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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Forty-Nine

Updated on June 1, 2015

Another Happy Monday to You All

The Mailbag is back. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your mood at this particular moment. Don’t shoot the messenger, please. I’m just delivering the mail and then moving down the block to the next house. I won’t be intrusive so don’t turn the dog loose.

You know how this works so I won’t repeat it all. If you don’t know how it works then where have you been for the past forty-eight weeks?

Let’s get started with a wonderful question from Mary.

Welcome to the Mailbag
Welcome to the Mailbag | Source

Traditional Publishing

From Mary: “Okay, here's my question: How do you determine the average cost for say an editor, an illustrator etc., and is it still possible with all the authors out there, to get lucky and have a publishing company actually pick up your book and publish it? (I'm not saying that'll happen to me, it's just a rhetorical question.)”

Mary, this is another of those great questions that may not have a definitive answer.

The average cost of an editor is the real stickler. The average cost is what the market will bear at any given time, and it also depends on the quality of an editor. You might find your second cousin in need of money and more than willing to edit your manuscript for $250, but you might also get what you pay for.

I had a manuscript edited for five-hundred. I also had one edited for one-thousand. Most editors will charge either by the hour or by the job. A professional editor can do an in-depth edit of about ten pages per hour (maybe less), so if you have a 200-page book, that’s twenty hours at about $25 per hour….or more. Start searching for editors online and you’ll see prices ranging from $15 per hour to $50 per hour.

Who should you hire? Ask for recommendations from authors who have already had their work edited. Get a good one and take your time deciding on one.

As for illustrators, same answer. I’ve used two different illustrators for book covers and both cost me $100. I know darned well I got a great deal in both cases. I know of some illustrators who get $500-$1000 per book cover.

Is it still possible to get published by a publishing company? Most definitely, but it’s getting harder every day. There are still tens of thousands of books published each year the traditional way, but there used to be hundreds of thousands. That is my dream, by the way. I have a novel completed and I refuse to go the ebook route with that novel, so I’m sending out queries hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

Good luck to you!

NANO

From MizB: “Now, another subject, you may answer this in a mailbag if you wish. What do you think of NaNoWriMo? 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 NaNoWriMo project. As used to deadlines as I am, I just don't have that kind of inspiration.”

MizB, great question and one I haven’t seen yet. My opinion on NaNoWriMo has changed over the past couple years. At first I was against it because I didn’t think it was possible to write a “quality” novel in one month.

I’m still not convinced that it is possible to write a quality novel in a month (probably because I can't do it :)), but I am convinced that thousands of writers who needed a boost to start their first novel found that boost in NaNoWriMo, and I now think that is a very good thing. I believe the world needs more writers, and if NaNo can be the impetus and inspiration to get more people writing, then I say HOORAY to NaNo!

Give your characters freedom
Give your characters freedom | Source

Character Freedom

From Bradley: “I remember you mentioning once that you write biographies of your main characters and then you turn the characters loose and let them tell the story. I’m still a little foggy about how that works. Can you talk more about that? How do you turn a fictional character loose and let an inanimate object tell the story?”

Thanks, Bradley, for coming back to this topic. I understand that it must be difficult for some to understand. It sounds like some New Age b.s., doesn’t it? See the character….become the character…..blah, blah and more blah.

Let me try again. I sit down before writing a novel and I write a mini-biography about my main characters. I fix in my mind what kind of people they are. I know their background. I know what moves them and floats their boat. This is an important stage in the writing process for me, so I don’t rush through this. I try to make those biographies as detailed as possible. I really need to “get into character” before I proceed with the novel.

Once I’m there I can start writing. Novels begin with an instigating event, and they continue because of other events that propel them along. I call them sparks. A good spark can be counted on to push a novel along for a good twenty-thousand words.

Once I decide on the sparks, I then sit down and ask myself how my characters are going to react to the sparks based on who they are. This is what I mean by saying I let them tell the story. I ask “what would Eli do in this situation” and then I let Eli do it. What would Liz do facing this problem? How would Pete handle this great news?

And it all starts by getting to know my characters before I ever begin the actual writing.

Ignoring punctuation can be a slippery slope to travel
Ignoring punctuation can be a slippery slope to travel | Source

PUNCTUATION

From Mia: “What is your opinion on the proper use of punctuation? I spend a lot of time reading ebooks, and it seems like there are thousands of writers who suddenly either don’t understand grammatical rules or are choosing to ignore them. In particular I see commas misused often these days.”

This is one of those questions where I can’t win no matter how I answer it. If I say grammar is sacred then someone will point out that James Joyce was a bit lax with the use of commas and it didn’t seem to hurt him much, nor did it hurt Tom Robbins for that matter.

So who’s right?

This is just my opinion, okay, and I know there are many who would argue with it, and that’s fine.

I think a novelist who follows grammatical rules to the letter and never waivers is a self-shackled writer. Especially with regards to dialogue, it is practically impossible to be grammatically correct all the time because people don’t always speak with perfect grammar. There are times I will completely ignore grammar to improve the flow of a narrative, and I think that is not only acceptable but necessary.

Having said that, if every writer completely ignored grammar, then nobody would understand what they were reading, so we have to pick and choose our times to bend rules. Breaking rules for special effect is one thing; breaking them out of ignorance is a whole new ball of wax.

And It’s Time to Put This Installment to Bed

Three more installments and we’ll hit a year with this series, so get those questions into me. I’ll hit a year with this just about the same time I’ll write #1000 here at HubPages. Two nice anniversaries at the same time, and none of it would have happened without your support, so thank you!

See you next week. Until then, keep your powder dry and your wick short.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 24 months ago from New York, New York

      I can't believe it is almost a year and huge congrats to you, Bill on the success of this series. I actually did NaNoWriMo my first year out writing and while I do agree that it is a great place to jump start that novel in you, I also do agree that sometimes quality doesn't come out of it. But still glad I got the experience and just wish I had the time to open up what I did back the and edit. Maybe in the fall once the girls are both in school full-time. Who knows stranger things have happened! Happy Monday again ;)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 24 months ago from Arkansas USA

      Interesting questions, excellent answers. You did great addressing the grammar question and I agree with your answer (though occasionally cringe when I see it in practice). Always enjoy reading your mailbag posts. Pinned this to my writing/blogging/content creation board.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 24 months ago from Central Florida

      I can't believe it's been almost a year since the birth of this series! Holy cow!

      Back to the editing question. I charge per page (double-spaced) for editing and an hourly rate if I'm proofreading work that has already been edited (or the author only wants a proof). I think charging per page gives the author a better idea of what to expect budget-wise.

      "Keep your powder dry and your wick short." What does this mean?

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 24 months ago from Arizona

      This is amazing and I love the mailbag--always learning new things. I like the thoughts about punctuation...and I have read some novels where the sentences are perhaps mutilated but so interesting. However when writing non fiction--perhaps not a good idea. A question has just come up "Is it wrong to stretch correct punctuation with non fiction??? And congrats to you Bill for all support and diligence you add here.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 24 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Almost a year? This is a good one. Thanks for verifying that dialogue can't be grammatically correct. Mine surely would have the wrong "voice" if they spoke correctly, since they're from Georgia, lol!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 24 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      or I should say can't always be...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Janine, and thanks for the congratulations. I actually think I remember you doing Nano...i think you did it the same time Cyndi did and I was rooting on both of you. Anyway, Happy Monday to you and thanks again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing this, Susan. You had me laughing. I cringe as well when I see grammar tossed to the wind,even when it is done for a purpose. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing your rate, Sha. It gives others something to consider in the future. As for keeping your powder dry, it's just an old saying my dad used to say...keeping the powder dry in the old Flintlock rifles assured that it would fire properly when you needed it.....just silliness my friend.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 24 months ago from Dubai

      Interesting and informative, great questions and answers. If I were to write a novel then I can never finish in a month but I guess some can. It is going to be a year since this series started, time flies!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, thank you so much. I hate to say this but I don't understand your question. What do you mean "stretch correct punctuation with non-fiction? The stretch part has me confused, so give me a hint and I'll answer it on Monday. In the meantime, thank you and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Rebecca...and you are right of course. Listen to a group of people in public and you'll hear the English language being butchered constantly...and the same should be expected from your characters in a novel.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You probably should say that, Rebecca, but you're among friends. :) Thanks for your input.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Time flies much too quickly, Vellur, but as of yet I haven't learned how to slow it up. :) Thank you for being a part of this fun series.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 24 months ago from london

      Nice one Bill.

      I find myself wanting to comment on this one. Frankly, if your book-writing is as good as it is here - and I suspect that it's better - then you really do not need an Editor costing $1000. I would say to you and Mary, that Hub pages is full of talent and you just need six selfless and competent people to read your work, time allowing. Your writing is actually of quality standard already.

      Nano helps, and you seem to think so now. Audrey has spoken of them, I believe, and they keep her busy. Yes, there are writers out there who are really quick. I can do thirty poems of high quality in a day, let alone one month, and if it's story-telling prose, my thoughts come just as quick.

      But this is not about me, just saying that there are a few natural story-tellers out there who do great or excellent work.

      I will join the double celebration with you, Bro. Just let me know as you've done some truly wonderful work on Hub Pages. I have to disappoint you and say that Hub Pages won't give you a medal, I don't think.

      I always say that Earth is ungrateful, but I'm sure that Heaven (not yet) will not forget you Bro. Me hear dem say, dat yu medal is alreddy crafted en de inner worls. (smile) Peace Bro.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, you gave me a gift today...the gift of a smile. Thank you! You are a kind and good man, and if that is not a wonderful legacy I don't know what is. :)

      Thanks for sharing about editing. You are right of course and I've learned from the early days.

      Pax vobiscum

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 24 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Milestone after milestone. 1,000 hubs and approaching 50 in the Mailbag series. Those are accomplishments.

      A novel in a month - not likely. Perhaps a draft.

      You sure build confidence in your readers.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 24 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! This starts my day off right (or write), so I appreciate it. In regards to the NaNoWriMo, I don't think the goal is to have a publishable book done in 30 days, but rather a first draft. And 50,000 words might only be 1/2 a book for some people...but at least it gets people to try to dedicate time (myself included) to writing and have a goal. I tried it once, failed miserably, but got more actual writing done than I have in years. So, I will definitely try this again! Also, they now have "summer camps" for people that can't participate in November. It's been many years since the last time I went to camp, but I might just have to go back!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 24 months ago from Upstate New York

      Billy Buc Congratulations on your almost finished goal of 1000 hubs! I have you on my daily prayer list and I KNOW you are going to sell your novel, I KNOW IT. This is a great question and answer hub as always...I, too, am shocked it is almost a year!

      When I was in a public speaking club (Toastmasters) one of the members gave a speech about nanowrimo. She managed to write a novel by the deadline date, and she was so excited! She said it taught her that if you make up your mind to accomplish something you truly CAN do it. I remember how that inspired me, that we should not think we can't do something when all we need is the determination that, Yes, I AM going to do this! Set our jaw and go like crazy! I have a book written by the guy who started the 'nano' ...I would love to try it but they only push novels. I suppose I could try the non fiction just for myself.

      Anyway, thanks for your great advice, especially about hiring editors to read your work.

      You continue to be a God Send on Hub pages and in my life as well.

      God bless, Sparklea

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 24 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always a happy Monday when I get my Writer's Mailbag.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike! Honestly, I don't think I could write a draft in a month..maybe if that's all I had to do I might make it....but I prefer the way I'm doing it now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I think that would be loads of fun....a writing summer camp. I've always wanted to run one...I'm running out of years to make that dream a reality.

      Thanks for stopping by. If it's Monday it means I'll be hearing from Melissa, and I love it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea! Just speaking for me, I would think writing a non-fiction book in one month would be very, very hard, but maybe that's just because I'm not a non-fiction writer. All the research and verification of facts....just seems like all that would take a very long, long time. :)

      blessings always my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I'm glad to hear that, Larry. Thank you!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 24 months ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks Bill, I don't do research, I write inspiration and true life experiences and results from the heart. If I include any things that need verification, I look them up, but very rarely.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 24 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Wow, nearly the 1 year Anniversary dawning, what a terrific series these mailbags have turned into! I am so thrilled for you. I am with you 100% on rules need to be broken at times in writing, as in life! Nice selection of queries this week and roll on for the 50th installment and the year celebration. Have a fun filled productive week my friend!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful information Bill. Writing sure is a craft with lots to explore.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I would still find it hard to do, Lea. I've written a good deal of inspiration, but 50,000 words of it is a tough job.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Irish. Nobody is as surprised as I am by this series' popularity. I had absolutely no idea. :)

      Have a superb week, my friend, and I'm sure I'll be seeing that article from you soon. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, Eric. Thank you and have a great week.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      By all means, choose an editor carefully. I've had two 'experts' edit my work, and when they were done, the stories no longer made sense! I ended up editing the editors.

      This is a marvelously well-done series, Bill. Voted up.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 24 months ago from Florida

      I learn something new with every one of your articles. I have a secret desire to write a children's book. I wish our little town had a writer's guild of some kind. I think it would be so great to learn from others. Until then I'll have to learn from you!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 24 months ago

      I always find this series enormously helpful. I love the idea of writing a biography and allowing the characters to come to life.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 24 months ago from Hollister, MO

      I really enjoy and appreciate each time you talk about how you develop your main characters. I love the process, use it, and find it very effective. And, there is still always more to learn about the process! Thanks, again, for another great mailbag! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Will, I shouldn't laugh, but that is tragically funny, and I understand completely. I think I have a system figured out now that won't cost much and helps others in the process. Thanks for the chuckle and for the nice words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Mary, you are always welcome here, and I'm happy to fill in until you find a writer's guild in that area. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop! It's been a very helpful approach for me. I see a novel in your future...a political spoof perhaps???

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I always feel better when an accomplished writer like you agrees with me. :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 24 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      As always a thought provoking and inspirational hub. After reading this I realize that my first idea was the right one and that is to attempt to publish an ebook of poems. I so want to get this done this year but I am so intimidated by the idea of having to do it by myself. I also realize that my inspiration lies with my poetry and I couldn't write a novel. I admire you for being able to do that and for writing such great novels.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 24 months ago from Arizona

      i kind of meant not following punctuation and grammar rules to get a strong point across. Guess the stretch was not the best word to use.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 24 months ago from New York

      You mean to tell me I've read forty-nine mailbags? Where did I find the time LOL. They've all been great and I look forward to reading them every week.

      Thank you for answering my question. It definitely makes sense, and thanks Manatita, you are a generous and loving writer!

      Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS. 1,000 hubs, now that's impressive. You'll certainly surpass 52 mailbags, no doubt.

      Thank you for all you do to help us.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 24 months ago from Staten Island, NY

      What kind of editing did the editor do for you? Was it correcting typos, grammar, etc. or did he tell you rewrite this, reword that, get rid of this, add that...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasma, I hope you follow through. The first time is intimidating but it is doable and gets much easier afterwards...GO FOR YOUR DREAM!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Gotcha...thanks Carol!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Mary! It's hard to believe there have been forty-nine of these things....harder to believe someone read them all. LOL Thank you so much, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All of the above, Lena! :)

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 24 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Wow--49! Way to go, Bill!

      I agree with you on NaNoWriMo; I don't think I could do that--at least, not to come up with a finished product. It might, however, be a great kick in the pants for getting a first draft finished.

      As for breaking rules--you have to do it, especially with dialogue. You have to let the characters sound like who they are, and that often means not only breaking grammar rules, but also using incorrect spellings, in order to carry across their style of pronunciation of some words.

      "Weeell.. ye see that thar fill-em-up station down on that corner? Ye jest takes a right, then a lef, den anodder right, and there ye be!"

      ;-)

      Voted up, interesting and useful as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, if I didn't know any better. I'd say you live in the Ozarks. :) Thanks for your two-bits worth. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 24 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      As always an interesting hub on the topic of publishing. I’m not sure if we are the only publishers amongst your readers, I’m sure not, and it would take a complete hub to write about how we work, but if anyone wants to know I will gladly write a full article on our procedure.

      Kima Global Publishers published their first title in 1992. We are a small company and our work has drastically changed in the last few years. Most of the titles we still hold the print rights for ( around 80+) had to be formatted into ebooks during 2008 and 2009 in order to keep up with the times. Today we begin with an ebook before we go into print.

      Voted up!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 24 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Another very good Writer's Mailbag.

      I've tried NaNoWriMo a few times. I'm a slow thinker and typist and never got close to the goal. One year I wrote 25,000 words but accomplished that by writing sentences like: The fat obese blubbery overweight cat feline tomcat pussycat frighted scared terrified the little tiny teensy wee mouse .... Another year I kept writing till I reached the goal and got to 50,000 words in six months. Another year instead of fiction I wrote first drafts of hubs.

      Somewhere in my files or storage boxes I have the printouts of my NaNoWriMo first drafts of years past, waiting to be edited and revised.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, thanks for sharing that. I think an article about your company and how it operates would be very beneficial for all out there. I will definitely share it if you write it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, your first example is hilarious. Thanks for sharing that. Nano is not for me. It just doesn't work into my writing method, but I can understand how some people thrive doing it.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 24 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. All these milestones coming up. How exciting! One thousand hubs is pretty incredible. I wonder how many other writers here have written that many hubs? And the mailbag going for almost a year is a wonderful testament to how much people rely on and value your advice here. Have a great week.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      I've been incognito so to speak for the past week or so and so glad I made it back to the Monday Mailbag! That NaNo writing is amazing and I have not really understood what it was until now, so thank you. I will have to look for a novel written in such a time limit. I love your answer.

      Congrats on the about to be a year on this series and the 1,000 hubs! Wow, that is something to celebrate.

      Blessings always

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 24 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I'm away from home to attend my aunt's funeral, but I couldn't miss the mailbag. Now I have to do some research on NaNoWriMo: always something to learn. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! I'm still having fun and it appears everyone else is enjoying it, so we'll keep it going.

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith! It's always nice to have you stop by, and I miss you when you don't. Have a great week and blessings always, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm very grateful you took the time to visit me during these trying times. Thank you so much and blessings to you always.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 24 months ago from California

      Excellent write! My Nano projects are languishing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Audrey! It's' always nice having you stop by on a rainy afternoon.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 24 months ago from south Florida

      Your Mailbag answers, Bill, continue to be as interesting and informative as the questions you receive. That takes a special sort of talent, my friend.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 24 months ago from New Jersey

      Well, I learned something new! I had never heard of NaNoWriMo! How is this possible? I did watch Katytastic's video on it to learn more. So, now I feel like a more informed writer. Thanks! Also, your comments on punctuation were interesting. I think you're correct on how being too perfect with grammar can be a negative. I hope to break my mind from it, some, in the future! Thank you for that, too!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj! Now if I can find a way to convert whatever talent I have into money I'll have it made in the shade. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, thank you again. Grammar....it took me a long time to realize that perfect grammar in fiction just isn't "realistic." Writing really is a craft that takes many years to learn. Be patient with yourself and keep working at it. You have the talent.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 24 months ago from Los Angeles

      Hello Bill and thank you for your commitment to The Writer's Mailbag series. Your support and enlightening tips are such a wonderful gift to all of us here! The development of preliminary character bios is brilliant strategy and makes so much sense! Once you know the ins and outs of a your characters, I can see that it would make the story more natural, easier to write, and certainly more consistent. Wow! That is so helpful:)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      49 and no junk mail Billybuc.. no coupons or sales.. but hey can't have everything.. the character freedom was worth the wait in this edition..voted useful and on time!

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      Ann Carr 24 months ago from SW England

      Totally agree with you on punctuation. It's the lack of knowledge that's the worst thing. Dialogue can't be grammatical because I don't know anyone who speaks that way - well, actually, I did know one person and she sounded like a pompous old bat! (Quick proviso - that doesn't mean everyone who speaks with correct grammar is a pompous old bat - I do sometimes!!!! (but hardly ever) and, as everyone knows, I'm not a pompous old bat, well, not pompous anyway.)

      Love your refreshing outlook on all things literary.

      Have a thrilling Thursday, bill!

      Ann :)

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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, that was a very sweet thing for you to say. Thank you so very much. i hope you give that character bio a try. It really is helpful.

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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I know, Frank. I feel kind of bad not including a coupon flyer in the mailbag....a few freebies or discounts on cheeseburgers. LOL Maybe next week, buddy. In the meantime, I appreciate you stopping by so often today.

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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I laughed all the way through...pompous old bat? You? Not likely. Not likely ever, but then I'm a bit of a supporter for this person named Ann who lives in SW England and taunts me with her travelling tales. :)

      Thrilling Thursday? I'm going to write until noon and then go outside and finish up the new aviary we are building. Thrilling for sure. :)

      bill

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      Ann Carr 24 months ago from SW England

      And I'm so grateful for that support, bill, and that you put up with the taunts!

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I not only put up with them...I look forward to them. LOL

      bill

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for yet another useful mailbag hub, Bill. What a great series!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I have to admit I'm enjoying this series very much.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 24 months ago

      Hi Billy,

      All of the questions were interesting and helpful. I liked the one about grammar and punctuaton. When I am reading books from the stands - both fiction an non-fiction - I have found words misspelled, punctuation missing or misused, etc. I figured that either it had been printed without proofreading or with lousy proofreading.

      I enjoyed reading the Hub and learning things new. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Kevin! Interestingly, it is a rare book that I read that does not have grammatical errors. I don't know what the proofreaders are doing but they seem to always miss a thing or two.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 24 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Hey Bill, re the novel-writing-month - I tried the NaNo thing a few years ago, but I only used it as a way of getting started, and in this case it worked (though it took me considerably longer than a month). Another great Hub - keep on truckin'.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that FatBoyThin...in that instance, I think there is great value in NaNo.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 24 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm working on my first eBook but I must say I'm really worried about the process after it's completed. The entire editing to illustration to publishing process will be a mouthful to think about, and the marketing afterwards won't be a cake walk either. Great information though and much appreciated. Congrats on the coming milestones.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chris and good luck with that first ebook. It is daunting the first time around...it gets considerably easier after that.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 24 months ago from Missouri

      As a non-fiction writer and editor, I have to say that you can edit a book twice, have three other people edit your book, and it will still have the occasional misspelling or punctuation error. It's almost impossible to catch everything. However, it is really obvious when there has been no editing at all.

      Spending the extra time and money to have a professional do your editing will not mean there are no mistakes left in the book. It just means the book will not be riddled with mistakes.

      As for writing quickly, it took me four years to complete my first novel, and a year to complete each of my nonfiction books. My husband, on the other hand, can write a novel in 4-6 weeks. Here is where I use one of your least favorite writing devices. GRRRR! LOL.

      I wish I was more prolific. However, I can safely say that my books require less editing than his do. Must be the extra time I put into them.

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

      Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, it takes me about eight months for a novel, first word to last edit. I wish I was faster but oh well. As for editing, I don't think there is such a thing as a perfectly-edited book. There will always be mistakes.

      The quick answer to your question is no, but I'll answer in-depth on Monday in the Mailbag. Thank you!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Really good stuff here. I've tried working out my characters before and really helped the writing. I just keep getting sidetracked and never get much beyond about chapter three (I even started writing one out in my phone with the downtime I get but now keep getting sidetracked researching hubs!!:)

      Have a good weekend

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Lots of great material today. The teacher in you always comes out, and that is definitely to my benefit. I just can't thank you enough for all this free material.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, good luck with that "getting sidetracked" thing. This really is a good system if you can stick with it.

      Happy Weekend to you, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! I thank you, my friend, for always being here. A teacher without a willing student is just a babysitter. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 23 months ago

      Thank you for stating this so well "it is practically impossible to be grammatically correct all the time because people don’t always speak with perfect grammar." This makes me feel normal!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heck, Dianna, it made me feel normal too. LOL Now we both know we're not alone.

      Thank you and Happy Weekend to you.

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