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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Fifty-Three

Updated on June 29, 2015

Let’s Start a New Year, Okay?

Well, you guys, and gals, keep sending in questions, so I guess we might as well usher in the second year of the Mailbag. In other words, don’t blame me that this series won’t die. It’s all your fault!!!!

Remember that most of what I'm about to say is simply my opinion. It's what I've learned over the years but I also believe that in writing, there is no one way. We all have our own ways of approaching and practicing this craft. I'm just tossing out my opinions and if they stick on your writing wall then fantastic.

Shall we begin? We’ll start out with a question from Carol, one I’m sure many of you can relate to.

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

Bleak and Forlorn

From Carol: “I always enjoy Monday reading here--your mailbag. I am dealing with motivation right now. I know you have spoken about this before. I remember a blog I had many years ago and got at least 1,000 views for doing absolutely nothing. I promote my blog regularly and well...My question to you is when the chips are down and things look bleak in the arena I explained--what can we do? I hope the question is clear and I didn't get too wordy as I usually do.”

Carol, I’m fairly certain this is something all writers understand. Considering the number of blogs and articles and online sites that are flooding the airwaves these days, it’s amazing that any of us get any views at all. And then there are Google updates and adjustments, and seasonal adjustments, and after awhile we all start to feel a little foolish for having tried this writing/art/crafts gig.

Normally I’m the voice of calmness and patience regarding this topic. Normally I would say chill out, but how long can a person practice patience in this business and still retain some sanity? I had a mentor who kept telling me if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but remember that the opposite is equally wise, namely that if it is broke, you damned well better fix it.

In other words, if what you are doing isn’t working, it just might be time to try something different. Is your approach to marketing sound? Are you seeing the entire game board and making all the moves you can make? Have you thought of consulting a marketing pro? We have a couple at HP who I believe in strongly….Heidi and Cristin….I can put you in touch with them if you like.

Short of that, I’ll leave you with four words….think outside the box.

PRIORITIES

From Ann: “So there's a question for you: How do you give priority to articles, aside from those which you write for others and apart from your novels? I tend to go for the one on which I have the most information but how do you tackle this?”

Interesting question, Ann, but I would expect nothing less from you.

I’m a “seat-of-the-pants” kind of guy. By that I mean I go with the inspirational flow. Whatever feels right at the time is what I write. I have a bevy of unfinished articles sitting in my laptop. Some will sit for months until the inspiration arrives and I can finish them. Some seemed like a great idea at the time of inception but then they dried up two paragraphs into them.

The only articles that are scheduled and come off at the same time each week are the Mailbag articles. All others wait until the muse speaks to me. Luckily, so far, she has kept the lines of communication open.

PRICING

From MizB: “The question of how to price your writing is a difficult one for me, since I've always been paid a salary for my writing and editing. I'd like to hear more about this. Thanks for being our writer friend, Bill.”

MizB, for a freelancer, this is always one of the toughest questions. There are guidelines to be sure, and you can find those by following The Writer’s Market of the Writer’s Digest. This question pops up at both of those sites from time to time, but the final word on it all is the pricing is your decision if you are a freelance writer. What will the market bear? What is your direct competition charging? And for me, most importantly, what is my time worth? I do a quality job on my writing and I will accept nothing less than quality pay.

I also get a bit creative. I do weekly blogs for a local business called the Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center. My wife and I do a lot of business with that shop since we are urban farmers, so I do the blog for them and they give me a 10% discount on all my purchases. That’s my pay for that job and to me it’s worth it.

Dialogue between real people is not the same as dialogue between characters in a novel.
Dialogue between real people is not the same as dialogue between characters in a novel. | Source

How Much Dialogue

From Bill: “My question is about dialogue. I'm working on a new fiction book and as I go I find myself using dialogue more than I ever have before. How do I know if I'm overdoing it with dialogue.”

This really is a great question, Bill, and I’m glad you asked it.

There is no easy answer to this question. One size does not fit all. There is no golden rule that says twenty lines of dialogue per chapter is acceptable, but twenty-one is unacceptable. Dialogue is just one facet of novel-writing. It is important but not more important than pace, scene-development, character-development, plot or action.

The first question any author should ask regarding dialogue is….is it necessary to advance the story and plot? Dialogue should propel a story. There should always be a purpose for it. If there isn’t, and if it does not advance the plot, or at least help us to understand the characters better, then reject it. Readers don’t want to read a conversation between two characters unless there is a purpose for that conversation. A 100,000 word novel does not allow an author to have random, meaningless discussions between characters. Those types of things are better served in rambling, 500,000 word Russian novels. J

I've had to trim and weed-eat my voice over time
I've had to trim and weed-eat my voice over time | Source

The Changing of the Voice

From Paula: “How do we determine our own voice, bro? And what if our voice changes from work to work? Is this good, bad or indifferent? Must we be vigilant? I prefer to be natural...just "me." I know you are you...but you claim it is different from just 10 years ago.

I see this in my own writing....and I was concerned, but I now feel this is a good thing......”

Well, Paula, I feel it’s a good thing too, so there you go.

My writing voice has changed over time, just as I have as a person. I think that’s natural. I look at my first novel and then look at the last one I just finished, and it’s like two different authors wrote them.

My voice is also different when I’m doing articles on HP as opposed to doing articles for customers. I think that’s necessary. Customers want their businesses promoted. They do not, for the most part, care about my literary chops, so I tend to mute most of my “voice” when I’m doing the customer thing.

But you asked how do we determine our own voice, and my answer to that would be that our voice will determine itself over time. The only conscious decision I’ve made regarding voice is to make it as conversational as possible. I’ve always wanted it to “read” like a good friend is talking to you and telling you a story. I always keep that in mind as I write….but any other determination regarding my voice has simply happened over time.

Sheez, Sis, are you confused yet?

Next Week for Sure

The questions are already pouring in for next week, so the Mailbag will return. Thanks to all who asked questions, and thanks to all who read this installment.

I’ll see you next Monday. In the meantime, remember that writing is a gift. It’s a gift to the author and it’s a gift to the readers. Wrap it up, put a bow on it, and make it extra pretty.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      What can I say, but in a nutshell, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Seriously, love, love, love your Monday column and from the looks of it, so do many others. So, keep on doing the great work you do here, Bill! Happy Monday and finally a warmer day with no rain for us as the weekend was a bit of a washout sadly.

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

      Thank you Janine! Crazy weather, my friend. The west coast is broiling....you guys get our normal weather....oh well, Fall will be here soon. :) Happy Monday my friend.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Great information, as always, Bill.

      I hired another muse. She lasted about three days before I kicked her

      out. She has been picketing on the sidewalk in front of the house.

      I keep telling the neighbors not to feed her, as she will continue to

      return.

      Determination is a big part of this craft. My plan is to shoulder my through to the other side. If I don't like what I see, I can return to plan

      "A".

      Many thanks for your words of wisdom.

      DJ.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Another bag of interesting questions and answers Bill. Happy Monday to you. Have a good week.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Hey Bill, glad to back, and to read one of your hubs on writing too. And I wholeheartedly agree on the voice......it changes when we write in different situations. I guess that's because the target audience differs!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I, too have unfinished work sitting in my computer. I'll get an idea or a first line in my head, make a beeline for my office and jot it down either on paper or in Word. Usually it's on paper because I get these brilliant ideas in the middle of the night when my mind should be resting along with my body. Then I'll look at it in the morning and have no idea where to go with it. But I've saved them all. As you say, one day my muse will tap on my shoulder and whisper the rest of the story in my ear.

      Great questions this week, Bill! And Happy New Year, Mailbag! :-)

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

      DJ, you just can't get good help nowadays, can you? There should be a quality control department for muses. Some way of weeding out the bad one, 'eh? :) You are too funny! Have another cup of coffee and think good thoughts. LOL

      Thanks my friend.

      Bill

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

      Thank you John! Happy Monday to you as well.

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

      Michelle, thanks for stopping by and I do believe it is because of the target audience. It's an important point to remember for any writer trying to earn money at this gig.

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

      Thanks for sharing that, Sha. I was laughing. I'll do the same thing, and look at an article title and wonder what the heck it means, or what was my point in writing that title down. And then it will come to me weeks later. I should be concerned that my mind works that way but hey, it eventually does work, so no worries, right? :) Happy Monday my friend.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      Looks like a great beginning of the new year. I see your next Hub will be your 1000th one. That will a feast! I will think of a new question for you soon, my friend :)

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

      Thank you Buidreps. I don't know why HP is so slow in their calculations, but I passed 1000 four days ago. :) I appreciate you being here, as always.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This has been a gift to me. Thank you so much for keeping the mailbag going. I hear you about how to price fees. It's whatever you think you're worth. Like you, I have bartered a payment with an exchange. I maintain a real estate blog for a top producing broker and instead of giving me cash, the broker pays for my monthly real estate dues. It's quite valuable to me because even though I'm not an active broker myself, I can stay abreast of the market and create more informative articles for this broker and for myself.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      With your writing experience and your gift for sharing it, Bill, you will never run out of grist for this mill. I predict that!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for the insight into setting yourself apart in blogging.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday morning! Just stopping by for my weekly "fix". Thanks as always for sharing your wisdom with us all. Have a wonderful Independence Day!

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

      I love that kind of bartering, Marlene. Thanks for sharing that with us. It's a win-win for all concerned, and I think more writers should consider creative pricing fixes like that one.

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

      drbj, I hope your prediction comes true because I'm enjoying this series. Thank you!

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

      You are very welcome, Larry, and thank you! Happy 4th to you!

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

      Melissa, I always appreciate you stopping by for your fix. Just consider me your friendly neighborhood "pusher." :) Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Love the last line! Extra pretty is what makes any article.

      Thanks for answering my question; I know exactly what you mean and I'm glad you mentioned that you have a stack of articles just waiting for inspiration - I thought it was just me!

      Have a marvellous Monday, bill!

      Ann

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      Maria Jordan 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Hi Bill,

      I'll look at this as the start of your 'second season' of The Mailbag and it certainly has become a favorite of mine...and many others, I'd say!

      Congratulations, dear friend and also on 'pushing past' your 1000th hub!

      Happy Monday! Love, Maria

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

      Thanks, Ann, and it was my pleasure. Enjoy this summer day, my friend. I'll just be sitting in front of the computer sweating. :)

      bill

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

      Thank you Maria and Happy Monday to you. I'm gearing down on HP articles but I can never forget to do the Mailbag. It's just become a part of the weekly schedule.

      love,

      bill

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Priorities of what to work on next is what I've worked on this week. By taking a couple of weeks off from 'regular' articles, I'm catching up on a number of priorities that had been nagging at me but never reaching the top. It is working. I'll be more comfortable getting back to my regular articles with these others out of the way. Thanks for your support!! ;-)

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

      Thank you Bill! I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind and let priorities slip or become lost in the pile. Good for you!

    • Ericdierker profile image

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

      Wow this gave me an idea to look into; people actually get paid to write, you can make it a priority and even market your stuff. Please do not tell my wife, she thinks you can only do it for free. I don't think I could handle the pressure.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Happy Monday Bill and thanks for more answers and more inspiration. I guess I could say for me my music blog was created because first of all I love all kinds of music and second of all most everyone enjoys music. It worked it sure did. I started it up at the end of last year and it has finally taken off and I have over 3000 views on it. I am happy with that. My other two blogs are not doing too bad and I have made more friends in my Google + groups. Hope you have a start to a productive week.

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

      Eric, your secret is safe with me, buddy! LOL Good times! Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      It's a pleasant heat here; hot enough to be out in the garden but not too hot to make it uncomfortable. Like you, I don't like the extreme heat and if it's humid, forget it!

      Ann

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

      Happy Monday Rasma! I'm glad your blogs are doing so well. I think if I put time into mine I would see better results, but novels are my thing and I need to devote all efforts to them.

      Good to hear from you. Thank you!

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

      Ann, I think I would enjoy England weather much more than this. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Thanks Bill.

      Happy New Year's second start. Hope it continues to flourish.

      You're a farmer all right. So it's good to hear you've got this job. 10% is cool. In Love and Light.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Congratulations Bill on starting a second year of the mailbag. I'm not surprised by the success of this series. People need help and advice and there is no one better here at HP than you to give honest answers and good solid opinion. Who knows how long this will go?

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Bill, you are off to a great start in this second year here of the Mailbag series!

      I do hope the questions keep rolling in. Have you ever considered writing a screenplay? I attempted to several years ago, and it was fun, but there sure are a lot of rules to follow as far as proper format. Do you think it is a difficult task for most writers to transition from writing a novel to writing a screenplay?

      I, too, have a stack of "future" articles ... I will get halfway through and then a "better" idea comes up and so I must start on that one. So, I do have a pile of great ideas for hubs, but must take time to finish up something. You're right, it all depends on when the inspiration for a certain topic will hit.

      Peace and blessings always

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for continuing the column, Bill. I like to read it every week for little nuggets to spark new ideas for my own writing.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I couldn't understand Carol's question, but it is near bedtime and I'm getting sleepy. I'm sure your answer is excellent.

      Question: How do you time your writing time? What is included in your 10 hours per day of writing? Do you use a timer? Do you turn it off for meal breaks, snack breaks, bathroom breaks, spouse interrupts, nap attacks, writing-related bookkeeping, doing office clerical tasks, or for any time that you are not writing for more than a minute or two?

      I'm forgetful, so if I, or someone, already asked that, let me know.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Thanks for being encouraging and the voice of reason, and being humorous to boot. Just returned from the Alaskan interior again and was mortified by rhetoric in the news. Haven't ever returned to the United States before or in this case to the lower forty-eight and thought, "Where in the heck am I?"

      Nice to know you are still here giving your opinion on writing and teaching us all a whole lot:)

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

      Thank you again, Manatita...a farmer I am, for sure. :) Blessings always!

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

      Thank you Bill. I am very grateful to you and all who have accepted this series with open arms.

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

      Theresa, I so appreciate you. You are always here and I thank you sincerely. As for the screenplay, no, never have I attempted one. I don't even know how to start one. LOL I'm having enough trouble with novels.

      blessings my friend.

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

      No, thank you, Deb. This column would have died a long time ago if not for you and others.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I enjoy the author Jojo Moyes who has many different voices. Most of the authors I enjoy are recognizable to me. I have to check and see how far apart her novels were spaced. As always, I love this series.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      You know what's especially nice about this series? There are no re-runs!

      I talk a lot ergo there's a lot of dialog in my upcoming novel. Having read your answer here I think I'll go back and see if its all necessary. I certainly don't want to be boring.

      Thanks for another great mailbag!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      This mailbag may change my outlook as a writer on here! I am surprised and relieved to hear you write according to your inspiration. I don't know what I'll do with some of my unpublished articles, yet, and since I see you finishing so many I figured you don't let any sit and that's how you're successful. Thank you so much for explaining your experience with that. So many of us will feel better knowing it's possible to keep working purely through current inspiration rather than a feeling that we just need to write articles we started.

      It's wonderful to hear that you keep another blog for the Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center! That's exciting, and right up your alley! I'm sure you're very proud of that!

      I'm looking forward to next week!

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

      Brian, truth be known, I had to ask Carol to clarify before I answered the question, so you weren't alone. :) thanks for the question...I'll have an answer for you Monday.

      bill

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

      Tireless, welcome back. I can't remember a time in my life when the rhetoric was this bad...maybe during the Kennedy-Nixon campaign...but it has gotten downright nasty of late and I don't like it one bit. :)

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

      That's interesting, Pop. I'll have to check her out and see what you're talking about. It's unusual for sure.

      Thank you for always being here.

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

      LOL...Mary, no reruns there...I love that line.

      I'm sure you're fine with your dialogue. In most cases, dialogue is crucial for pace.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, that's sweet of you to say. Thank you. I'm of the belief we should never throw any of our writing away. We never know when our muse is going to reappear and spearhead some brilliant writing.

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      For what it is worth, I stick to a strict publishing scedule. I very rarely have unfinished drafts. Most of the pieces are mediocre, but I have a difficult time letting a text go until i have finished it. I figure that i can go back and revise as needed.

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

      Melissae, it's worth as much as any of the nonsense I post here. LOL Thanks for sharing your process with us. I always find it interesting how other writers go about their craft.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm looking forward to another year of mailbag hubs and another year of reading some useful and interesting information. Thanks for continuing the series.

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

      Thank you Alicia! I hope you're right and this lasts another year. I've greatly enjoyed it.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Late again my friend but better late than never! Another excellent selection to get us nodding in agreement, intrigued with what your reply will be and parking those answers in" learnt something new today" folders. Dealing with motivation is something you know I have struggled with and finding your voice may well change through the years and be a bit dependent on what you are writing on. I like to think I write with my personality showing through. I do believe from reading others work and my own, if you are passionate about what you write, it shows. Have a glorious week in Olympia Bill.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      the next 52 weeks will have their hands full.. but I know you can live up to the high billing.. 53's motivation has captured my attention.. thank you for continuing this " Tradition?" Frank

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

      Irish, this might be the very first time I have disagreed with you. I don't think you suffer from motivation at all. I think you suffer from fear and remorse.

      But what do I know?

      I know I love having you as a friend, that's what.

      love,

      bill

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

      Frank, I like the word tradition with regards to this series. Let's hope it remains as such. Thanks for always being here.

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      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Bill,

      I'm a little late checking in, but thank you for your reply to my question - makes perfect sense. And thank you for all the other great information you give us each week. Congratulations as you enter year number two.

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

      Thanks Bill. It was a great question and I enjoyed answering it...and I'm sure it was a question many writers are curious about.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      A very interesting questions and answers series ! Though the whole package is great, I , especially, liked the question Ann posed and the answer you gave her. Bill, I 'm perplexed over this muse thing. Sometimes she makes frequent visits, and at other times keeps an absolute mum. I love your advice that we shouldn't discard our writing however insignificant it may be, as it can be refined as a fine piece later on. Thanks for such inspiring words and some wonderful tips on writing.

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

      Thank you again Harishprasad. I wish I knew how the muse works. At times I think she is quite fickle and not worth my time, but then there are those times when she loves me unconditionally and gives me all the inspiration I will ever need. :)

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Catching up. Another great installment Bill. Thanks!! Here are a few related questions. They may bring up more than questions than solutions. How successful or unsuccessful are collaborative non-fiction works versus novels? On the surface, non-fiction seems easier than a novel. You can just divide up the work according to expertise and put it all together. A novel, well is a bit more complicated. Can a friendship whether the ups and downs of working together on a novel? Considering the different strengths brought to the table, might it be worth it?

      Happy 4th Bill!

    • Janet A Taylor profile image

      Janet A Taylor 2 years ago from Colonial Beach, VA

      Hello, Bill,

      I'm new to blogging, and in exploring, I ran across your blog. I am a first time author. My book was just released in June. I was told by my publisher to use the internet as a means of getting my book publicized. How does one do this when she is not that computer-literate or internet saavy? Can you offer any suggestions?

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      As Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something, " and it sure is, as far as writing and everything connected to it. One day, I might know enough to do a whole book, but until then, I shall sit back, relax, and read what you give me. Thanks, as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Babby, good to see you again and Happy 4th of July. The mailbag is full for this MOnday, so I'll include your questions in the next installment. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janet, thanks for stopping by. I included your question in Monday's mailbag, so check in for the answer.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

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

      Hello Bill, first -Happy Fourth of July. Second, I am sure glad I am not trying to answer these questions. It is no wonder that your followers flock to your articles.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Another set of great questions and answers and more writing wisdom. Thanks!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Wow! I'm blushing. Thanks for the marketing shoutout! Yep, I'd be glad to chat with any of our hubber writer pals who want to delve into the marketing "thang."

      Re: Priorities. I've found that when I go with what you call "inspirational flow," I can get more writing done than when I plop myself down and say "I'm gonna write 500 words." I also encourage my clients to get their writing ideas down however and wherever they can with voice recorders, notepads, whatever. That IS writing, too... it's not just when you're in front of the computer screen.

      I'm late in checking in the Mailbag this week. Heck, there'll be another one tomorroww. Keep 'em coming!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I'll keep them coming as long as you and others like you are enjoying it. Thank you!

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

      Mike, Happy 4th to you and thank you for the kind words. I'm just happy people think there is value in what I have to say. :)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora. As long as we're all having fun then this will continue.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips, Heidi, on the alternatives to writing....you'll be the first I recommend if someone is looking for help.

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      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OK...Realized I missed this installment while reading #54.....uh....yeah. I knew you had told me you'd answer my question in your "next installment". When I didn't see it in #54, my quick mind told me, "Old lady, you must have missed one!"

      Lo & behold. Thanks so much oh genius bro. I see the bottom line clearly! Just keep writing, be myself, continue to love what I do and my voice creates itself!....I love it for sure!...UP+++

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Sis, your voice is distinct and well-developed. You have nothing to fear. It is a voice I love to read...conversational with attitude! That's your voice, Sis, and I hope it never goes away. :)

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      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Kudos to answering more hot button questions. I'm really learning a lot from these weekly mailbag Q&A's and again excellent job in your approach to each one of them.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Chris. Thank you very much and I'm glad you are enjoying this series.

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      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OK! I'm giggling with delight! I love your professional & personal description of my "voice." I think I'll KEEP it! LOL

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad, Sis. I was hoping you'd like it. Keep it most definitely.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill.

      Really good stuff. I think we all struggle with the 'voice'. I even struggle with it from one hub to the next, it kind of depends on what the subject is!

      My last hub I struggled between the 'wanting to prove' and just telling the story. I went for the latter, but the former also really wanted to come through.

      Great stuff here

      Lawrence

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, I know what hub you are speaking about...it did appear that you were struggling with it. Funny how you can surmise that from the voice. :) I appreciate you stopping by.

      bill

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      bradmasterOCcal 23 months ago from Orange County California

      Hello again Bill

      HP was getting to political with my hubs, as I like to tackle the pc topics.

      I have looked at the this hub and up to 58. I didn't find anything that I could add anything.

      I can't remember how long I have been away, but during that time I have watched a lot of TV and Movies via Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I also found that You Tube also have full length TV and Movies. This is great for watching classics.

      Anyway, my opinions on TV and Movie writing was strengthened with hundreds of hours of viewing.

      The bottom line is that they all for the most part follow the knee jerk patterns. This is especially true in the drama field. I can only dispense reality when I feel that the show is comedy infused drama.

      I don't know the warping of reality exists in the fiction book world, although I suspect that it must, as writing is writing. Maybe that could be a mailbag question.

      Anyway, it was nice to find you still mentoring here. I trust that your last book was published and did well, and you must be on to the next one.

      Take care

      Brad

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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, it's good to hear from you again. My goodness, you must have watched a ton of movies in the time you were away. Warping of reality in fiction? Oh my goodness yes, and for the most part, knee jerk patterns are the norm in fiction lit as well. People write what sells...agents represent what sells....publishers publish what sells. There is a formula that must be followed for success, don't you know? LOL Of course I'm being a bit cynical. At least cynicism is still free. :) Thanks for stopping by...now back to your movies.

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      bradmasterOCcal 23 months ago from Orange County California

      Billy

      So true, and how sad it is that I keep hoping to find a vein of stories to my liking.

      Perhaps, your tutoring of writers here might instill in them the basic skill set, but with a desire to break free of the constraints of the market place. It won't make them rich, but it might make them special.

      How did the great writers in history escape the confines of their predecessors? It had to be free thinking on their part, making them go boldly on the less traveled road to success.

      When you trek across the country abandoning the paved and secure roads, you take many risks, and for a few, these risks payoff. For many however, they die in obscurity lost with only their vision and quest left to console themselves.

      As I was coming out of my delusional stupor on writing, I thought of an interesting question on writing. I wonder what book or writer was inspirational to people that they thought they would like be writers, or at least try their hand at writing?

      This was a thousand words, and 99 more of these, and I would have a Novella. :-)

      Have a great day

      Brad

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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the return, Brad. I wonder if the great writers in history had the same confines? I think times have changed greatly in the literary world...and in general the entertainment world. It's more about the packaging now...make it pretty, follow the formula, etc. In film, we see a lot of independent films being made, but rarely do they make any money because the big bankrollers will not cover their expenses....indies are not financially viable, bottom line. I'm wondering if "financially viable" was even important in the 1800s?

      Anyway, thanks for the other question...for me it was Harper Lee. No hesitation in that answer. :)

      bill

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      bradmasterOCcal 23 months ago from Orange County California

      Billy

      You make a valid point.

      Interesting choice, descendant of Robert E Lee, and the issues brought up then are still sadly in play today.

      I like the knowledge of human nature possessed in the writings of William Shakespeare, and Machiavelli.

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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes, Brad, I can see you liking Shakespeare and Machiavelli. :)

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