear" Frank I would pay him back for his comment here.

      God bless you both (even Junk Mail Frank) LOL

      Hugs

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Your mailbag responses are always so lively and entertaining. Let me add one thing that I learned at a writer's conference. Series are great because you build a loyal fan base. You can sell your 1st novel for 99 cents on kindle, but have your second novel selling at full price. Congrats to everyone who writes a novel. The whole idea overwhelms me. The thought of doing 2 or 3 is even more overwhelming.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      A lot of useful tips in this one--or at least for me!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Mike, for adding to the discussion. I appreciate you taking the time.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Publishers (in the old world of publishing) sent out Advanced Reading Copies and 'uncorrected proofs', to readers, journalist and often celebrities. Hoping for endorsements or reviews. Usually these are soft bound. As always the mailbag is full of good questions and good answers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Marlene. This really is an easy series to write. My followers do all the work and I'm just along for the ride.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, a few million in the bank account? I'll be he doesn't even know how much money he has. :) I do love to hear him talk about writing, and I would love to sit down and pick his brain some day. Thanks for being here and Happy Tuesday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, you've got me laughing out loud. I used to tell my students that there were, for sure, stupid questions, and to try and avoid them. LOL Thanks, buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....drbj, you crack me up. Point taken..no cattle prod reference to Bev. I thank you for her. :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Oh man, this was in interesting bag of unusual, but awesome questions. I enjoyed reading both the questions and the answers, of course. Looking forward to next week.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, they do. I always thought you had to have like a 200+ IQ to be a writer. But after reading Stephen King's 'On Writing', I realized he's just like us (with the exception of a few million in the bank account :D). He writes, he questions, he edits and sometimes he deletes. All part of the adventure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm looking forward to it, Bill, and I thank you for being along for the ride. You are appreciated, my friend.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      glad to see you back..Jack! The mailbag is still a must read.. and some questions and answer to them still intrigue me.. oh and Faith's question was really dumb, from here I could almost hear you snicker.. and I could swear I heard your wife say.. hey lets put that question up on the refrigerator door.. and then you guys busted out laughing... I'm kidding, with your mailbag there are no dumb question.. keep up the fantastic work BillyBuc..Jack..

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      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      As always, Bill, the questions you choose to publish are pertinent and your answers are realistic and comprehensive. No easy task.

      Give Bev a hug while you're at it for being your 'cattle prod.' But promise not to use that term to her. 'Sweet inspiration' will win you far more points. Trust me.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Congratulations on number 51. Another great week of questions and answers. Next week will be quite a milestone. Have a great week and looking forward to number 52.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Isn't that the truth, Zulma? And they make it look so easy. There are times I am quite jealous. :)

      Have a superb week and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      God bless you, Faith. I'm glad I could find an answer to your question. It took a little effort but it was worth it.

      I hope your week is filled with wonder, dear friend.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Some day for sure, PS, and I look forward to reading that story of yours. In the meantime, thank you so much and may the angels bless you today and always.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's hard to believe, Deb, but thank you for being with me on this journey.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, you've been with me from the start, and I greatly appreciate it. Happy Tuesday, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell. I'm glad I could answer one of your nagging questions. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the info, Bill. Writing can be such a mine field sometimes. It certainly does give you an appreciation for authours who get it right.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      I finally made it here for the Monday Mailbag ...and what a Monday it has been. I came seeking normalness LOL ....but I see in that first line ...LOL I have always loved that line and Jack Nicholson hahaha

      You sure did have a mailbag full of interesting questions and I see you saved the best one for last ...Kidding! Wow, a year in advance ...so that means one will be waiting for the actual publication date even longer. Thank you so much for doing extra research on my question and I am glad it wasn't a dumb one and others thought so too. I can see now how the process works and continues on and on.

      You are one awesome "Dear Bill" Bill.

      God bless you for persevering on this useful and informative series.

      Hugs

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      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is just such a great collection of tidbits that we need to know. Someday I will get serious and the story that is bubbling around inside of me will appear and with the help of these answers I will get the it done.

      Angels are once again winging their way to you and Bev. ps

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      A whole year already? Wow, it seemed like just yesterday I was reading installment 1. : ) Good job!

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      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, one year anniversary coming up? Its amazing how quickly time passes...And yet we still have so much to learn!

      Thanks for all your advice and Happy Monday!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Great advice as usual bill, and to be honest I did wonder that myself, about how authors get a review on the back page etc, thanks for answering the question! lol! good luck with your book, nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lizzy and it was a pleasure answering your question.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thanks so very much for answering my question. I can now take the bit out of my mouth and file off the tooth marks!

      This is such an interesting series of hubs that I always enjoy reading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, it's good to hear from another Block fan. I always liked Scudder...I loved the minimalist dialogues in the Scudder books....very raw, very succinct. Anyway, thank you!

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I read many, many Lawrence Block books a number of years ago. I liked the burgler series. Matt Scudder was good, but got old, for me, as the series aged. Great memories. Thanks for all you do! ;-)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheez, Stages, so do I. LOL

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish. I'm glad you found something interesting here.

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      The Stages Of ME 2 years ago

      Thanks looking forward to your wisdom as always.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I especially liked the question about reviews and editing as you go.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Dora, i greatly appreciate you being with me. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I'll be laughing the rest of the day about your neuron comment. Thanks for a great laugh. Let me know how that turns out. LOL

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      This has turned into a workshop for writers, and I don't intend to miss a session. Thanks.

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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marvelous, simply a grand edition. I learned a great deal. Personally I find those "endorsements" by writers and publishers a bit good old boy networky.

      In my age, I did write a note to a neurologist after reading this. I am hoping that he can write some imprints on my neurons, so just in life I can keep a proper timeline, I seem to get confused on that lately. Thank goodness authors can keep it straight for me.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, great comment and examples. I just read a book and the same thing happened and it was really disconcerting for me. I had no idea who was speaking and to me that is a cardinal sin for a writer. Anyway, thank you for pointing that out.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks MizB. I suspect that happens quite often with new releases.

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      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Speaking about characters sounding the same - I agree with you Bill - I don't think it matters that much, although you do have to be careful. The last Raymond Chandler I read (Farewell My Lovely) had, as usual, some fantastic dialogue. However, there was one passage where he had both characters say something that sounded like they were the same person and it freaked me out a bit - I mean, you don't expect Old Ray to make that sort of mistake and it took me a while to get back into the story. Also whenever I watch a Woody Allen movie (and I really love Woody Allen movies), I find (in certain of his films) all I can hear is his voice, and it kinda puts me off.

      Anyway, my point is that it's pretty hard to have everyone sound different, but if you can try not to have them using the same phrases and colloquialisms, that's a start. Anther good one, Bill. Voted up.

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      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Just happened to remember, when I worked in broadcasting sometimes, but rarely, we got review copies of books. We couldn't figure out why, since we didn't do book reviews.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, my writing studio stays cool until about two, and I plan on being done with the writing by then. Then I'll be in the shade with ice water and a good book. Thanks for being here and good luck with that traffic.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stages, it is good to hear from you again, and I'm glad to hear you are feeling a bit better. Great question...hopefully I'll have a great answer for you in next MOnday's Mailbag. :)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As always, you are welcome. Thank you, Pop!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Sha! It's my understanding that the major publications get a preview copy...all part of the advertising campaign. Oops, I should have saved that for next week's Mailbag. Darn it! LOL

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, kick the niggling to the curb and just do it. We only get one shot at this life thing....let's not look back with regrets.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Brian. I can always count on you to have a valuable comment we can all learn from.

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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I am not sure that I will ever pen that great American novel (I'm too busy in the kitchen). But this week's questions were fascinating, and the answers, of course, were wonderful. I look forward to your one-year anniversary edition of the Mailbag. You never disappoint.

      Find a shady spot today--it's going to be a hot one. (And be thankful that you won't get swept up in the U.S. Open traffic nightmare as those of us north of you are experiencing.)

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      The Stages Of ME 2 years ago

      Hello Bill,

      This is a great series of questions. I have been back and forth on the hub as my health has been that continual roller coaster. I do appreciate the ride though, and every lesson along the way. I am sitting okay for now, so I am on here more regularly. I do miss hubbing when unable.

      Now for a question? I do have a published work and it gets some good reads and reviews, however, I am limited on marketing do to hospital treatments and such. When well I am able to do some motivational speaking, God is right there with me giving me the script. When I am able to schedule or respond to speaking requests and/or book signings, they go very well, I am humbled and blessed. I am very limited to responding due to health issues on occasion, but I do enjoy sharing what God has placed on my heart. The area I struggle with is editing, I basically stink at grammar. I use a checker for basics, but nothing paid for. Do you recommend an editing program online? Or using a talented friend, or both? Any suggestions or tips appreciated, especially from such a talent as you. Peace and blessing to you

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      As always thank you......

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm looking forward to the anniversary edition of The Writers Mailbag, Bill.

      To piggyback on Faith's question: Often we'll see reviews from publications on the back of the jacket (or the inside flap). For instance, inside the flap of Dean Koontz's "Innocence" are reviews from Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Times (London). Are publications sent a preview copy or is the same procedure followed as Janet Reid explained to you?

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      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      thanks so much Bill for your very soothing answer. I think this writing thing is a lonely game in many ways. I am at this point that I have an idea for a book and want to do it...however, there is this niggling....

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      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Yet again, good questions and good answers.

      Search Google Images on:

      Review [or Sample] Copy Not for Resale

      to see lots of examples. Sometimes a review copy will be bound proofs that have not yet been proofread. Review copies go also to university professors and often show up at library used book sales.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, it's always my pleasure. Thanks for sharing about your French fur traders. That would be a tough one with regards to dialogue. I probably wouldn't be able to do it.

      Anyway, you are appreciated. Have a superb day in Arkansas.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DJ, and thank you for sharing how you went back to your manuscript and read some parts to find your muse. I like that solution and I think it will pay dividends in time.

      Carry on! You're doing fine without me. :)

      Bill

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      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Bill, this is one of your best writer question hubs, or at least it hits the spot for me. I especially resonate with Zulma. If I ever finish my book – I’m trying to work in two young French fur traders (brothers) who barely speak English. They fit in with the period, and one marries a character in my story. I don’t speak French. See my problem? I have already removed a couple of problem characters and written short stories with the material I’d planned to use. I hope I don't have to do this with them. I’ve wondered about Faith’s very intelligent, not dumb, question. Now I know. Thanks for educating and inspiring us this week, my friend.

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      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Bill, you covered some great questions with some super answers.

      Good, Lord, that DJ. just runs her mouth like a sewing machine!! LOL

      Much can be learned from the other questions and answers given.

      Please continue with Mailbag Monday. It is a valuable source of

      information, and serves as an ongoing opportunity to learn and

      perfect our writing craft.

      Still no muse, but I have felt some stirrings. I began to read back into the hardest part of the write, which was the war. It took me back to the heart of my character and I found it encouraging. If I could get through that bloody war, I should be able to get through anything.

      Thank you for your answer, Bill. You are greatly appreciated.

      DJ.