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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Forty-Eight

Updated on May 25, 2015

One More Time

Welcome back to the interaction series where you ask questions and I make up answers in an attempt to cover my rear end.

I’m being pushed to the limit this week with some really quality questions. Hopefully I’ll rise to the challenge and come up with something that, at the very least, makes sense. I probably should have saved a couple for next week because this is a big mailbag.

Let’s get started with the first of two questions from Zulma.

The Mailbag is open for business
The Mailbag is open for business | Source

Women’s Lit and Flash Fiction

From Zulma: “Thank you, Sensei. But before you do that, here's a question. What is 'women's literature'? And while I think of it. What, exactly, is flash fiction?”

Anyone who has ever queried an agent or publisher is familiar with the different genres of literature. It’s necessary to know the genre your book fits into because, well, inquiring minds want to know.

Women’s Lit is usually referred to as women’s fiction in the genre categories. It does not refer to novels written by women, although most are, but rather about novels that are written that focus on women’s life experiences and the unique emotions associated with those experiences. It is in recognition of the fact that the majority of book readers are women, and it acknowledges that fact by establishing a genre specifically for books aimed at women readers.

Flash fiction is another new term for a genre that has been around for quite some time. Think about Aesop’s Fables and you’ll be thinking about flash fiction, which is fictional literature of extreme brevity. Walt Whitman was known to kick out a flash fiction or two in his time. There is no specific number of words that make up a flash fiction writing. Some describe flash fiction as three-hundred words or less. Some put the ceiling at one-thousand.

Zulma, I hope that clears things up for you. Thanks for the great question.

These people, my family, are often in my fiction
These people, my family, are often in my fiction | Source

Converting Real Life to Fiction

From Ann: How about this one? If you see an interesting situation in real life, how do you convert it to fiction? Do you 'steer' circumstances to suit the story or keep to what actually happened, and why?

Since Ann asked what I do, that’s basically what you’re going to get with this answer.

I’m first and foremost a writer of fiction. For me, life is one big writing prompt. I’ll see a commercial on television and it will trigger something. I’ll hear a song and a story is born. With regards to real life occurrences, I usually just use them as the spark that gives birth to a story, or I’ll use them as a scene or action in a novel. My novels are sprinkled liberally with events that “mostly happened” in my life.

The only true story I have ever written that I kept almost entirely intact was a story called “Sam’s Story” about an old couple I lived next door to growing up. It was a recounting of how they met and the sixty years they spent together, and how that couple affected me. I wrote it like fiction and yes, a couple things were the product of my imagination, but mostly the story was true.

PRIORITIES

From Brian: The priorities question shows one of the values of deadlines. If a teacher, producer, publisher or agent is expecting a promised second draft by tomorrow morning, that's a clue as to priority and focus. Any tips on how those of us without such real deadlines can emulate having them? About the closest I come is having thoughts like, "I should contribute a story to the writing group for a change." Do you challenge yourself with writing progress deadlines, such as to show your wife at least one revised chapter of your current novel in progress every Friday evening or whatever?

Brian, this is a great question for which I do not have a great answer, but I appreciate the question nonetheless.

I’ve always been a very focused person. I’m somewhat anal when it comes to time and always have been. I’m always early; never late. I have always been a calendar person, a schedule person, an organized person. This is as natural to me as breathing. It was very noticeable when I was a teacher, a job that requires one to balance many plates at once and never be late with deadlines. I thrived in that situation. I am the ultimate multi-tasker.

But, there are those out there who are not, and my wife is one of them. We balance each other perfectly. I have tried to help her and failed miserably in my attempt. I think, if I had that problem, I would carry an appointment calendar around with me constantly. I would challenge myself with deadlines weekly, and I would insist that I met those deadlines. I really don’t know what else to tell you on this one because it is such a foreign concept for me.

I did do some research on this question, however, and these tips were fairly consistent.

  • Make the goal and deadline realistic
  • Break the task down into small steps and schedule a completion date for each step
  • Reward yourself for meeting the deadline

I’m not sure how much help that is but there you go.

The woman in blue was a character in one of my novels....she grew over time
The woman in blue was a character in one of my novels....she grew over time | Source

Knowing Your Characters

From Zulma: Got another one. How do you get to know your characters? Do you draw from life? Do you have a vague notion about them and just let it slow cook till you have a fully developed character? Do the characters tell you about themselves while you take notes? I'm curious how you do come up with the beings who people your novels.

Zulma, this really is a marvelous question, or as the British say, brilliant! I think the answer will change depending on the person giving it, but you asked for my opinion so here you go.

I think most fictional characters, if not all, are a compilation of people we have known during our lifetime. I pick and choose certain characteristics from folks I have known. In addition, I usually start with a vague notion of who I want my main character to be, and then I leave it alone for awhile and let it tumble around in my brain. Sooner or later a clear picture of that character comes to me.

On rare occasions a character will develop while I’m writing the book. It’s like they are screaming to me to let them be themselves and quit shackling them, so eventually I turn them loose and let them be who they really are. This is happening now in the second book of a series I’m writing. One of my main characters has grown greatly from Book One to Book Two…she demanded it of me.

Does that make sense?

The chicken went CLUCK?????
The chicken went CLUCK????? | Source

Describing Noises

From Faith: Speaking of a dumb question, I may have one for you, and it may not be worthy of the next Monday Mailbag LOL ... when writing a noise or sound, is it better to come up with a word to describe the sound or noise, or to describe it in comparison with something so all will have the idea of the sound in their head? For example, "Eeeks"... is that fine? Or would it be better if we described the sound, i.e., "When Susie saw the terrifying reflection in her rearview mirror, she let out a high-pitched scream as if she had just stepped on a mouse." Hopefully, you understand what I am trying to express here, maybe? Well, maybe the question topic should be ...How to express yourself in a concise manner. Haha

Faith, this just happens to be one of my pet peeves, so thanks for bringing it up.

I become almost incensed when I’m reading a book and an author mentions a loud sound by writing “BANG.” Especially if they put it in caps, like that makes it louder to the reader. LOL Talk about lazy writing! “EEEEK” is another example. It’s just pure laziness as far as I’m concerned. I like to use similes to compare the sound to something else the reader will recognize, just like the example you gave of stepping on a mouse. Messy, stepping on that mouse, but highly effective. J

My favorite, he said gritting his teeth….BOOM!

SCAMMERS?

From Carol: Anyway I hope this is okay to ask a question for the mail box...What do you think of all these people who promise you for a small fee to be in all the search engines, emails, social media...which would reach millions of people? I have been asking for testimonials and none have appeared.

A small fee, Carol? If you can find someone who can deliver on that promise for a “small fee” I say go for it.

Seriously, the world is full of scammers. I have no doubt that there are companies who can deliver on that promise and maybe that would be an effective use of your advertising budget, but how do you know which company is for real and which is just scamming you? I don’t know? Does anyone?

Do some more research on that. Ask around. Go on writing forums and see if anyone has an informed opinion. I’ve never used one of those companies and I never will, but I don’t want my skepticism to discourage you.

More Next Week

We went over the limit this week and that means the Mailbag is still healthy and appreciated, so thank you to all who asked questions and thank you to those of you who showed up to read.

Until next week, have a fantastic week of writing, living and loving.

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

      Linda, I agree with you totally. The top end of flash fiction is 1,000 words. Although there is no clear limit, all the articles I've read on it say between 250 and 1,000.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 2 years ago from Missouri

      I know a writer who creates a lot of flash fiction. She recently read one of my short stories and told me I was writing flash fiction. I'm still a bit confused. The story is 2,000 words long. I think 1,000 is about the limit for flash fiction.

      Thanks for another great Mail Bag!

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

      I'm glad I'm not alone on that, Deb. Those words annoy the heck out of me too. :) Thank you and Happy Monday to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I never liked The "BANG," "EEEK!", or any of that mundane stuff, either. It just left a sinking feeling inside. When I was reading something, then I had to try to get back into the flow of the story. Great topics this week.

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

      Another great question, Zulma, and I'll have an answer for you on Monday. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful questions. You keep the Mailbag flowing.

      bill

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

      Love it, Lawrence. I think you just described our home as well. Thanks, my friend, and happy Tuesday to you.

      bill

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill. You've talked about how you create your characters here and it's good to know. When you do their 'bios' do you include the environment they grew up in and interactions they had with neighbours, friends, etc? What about a psychological profiles? Any traumatic or particularly happy events?

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Really good advice here. At one point I thought I was reading about our household! My wife and I ate organized in different ways, she gets the details where I get the deadlines!

      Great hub

      Lawrence

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

      Hello Aesta! It's good to see you again. Thank you for a wonderful comment. It's always interesting to me to hear what other writers think about a topic.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have missed several of these awesome tutorial. This is one of the best so far. Plot and character are two of my favourites in novels and I like reading the series as I enjoy reading how the characters develop. Authors choices on which characters to develop may not be mine and I get disappointed but I suppose, each one of us with our own experience will indeed differ in this.

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

      Good idea, Kevin. I like that you make notes on your Word doc....I actually might try doing that to help me hold on to ideas that aren't quite ready to write on yet. Thank you!

      bill

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      This mailbag is still going strong Billy. I will keep reading and keep learning from it. As soon as I read one that makes me think of a question I will ask it.

      I write my Hubs in Word and when I get ideas I note them in there. They come from almost anything. When I have time, I write the Hubs. Otherwise they just sit there. LOL

      I voted up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

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

      Thank you Frank. Your absence was duly noted and I'm glad you're back.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      another great installment I really liked Zulma's second question.. getting to know your characters.. never really thought of a question like that and thank you for answering.. spot on.. great to be back reading the new hubs that came on during my few days of absence.. esp.. reading the mail from your mailbags... happy days my friend..:)

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

      I'm happy to hear that, Nadine. Thank you and good luck with that chapter.

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

      Thank you Vellur. I'm glad you agree on those sounds.

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

      Thank you Alicia. I'll be by your site shortly to read your latest.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Lovely post with good questions and great replies.You have inspired me to work on my chapter 17

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Describing with words is way better than eeek and bang! Great questions and answers.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for yet another useful hub, Bill. This another fine addition to your mailbag collection.

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

      Thank you drbj! Maybe I should start training a replacement for when I go to the big Writer's Studio in the sky. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      You may have begun a series of Q and A, Bill, that will live on ... and on ... and on. The questions generally have been interesting and your answers, unfailingly, are sharp and knowledgeable. No easy task, Mr. Answer Man.

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

      I love creative non-fiction but not sure I could write it. Best wishes to you, Catherine, and thank you!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I like to write creative non-fiction, probably because I lack the imagination for real fiction. It a true story, but written using the techniques of fiction. Sometimes I have to use my imagination to fill in a detail forgotten or missed, but it is essentially true. Thanks for another great post on writing. Voted up ++

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

      Thank you Molly! That may be the first time someone has used the word "passive" in describing anything about me. LOL

      We did have a nice holiday weekend, thank you, and I hope you did as well. Enjoy your week and thank you!

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

      Well, Mary, I have few family and no friends. LOL Easy solution!

      Seriously, I really don't have much in the way of family, and what family I do have know I'm working during the day. It took some training but I finally got them to realize that writing is a job for me and I don't want to be interrupted. As for friends, I really don't have that many who would interrupt me. Most of our socializing is done on weekends, so that kind of takes care of itself.

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

      Hi MizB....great question and I actually do have an opinion on that. Stay tuned and I'll get back to you on Monday. In the meantime, best wishes to you and your husband.

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

      Mary, I'm beginning to think that the classic comics ruined a whole generation of writers....WHAM.....hopefully not really. :)

      Thanks my friend. I'll keep writing the Mailbag as long as there are questions.

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

      By George, Brian, I think you've got it! LOL I hope you at least got showered and dressed. :)

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      Billy, thank you so much for another great instalment of the writer's mailbag. The advice you've given is brilliant. Your suggestions for deadlines (use S.M.A.R.T. goals) has worked for me in the past. It seems you're much more passive when it comes to character development. If that works for you, have at it!

      I hope you and Bev had a wonderful holiday, and you both have a lovely week.

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

      Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to stop by despite how busy you are. I appreciate it.

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

      Great example, Zulma. I love it when that happens. I hope you and she become very good friends and she serves you well in the days and weeks to come. :)

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      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Hi Bill, just getting caught up after a long holiday weekend. Now my Monday is officially Tuesday--wow, the week is flying by! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      It is very apparent to your readers you are a well disciplined and self motivated writer. I wish I were. I get up each morning, dress, do my household chores, and settle down to write an article. Almost every day I will be interrupted by family, friends, etc. I don't want to be rude, so the next thing I know, the day has slipped away.

      How do you stay so well focused??

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed this issue of your mailbag, Bill, especially the question about deadlines. I've been writing or editing on deadlines for the last 40 years, and I love working that way. I am a great procrastinator if I'm not on deadline and it helps me to focus.

      Now, another subject, you may answer this in a mailbag if you wish. What do you think of NaNoWriteMo? I would never attempt to write a novel on that type of deadline, but apparently some people flourish with it. I just read a brilliant novel and was surprised to find in the author's notes at the end of the book that it was a NaNoWriteMo project. As used to deadlines as I am, I just don't have that kind of inspiration.

      Hope you and Bev had a good holiday.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Forty-eight and counting! You'll certainly surpass fifty-two if this installment is any indication. Your following is not only enjoying but learning and what could be better for a writer?

      You know Bill, sounds like EEK, WHAM, THWAP, all have their place. Just ask Marvel or DC! Gotcha.

      In all honesty, I wasn't sure about the definition of Women's Literature, glad to see that one included for women like me who didn't know ;)

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

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

      Thank you Larry! I appreciate it!

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

      Thank you Mike! It's good to hear from someone who has tried them. I'll always listen to the voice of experience.

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

      Thank you so much, Maria. Happy Memorial Day to you and love always.

      bill

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

      Thank you Bill! A pro I'm not, but I subscribe to the "fake it till you make it" theory.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Well done again.

      Your reply to my question about deadlines is very helpful. I forthwith set myself the deadline of noon today to set at least three deadlines of when I will get what done, in order to begin forming the habit of setting myself deadlines.

      Or why not start now? I instruct myself to finish writing a grocery shopping list by or before 9 PM today, with coupons organized by noon and the kitchen checked for what is needed by 3 PM.

      I instruct myself to have step three of the snowflake method of writing my novel in progress done for one character by noon.

      I instruct myself to be shaved, showered and dressed within the hour.

      I'll reward myself for each success with an elated "I did it!" thought-shout. After each failure, if any, I'll encourage myself with a mental pep talk.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the clarification on women's lit and flash fiction, Bill.

      I understand about your character wanting to be heard. It happened to me last week. I'm doing character studies and my main character now has a sister. She wasn't part of my original line up, but the main character really needed more of a support system. Lo and behold, a sister was born. Now I have to see what she's all about.

      Thanks again for you answers.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great advice as usual.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

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

      "What do you think of all these people who promise you for a small fee to be in all the search engines, emails, social media...which would reach millions of people?" I tried several of these - basically the ones that say they will mail to confirmed addresses will mail - they will also tell you to set up a email just for this - that is because no one reads the emails. None of these worked over a period of a year promoting.

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      Maria Jordan 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dropping by late to wish you and Bev a Happy Memorial Day, dear Bill.

      Great to see you and this series going strong ~ Love, Maria

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Another great Mailbag Bill. This was a pretty tough collection of questions and you handled it like a pro. Have a great week, looking forward to installment 49.

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

      Thanks Bill. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

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

      Pop, it is an interesting process for sure. I'm not sure I can explain it any better than that. There are times I still don't understand how it works.

      Thanks as always!

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

      Manatita, rest up. You've earned it. As for Naipaul's statement....I'm sure happy I didn't say that. :) Peace my friend.

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Excellent Mailbag!! Could comment on each one. We're all busy though, so just leave it at: Keep up the great work!! ;-)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I am intrigued by the idea of characters developing as you go along. I am tempted to delve into fiction to see if my characters come alive. Just trying would be fascinating.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Once again very interesting questions, I agree.

      Women's literature? I think it was V.S Naipaul who said that he could always tell when a woman had written a novel, and he got into a lot of trouble for it. He is a celebrated Novelist. Lots of love, Bro. Probably my last Hub for the night. Need some rest. Peace.

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

      Kailey, I wouldn't think of challenging you. :) He said with tongue in cheek. Seriously yes, there are some sounds that may be damned impossible to describe, but they are few in number. Thanks for the compliment on women's lit...I was skating on thin ice there. :)

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      You did an excellent job explaining women's lit! You know that's my thing--writing about gender. I like the question and response about sound, too! I haven't written fiction in quite some time, but I always struggled with that. Don't you think some sounds are difficult to explain, no matter how you relate them to something else, though? Feel free to challenge me, of course!

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

      Thank you Dora! I don't know how long the "women's lit" genre has been a genre but it is fairly new in the business. I want to say ten years or so.

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

      Well, Faith, give that big bear plenty of room and let him roar himself out of energy. Stay safe and blessed always.

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

      I can't imagine what that's like Babby! I am truly blessed to be living the life I have.

      Thank you and Happy Monday to you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Sally! Thanks for stopping by. I sleep like a baby. I have a weird ability to shut off the thoughts of the day. They incubate during my sleep and I wake up with new perspectives. It's kind of cool, and I get seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

      Have a wonderful week

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Carol! The weekend is over and it's back to writing. Luckily I love doing it, even on holidays. Besides, Bev works so I really don't have any excuses. It's either write or clean up chicken poop. :) Good luck with that online class. I think that's a great idea.

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

      No it doesn't, Ann! :)

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      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      High level questions this week, and great answers! Never heard of women's literature'--until now; is that bad? Ann's question was in my head; so afraid of fiction. Thanks for your brilliant answers.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, it is thundering here right now and I am reminded of when I was a child and how my dear mother would describe thunder to us ..."The big bear is coming down from the mountain." I remembered it scared the h@ll out of me and my three siblings. LOL ...

      Peace

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      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Mailbag really went deep this week Bill. Your take on deadlines is basic but helpful to me. We aren't all alike, but we can all tweak and adjust our lives as necessary. Meeting deadlines and fighting an illness or other impossible situations at the same time is a one-armed juggling act at best; difficult yes, impossible not at all. Thanks!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy,

      'Brilliant' as usual. I smiled when I read that you based a character on a neighbour, my thoughts are, that we never know what goes on behind closed door, things are never what they seem:)

      I wonder whether you sleep well at night. I do know that if I get caught up in the story, the characters keep me awake at night?

      You have a great week,

      Sally

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      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for your answer to this question. It is about trial and error and as I mentioned finding others who have used a company and were satisfied. I am thinking of taking a workshop online from John Kremer..the true expert. On social networking esp. Pinterest. I still don't understand that.

      Hope you are enjoying the weekend.

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Yes, we used to ignore them too; sadly, I've had to get used to the new. However, I'll never get used to cms and ms; the visual just doesn't work in my traditional mind!

      Ann

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

      Good morning Faith. I hope you're enjoying your day off from work. Someone had to remind me that this was a holiday. I was wondering whey the traffic was so light this morning when I went out for my mocha. :) You are welcome...thanks for a great question and yes, the old Batman comics were a perfect example of how not to write descriptions of sounds. LOL

      Have a wonderful day and peace be with you always

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Your mailbag is truly overflowing this Monday, Bill! So glad you were able to squeeze my question in too. I already knew the answer but wanted you to expound on it : ) ... now I am thinking of the squished mouse sound ... oh dear, that's not good! I remember those old Batman shows or comic books where they would write out above their head KABOOM or BAM ....hahaha, but they may have been limited on space.

      I like the converting real life to fiction section, as I do the same thing, sort of gather a mixture of different personality traits from people I know and come up with an interesting character, hopefully.

      Peace to you and all on this Memorial Day.

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

      LOL...Ann, you crack me up. Great example, Teacher! ARGGGGGH!!!!!!! I love when people use a bunch of exclamation points to make the sound louder. :) 30+ sounds cold but then I'm from the U.S. where we totally ignore the measurements used by the rest of the world.

      Have a great Monday my friend and thank you!

      bill

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

      Great, Melissae! Thanks for the reference. I'll go take a look at it.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Love the answer to the 'deadline' question; there speaks a true teacher! I totally agree of course.

      Describing sounds is difficult but, yes, it's so easy to be lazy. I give myself a challenge to go through the possibilities and then pick the most outrageous!

      Can you hear that intake of wide-eyed, rasping breath as I strangle the lazy writer?

      Have a great Monday, bill, and a great week whilst I bathe in 30+ sunshine (that's hot for a Brit!).

      Ann :)

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      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      Lee Merriam wrote a beautiful poem called "Drip Drop" in which she describes the water coming out of an outdoor faucet. I use it to teach sound devices.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, good for you for teaching your son descriptions. I love it. As for that honeydo list...good look. My experience is it never seems to shorten no matter how hard I work. :)

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

      We are at that stage in my 5 year old's time frame that we are beginning to discuss describing "things" with all sorts of fun stuff like colors, size, texture and how it makes us feel. Sometimes when I read some word like BOOM it makes me sad that no one took the time to do that with the author.

      Now I have a list of honydoes from my wife that have a deadline of NOW! So it is off to the Holiday grindstone.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Irish! I'm smiling now.

      You don't have Memorial Day, do you? I'm so ignorant about the rest of the world and customs. Well, I hope you had a good weekend and this week is full of blessings for you. It's always nice having you visit. Hi to Mickster!

      love,

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! Memorial Day is a work day for this boy, but we had a great weekend and I hope you did as well.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Such a nice diverse group of questions for this weeks bag- well done to all for contributions! I enjoyed reading your answers and as ever I learnt something new in the genres explained!

      You organisational skills are the best I know and lessons to be learnt for all your readers!

      Thanks again my friend for more wisdom and it brought a smile to my face when I read in a comment you left me saying I always make you smile . . . . how wonderful to hear!! You continue to make me smile by being you.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good collection of Q and A once again Bill. Especially enjoyed "describing noises" and "converting real life to fiction." Have a great Memorial Day.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go, Barbara! Thanks for sharing that important information with all of us.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maggie!

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      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      I have the answer to Carol's question about companies that promise to get you shown everywhere. Way back years ago someone offered a free trial and later charged a fee every month and I tried it. My website went from page 3 to page 10 in Google almost overnight. My site about crochet showed up on pages about Africa and every other weird place imaginable. It lowered my traffic rather than gained me any. Run away as fast as you can go!!!

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      Maggie 2 years ago

      Very good read!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Heidi. I think they are perfect for a kids' book aimed at five-year olds. LOL

      Have a great Monday!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They are kind of entertaining, aren't they, Janine? I don't open spam but I love the titles. LOL

      Enjoy your Memorial Day, my friend, and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Sha! Thanks for adding that. Of course the mailbag is alive and well. I refuse to let it die before it's one year birthday. :)

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      And today's $25 word is "onomatopoeia." I think words that sound like sounds are okay if used in moderation and they fit with the theme, style and context of the work. Thinking now of how I can add EEEK, hisssss and grrrrr to my next business book.

      Have a great Memorial Day!

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      As always, you give great advice. I especially agree about the scammers and am constantly getting those types of emails and my trash bin is more than full and will continue to fill it that much more as I don't have for scammers or over junk mail. With that said, they are sure fun reading and then disposing though once again. Happy Monday and wishing you another great week ahead! ;)

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm glad to see the mailbag is still alive and well.

      If I may add something to Carol's question, plug in the company's name followed by the word complaints. There are several online forums where people post their experiences with companies that promise the moon. Or you can type in {company name} reviews. Just make sure you don't read the reviews that are on said company's website; they'll be biased and are more than likely paid reviews or were written by staff members.