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

Updated on January 02, 2017

Happy New Year to You All

I just felt like saying it again. Never hurts, right? I know 2016 was a tough year for many of you, so let’s at least start off 2017 with some hope.

And my hope, and wish, for you is continued love and good health. Everything else is frosting on the cake of life.

Shall we?

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

Ongoing Work

From Brian: “In your fiction writing, are you always working on a first draft of one work, the revising of another work, and the polishing and marketing of another work, or do you focus on one work at a time and not start something new until that work is done and submitted, posted, or self-published?”

I started to answer this question one way, Brian, but then realized my answer wasn’t going to be correct, so here’s what I actually do.

My main focus is always on my current book. I’d say 75%-90% of my time is spent writing that new novel. Having said that, if I come up with an idea for a new book, I will write the prologue for that book, or the first chapter, and then I’ll leave it alone until I can give it the attention it deserves.

The rest of my “spare time” is spent marketing, but my marketing time is separate from my writing time. I generally write from seven a.m. to about one p.m. each day. Those hours are strictly for writing. If I have marketing to do, and I always have marketing to do, I do it after the writing is done for the day.

Make sense?

POETRY EBOOK

From Rasma: “So looking forward to the New Year. I have some questions for you but on one topic - when selecting material, in my case poems, for an e-book, can they all be poems that have been published online, how many poems should be the limit and can photos be added.”

Great questions, Rasma, and easy ones to answer, for which I’m grateful.

Yes, you can publish an ebook of poems published online. It’s your choice to do so, unless you have signed something giving exclusive publishing rights to those poems to someone else….in which case you’re screwed, excuse my language.

How many poems should be the limit? I don’t think there’s a particular limit on that sort of thing. My suggestion: check out books by other poets and see if you can gauge some sort of average number from their publications. Maybe it’s twenty; maybe it’s fifty; personally I think that’s an individual thing, but you might feel better knowing others used a particular number.

Can photos be added? Of course they can. It makes formatting the ebook a bit more difficult, but just a bit. Just be aware of one thing: those photos should be black and white, or else you’ll pay more to have your book published in hard copy should you choose to do so.

Can you notice the third wave from the left, northeast of that sail boat with green piping?  The odds of noticing that are about as good as an ebook being noticed.
Can you notice the third wave from the left, northeast of that sail boat with green piping? The odds of noticing that are about as good as an ebook being noticed. | Source

How to Get Noticed

From Cyndi: “When you write, the questions never end! Questions others have usually bleed into questions I may have, for instance how to get your ebook noticed (I don't have one but some of my clients do) so your corner of the world is much appreciated. Take care.”

Cyndi, books have been written on this topic, so what I’m going to give you is a thumbnail sketch at best.

Getting an ebook noticed is like getting a particular grain of sand noticed in the Mohave Desert. I’m not trying to be funny when I say that. The ebook game is a numbers game. That’s why I believe in the philosophy passed down in the book “Write, Publish, Repeat.” The more ebooks you publish the better your chances of being noticed….but there are so many other factors. Do you want to pay Amazon to get on their select list of titles? You certainly can. Will it help? I don’t know. Are your clients willing to do the marketing necessary to get their books noticed, and I mean are they seriously willing? Are they willing to do readings and book signings? Are they willing to peddle themselves like some 19th Century snake oil salesman?

In no way am I trying to be negative, but the chances of having an ebook noticed are miniscule. That’s just the truth of it…miniscule! But then, that’s not why we write, is it?

Tell your clients good luck, and I mean that sincerely. We all need a bunch of it.

WRITING CRITIQUE GROUPS

From Linda: “I have a friend who has worked (struggled) for the past decade to write a childrens book. This is her first attempt at writing...and it shows. She doesn't have the money to take writing classes at the community college, but she clearly needs some (actually a LOT) of assistance. Are there "writing groups"? I know that there are reading groups--people who get together to critic a published author. What about groups who critic each others writing efforts. Of course she will ask "where do I find such a group"? What say you oh wise one?”

I’m laughing at the way you described her writing abilities. I know a couple like her. It’s amazing to me how the advent of ebooks has made so many people think they have what it takes to be an author. Many are called but few are chosen.

Are there critique groups? Most definitely! Have her do an online search of “writing groups” on Google and see what she comes up with. There are a ton of online critique groups she can join, but she better have a thick skin and be ready to have her work dissected with a sharp scalpel. She can also start her own critique group, but that takes a bit more effort to do so. Have her check out the local library. I’ll bet if she talks to the head librarian she’ll have a list of groups to choose from very quickly.

A caution sign before you agree to edit for friends
A caution sign before you agree to edit for friends | Source

He Said, She Said

Also from Linda: “So, I have another question, about with regard to my friend. Writing dialogue. In past mailbags you have encouraged us to listen to how people around us talk. Make it real. I get that. But I find that my friend's dialogue is littered with "he said's, she said's, etc." Perhaps that is the end result of writing in the third person, but I find it monotonous and feel that even children will be rolling their eyes after several pages. If each character has a clear "voice", can't at least some of that be avoided, or am I being too picky? It gets complicated when there are many voices (and boy, she has a LOT of characters).”

Well, Linda, you just touched upon one of my pet peeves. Using “he said” and “she said” too often is, to me, lazy writing. A good writer is able to use the language in such a way that it is obvious who is speaking.

The first words of advice I would give is to limit the amount of people actually speaking in any given scene. I will, from time to time, have three or four characters in a scene, but I rarely have more than two of them talking in that scene. One trick I’ve learned is to let the mention of a name tell the reader who is speaking. For example, if Tom and Dick are in the scene, one line might be…”We can do this one of two ways, Dick.” That way we know that line of dialogue came from Tom. Another trick of the trade is to write a sort of introductory sentence before a line of dialogue. For example: Tom took a step towards Dick and stared him in the eye. “We can do this one of two ways.” In that example, it’s pretty obvious that Tom is the one speaking.

If a writer has done their job correctly, crutches aren’t necessary all that often.

FRIENDS EDITING FOR FRIENDS

Linda, again: “One more--can friends edit for friends? Donna wants me to edit her book. I think it could be the end of a beautiful friendship. Doesn't it really depend on the writing skill of the people involved? You, sir, are an excellent author and I consider myself pretty fair. We both self edit. Knowing that, I would be comfortable having you edit my work (and if asked I might find a misplaced comma or two in yours). But editing the work of someone who is not a skilled writer would be painful at best. Writing is such a personal thing--drastic changes are akin to lopping off a limb.”

Linda, I can’t do it. I’ve been asked before, by two good online friends, to edit their works, and the quality of those works was so poor that I knew I would crush them by editing their work. I simply told them I was too busy and couldn’t do it, and left it at that. I’m not willing to risk a friendship over an editing job. Some people might be able to do it but I can’t. I love the English language too much, and I adore quality writing, so I fear my editing would be too brutal.

Right now several people I am editing are breathing a sigh of relief, because if I’m editing their work it must mean I’m feeling good about their abilities as writers.

And That’s It for This Week

This was a full one, thanks to some great questions. I hope you all found something here that helped you in some way.

Let’s do it again next week!

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy New Year to you billybuc!

      So glad to go through your hub again --the first one in the new year.

      And I got some clarity too about publishing e books. Thanks for sharing the Helpful Q-A in this installment.

      Wishing you once again for a fulfilling and prosperous new year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Chitrangada Sharan, and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Great advice as always! Have a wonderful New Year Bill!

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

      Thank you, Nell, and I hope you feel better very soon.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 months ago

      Editing a friend's book is dangerous ground. I did it once and I will never do it again!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      What a great start to the 2017 mailbag. The questions always amaze me - things that are so important, but I may never think about. As always, thanks for the sound advice, and have wonderful 2017, Bill!

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

      Exactly, Pop! Walk softly on that thin ice. :) Happy New Year my friend.

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

      Exactly, Bill, and that's the whole purpose of this series. We all learn from it.

      Thank you and Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • profile image

      Mpropp 2 months ago

      Happy Monday and happy new year! We just moved and I have no Internet hooked up but luckily I can still read and comment on my phone! I hope 2017 is a great year for all of us! What are your writing goals for this year?

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago

      Great hub here Bill, so....I will be back later today to re-read this, right now my hubby, nature and an appointment are calling me to hurry along.

      Blessings

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 months ago from Europe

      Happy new year, Bill! I searched for the third wave just nearby the green whatever...couldn't find it. :) Thanks for being here, and thanks for being an oracle for so many people. Wish you a very good year.

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

      Melissa, Happy New Year! I hope that new home is all you want it to be. I know it will be filled with love.

      My goals? Stay tuned! :)

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

      Well then you best get going, Shyron! Thanks for the fly-by, my friend.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 months ago from New York, New York

      Happy New Year once again, Bill and sorry to be on the later side today, but it is the last day Kevin and the girls are home for the holiday vacation. So, slept in a bit and also just straightening up now, as well. But, of course, had to stop on in to read your advice for the first time in 2017!! :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Happy New Year Bill, great to see you are back to business as usual, as always sound advice. May 2017 be wonderful in every way for you, Bev and families xxxx

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      A good way to start off the new year, is reading your answers to questions from writers. Thanks for hanging in Bill. Best wishes for the best year ever!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. A Happy New Year to you. What a great start to the mailbag. Looking forward to a happy and healthy 2017.

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

      Happy New Year, Buildreps. May your search be more fruitful next time. :) Thank you, my friend.

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

      Janine, no need to apologize. Sleeping in sounds like the rational thing to do. Happy New Year, my friend. I hope your week is productive.

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

      Thank you Irish! My 2017 will be as productive as I allow it to be. Full steam ahead, my friend, and Happy New Year to you and the Mickster!

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

      Happy New Year to you, Ruby, and my undying gratitude for always being here.

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

      Bill, Happy New Year to you, and thank you for your friendship. See you this summer? I hope so!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 2 months ago from Fresno CA

      Hi Bill,

      Happy Monday morning and a Happy New Year to you too. I know what you mean about editing. My son asked me to "critique" his first draft of his YA fantasy book and although I took that as "edit" he meant "give opinion about the characters developed." I wish people would say what they REALLY mean instead of using cute words that only partly define it. I sometimes think language is a huge disability and we are all disabled to one degree or another. I've had clients ask me for art work, they say potato and I see mashed or baked and they really mean fried. There is a huge difference, don't you think? Anyway, I ended up offending my son with remarks about capitalization and commas when all he wanted was for me to say I thought his characters were well fleshed out. I don't edit for anyone anymore either!

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile image

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

      I am just exploring this whole get out to the public thing.

      For Hubpages, is the way you do your shameless ;-) plug for your website all ok with HP Gods and the best way to cross network out of the black hole that can start on a writing platform such as HP?

      FB is a little scary for me. I mean with the statute of limitations and all.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Happy New Year, Bill. May the Mailbag keep going! One of my goals for 2017 is more reading. I have started on my first book and Resurrecting Tobias is waiting in the queue to be my second. Thanks for teaching by theory and example.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I think your decision not to edit is a good one. I avoid it like the plague, now. There were some hard lessons to learn in getting there, but I did learn them.

      Blessings and Happy New Year to you

      bill

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

      Eric, thanks for looking me up on Facebook. I promise to add positiveness to your life on that social media. As for your question, I promise an answer next Monday. Happy New Year my friend.

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

      Happy New Year, Dora, and thank you for your friendship. I sincerely hope you enjoy Tobias...and thank you for buying it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I found this mailbag very interesting, Bill, especially Linda's question about editing a friend's work. I know I would not be comfortable doing that. I think critique and editing is easier to take from a stranger you are distanced from than a friend. Hope your New Year has started well.

    • Ericdierker profile image

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

      Bill, I did actually pray my New Year bring more of you.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 2 months ago from USA

      Nice to read your latest hub, Bill. I am planning on typing up a new one myself soon about the difference between loneliness and enjoying your own company. It's good to know what you said about ebooks. The books I have published are in both ebook and printed version form. So are you saying you should at least publish the book in printed form? It's okay to self publish right? I haven't been promoting my books much. But I like what you said recently, not to try to sell your books at the bottom of every hub, but maybe once in awhile. I'm thinking that if people like my hubs on mental health, they may want to read a book on it although the books I've written are basically a compilement of many hubs I've written.

      And the same thing with my poetry books. Fiction I think is very challenging.

      Happy New Year to you. It's nice to have a fresh start

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      I love your honesty about editing others' work. The thought of it makes me cringe, as I am a stickler for correct spelling, word choice, tone, facts, emotional nuance and all the things that count. I'd drive someone mad if they were the sloppy kind of writer.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A very great and informative mailbag as always. Many good questions have been asked and answered wonderfully by you in this mailbag. I learned much regarding the e-book world and publishing through your great answers.

      Thanks, Bill, for sharing and spreading knowledge through these mailbags.

      Have a nice and Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a snake pit, John, editing for a friend. I won't do it again.

      Happy New Year my talented friend, and thank you!

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

      Thank you so much, Eric! I'll try not to overload you with me. :)

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

      It's a good question, Rose, and I'll add it to next week's mailbag. Thank you! I think there is value in what you write. Now the trick is finding a way to get people to read them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a no-win situation, Flourish, and I'm afraid I would discourage them from ever writing again, which would be horrible.

      Anyway, thank you and once again, Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, it really is my pleasure. Thank you for your wonderful questions during the year, and for your friendship.

      Happy New Year, my friend!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, sorry to be so tardy. I appreciate your inclusion of my questions, especially friends editing for friends.

      Your response to the "he said, she said" dilemma brings another question to mind. How many characters is too many? My (same) friend has no less than 41 named characters, some appearing only once (as I typed the manuscript--yes, it was written in longhand--I kept open a second document to list each character as he/she appeared and note the page number on which they were introduced).

      Good grief--it's a children's book, not War and Peace. (And when I read W&P I maintained a list of the characters because I couldn't keep the names straight).

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

      Linda, you are too funny. Personally, I think your friend is over the top, especially for a children't book. Now I have read novels by established writers where there are that many characters but, like you, I couldn't keep them all straight. It's one thing if they are "bit players" who only appear once; it's another thing altogether if they are players who keep re-appearing. I'll have a longer answer for you on Monday. Great question, by the way.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

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

      Hello Bill. Editing is a tough job. The length of time it takes to do a good job can not be compensated. In the end the writer is likely going to be upset and the editor is likely to be upset. I do think having fresh eyes look at your work in helpful.

      Many interesting questions and answers again this week.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 months ago from Chicago Area

      A little late to the first Mailbag of 2017. Oh well...

      Re: Editing Among Friends. As I've noted in some hubs on this very topic, editing for friends can be a stressful experience for both the writer and the editor. This is where a disinterested third party needs to be engaged. Think friendship first so the friendship lasts.

      Looking forward to another year of the Mailbag! Cheers!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I agree, it is most definitely helpful, but I won't do it unless I get, at minimum, a thousand bucks. I've learned my lesson regarding the amount of time it takes.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Heidi. Lesson learned, move on, keep those friendships.

      Happy New Year my friend. Stay warm and safe!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      Such a diplomat, bill, and yet you lay it on the line! That's clever!

      Happy New Year to you and yours. Only just back from nearly a week away but raring to go.

      Hope 2017 brings you love and good health and that the writing soars, as I'm sure it will.

      Ann :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you so much for answering my questions. I will check out the other e-books of poems out there. Then all I will need is courage and full speed ahead. Most likely this will be a springtime project for me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, my traveling friend, you need to start writing again. I miss the clever grammar articles, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Happy New Year to you. Me, a diplomat? Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm much too blunt for all that silliness.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Plan now, Rasma, and publish in the spring. Sounds like a plan to me. Best wishes and thanks for the question.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 2 months ago from United States

      Enjoyed this one, especially your comments regarding dialogue. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Farmer! I think dialogue is the biggest stumbling block for new writers.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 2 months ago

      The year 2017

      Your mailbag filled to the top already

      How could it be?

      Writers everywhere are hearing about your good advice

      Always straight forward and to the point

      We thank you in words instead of money

      Money gets dirty and worn when passed around

      Words become more special when they are used more often

      Money will go down in value with inflation

      Where words will be treasured forever

      So the question is how do so many people know about you

      I heard a jolly man in red has told all writers everywhere

      A Christmas gift that keeps giving

      With a ho, ho ,ho

      We all want to give you something to

      Love, happiness and the gift that keeps giving

      To billybuc and his family

      May this year be especially sweet

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 2 months ago

      Congratulations on five years on Hubpages and mailbag 131. Writing has so many opportunities and possibilities. There are many hidden rules to help writers find there way. Your help makes it easier and we can have many laughs on our journey. Thank you. Have a relaxing night.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 months ago from Orlando Florida

      If I may add my two cents worth for a poetry book why not start with what is called a chapbook. Include about 20 poems--it is better if they have a common theme of some sort. This way neither the poet nor readers need to make a big commitment first time out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dream, that was such a nice thing for you to write. Thank you! I don't think the HP community has any idea how much I appreciate them and the support they have given me. You all are my extended family and that is a pretty cool thing.

      Happy New Year my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate the continued support, Dream, but I appreciate more the friendship. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great advice, Catherine! Thank you for it!

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 2 months ago from Tennessee

      I'm always impressed with the amount of writing you get done, so I was interested to see your schedule. I still don't see how you work it all in. But I'm impressed. Keep up the good work, and have a wonderful New Year.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's strange, Jo, because to me, it's nothing special. I just sit down and write. LOL But thank you so much!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      Thanks for the encouragement, bill. I need to write more but this little bungalow of ours needs much tlc at the moment so my writing gets less! I am determined to get something out this week though.

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope so, Ann! Have a fabulous weekend, my friend.

      bill

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      I needed some editing done and sent to to three people. One said, "Yup everything looks good", the other virtually rewrote everything in single spacing, and the third, picked up incorrect punctuation and suggested a few reworkings. I found it a rather amusing that each could give such differing results.

      I love your advice on the he said, she said problem, that is useful.

      I find it interesting that Carb Diva uses a second list to make notes about characters in the book. This I think is a good idea. I have an odd problem with reading books full of foreign names. Russian and Japanese names seem to be the worse for me. I can't keep the characters straight. What I have tended to do is rename them with names such as John, Richard and Susan. Am I the only one with this problem? Perhaps with Carb Diva's system would work for me.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks, Bill, for answering my question. Yes, your writing work schedule makes sense.

      Linda asked about writing critique groups. I have always found being in one very helpful. They are hard to find because they come and go and because most of the time, while they exist, they are not looking for more participants. And not all writing groups are critique groups. Some merely share works. Others have a leader who provides writing exercises and prompts. Others are into freewriting or what Natalie Goldberg calls writing practice. I just did a quick search and found the online article by one Jane Friedman "How to Find the Right Critique Group or Partner for You." She gives the same advice I would--including, as you suggested, asking at public libraries. Certainly check Meetup. Also watch the bulletin boards at coffeehouses and bookshops. I also found this site: ladieswhocritiqueDOTcom.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      "Getting an ebook noticed is like getting a particular grain of sand noticed in the Mohave Desert." Hahaha! Let nobody ever says that billybuc has misled them.

      Editing the work of friends. I think before doing this, one has to be very sure on which chair he is sitting. The chair of the coach, or the chair of the editor. Both of these chairs have specific roles to play, and the one should not play the role of the other. Friendship is beside the point when rendering professional services.

      Another enjoyable writer's mailbag, thank you, billybuc!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks again for the wise advice. This mail bag reminded me of an acquaintance who kept bugging me to look at her draft. I kept telling her that I am not a professional editor even if I did give her some suggestions she found useful. I finally avoided her as I just couldn't take the stress of her passing on her drafts all the time when I could hardly manage with my own writing. I don't think it is a good idea to mix friendship with editing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I gave up reading spy novels because I couldn't handle the foreign names, so you aren't the only one. It's just one of several problems I have with Robert Ludlum. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions, Brian, but I would expect nothing less. Thanks for doing that research and sharing with us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Martie, and great advice on the editing.

      Now I have to run. I'm looking for a grain of sand in the Mohave. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aesta, I tend to agree with you. I've had similar problems in the past. Now I'm very picky when it comes to those requests.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 months ago

      Thanks for the pointer on he said and she said; good to keep in mind as one writes. You may have already addressed this in an earlier mailbag delivery but is it important to give the reader the age of your character early on? Should it be obvious from your introduction without actually stating the age? I appreciate and value your advice, Bill.

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great question, Dee, and a first. Thanks for that, and I'll have an answer for you on Monday.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 months ago from Central Florida

      Very diverse bag this week, Bill.

      I feel for Linda. It's a shame she can't be honest with her friend and tell her she needs to hone her craft before attempting to write a book. Start small with articles on HP or another public medium. Ask for critique in the forums, or simply pay attention to the comments left. Or join a writers group where they offer tips and exercises in perfecting the craft. Linda's friend should start at the beginning and work her way up.

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I couldn't agree more, Sha! Too many writer-wannabes today think they can just start at the middle and take a shorter journey. It just doesn't work that way, as you and I know.

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      Brian Leekley 2 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Bill, some follow-up questions to the one you answered this time: Does your schedule of writing from 7 AM to 1 PM daily mean that you finish your breakfast and give pets and farm animals their breakfast before 7 AM and that you break for lunch at 1 PM? Do you turn off your phone, email notifications, and other sources of interruptions during your writing time? Do the following tasks fit into your writing time, marketing time, socializing time, or other: Writing articles to post to HubPages or Niume? Writing HubPages or Niume comments or replies to comments? Waiting for hire? You only mentioned writing fiction between 7 and 11.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Reading this took me back to when I was writing the novella last year. At the time I was hoping people here on HP would 'comment' and give me some guidance.

      What I got was encouragement, and that's probably more of what I needed right there and then.

      I did get guidance too, and I'm a better writer for it, but sometimes, what we think we need, is different to what we actually need. Today, I'm glad I got the encouragement, if I'd got what I thought I needed, I might not be still writing!

      Just a thought, we can all encourage each other, and give a little 'guidance' but leave things there.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All great points, Lawrence. I generally hold off on critiques here at HP. Encouragement is my thing unless someone is paying me specifically for a critique. Maybe that's why I have so many friends here. LOL

      blessings always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, Brian. Sorry it took me so long to get here...the answers are coming Monday. In the meantime, stay blessed.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think 'finding the positive' in a person's writing is about the most powerful thing we can do. It lets the person know what you like about their work!

      I think THAT'S why you've got so many friends here :-)

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Lawrence. I really have no desire to edit or critique the work of friends. I really don't. It's too hard to squash the hopes of another writer...that's what I'd be afraid of doing.

      blessings and thanks

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