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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Seven

Updated on July 25, 2016

And Here We Go Again

Just when I thought the Mailbag was on its last leg, a bounty of questions arrived. The old gal ain’t dead yet! So let’s not dilly-dally. Here are the questions and answers for this beautiful week in July.


PODCAST

From Mary: “If the mailbag does slow, there are still many I haven't yet read as I was late arriving to the party. I will be sad to see the mail bag go but I look forward to the podcast.Will this podcast be part of a hub or accessed via your website?”

Mary, that final decision hasn’t been made yet. I can download it on iTunes, or I can download it on YouTube, or just make it available on my website. I’m recording it today so I guess I’d better make up my mind soon. Stay tuned. I promise to tell you as soon as I have an answer.

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room | Source

Those Pesky Colons and Semi-colons

From Eric: “Let me get right to it. I am having a problem with colons and semi-colons. (shoot I don't even know if that is the correct way to write semicolons) At least we are not talking about my colon, thank God. Maybe it is because I have trouble separating thoughts in my head. I am not sure how to use these punctuations. Advise please.”

I had an editor once who advised me to just not use those damned semicolons when writing fiction, that it was lazy writing to use them and that book publishers did not like them. So there you go!

Seriously, I happen to agree with her on that point, but you asked for the rules, so that’s what you’ll get.

Use a colon when introducing an item or a list of items, and you don’t capitalize the first item after the colon, unless it’s a proper noun. Here’s an example……”If you want to be successful follow these simple rules: study, practice and then repeat steps one and two.” There are some other teensie-weensie, rules regarding a colon, but that’s the main one.

Now on to semicolons. I’m going to borrow from “The Grammar Book” for the first semicolon rule…..A semicolon can replace a period if the writer wishes to narrow the gap between two closely linked sentences.

Examples:
Call me tomorrow; you can give me an answer then.
We have paid our dues; we expect all the privileges listed in the contract.

Unfortunately, there are about five or six other rules regarding a semicolon, and only the wisest among us can keep all those rules straight. Seriously, Eric, it is easier for me to simply not use a semicolon and avoid the possible mistakes and definite headaches. Remember that a semicolon is nothing more than a comma on top of a period, which is a hint if you think about it. The semicolon is supposed to be a long pause but not a complete stop in a train of thought. For me, it’s just easier to make two sentences out of the whole mess and move on.

I hope that helps but I doubt it did. LOL

Writers’ Clubs

From Denise: “Another great mailbag, Bill. I really loved it. About the pretentious comment... I know I'm just an artist/illustrator and not really a writer. I just dabble to give my heart's blood some reason to exist, however, I tried to get in with a local writer's group recently and was turned away as not being "qualified" because I had not signed with some publishing company. I found them to be snooty and superior acting and really not worthy of my time. But at the same time I was disheartened. Do you find many writing clubs or organizations to be like that or were these guys just a rare occurrence? I'm personally hoping for rare occurrence because I find this writing community to be warm and engaging.”

Honestly, Denise, I don’t know how common it is or how rare. There will always be pretentious and snooty people, and there’s just no avoiding them in the writing field. I’ve seen them in writers’ groups, at book signings, at book readings and at workshops….but they are not the norm and I think it’s important to understand that. One snoot can ruin it for the thirty who aren’t snooty, and it’s the snoot we always remember. Unfortunate but true, my friend!

CH-CH-CHANGES

From Faith: “Hmm, I just thought of a couple of questions for you for the next Mailbag, possibly: How does writing change the writer? In other words, since you've realized you love to write and are passionately pursuing writing through novels, etc., how has writing changed you? Do you think the unconscious mind is a writer's best friend?”

Interesting questions, Faith!

How has writing changed me? I’m just talking about me, now, but writing has made me more introspective. Writing has made me more aware of my surroundings and the people who share this planet with me. Being a writer has made me more appreciative of all who pursue a career in music or the Arts because this is not an easy road to travel. Writing has made me more empathetic and in touch with my humanness.

And that’s just a partial list.

It makes me sick that so many school districts are cutting funding for the Arts. I think the Arts are vitally important to our society and our advancement as a species. Not everyone can or wants to be an accountant or tech nerd. Some people can only find happiness and fulfillment through the Arts, and it’s a damned shame school districts and the governments do not realize that fact.

As for the unconscious mind, by that I assume you mean the muse….is it my best friend? Mine is a distracting and demanding wench. LOL She never leaves me alone, for the love of the gods. She’s constantly whispering in my ear, telling me to pay attention, giving me ideas for future stories, demanding that I listen more intently, gaze more acutely and quit taking life for granted.

Best friend?

I love her!

Like alcohol once was, my muse, or unconscious mind, is my lover, and I can’t imagine life without her.

How’s that for an answer?

Building a brand? I am my company and my writing is my product. How long does that take to build?
Building a brand? I am my company and my writing is my product. How long does that take to build? | Source

Building a Brand

From Lawrence: “Actually that's maybe a question to look at, how long does it take for an average author to 'build a brand'? I've heard it said that it takes four or five books when a traditional publisher takes you on (at least they plan for that) so what do you think?”

Lawrence, it’s an interesting question for sure. I’m not sure there is a definitive answer about how long it takes to build a brand. I think the five years estimate is a pretty good one, but you also mentioned traditional publishers in the question, and that makes it a sticky wicket.

Trying to predict the actions of traditional publishers is a tough one in these uncertain times. I don’t think the fact that a writer has four or five books necessarily makes him or her more attractive to a traditional publisher. I still think it’s all about the quality of the writing and being in the right place at the right time. Those four or five books could be complete crap and then where is the writer and what are their chances?

It certainly doesn’t hurt to have four or five books, and writing a series is a positive note in this discussion, but, and there’s always a but in this discussion, it is still practically impossible for an unpublished author to attract a traditional publisher. I said practically impossible and not impossible, by the way.

So, four or five years? Yes! Four or five books? No guarantees!

EARNING MONEY

From Karen: “Do you know of any other online sites. or offline situations, that allows for that kind of freedom, without deadlines, that still allows writers to earn money?”

Karen, as you well know, there are a number of sites, like HP, around, so the quick answer is yes. But why should I elaborate? You and I both know sites like HP don’t pay out enough money to make it worth anyone’s while. Now hold on….in one of these comments, someone just might enlighten both of us and reveal the Land of Nirvana where we can all get rich. Wait for it….wait for it….

This is what I think of pretentious people
This is what I think of pretentious people | Source

Dealing with Pretentious Writers

From Ann: “I did add a question but it hasn't registered so here it is again: With reference to the pretentious writer, what would you say to someone like that if you came across one? I tend to think they're either insecure or just plain big-headed but how would you make them realise what they sound like? Call it a creative exercise!”

Ann, the answer depends on which Bill you are talking about. The old Bill would have responded sarcastically to the pretentious behavior. The new Bill would ignore it and make sure he never had to deal with that person again. Today I just let people live and don’t consider it my job to “make them realize” anything. It’s a full-time job just regulating my own behavior. LOL

AND THE BEAT GOES ON

That’s it for our show this week. Thanks to all who asked questions. I hope the answers were close to satisfying.

My new novella in the Billy the Kid series, “Breathing Fire on a Cold Winter’s Day,” will be available on Amazon this afternoon. I just thought I’d mention that in case you had a hankering to read about death and mayhem. LOL

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

#greatestunknownauthor

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I always appreciate your thoughts, Zulma! Thank you and Happy Monday!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 12 months ago from United Kingdom

      I can sympathize with Bev. Believe me, it will be a lot easier if you stop applying her brakes and start applying your accelerator. Look at it as an opportunity to gain more material to write about. That's what motivated me to do some of the stuff I've done over the years. I didn't want to become one of those oldies who keeps rehashing the same stories and boring everyone to tears. I wanted to always have something new to talk about.

      It's a thought. lol

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a constant battle, Zulma. She is a go-go-go person, so I'm constantly trying to apply her brakes. It's exhausting! LOL

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 12 months ago from United Kingdom

      And finally...I'm glad to hear Bev's back home where she belongs. Remember to fuss over her, treat her like the queen she is, wait on her hand and foot...oh listen to me. I'm sure you're doing all that already.

      Have a lovely day you two. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I think it is exciting, watching your progress, and knowing that greater things are to come. In my mind, you did this correctly. Started small and continued to build upon the foundation. Well done my friend.

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      Deb Hirt 12 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great material as always, full of information. As far as building a brand, it could be a matter of weeks, and as the years go on, there are more and more followers. Just publishing a weekly column, with a specific deadline, has become a norm. It only takes an hour, and the more people that I reach, the more people that will be in tune with watching and saving wildlife. When I get around to it(what's a round tuit?), who knows, the related books might work out well. We shall see. But thus far, the following is definitely encouraging.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The voice of experience arrives again, Sha, and I thank you for those jewels of wisdom.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that question, Zulma, so I'll have a dandy of an answer for you on Monday. Thank you my dear friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 12 months ago from Central Florida

      See, Bill? All you have to do is give the slightest hint that The Mailbag is ailing and may not recover, and the quality questions come spewing forth!

      This is a very interesting and varied edition.

      To Karen: Even mill assignments carry deadlines. There's no such thing as earning a living at writing without having a time frame within which to produce. Even novelists are given deadlines by their editors and publishers. Private clients give the writer deadlines as well in order to meet the deadlines they are against.

      HP is easy, breezy and laid back; we can post when and if we have something worthy of sharing. (Notice how I used the semicolon? :-)) But don't expect to pay the bills with the passive income we earn here. To me, my HP earnings are little bonuses that come my way throughout the year.

      If you want to earn a living as a writer, you need to be disciplined and be able to meet or beat deadlines. Otherwise, you won't be offered enough assignments/business to keep yourself afloat.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 12 months ago from United Kingdom

      Good response regarding snooty, pretentious writers. People like that aren't worth the time so I don't waste my time on them. Whether they notice or not, I cannot say as I suspect their overweening ego is company enough for them. After reading about some of these personal experiences with writers' groups, I have to say I really lucked out with mine. We have published and unpublished alike and they are really nice, down-to-earth people. Mostly.

      Question for you, Bill. We know your favourite writers are masters of the craft and have produced stories that will live for ages. My question is do you suppose they set out to create such magnum opuses or did they just want to write a good story?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dee, I don't do well with people like that. I'm afraid I wouldn't have lasted long in that club.

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      Dianna Mendez 12 months ago

      This is good reading and goes well with my afternoon cup of tea. Your advice on writing and books clubs is refreshing. I joined one a few years back and found it was centered around the lead person -- she flew her personal flag each meeting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sometimes, Rasma, that is very little satisfaction, but it's all we have. Carry on my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's how I feel too, Alicia. There is always something to learn from other writers. Thank you as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Ann! We spent Saturday at the farmers market selling our eggs and it was a wonderful "local" experience.

      bill

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 12 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Your latest made me realize that with all that I have been blogging, posting, writing and so on if it all paid really good money I'd be on my way to some really big bucks. At least it's nice that I can get satisfaction from my writing just by knowing people enjoy reading what I have written.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm happy that this series is continuing. There's always something interesting and useful to learn in the weekly editions. The format is great for educating writers.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 12 months ago from SW England

      I think that's the best way to do it; we can see an immediate difference and we feel better for doing something for our neighbours - much more satisfying! Sanity is so important!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I have decided that national politics will drive me crazy, so now I just concentrate on making our community the best it can be. One small step towards sanity. LOL

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 12 months ago from SW England

      Oh, I don't remember, so sorry if it's already been done.

      Yes, our political manoeuvrings are still going on and I'm fed up with them. I tend to not watch the news any more; too depressing!

      Hope you have a great weekend too, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, as long as you had a good time away then all is well. Thank you my friend and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Ann! Well, it wasn't a "thunderous Thursday," but it was still a good one worth living.

      Great question. Seems to me I did write a hub about that topic, but I really can't say for sure. LOL There have been so many. Oh well, I'll tackle the question in the Mailbag and be done with it once again.

      Our political conventions have ended, thank God! Back to normal!

      Happy Weekend, my friend!

      bill

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      Bill De Giulio 12 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. So glad to see the Mailbag get an influx of questions and continue on. Some very interesting questions this week and of course excellent answers. I am woefully behind in my reading here but hope to get caught up soon. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 12 months ago from SW England

      Great answers, bill, and thanks for including my question. I think your answer is a wise one.

      There is such variety here this week and I'm glad you've had yet more questions to keep the mail-bag going.

      Here's another question:

      How would you start up a writing group within your community? Having found like-minded people, how would you structure the meetings? In fact, maybe that's worth a hub...?!

      Looking forward to reading your hubs I've missed lately. Have a thunderous Thursday and a wonderful weekend!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Now that's funny, Frank! I love your pricing system. I'll be chuckling over that the rest of the day, buddy. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm grateful as well, Babby! I'll never understand how narrow-minded the educational system is....we need well-rounded citizens and not just computer and science nerds. When will we, as a society, ever learn?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I know I'd love to neglect the semi-colon. LOL Glad you found it helpful, and thank you for catching up.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton

      What? a Mailbag? I usually look forward to one of these a week.. but after we missed a week.. I felt alone.. with my empty thoughts.. who will not get their questions answered.. Has the mail man gone on strike.. Are they reworking his contract.. has my neighbor's dog attacked him? Maybe you should charge per envelope.. 33 cent.. is a good price.. 8 cents for delivery and 25 cents for storage.. anyways good to see you two weeks in a row my friend..:)

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      Barb Johnson 12 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Thanks for another informative and uplifting Mailbag Bill! We can't have enough refreshers on punctuation. If you're confused and make a mess of what might be a great read, what a shame. I don't know what they're thinking about except money with cutting out the arts in the schools. Educators are supposed to understand that the arts not only enrich and broaden young minds, they also make mastering the other subjects easier. I'm grateful for organizations that attempt to fill in the gaps.

      Have a productive week with decisions concerning the pod cast.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Almost caught up now. This discussion on colon and semicolon is an example of some important things we may neglect to consider. Thanks for the lessons.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Bill, and thank you. I'll be by to see your new chapter shortly.

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      William Kovacic 12 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      More good questions with more great answers. i especially liked your answer to Eric about the colons and semicolons. It takes a lot of pressure off if I just don't feel I have to use them. Thank you, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I used them often until that editor climbed my butt over it. Haven't used them at all since. LOL

      Happy Hump Day to you, and thank you for the question. Stay cool and safe!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, great example regarding "however." I even use a semi-colon when I use that word. Thanks for the reminder and mini-lesson.

      Happy Wednesday my friend.

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      Faith Reaper 12 months ago from southern USA

      Happy hump day, Bill!

      I'm sorry I'm so late to the Mailbag. Thank you for answering my philosophical questions as to writing and being a writer. Perfectly interesting answers!

      Wow, so many interesting questions this time with insightful answers, as always.

      My understanding of semicolons is that it separates two complete thoughts in one sentence, but it is still hard for me to use them as I usually opt for making two separate sentences.

      Hope the rest of your week is great!

      Peace

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 12 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      In college, I was taught to use semi-colons because fellow students were messing up their papers. That's why I like them. While at times it can be preferable to use two sentences, I remember my professor circling the semi-colon on the whiteboard when using words such as "unfortunately" and "however." I guess it just stuck with me. Not everyone needs to follow it, but it helps my writing flow.

      As for Denise, my response was, "What?!" Unless there was some mention in the ad that was missed, that sounds ridiculous!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hugs and blessings to you, PS, and thank you for your heartfelt views on the Arts. Sending those angels back atcha, loaded with love.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Chitrangada, I love your question and you can count on it being in MOnday's mailbag. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, I agree with you. Start your own group and make sure elitists are not allowed. Simple solution, and thanks for mentioning it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, I love the Faulkner comment. Sorry to ruin your love affair with semicolons. LOL Seriously, thank you for your kindness.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are very sweet for saying that. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you and I usually agree. The difference is you say it more eloquently than I do. LOL Thanks as always and Happy Tuesday to you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 12 months ago from sunny Florida

      Agree agree funding for the ARTS, all of them, needs an up front and center spot in our schools ....those classes are often the highlight of a young person's day...and often serves as springboard to something wonderful in the future.

      Keep on sharing, bill. Your wit and wisdom gives me brain food each time I stop here.

      Hugs and blessings and many Angels are on the way to you and yours ps

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you billybuc for another round of interesting Q-A !

      I liked the question by Eric and your answer regarding the use of colon and semi-colon.

      The question raised by Denise makes me think and ask another question---

      "Aren't other writers and authors your Allies and not your competition?"

      I would be glad if you include your views regarding this in the next installment of this wonderful series.

      Thanks for sharing this one!

      ~Chitrangada

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 12 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I share your concern about cutting out the arts in schools. In the movie Mr. Holland's Opus, when he learns the music program is being cut he said something to the effect that now the kids won't have anything to write about. Amen.

      I went to a writing group as a visitor recently. They were very warm and welcoming. There are at least three out here on the peninsula. One is an elitist group where I will never darken the door. I think starting ones own group is a good idea. Just saying.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      As an honors graduate of the William Faulkner institute for the run-on sentence, I resent your meddling in my love affair with the semicolon.

      I like the way it looks. I love it's symmetry. I like the way it lets me take a breath during a three page paragraph. It is my writers oxygen bottle.

      Seriously though, if you say editors don't like it, that's good reason to suppress it.

      On another serious note, the Arts feed the human soul. If we starve the arts we starve our souls! Thanks for the wisdom, my friend!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm glad I don't need to worry about using a semi-colon, not that I did. lol. I'm happy people are still asking you questions. That should tell you how much people listen to you, and I might add, we need you!!

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      Heidi Thorne 12 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday!

      Re: Semicolons. They are difficult for most people to grasp and use. I recently edited a book that had 120+ semicolons in about 80 pages of text. That's excessive! What was even stranger is that the author's previous editor insisted on them. What??? They should be used sparingly, if at all.

      Re: Writers' Clubs. Good ones can be difficult to find... and they are difficult to sustain. So I think it's interesting that some groups act so superior when new members come along. The "we four and no more" policies of these groups will eventually lead them to go extinct.

      Re: Number of Books to be Traditional Publishing Worthy? Who would ever suggest that merely publishing four to five books makes an author worthy of a traditional publisher's interest? But you know what will interest a traditional publisher? Proving that your book and the market it serves is so strong they might sell at least four or five hundred thousand copies. That'll work.

      Anyway, glad to see the Mailbag is still going forward. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good words of advice, Bill, and words I try to live by. Of course, I fail occasionally, but still I do try. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your input, Manatita....great to hear about London and the Arts, but no surprise, really. England is light years ahead of the U.S. in supporting the Arts. We are still floundering in our own Dark Ages at times. LOL

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Totally agree that you can't "make people realize anything." Let them go. Ignore them. They usually have other problems you don't want to be involved with, as well. Thanks for the whole mailbag. Made my day! ;-)

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      manatita44 12 months ago from london

      A lot here Bill. I would also mention Guru.com to Karen. Sign up is free and she would need a decent profile. It is a site where people are offering writing jobs and others are bidding all the time.

      Semi-colons? I tend to think of where the word 'and,' would fit, but leave it out:

      'Scent, not beaches; beauty, but not Cornwall.' I think feeling or intuition plays a large part, particularly with the esoteric poet.

      I believe that Nadine May has written a recent Hub about branding.

      Finally, it's great to have funding for the arts. The Local Authority are very supportive here towards Poetry Cafe activities and Creative Writing also. The MC's hand out forms for reviews from time to time which they then pass on to the appropriate bodies. Great Hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you hit that nail on the head. Publishing means very little these days. That and a buck will get you a small coffee at the 7-11. Just sayin' LOL

      Happy Monday my witty, sarcastic and thoroughly enjoyable friend.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 months ago

      Bill, good mailbag today. Sometimes semicolons just feel right. I use them on rare occasions to avoid making two short choppy sentences that are related, but not always enough to add a conjunction and make a compound sentence. If it feels right, I do it; if it doesn’t I don’t. Clear as mud?

      In response to Ann’s question, sometimes you just can't get away from them. We have a new PhD here at work who is always dropping into the conversation that she has published three novels. One day I’m going to get fed up and say, “sure, you’ve published three novels, but how many have you sold?”

      And a good day to ye all!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, your question is one many people need a review on, so I'll cover it next Monday. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Denise, you can hang with the big boys any old time as far as I'm concerned. You are a writer, an artist, and a good person. Not bad in my opinion!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL Karen, maybe I should just be satisfied with that....but you know, I'm always setting goals that are harder to reach, and I figure this goal is the hardest. Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope you're correct, Larry, because I sure do enjoy it. Thank you!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Your mailbags are a very interesting series. I am enjoying them recently as I find something new to learn in each one of them. The use of colons and semicolons is worthy to be learnt.

      I got one doubt regarding the usage of the comma when listing some items. Why should you put a comma even while you are adding "and" before the last item? For eg., books, novels, novellas, essays, and short stories. Is the comma necessary before 'and' in this sentence?

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      Denise McGill 12 months ago from Fresno CA

      Hey Bill, thanks for the great answer to my question about writer's clubs. I think so too that one snoot can ruin it for 30 great people. I sure appreciate being accepted and even encouraged in this group as if I were a real writer. I feel like the little redheaded step-kid who is accepted and allowed to run with the big boys. This writer's club is the best, and though we may not get rich here, we certainly are rich in friends and encouragement. Thanks again.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Karen Hellier 12 months ago from Georgia

      There are some interesting questions on here Bill. And some interesting answers form you too! I am surprised with all the writing you do here on Hubpages that you aren't raking in the dough! LOL...oh well, it's a great platform you have going here anyway. You may be the most famous HubPages member on here. You write more articles on here than anyone else I know, and I am always glad to read what you wrote!

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sure, Louise, I have time to at least take a look at one of them....send it to me at holland1145@yahoo.com and I'll take a look at it...and I'll answer your question in next week's mailbag. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Mary. You are appreciated! It is nice being of a certain age and just choosing not to put up with obnoxious behavior, isn't it?

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Melissa! I may just put them on YouTube and I know you can access those....but I'm not certain....I'll let you know soon.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I'm not comfortable with it either, but I need to stretch out and go beyond my comfort level...so stay tuned. :) And thank you!

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      Larry Rankin 12 months ago from Oklahoma

      They'll be lulls, but I can't imagine there ever not being a place for the mailbag.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know what the problem is, Pop. I found it...well, here it is.....https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Kid-Chronicles-Ashes-... If you still can't get it with that link then email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.

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      Louise Barraco 12 months ago from Ontario

      Hi Bill great mailbag it helped me out I was wondering though how long should it take to roughly write a novel and how long should a novel be I have written about ten or more novels as I like to call them but I'm not really sure if they are do you want to take a look at them?

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      Mary Wickison 12 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I love your advice on semicolons. I recently did some proofreading and the copy they gave me was full of them with a few hyphens thrown in for good measure.

      Regarding snooty people, I have reached an age where that kind of attitude I won't tolerate. Space is a great remedy for it.

      Looking forward to the podcast.

      Enjoy your week.

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      Melissa Propp 12 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Wow, you had a lot to cover in this morning's mailbag. I hope those questions keep coming because I love reading your answers! Good luck on the podcast. I guess I will finally have to breakdown and figure out how to access these podcasts...

      Have a great week!

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy,

      Just checking in to see if someone has revealed the Land of Nirvana where we can all get rich! I wish!

      Good to hear about the podcast, hope you enjoy your new creation. Definitely not something I am comfortable with:) Have a great day Billy.

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      breakfastpop 12 months ago

      First of all, I love your attitude about letting people live, and not trying to "make them realize anything." I am speaking about my personal life and not politics! I have asked you before, but I will try it again. I want to buy you third novella, but couldn't find it on Amazon. I did buy number four. Any suggestions?

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Linda! The editor I mentioned told me I relied too heavily on semi-colons. I don't think I've used one since then. LOL That will teach her!

      I hope to see you this Wednesday at the market!

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, I do the same thing with dots......and I do it because the semi-colon causes too much stress. LOL Thanks, as always, for being here.

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      Linda Lum 12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow, this was (is) a really great mailbag. I probably rely much too heavily on semicolons; it's a habit I just can't seem to break. (LOL). I think of it as a dramatic pause in the midst of a soliloquy. (Hmmm, I need to dig out my Shakespeare's and see if the old Bard relied on semicolons--or did they even have them back then?)

      I love Faith's question about how writing changes the life of the writer, and your response was beautiful. Two artists allowing us to listen to their conversation. Thank you.

      Have a great Monday.

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      Buildreps 12 months ago from Europe

      Happy to see you back with this great series. Especially the semicolon topic took my attention. I realized that I probably unconsciously avoid semicolons, because I don't get their meaning. But I also realized that I developed a habit to replace them with dash (-). It appears to me they have almost a similar meaning; but I could be wrong about that. :)

      Have a great week my friend, and thanks for the unceasing effort for answering all these, sometimes difficult, questions.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Tarun, thank you for sharing that, and thank you for the kind words. I loved that question and I immediately knew the answer...such is the life of a writer. We know we are blessed!

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, John! I seem to have forgotten a great many grammar rules over the years. Not using a semi-colon assures I will not blow the rule by accident. LOL

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      Tarun Chhauda 12 months ago from Roorkee, India

      First things first, Firstly my thanks to Faith for asking that question - How does writing change the writer? And secondly what a beautiful answer Bill. Man you say that you talk about yourself and how it has influenced your life but your words carry so much universal appeal. They simply echo the sentiments of all us here I believe. Writing has been life changing for me. Earlier I would fly without the wings and now after being a writer I am so much grounded and I dont bother about the wings. It has certainly meant a world to me and has been a change agent in my life. Well said Bill! Well crafted Faith!

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      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      It is good to see a resurgence in the number of questions and therefore the mailbag, Bill. I rarely use a semi-colon either, can't see the need. Good work.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Donna, very true. On both counts, I might add. Thanks for weighing in and Happy Monday to you.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Flourish. I've got better things to do than spend my time trying to change people. It's a wasted effort in most cases.

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      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks as always, Janine, and Happy Monday to you. Stay cool and safe, my friend.

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      Donna Brown 12 months ago from Alton, Missouri

      Hi Bill! I agree. Ditch the semi-colon entirely simply use a period instead and make short punchy sentences, but not too many. (two short sentences of 2-3 words is fine.)

      I think the reason that a lot of writer's groups seem to have snoody members is because those members are often English PHDs who think it is required for their doctorate. Most of them don't write best sellers either.

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      FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

      It's probably a waste of time to try to make anyone realize anything. You can try to inform, persuade, educate, etc. But they must be open. And the world has so many people in it that ones job will quickly overwhelm unless s/he sticks to what s/he can change (the self-- and sometimes that's not so easy)!

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      Janine Huldie 12 months ago from New York, New York

      So happy to see this series have some new life into it and think you know how much I enjoy your advice here and than some. Thanks always for sharing Bill and happy Monday to you now!! :)