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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Forty-Five

Updated on May 4, 2015

Welcome Back

I had a good weekend and I hope you did as well. We sold some quail to a young family just starting out, so we spent some time with them setting things up and answering questions. Of course we worked in the garden. I love it when the seedlings poke out of the ground and the promise of a great crop is right around the corner. The sun was shining all weekend and it was just good to be me for two great days.

Heck, it’s good to be me all days. J

Here we go with more questions. Ready or not, here they come!

Welcome to the Mailbag
Welcome to the Mailbag | Source

HOARDING

From John: “I have a question of sorts. Being the hoarder that I am and reluctant to dispose of anything that may have a future use, I still have everything I have ever written. From before computers and the Internet I have lots of handwritten and typed stories, poems etc. many of which I have now refurbished and updated as hubs. Given that your writing skills change and improve over time, do you think it is wise to rework your old writing, or do you think it's better just to file the old stuff away and devote your efforts to creating new current material?”

John, this is a question I think most writers can relate to. I have legal pads about five feet from me, and they are filled with notes and stories I wrote years ago. I won’t toss them out and that’s a damned sure thing.

Should you re-work your old stuff? I think that’s your call, buddy, but I know I will re-work mine when time allows. What I usually do is take parts from old writings and incorporate it into new articles or new novels. There are paragraphs that I wrote a long time ago that work quite well in new stories and books of mine, and since I’m a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel, I’ll borrow from the old when needed.

Hoarding can be a synonym for recycling old work
Hoarding can be a synonym for recycling old work | Source
My name is Bill Holland, not billybuc
My name is Bill Holland, not billybuc | Source

Using Our Real Names

From Glimmer: “I think I have mentioned to you before about regrets about not using my name when I started here. What are your thoughts on using a real name to write versus a screen name/alias not only here at HP, but in all forms of writing? And apologies if this has been asked before.”

Welcome to the club, Glimmer. I have been kicking myself in the butt for over three years now for calling myself billybuc instead of Bill Holland. What my thought process was three years ago I cannot tell you, but it was a bad one.

Listen, all of you just starting out: if you have plans of being a freelance writer or an author, name recognition is huge, and that recognition is made infinitely easier if you continue to flood the internet with one name….yours. I have one-thousand articles on HP under one name and it in no way relates to my name as an author, and I’m getting upset right now just thinking about it. LOL Learn from my mistake and start out with your name and not some cutey pie stupid name that means nothing to nobody. J

Freelancing and Business Training

From Kailey: “Bill,

Thank you for always helping other writers understand what it takes to be a freelancer. You gave some advice I had not yet heard of. I was going to ask, do you think one needs a background in business to do this?”

Kailey is referring to whether a writer needs a business background to run a freelance writing business. The answer, in my opinion, is no, Kailey. It wouldn’t hurt, naturally, but I think what is much more important is common sense and a good work ethic.

Is It Suitable?

From Linda: “Now, I have a question. A dear friend began writing a book 14 years ago and is now wanting to get serious about it. Revising, editing, and (ultimately) publishing. It is a work of fiction for children. My question is how does one know that their writing (tone, vocabulary, etc.) is suitable for the target audience?”

Great question, Linda, and a first for the Mailbag.

Two ways come to mind. One, you can read other fictional books for that genre and gauge for yourself whether your book is suitable, but I have this thing about authors judging themselves. I don’t think we can be objective when doing things like that. So that leaves you with door number two: have another writer judge for you….or someone who is intimately familiar with that audience, like an elementary teacher.

Oh, I just thought of a third way: you could join an online writers group specifically for children fiction writers. Get their feedback. Ooh, I just thought of a fourth…take the manuscript to the library and ask for their opinion…or to an elementary teacher and as for their opinion.

I’m sure there are other ways but those came to me immediately.

FLASHBACKS

Again from Linda: “Bill, I have one more for you. When I talk with friends and tell them a story, I start at the beginning and lay it out chronologically. In much fiction writing, there are flashbacks or a story set within a story. If done well it works. Is there some rule (or magic formula) for using flashbacks and/or knowing when to introduce more characters (a story within a story)?”

Linda, you are just full of great questions today. I’m a little confused by this one only because you asked about flashbacks and then slipped a quick question about introducing characters right at the end. Well, I can handle it. First, flashbacks.

Flashbacks are not something I would suggest a novice to try. They are difficult to do properly. Think about it this way: the entire book is being written in one temporal frame, but then there are snippets from another time. Flashbacks have a tendency, when in the hands of a novice writer, to ruin the flow of the story and add confusion instead of clarification, which is their express purpose. Flashbacks are old news, and in writing, old news can be like old bread, stale instead of fresh.

But….a good flashback can bring great clarity regarding a character’s motives. A good flashback can fill in events that show how the story situation reached the current point, and a good flashback can provide important information that happened long ago that there is no way to introduce in any other way.

Flashbacks can be introduced in a number of ways. You can introduce them through a character’s recollection of something that happened in the past. You can use a flashback as an entire chapter; they are still recollections but now they are extended in nature to provide more back-story. They can also be added using italicized inserts. Others have used a reference to journals or letters found or read, and lastly I’ve seen flashbacks told using a dream.

I hope that helps, Linda.

As for knowing when to introduce characters into a story, I have two rules and two rules only: one, the character must serve a purpose and two, the introduction of the character needs to be consistent with the flow of the story. Never interrupt the rhythm of your book to introduce a character.

Eight months from beginning to end
Eight months from beginning to end | Source

Time to Write a Novel

From Marsha: “This may seem like a silly question, but how long does it take to write a novel?”

I’m an old teacher, Marsha, so I believe there are no silly questions if their intent is real.

How long to write a novel? As long as it takes.

Listen, if quality is not an issue, I can write a full-length novel in a couple months. It would be junk but it would have all the elements of a novel in it. But if quality is an issue, then it will take as long as it takes. For me, it takes about eight months from start to finish. I have a friend who has been working on his science fiction novel for three years. Don’t allow time to be a factor. Take as long as you need to produce a quality product you can be proud of.

And That’s All We Have Time for This Week

Is it just me, or are the questions getting better each week? Thanks to all who had questions this week. I greatly appreciate your efforts and I hope I gave satisfying answers.

Have a great week of writing. Remember that what you write today will be read one-hundred years from today.

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

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

      Deb, I don't understand it either, but I'm sure my wife would tell me there is no ceiling on the cost of living your dream, and maybe, for your friend, that's all there is to it. As for me, I want fame and fortune. LOL

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have a friend working on a children's book, but it seems to me that this would be for VERY gifted kids. She said that she didn't care how well it sold and she doesn't plan to market it(she is self publishing), but it was always something that she wanted to do. It floors me that someone would pay a professional illustrator so much, just on a whim. I wish her the best, but to me, not marketing is a recipe for disaster, especially after such a great investment.

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

      Thanks, Mary, and Happy Monday to you. We all make mistakes early on and hopefully we learn from them. I know I did on that name thing...dammit!!!!!!!

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

      Thank you again, Glimmer. Oh, if I could have one do-over, it would be my name three years ago. Sigh!

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

      Well, Bill, I hope all is well now. It's good to see you again, my friend. Thank you!

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

      Lawrence, I have never heard that vignette about the Hobbit. Thanks for sharing it. Very cool!

      bill

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Your questions and answers always hit home in one way or another. For example, it appears we all regret not using our real names. When I started I didn't know if I would be any good or if I'd want anyone to know who I am. Yup, I'm kicking myself too!

      As for time writing a book I think your answer is perfect! We each work at a different speed as writers, or when making corrections, etc. The time it takes is the time it takes! Well said.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      I think this is the best mailbag yet, especially the question about the real names vs. screen names (wink wink). Sorry I couldn't resist. One thing I am not is a hoarder. I don't keep much things and sometimes I definitely regret it. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Bill,

      Computer and internet problems have caused a major problem in my life lately, but glad to see the ol' mail bag continues. Always so much good and practical stuff you feed us!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Some really good stuff here. As I was reading some of the questions I couldn't help thinking of the book 'The Hobbit' when Tolkein sent the book to the publisher he put it as a childrens book. The publisher had a secret weapon for spotting good childrens literature, the boss' seven year old son. What he did was took the book home for his son to read but the son could only read it on condition he write a report about the book.

      Apparently the repoet said 'suitable for seven to ten year old boys' and the rest is history!

      Thought your readers might enjoy that

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! As long as I'm enjoying it I'll keep writing, and that will probably be, like, forever. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This was a good group of questions. Glad you haven't stopped at 1000, Bill. Keep writing the good stuff.

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

      Thank you Brian! I'm afraid that horse has left the barn. All I can do is build my new identity with my real name. Oh well, live and learn.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      When I have occasion to mention you away from HubPages, I'll be sure to call you William D. "Bill" Holland ("billybuc" on HubPages) to help forge the link in people's minds.

      The questions and answers are excellent as usual.

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

      Thank you Theresa! I doubt I'll ever write a non-fiction book. Interesting where our talents reside. :)

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

      Thanks for sharing that, Chris, and you are absolutely correct. Too long and it is not only awkward but it ruins the flow of the story, and that we can never have.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Bill- I don't expect I will ever write fiction (although I have a couple of close friends who do), nevertheless, I love reading your questions and answers Hubs. Such interesting questions and such well-written and common sense answers. Quite wonderful. :) Theresa

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Bill, great questions this week and you handled them like a pro. Regarding flashbacks, I used this technique in a short story a while back and it was awkward. I told the story in simple past tense and the flashback from there in the pluperfect tense. If that goes on too long it becomes tiresome to the reader I think. I have to rewrite that now and find a more comfortable way to word it. Thanks for all the insights.

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

      Thank you Lizzy! I always enjoy your comments and your sense of humor. Oddly, I have no trouble getting into the head of a killer. That's should worry me greatly but it doesn't. :)

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

      It's nice knowing I'm not alone, Linda (Alicia) :) Thank you!

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

      They really are comforting, Kailey. I like how you said that.....I agree completely. And you are very welcome. I hope it didn't seem like I rushed through the answer. I tried to get it included in the article before I posted it, and I had chickens driving me crazy while I added it. LOL

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

      Thanks Nell, or Mel, or Melanie.LOL It's interesting to hear the process others took for their name. Thanks for sharing that and Happy Tuesday to you.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Gosh--I missed a couple of Mondays, and had to go play 'catch-up' (not the condiment; LOL)!

      Vis-a-vis the "voice," I find that my writing allows an alter-ego to emerge; one of a person I would not dare be in real life...I can 'become' that bad girl; ride a motorcycle; gamble; and delve into the erotica genre.

      That said, I don't think I could write a murder mystery, because I can't get 'inside the head' of a person who would do such a thing, and, because I don't think I would enjoy, after all the work of developing a character, "killing them off."

      Just some observations--not really a question this time. ;-)

      Peace out.

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

      I'm glad to hear that, Frank, and I appreciate you greatly.

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

      Thank you Cyndi. I'm with you; I prefer the word "archiving." LOL I need a catalog system as well. Let me know when you develop one.

      bill

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

      I'm glad to hear that, Dora, and I'm very grateful for your loyal following of the Mailbag.

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

      We live and learn, Vellur. That mistake is behind us. All we can do is move forward. Thank you!

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

      Faith, Happy Tuesday. As a former teacher I can say that children are brutally and refreshingly honest. I actually prefer hanging with them rather than adults because of that. At least I know where they are coming from when they say something. :)

      Have a superb week and thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the useful information once again, Bill. Like you, I wish I had chosen my real name for my HubPages account.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      These questions do become better each week! Thank you for including mine. I wasn't expecting that. :) With John's question, I like how you mentioned your stack of legal pads with old writings! It was subtle, but you made me see them by using your words. Personally, I keep a few boxes specifically for big and small past writings as well as a drawer with an organized binder to separate stories I used to work on when I was a teenager. Little things like that are comforting, aren't they? :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hiya Bill, great advice as always, I chose the name Nell because its similar to Mel, in fact nell or mel is short for melanie. And yes I should have used my real name, but for me, writing under another name makes me keep my writing and real life separate, so i prefer it, but that's just me! lol! have a great day, nell

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      45 bags delievered and still I find use in some answers.. the hoarding click was interesting.. I find most of the answers useful and shareable so up and shared...:)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 2 years ago from Georgia

      Hoarding? I prefer to think of my tons of writing material, my own and research material, as archives. You just never know what may be needed. I've found that the minute I throw material out, two minutes later I needed it for an article for a new customer. Go figure! Maybe that't s one weird way of getting new customers. :-)

      What I need is a better system of cataloging it all (or more space to do it).

      Great advice you always have for us all.

      Take care.

      Cyndi

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I have never asked a question, but you have answered so many for me. This week, the question on real names could have been mine. I follow your thinking. Thanks again.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Clive jackjackoff.....doesn't sound as good as clivewilliams. :) LOL Thanks my friend.

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

      Michael my friend, it is always a pleasure having you visit. I will continue the Mailbag....good Lord willing. And the 10,000 hours....coming soon. :) Blessings on this Tuesday to you and yours.

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

      Thank you Bill. I think that is powerful incentive for us all to do our best. Happy Tuesday my friend.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Now that I think of it, yes using my name here would have been great. Learned a lot reading your hub, useful and informative, voted up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Happy Monday Mailbag again! We may very well say that indefinitely. I am so happy you had a lovely sunny weekend and worked in the garden and visited with neighbors, helping too.

      The great questions keep pouring in. It is funny that John called his old writings "Hoarding" LOL. I agree, keep on hoarding and never throw any writing away. I think it is helpful in many ways to take a look back at what we write as we gain a new perspective as to how much we have grown, or realize we need to return to that childlike perception of the world with wonder, as Ann stated.

      I love the question about children's books. I have always wanted to write one. There are so many ways to share your writing with children and get a feel for their true thoughts on the book. Believe me, children are so honest LOL.

      Peace and blessings always

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      great advice on using your real name instead of some stupid name like jackjackoff or some other names i have seen. The other advices are priceless too.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Hello Mr. William B. Holland. What a lovely name for a famous writer, comparing to an unknown ' billibuc.' Thanks for pointing out importance of real name of a real person. There is power in the name. Oh, for a laugh, those three years will soon equal to a 1oooo hours, you might quit kicking yourself in..... unless it's part of your exercise.

      Continue please with the 'Writer's Mailbag ... ' answers, Michael is facing many unknowns on his slow pace toward...that day... if ever comes...

      Voted interesting.

      Blessings always my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Another great mailbag Bill. I love that last thought you threw in, "what you write today will be read one-hundred years from today". Amazing. Have a great week.

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

      Melissae, I love that you are scanning them. I hope you find some nuggets hidden away there. :) Thank you!

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      As usual, this is useful and educational. I too have bins full of old writing. I'm in the process of scanning them.

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

      Thanks again Manatita! A new week of writing and I wish you the best.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Some more solid and wonderful advice in the series, and I like the bit about names. Have a great weekend Bro.

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

      That's funny, Deb. I don't know why I used my nickname....there really was no thought process at all there. :) Thanks for stopping by and have a great week in Iowa.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Funny, when I signed up for HP nearly four years ago, I used my real name but immediately regretted it. Now I'm glad I did. (Just not sure why I didn't put a space between my first and last name - I guess I thought spaces weren't allowed or something.)

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

      Babby, welcome and thank you! I hope all is well in Alaska. I don't think I can bare to give up any of my old stuff. I always find a paragraph, at least, that I can use in current writings.

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Thanks Bill! My first time reading from your mail bag. Love it! I'll be backtracking into your previous installments. I probably have 30 plus years of what writers used to call a morgue file. With the morgue file, it was always assumed that something in it could be resurrected to be a vital part of a living work.

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

      Heidi, I'll be laughing at your comments the rest of the day. Whatever you do, I don't want you pulling any punches when you make a comment. LOL Thanks for some great insights and truths...but there is no way I'm tossing out my old stuff. :)

      Happy Week to you!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Re hoarding: I'm of the "If in doubt, throw it out" mindset. In fact, when I see stuff I wrote back in the day, I'm not exactly enthralled with it and can see how far I've come. I figure, if I haven't touched it in years, there's a reason. But that's me.

      Re real names: I'm soooooo glad I've used my real name everywhere since the beginning. Writers can end up with issues if they are writing for two very different markets (maybe writes both children's and "adult" fiction) and don't want the two personas to mix, making a pen name attractive. Evaluate your market and marketing before you decide what to do with a pen name. Remember that with the Internet, it might be possible to figure out who's behind a pen name in spite of best cloaking efforts.

      Re suitability of writing for audience: Good advice to have it reviewed by those in the know about the audience. But I have to note, if you have serious questions about whether your work is suitable for a certain market, chances are you probably don't have enough knowledge or experience in your market. And one more thing, if a work has been in mothballs for 14 years (as in the example provided), is it even relevant... especially for children's markets which can change rapidly in response to trends?

      Always love the Monday Mailbag! Have a great week!

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

      Thanks Greg. There is actually another author named Bill Holland. Wouldn't you just know it? LOL Oh well, I'll succeed despite him.

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

      Very true, Bill. I am constantly borrowing from some of my old stuff. I find it very helpful and I can't imagine tossing it away.

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

      I know, Ruchira! Right you are. I have no idea what I was thinking...just being more clever than was necessary at the time.

      Enjoy this first week of May and thank you.

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

      Thanks Jamie. I appreciate it.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally. I'm glad to hear you have some sunshine your way. As for agents....there is no shortage of them for sure. It's finding one who is interested...that's the hard part of the process. :)

      Have a great week of writing and living

      bill

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

      Bill, you are so right about using your real name. I also kick myself that I am known as froggy213 here, but with these crazy scores, I don't share much of my work here with potential clients.

      I have also learned to use my real name and it can be found everywhere now. With a difficult name as I have in comparison to yours, I have the internet locked. (I would bet there are quite a few Bill Holland's whereas Greg Boudonck is probably a one and only).

      Some more great advice today--keep 'em coming.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Wow! I'd like to comment on every questions and answer... Neat! Mostly to compliment you on the answers... But, I'll simply reiterate that reviewing old writings can be very useful, on several levels. I save them, as well. Often find 'new' ideas, in the old ones, to use in truly new ways! ;-)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 2 years ago from United States

      Great advice, Bill

      I am always confused about why people wanna write with a different name...it's like living another identity ;)

      writing for me is soul searching thus, feel that let's be true to thyself...but that is my thinking worth 1 cents :)

      Have a good week!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Melissa. I had noticed that but forgot to mention it. Thank goodness you are around to cover for me. :)

      Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I'm convinced of the same thing. I don't know of any writer who has tossed away old work. :) Thanks for confirming that.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Good mailbag this morning. Jamie

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Interesting as always. I think it takes courage to be who you are which is probably why people are pretty shy about writing under their own name in the beginning. HubPages have made it easier by revealing by realvealing real names (if we want them to)

      Nice that you were able to spend time in the sunshine this past weekend, as did I, just love being in the outdoors:)

      By the by I discovered hundreds of Literary Agents on Twitter toay, if you do a search I am sure the right one will turn up for you.

      Have a good week Billy.

      Sally

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome questions/answers this lovely Monday, Bill. In regards to using your real name for your hubber login.. The HP site has been updated to now show your real name (and photo) in the upper right-hand corner of your article and it says by: Bill Holland under the article title as well. So, even if your hubber name is something different, they will pull in your author page as long as you put your real name in it there. So at least your articles are being attributed to your full name in some fashion.

      Happy Monday!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Bill. I am firmly convinced that some unknown substance within a dedicated writer's DNA forces that person to retain every snippet of writing he or she has ever produced.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, thank you! It's funny you mentioned the computer. I've had this laptop for four years now and I'm thinking I need a new one soon...so it's time to start saving my pennies. :)

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I've always been impressed with how much you get done. Before my wife and I got our bundle of joy I was fairly proficient, but I could never hold a candle to you. Very impressive.

      I suspect you have really good internet and a clean running computer? I have neither and it makes life difficult.

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

      Hey, Larry! LOL I have a clone. There, the secret is out. :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Hear's my question for you: how do you get so damn much done?:-)

      Great read as always.

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

      Sha, this mailbag thing is taking on a life of its own, and I love it.

      Great suggestion about a kid reading it. Why didn't I think of that? LOL Seems perfectly logical to me.

      Happy Monday dear friend. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I would love to say I feel bad about your weather but I try not to lie. :) Enjoy the liquid sunshine and we'll enjoy the real thing here in Olympia.

      Keeping the old stuff? I can't imagine a writer throwing anything away.

      I'm working on hubs too. Great minds do, indeed, think alike. :)

      Have Monday my friend.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amine, thank you for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed another installment.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, the questions are getting better each week. You're sparking thought and imagination in your readers. I think you're also giving them the confidence to get serious about writing, which opens writers' minds to a floodgate of questions.

      With regard to Linda's question about children's books: would it be appropriate to have a child in the intended age group read a few chapters? I think a child could give valuable feedback as long as the work really is meant for children and not, say, young adults.

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Gosh, is it Monday already?!

      I identify closely with keeping all the writing I've ever done and revamping it if possible. Apart from being dated, some things I wrote when I was 10 are better than I write now! Probably to do with having loads of imagination and no hang-ups!

      Now you're making me jealous - sunshine, what's that? It's pouring, the rain is echoing on the caravan roof and I'm stuck inside. However, the bright side is I'm working on hubs so that can't be bad, can it?

      Happy Monday, bill!

      Ann

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      amine sehibi 2 years ago

      Bill my friend, that's another great hub you got here, and I agree using your real name is better if you want more than just writing hubs. Yeah thanks for sharing.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Linda, and you are very welcome. I've got a new aviary to build, but it will have to wait until this weekend. Writing calls.

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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill - Thank you for answering my questions. Once again you've been most helpful.

      Well, an hour or so of typing, and then it's outside to plant the dahlias and clean up the nature trail. Duty calls. Hope you and Bev have a great day.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Kim. Very true. :) Thanks my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! Remember, that's just my opinion, but it is shared by quite a few agents and publishers. :)

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      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Q & A. Definitely sharing with others. Might not want to ask a teacher right about now with the testing right around the corner. smiles...

      ~Kim

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for answering my question Bill. Glad to know you keep all your old writing too and occassionally find use for previously written paragraphs etc in your new stories and novels. The other questions and answers were great too. I often wondered whether it was best to use your real name or not, now I know that it is better to have the same name on everything. Have a great week.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, thank you so much. I really appreciate you forwarding my stuff, and I'm happy if it has helped anyone.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Irish! I made the same mistake and I'm still kicking myself for it.

      Oh well! It's better I kick myself than others. :)

      Enjoy your holiday, Suzie!

      bill

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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I wish I had started out using my real name also but there is no going back. My name had already been taken for a website so once again when I get it operational it will be something different. Oh well! Once discovered, the people who like what we write are likely to follow us and get to know us better.

      Always interested in what you have to say regarding questions about writing. I have forwarded your information to others who are starting that process of authoring books of their own.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      What a super group of Questions asked and answered! I too wish I had started writing under my real name but then I had no real idea how this writing beginner would enjoy writing and have it turn my world upside down in many ways. Thanks to all the people who sent you mail bag goodies, love it! Have a great week Bill.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I think if you have no plans on anything bigger than HP, it really makes no difference at all. If you are planning on taking your show to newer heights, especially online, then the more often your real name appears, the more there will be name recognition and possible increase in views. Of course, there are many examples where I'm full of doo doo, too. LOL

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I am still confused about using my own name. I don't use it on HUbPages. My thoughts were that the world is so crazy, I wanted some protection from lunatics. Now people aren't sure if I am a man, a woman or a bug! Thanks for your advice and thoughts, billy.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, I wish I could remember what my thinking was when I joined HP. Whatever it was, it was not very bright of me. LOL Thanks my friend.

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      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Another good one, Bill. Yeah, that real names thing bugs me too - I use my real one on absoutely everything else, just not on HB. That'll teach me to be a smart ass. Great Hub.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I love that you did that for your children. What a great legacy and gift that is. Thank you for sharing that idea.

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for another great Mailbag! I agree about the name. I know some people who use different names on different sites, and it is really confusing. I like to be able to quickly identify the writer.

      I have saved all my writings even those dumb poems I wrote as a child. I have saved all my short stories, too. I complied a notebook for each of my children, and printed out a copy for them. They love reading my stuff!!

      Voted UP, etc. and shared.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your observations, Janine. It's interesting that you thought the reverse. Live and learn, my friend. Whatever works, works, right?

      Happy Monday, Janine!

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Once again love your Monday morning advice and I have been wondering the reverse about being so out there with my name, but in the end it is what is and just happy that I am able to use my voice daily still now, thanks always and Happy Monday!! ;)