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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Fifty-Seven

Updated on July 27, 2015

The End of July Is upon Us

I know, I’m rushing it by one week, but I needed a subheading and that’s what I came up with. Live with it and let’s move on.

I haven’t ordered my copy of Harper Lee’s new book “Watchman.” I don’t know when I’ll get around to doing that. Honestly I have mixed emotions about it. “Mockingbird” was such an incredible book that a part of me is afraid that this new book will never live up to the hype and I’ll be disappointed. I kind of liked it when “Mockingbird” was her only book. I loved the fact that she became a legend by writing only one book.

I have no idea why I mentioned that other than the fact that a few of you have asked me of late if I’ve read the new novel yet. Consider it a bonus answer no charge.

Now let’s get going with the new Mailbag.

Welcome to the Mailbag
Welcome to the Mailbag | Source

The Health of Hp

From Dream On: “Bill, it was wonderful to see your answer and now I look forward to letting my mind wander as it may. Learning and appreciating so many other writers. I know in the past year Hub Pages hit some stormy weather. Some people got their row boats out and high tailed it to calmer waters. You have stuck it out and I thank you for that. I find something that works and I ride it to the end. I am a dreamer and I believe in people and I find it difficult to leave my friends who now have become my (extended family).Could you give your readers an update where HubPages stands. Have we increased our hubbers and in hubs. Are we heading for more dark clouds ahead ? It may seem silly to some people but I don't have the time or energy to do two writing sites. I would rather write and read your hubs and writers like you who care about other writers so much you bleed ink. I am proud and so happy to have met so many gifted writers. I am not computer savvy and don't know where to look to see how HupPages is competing without other writing sites. I do know that when I close my eyes at night I am thrilled of the day that I stumbled on HubPages and every day after that . Before that I just wrote to myself in a journal saying there has to be a better way. I did not find my family or friends at all supportive excluding my wife. They said I was waiting my time and theirs too. They rather watch t.v. or post on Facebook about bad events in the news and continue the drama. To each their own. I personally have better ways to spend my time. Combining the will to learn and all my fellow hubbers who love to write. For the love of writing. In time the money may follow but money was never my motivator. People who get excited about life and all it's beauty. That's where my head is at. That's where it will be till the day I turn into a pile of dust in the wind. Thank you for being a onesie of a kind. I know you think your just like everyone else. I like to think of you as the secret ace that quietly changes the game for ever. The people that find you can only do so by believing in helping other people by doing something you absolutely love "writing". Have a lovely day.”

Wow, Dream On! I don’t know what to say about all those nice compliments other than thank you.

The status of HP? I reached out to the HubPages staff for some comments but they didn’t get back to me by the time I posted this.

That leaves you with my opinion, and I have nothing to base my opinion on other than gut reactions. I don’t think HP will ever return to its heyday. I think it will be a fringe player until the day comes when it folds. The idea was a good one ten years ago. Now, not so much. Freelance writers can make a lot more money on other venues, so the only reason for writers to stay with HP is the community. That’s why I’m here. I love my friends here on HP. Unfortunately, many of them have moved on to greener pastures, so even the community I grew to love is disappearing.

My friends allow me to be a weird writer
My friends allow me to be a weird writer | Source

The Muse Lives!!!!!

From Kailey: “The muse questions are usually my favorite. I enjoy reading your thoughts on it. We all know how difficult it is to explain why autopilot is the best mode to unleash creativity. I love your story with the mid-conversation about animals. That happens to me all of the time. Do you think it's rude to ask someone to give you some alone time when that happens? Whenever I wait, it goes away, so I kind of panic, and tell the person, "I have to write some notes, sorry!" Meanwhile, I probably look nuts.”

Kailey, looking nuts is what we writers do. J

Seriously, nice question and I understand. My friends and family are quite accustomed to me doing exactly that. I’ll space out, or walk off, or ask for a second, and they are perfectly fine with it but….and this is a big butt….they are very close friends and loving family who allow me to be a bit weird as a writer. Not everyone allows that kind of quirkiness.

So I guess you have a choice to make. You can politely ask for a few minutes while you jot down notes, or you can suck it up and hope you remember. How about just hanging out with quality people? Come to Olympia and I’ll introduce you to some.

Planning a Series

From Babby: “Thanks Bill for more helpful info to ponder, tuck away and use as you hope we all will. Any tips on planning novel series? Tips on creating that strong memorable character that will shine through several books (hopefully). Not asking for secrets here just practicalities or perhaps I'm asking the wrong question. Have a great week :)”

I think the question was great, Babby, but it appears to be two questions: tips on planning a series and tips on creating a strong character. The best job of planning and executing a book series, in my opinion, was done by F. Paul Wilson in his Repairman Jack series. Whether you enjoy the supernatural genre or not is not important; studying the way Wilson connects seventeen separate novels over the span of thirty years is well-worth your time. It is sheer genius. I have heard that originally the series was not a series. There were two novels that had the same character and that was that….but then he decided he wanted it to continue, so from #3 on, the books were written with a series in mind. I’ve also heard that J.K. Rowling had the entire Potter series planned out in advance. Bravo I say! That is incredible.

But for those of us who are mortal, what do we do? The standard tips are the best with which to start……recurring characters, a timeline, connections that are the glue between all the books, clues sprinkled throughout, each book being a stand-alone, and related titles. Those are the starting points. I think it’s important to know where you want to go and have an end in mind. That way you can be working towards that end slowly but surely….but that’s simply my opinion.

Let’s break this up and handle the other question about characters in the next section.

Make your characters memorable
Make your characters memorable | Source

Strong Memorable Characters

Again from Babby: “Any tips on creating strong, memorable characters?”

I was just reading an article by Lee Childs, the author who created the Jack Reacher novels. Now there is a strong, memorable character. It was interesting to read the process he took in creating that character. Childs did not want Reacher to be like any other leading character in mysteries/action/thrillers, so he created this almost superhuman hero who never loses and is never vulnerable. If you get a chance find that interview. It’s worth a read.

How to create strong, memorable characters….this is one of the most important things any novel writer will do. It is crucial. I believe in any series it is the strong main character that propels each book and leaves us desperately wanting more of the series. Whether it be Jack Reacher or Travis McGee or Dave Robicheaux or Kinsey Millhone, the main character must be someone we can’t get enough of as readers.

Sit down and make a list of the qualities you want your main character to have. Keep in mind that you really want memorable, someone who has not been done thousands of times in the past. What is there about your main character that makes him/her stand out? There has to be something…some character appeal…or we’ll quit reading about that character very quickly.

Good luck!

And Good Luck to All of You

Another week finished and filed. It’s time for all of us to get back to work. Have a great week of writing and I’ll catch you on the flip side next Monday.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 22 months ago from New York, New York

      I just can't believe July is indeed almost over and still though glad there is more time left to this month and summer, because I am not ready for fall and winter time just yet. That said, great advice as always and truly do appreciate this and you, too! Happy Monday now, Bill :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday Janine and thank you. Hot weather is returning, so summer isn't ready to give it up yet...but it won't be long. Evenings are already cooler, the first sign that fall is almost here. Brrrr

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      I do so agree with Dream On. I love it at HP, mostly for the community spirit but also for the chance to try out all sorts of writing. I feel happy for people to read because I know I'm not going to be laughed at or treated unkindly (mostly!).

      Your tips regarding the creation of a strong character are superb. Lists are useful for that kind of thing.

      Yes, August is almost upon us. I have a few deadlines to meet in the next few days, then some fun things for August.

      A question for you: Do you think that writing a series becomes tedious after a while (talking about mine, not yours!); tedious to write as well as tedious to read? If we vary it enough, finish it when we run out of content or interest, is that acceptable? How can you tell when others have had enough (people are kind here, they tell you nice things whatever)?

      I seem to have asked more than one question there, sorry. I'll leave it to you to sort it out, I'm nice like that!

      Have a marvellous Monday, bill!

      Ann

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      Dianna Mendez 22 months ago

      I love your attitude, Bill. HP is about community. I miss being able to contribute this past year. I see posts online that are written by inspiring writers and learn from them as I read. I would agree that the site is most likely in its last phase, unfortunately. I hope to see writers reach their dreams regardless of which path they choose to pursue. I know you will continue to be a real leader to the masses no matter where your journey takes you. Blessings, dear friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a particularly good mailbag Bill, I agree with Dream On's wonderful sentiments towards writing at Hub Pages, also the questions from Babby and your answers concerning creating strong characters and planning a series of novels. Jack Reacher is a great character, as is Kinsey Millhone (not familiar with the others).

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good morning! Never apologize for asking a question. That's what keeps this series alive. I'll be back Monday with an answer to this excellent question. In the meantime, have a superb week, good luck with those deadlines, and thank you!

      bill

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 22 months ago

      I write on HP because of the community of fellow writers who mean so much to me. If the money was my motivation, I wouldn't be here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Dianna! I hope I'm wrong about HP. I hope it is going strong and will continue to do so. But if it ends, at least I'll have made some great friends and that makes it all worth it.

      Thank you and blessings in return to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! I'm re-reading the Reacher novels now.....I love the way Lee Child constructs a story. Hopefully some of that will wear off on me. :)

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      Michelle Liew 22 months ago from Singapore

      Creating memorable characters is really an art. I love these tips, Bill.

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      Shauna L Bowling 22 months ago from Central Florida

      The questions are getting more and more detailed. They will make a good outline for you when you hold your writers retreat, Bill.

      After reading Dream On's question, I plugged hubpages.com into Alexa to see what the overall ranking is. It's still actually doing very well. It has a global ranking of 1,115 (down 193), which is awesome and encouraging news, even with the slight drop. In the U.S., HP comes in at 770. That means there are only 669 sites that are more popular than HP (as of today).

      Regardless of the changes that seem to disgruntle some of our community members, it's still a great place to learn, share, and post our work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I'm with you every step of the way. I love this community of fine writers. Thank you for being one of them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michelle. As long as people find these tips useful I'll keep writing them.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 22 months ago

      Thank you, billy. Your kind words mean a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's interesting, Sha. Thanks for doing that and sharing with us. For my own selfish reasons I'm glad the site is doing well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Pop, and I thank you as well.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 22 months ago from south Florida

      Every word of yours, Bill, resonated with me because you stated so many of the facts that I also believe. HP has been fun but will it recover its former luster and audience? Hard to say.

      I am not in a hurry to read Harper Lee's new novel since I learned that Atticus in this book is not the complete hero he appeared to be in 'Mockingbird.'

      And Lee Childs and Jack Reacher are two of my favorite people. Oh, wait, there are three. You, too.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      I have another question regarding Google. I had an email from them regarding EU rules for end-users' rights and cookies. Do you know anything about that? I didn't understand a word of it and now I'm worried I'm not doing things correctly. It makes me wary of publishing anything anymore!

      Worried of the South-West,

      Ann :))

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      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Ann, I see there is a forum post about that:http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/132115

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      It's even more difficult to grasp that July is nearly over when our authentic "summer" weather really just began about a week ago! Until then, we had rain, coolness and more rain. Now of course is the disabling HEAT! (Never happy? Who me?....Nahhhhh.)

      Enjoy reading your Q&A series. Learning something useful every day is as important as morning coffee!.....and you're so good at it.

      My main "issue" currently is that as much as I want to jump feet first into writing a few new hubs, I have to be rigid with my time. Until I complete a home project or 2 that NEED to be done....I can't justify sitting at the keyboard.

      There ya go.....is this a dilemma or what? Work on my project while begrudging I have no time to write.....OR......Try to write while the project is gnawing at the back of my mind??? What do you do in this case Oh Teacher-teacher?

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 22 months ago from Texas

      I am Ann Carr's echo, and I loved Dream On's question and your answer. "For the love of writing. In time the money may follow but money was never my motivator. People who get excited about life and all it's beauty. That's where my head is at."

      Bill this Hubber sister loves you and appreciate you so very much. I would not know where to go or what to do without HP, I only wish my mother had known about HP years ago, she would not have been so lonely after dad passed away. Mom was a poet, and a good one.

      Thank you for the mail bag Bill.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 22 months ago from New Jersey

      Aww! Your response to Dream On's question is sad, but still encouraging! I'm so sorry you've lost a lot of friends on here because of the site's weaknesses. I wouldn't see HubPages the same if you left, but that would be your choice.

      If I ever get the chance, I will visit you! Thank you for including my question, and answering it so beautifully. :)

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 22 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Really great questions/answers this week. In particular, I am very interested and impressed with people who can plan and execute series. I know I love to read them and some day would love to write them! I find it fascinating how some authors plan them out so far ahead and others just fly by the seat of their pants. And both methods can work. Thanks again for your sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks drbj! I happen to think you're the cat's meow, too. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheez, Ann, you're talking a foreign language to me now...tech talk. I'll do some research on it...looks like John below has a site for you to check out in the meantime.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, we don't need to wait until next Monday to answer that question. If something is gnawing at the back of my mind, I have to take care of it. Otherwise it will distract me from doing anything else. For me especially, writing will suffer if there is something bugging me like a project that must be done. If it were me I'd do that home project so I didn't lose what sanity I have left. :)

      As always, Sis, thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, that is so sweet of you to say. Thank you. I'm sorry you mom didn't have a chance to share her talent with us on HP. We are all losers in that situation.

      blessings and hugs coming back at you

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, thank you. I'm not going anywhere. Even though I've lost touch with some friends from HP, I've made new ones like you, so it's all good for this old boy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      I' not discouraged about HP either, but I have looked at other sites, and haven't found one that pulls at me. Anyway, I have a question which may just reveal that I need to read more.

      What if midway though the storybook plot, another character besides the original protagonist emerges into the feature role? Is there a law against that? I've seen it in sitcoms, but is it allowed in literary fiction (or non-fiction for that matter)?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa and thanks for always being here. I'm on the second novel of my own series. It is a daunting challenge but I've found the second in the series much easier to write than the first, so that's encouraging for future books.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful stuff here Bill, as always. It is fun to speculate about HP. It kind of cool here right now as authors who are here seem to be here primarily for the community and that is great.

      I just do not know how you great writer folks do it -- Character development. I am putting it on my list as soon as I get my own character development at least somewhat under control.

      Bill how do you keep from falling into that mindset where you become a bit obsessed and always are thinking about how you could write something about something? It seems like it might prevent one from staying in the here and now.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I read, I voted, I tweeted. Sure glad you are fielding these questions. A great many wonderful people have left HP. There are still many beautiful writers that have remained.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

      I have to say, if it is one thing you're great at, it is creating strong, dynamic, memorable characters. Thank you for another fine edition of the mailbag. And, I'm kind of like you when it comes to HubPages. I'm not too big on change and we all know there is a lot of that going on around here. But, HP is like old shoes that (when new) were stiff and slightly uncomfortable, but then after a few days the shoes conformed to my feet and now they are my favorite pair of shoes. I will wear them until they can no longer be worn.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      I could do for a bit of optimism, but it seems like I'm late for the dance at Hubpages.

      Would like to grad onto something in its heyday just once.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      The Hp community of writers is great. Agreed. May it continue for a very long time. Your passion and support are much appreciated.

      Thanks for mentioning Kinsey Milhone. Sue Grafton has shown with her how to "make it look easy" when those of us who have tried know it isn't. It is that 'craft' that you speak of, so often. Love the Mailbag!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great question, Dora, and hopefully I'll have a great answer for you next Monday. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, as soon as you figure out your own character development, you can start working on mine. :) Thanks for the question my friend. Stay tuned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I really appreciate you doing all that voting and sharing. This is a good community. As long as it remains so, I'll haunt these halls. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Love the simile, Marlene, and oh so true. Thank you for being my comfortable pair of shoes.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Who knows, Larry, HP may surprise us all. I hope they do. If not, at least I got to meet fine people like you, so it was all worth it for me. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. Grafton was one of the first mystery writers I gravitated to. She makes it look so easy for sure. If it only were. :)

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 22 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Fascinating and helpful, as usual, Bill.

      Babby's question intrigued me; I love reading series books, and you are correct in that each book should be able to stand alone, unlike some TV series; if you miss a single episode, you're lost.

      I've not heard of the "Repairman Jack" books, but supernatural genre? One of my favorites! I'll have to search them out right away! ;-)

      As far as other examples, two come to my mind immediately. One is a series that has been around since I was a kid, and kids are the target audience, but those would be the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene (a pen name covering several contract authors).

      The other series I love (because I love cats and mysteries!), and have read over and over again, are "The Cat Who..." mystery books by the late Lilian Jackson Braun. Now there's a memorable and very different main character, and the two main supporting characters (the cats!) are well done also. These stories are so well crafted you start to feel as if you can actually visit this fictitious town, and already know the inhabitants.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! You really must check out Wilson's Jack series. I think you'll enjoy it. As for Braun, I've had her on my "to do" list for years and somehow managed to miss her. You've given me added incentive for my next trip to the library.

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      William Kovacic 22 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Bill,

      I was just thinking of all the information you put out. Here we are at installement #57 times four or five questions a week. If we can't learn from that, I can safely say, you're not the problem. Regardless of what HP does in the future, your knowledge shared with us will last.

      I know you're not looking for praise, but your faithfulness and consistency to the task at hand is as inspiring as the information you share. So I say thank you for both, my friend!

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 22 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, the Q&A on creating strong characters is right up my street, but we'll have a chat about that. I'm trying to stave off an annoying flu bug so I'm a bit down in the dumps at the moment. Another very useful mailbag.

      Take care and my best to you.

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      Linda Lum 22 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you are the bright spot in an otherwise very Monday-ish Monday. You and the other hubbers whom I consider to be friends are the only reason I am here. It's certainly not for the money, and the page views aren't all that great.

      By the way, I pre-ordered Harper Lee's book in February when it was first announced on Amazon. I've read it. Would I recommend it to you (knowing how much you love and admire the writing of TKAM)? I will give a tentative "yes". An appreciation of the new (old?) book will depend on why you loved the first one. Was it the writing, or the characters within the story? Hmmm, perhaps I've said too much already.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      No matter what anyone says about HP I will remain. I never signed up to make money. I signed up to write. I would miss my hubber friends so badly. Many of them are gone. I often wonder about Will Star and Epi. I loved both of their writing. I'm glad you are not going to greener pastures. You are so helpful to all writers. Now, I read what you said about not being able to write poetry on Jodah's hub.I don't believe it! Anyone who writes as good as you can rhyme words and you've got heart, that's all you need. Do it!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, that is very kind of you to say. Thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, the questions are just getting better and better, and I hope you feel better real soon. Blessings always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'm sure I'll read it eventually and to answer your question, I enjoyed "Mockingbird" mainly because of the writing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! As far as poetry goes, I think I have a mental block about it. I've convinced myself that I can't write it. I'll give it a go one of these days.

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      Interesting read as always. Just popped by to say hi and to apologise for being a little tardy lately! Things seem to have caught up with me and I have not had much time to spend on HubPages. You have a great week Billy,

      Sally

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      Another great mailbag Bill. I found the first question/answer very interesting. Someday when I get some free time I would be interested in researching what Dream On was asking with regard to number of Hubbers and Hubs and how we stack up to other writing sites. Certainly HP is not what it was five years ago but Google certainly has a lot to do with this. I wonder if other similar sites are seeing similar results? Anyway, great Mailbag. Have a great week.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

      Oh, I love HP and the community, as I have made so many friends, although many are no longer here, but I am finding lots of new ones along the way!

      Yes, all writers want their work to be memorable, especially the characters. I am glad you have received so many great questions for this Monday Mailbag!

      Thank you for sharing your insight here as always. Oh, here's a whacky question for you ...I have been reading about writing in the active and passive voice. From what I have read it is best to write in the active voice so that readers feel more a part of the story. Is it possible to write in the active voice when referring to the past LOL? If that question doesn't fly, how about sharing your thoughts on writing in the active and passive voice. Or a big flat-out NO will do.

      Blessings and Happy Monday night!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Thanks bro! I definitely tend to agree with your advice! (must run in the family)

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      Theresa Ast 22 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Bill - Don't know that I will ever write fiction, but I still love to read your answers to your mailbag questions. Always something very interesting.

      Like you, I have very mixed feelings about the second "Harper Lee" book. To Kill a Mockingbird was so good and so important. And it really does seem there has been some manipulation by the woman lawyer. Oh, well. Take care. Theresa

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      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Have looked at John's suggested forum post (thanks John!) but am now more confused than ever! Doesn't take much to do that. I'm with you, bill; it's a foreign language and one I don't really want to learn.

      I think HP should be telling us about this and giving us advice.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, it's always good to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to visit. Take care now, and I'll see you soon.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I really have no idea how HP is doing. Sha says they are doing well. I'll have to go with that assessment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Faith, I would never say no to you. Your question will fly right into Monday's Mailbag so stay tuned. And I'm very glad you have stayed here. Feels like home when you arrive.

      blessings my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Most definitely runs in the family, Sis! My pleasure!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 22 months ago from Chicago Area

      Re: Alone time to write. Solitude rules. That is all. Happy Tuesday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, I'm glad I'm not alone on the Lee book. I was feeling unfaithful not wanting to read the new one. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, let me see what I can find out. I'll let you know Monday. Have a great Tuesday, my friend.

      bill

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 22 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Hi Bill! Thanks for going deep for us again this week. You're a patient teacher.

      Many thanks for family and friends who understand our peculiar tendencies of slipping away unexpectedly, not answering the telephone, declining invites, etc. Much appreciation for covering my questions. I've never heard of the Repairman Jack series. How did I miss them? Will be adding it to my reading list as well as looking for Lee Child's interview. I'm another one who isn't lifting a finger to read the new Lee book. Unfaithful? No Bill, just human. I'm declaring that we have lost a great many heroes already! Thanks Again Bill!

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 22 months ago from Maine

      Man, I need to go back through these and read all the other installments. Great advice!

      I also am on the fence about Harper Lee's new book. I haven't heard great reviews. I also liked that she became a legend from that one book, like Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind.

      And there is something that draws me back about hubpages. I am not expecting to make money here. But to even have a place to share things that come into my mind is great. The friendships and connections I've made are priceless. I watched my father go from having some poems and unfinished stories laying around to joining hubpages, connecting with a publisher, and now I hold his book in my hands. That was a life long dream of his, and it all started here. You alone have been a big help, and are always so supportive of everyone else on here!! I'm glad you have stuck around!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

      Aw, that is a sweet thing to say. Bless you

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of the Repairman Jack series. Thanks for sharing the information and another edition of the mailbag, Bill.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 22 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Another great hub in the mailbag series!

      Interesting and valuable discussion as always. I agree with the observations of both Dream on and you. Besides the love for reading and writing, We are here for the wonderful HP community.

      Thank you for sharing this!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, that was succinct and dead on. Solitude does rule. Happy Wednesday to you and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Babby, I love your last line. We've lost a great many heroes already. Perfect!

      Thank you for the questions. I'm glad you found the answers useful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I would have left three years ago if it weren't for the community. I feel like I know these people. They are truly my friends. I love the connections, and I appreciate you. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And as a bonus, Faith, it was true. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you'll like it, Alicia, but make sure you read it from the very first novel forward.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We are for sure, Chitrangada Sharan. This is a great place to spread our wings and fly.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 22 months ago from New York

      Well, I may be late, but I'm here ;) Like Paula, sort of, the weather and outside work keep me busy (there's my children's book and novel too), but I will never abandon HP. If money were the goal, none of us would have stayed here so long. As long as HP and my friends are around so will I be. This community is amazing. I have met so many people who have become dear friends and I don't want to lose it. I welcome new friends daily; "make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold". (an old Girl Scout song)

      Okay, I'm off on a tangent here.

      Great questions as always.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, Mary, I've never heard that Girl Scout saying. How did I ever miss that one? I love it...exactly what HP is all about for me. Thank you for being a part of a great experience for me.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      my day or week I should say wouldn't have been complete... if I didn't get to read this week's mail bag.. again found you in spam.. but I spammed you out.. thank you my friend for still delivering :) Frank

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 22 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Ah, billybuc--"Make New Friends" is a round song learned by all Girl Scouts. But, since you were obviously never a Girl Scout, you're forgiven for not knowing about it. ;-) This is how it sounds: https://youtu.be/sMAxP-95yn4

      Meanwhile--a new question has occurred to me:

      I am either terribly over-organized to the point of OCD, or totally unorganized; there seems to be no happy medium.

      So, I wonder, what method do you use to file writing ideas for the future? Notebooks? File cabinet full of scraps of paper? Post-it notes all over the desk?

      My failing with file cabinets is that either every item has its own category, resulting in umpteen files with a single paper, or a lot of things filed under "misc." which ends up being the biggest folder.

      In neither case am I easily able to find what I'm looking for. Notebook? Yeah..but what page is it on?

      Sigh

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

      Woo, I love those kinds of bonuses : ) ...thank you, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, that's been happening the last couple days to me, too. Lots of hubs are going to spam and I haven't a clue. Well thanks for finding me, my friend.

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 22 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      The HP community here is the kind of nourishment and validation many have needed for years and found themselves here. What a gift for those who recognize it. The writing life is definitely not all about money. Thanks, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, you had me laughing with that question. I recognized myself in your dilemma. I'll have an answer for you on Monday. Thank you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do too, Faith. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Babby. I've said before, I would have quit writing if it were not for the supportive community here. Thank you for being a part of that community.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 22 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Fantastic job as always. I too was saddened by the first question because I agree that the community is so helpful and excellent. I've learned more about writing in the past 6-7 months on here than I have in years when writing at Yahoo.

      I don't want to see this place fold and hope it stays around for a while. The fact that the staff is continuing to improve the site makes me feel good about its future.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope you're right, Chris....I really do. I love this community and I want to see us all succeed here. Thanks for weighing in.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 22 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I also believe that HP is clearly a stopping point for many people. All some need is fuel for the fire, to see where they can go with their material, then running off, and giving those creations a permanent home. The beauty is, that if we have mettle, we can certainly do it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Deb. I love that word "mettle." I agree with you completely and thank you.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 22 months ago from Hawaii

      Been a while since I read a mailbag installment. Sorry it took so long. Great hub, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No sweat, vkwok....we all have other lives. Thanks for the visit.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 21 months ago

      Life is full of surprises. My favorite every since I was little was getting the mail. Even though as a kid my parents got most of the mail. It never stopped me from rushing to get the mail. You made me instantly forty years younger. Now a lot older I would get the mail and get mostly bills until I came across billybuc's amazing , fun filled, interesting, creative, inspiring,informative mailbag.I only had time to mention only a few things you do. Just when I thought it was impossible for you to go any higher. You find a way. How many people can say they get mail on Sunday's. I do and it's a dream come true. Thank you for your last response about HubPages stability. We will just have to wait and see. I have a few ideas up my sleeve but I will save that for another post. My concern is why wouldn't HubPages be more connected to the pulse of it's writers and readers. That's the heart of HubPages and every business knows if you ignore the customer you are biting the hand that feeds you. I find it silly. Wouldn't it be a great idea if they were the first online writing site that gave twenty four hour good customer service. That would make them a leader instead of a follower. Creating something new instead of slowly disappearing into the abyss. I would be interested in your opinion how the HubPages team has responded to past questions you have asked ?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dream On....I'll answer your question next Monday, but quickly, they have not been very impressive in responding to past questions.....although they have been better of late. Sigh! I'm afraid it's always about the bottom line with these companies. They can't see beyond the dollar signs. What you say would be revolutionary and beneficial for all...so we probably won't see it.

      Thank you for the very kind words.

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