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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Twenty-Nine

Updated on December 19, 2016

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Whatever Floats Your Boat

This will be the last Mailbag before the holiday weekend, so I will wish you a safe and loving one…..a loving one…..a loving one.

I don’t know how to change the world, folks. All I can do is spread the love and hope it catches on.

So thank you for being here, and thank you for your support. May your holiday season be filled with love.

And now, the Mailbag!

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

Linking to Your Own Book

From Venkatachari M: “I have one question (or a doubt?). Can I share the URL linking to amazon kindle store for my book "Economics for Beginners" just recently published? I may want to share it with our hubbers. How to share it here on two of my economic hubs already there. I think, I can't use the Amazon capsule for it. So, how to do it?”

Venkatachari M, if you can’t use the Amazon capsule it’s news to me. I’ve been doing exactly that for my novels and never had any trouble. As long as the link you share is related to the Hub you have written, then there is a pretty good chance it will be accepted. Oh sure, HubPages may replace the capsule with a different one from time to time, but that’s just the cost of doing business with the HP staff. All in all, though, I have had very little trouble doing what you are describing, as long as the Amazon capsule with my book relates to the subject matter of the Hub.

Or am I missing something here????

THE ELUSIVE MIDDLES

From Mel: “My problem is middles, not endings. A lot of my ideas have died on the vine because I ran out of fluff to stuff in the pillowcase between the beginning and end. What says the writing sage on that?”

The sage says he understands completely. I had to train myself to see the whole picture, and relate what I see to my readers. Remember the five senses. You are the five senses for your readers. What do you smell in that scene? What do you see, and I mean really see? What do you hear? The really good writers have no fear in describing all of those things, and they certainly don’t look at them as fluff.

So break down each scene, using the five senses to make those scenes come alive and become vivid. That’s the job of a storyteller, to not only tell the story, but make it visually appealing through words.

When I write a novel, my first draft is the bare-bones story, and it usually totals around 70,000 words, a very short novel. It’s on my second draft that I do nothing more than fill in the scenes…the fluff, you call it….and that adds between 10,000-20,000 words to the story…at which point I have a novel.

Bottom line: tell your story and then go back and add the descriptions. Think about it, one good description of one character will take a good 200-500 words. Do that for every important character, less for the unimportant characters,…do it for each new scene…it’s easy to add the necessary fluff once you train yourself to do so.

For practice, write a description of the lay in purple
For practice, write a description of the lay in purple | Source

Plagiarism Checker

From Rasma: “I have an interesting question for you. Every time I write up something from a certain source I always check up on a plagiarizer free checker. I am greatly thrilled when I get notified everything is just fine and of course I still add the information link. What do you think of the free checkers and can we rely on them? I have two favorites Paperrater and Quetext. The reason I am asking is that first of all I cannot afford to have a checker for money and second I am extra careful always. Did have one incident thus came the question. I checked and was informed that I pass 100% but the site I posted on said sorry needs to be rewritten. Utter confusion as you can imagine. So I would appreciate your views on this. Thank you.”

Rasma, you stumped me! If there was a prize for doing so, I would be putting it in the mail now.

I’ve never used a plagiarism checker. Truth be told, I didn’t know there were plagiarism checkers.

So any answer I give is going to be practically worthless. Are they a good thing? Can you rely on them? I think they certainly could be, depending on their quality. I’ve heard Grammarly is excellent but I have no personal experience. I think any program is going to have its faults, and I think any plagiarism checker is going to miss things from time to time, but I can’t see a downside to a free plagiarism checker. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Makes me wonder why I’ve never used one before…..what did Pooh say about himself? A bear of very little brain? That’s me on this topic.

Bev is one of the driving forces in my writing career
Bev is one of the driving forces in my writing career | Source

Driving Force

From Eric: “Bill, what was the driving force that took you or bridged that gap between writing as solely an art form to commercialization? I most assuredly have no bias toward either although I kind of used "commercialization" to address the negative aspect of writing publicly for profit. I could just go back and read all your articles to date and see the transition phases but how about you make it easier for me.”

Eric, there are quite a few ways I can interpret this question. By commercialization do you mean freelancing for customers? Do you mean writing novels to sell? Do you mean writing on HP for pennies? I’m not sure where to go with this one, so I’ll just walk you through my writing process, and hopefully I’ll answer your question.

The turning point, for me, came when I was teaching in Oregon for two years….this was seven years ago. When I would drive back to Oregon on Sunday, after spending the weekend visiting friends and loved ones in Olympia, I would reflect on life. Upon arriving in Oregon I would sit down at the computer and type out those reflections and then post them on Facebook.

People started telling me I was a pretty good writer. It was news to me. At the same time, Bev had challenged me to write a book similar to some really weird, and fun, books written by Tom Robbins. So I took up the challenge, wrote “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today,” and I was on my way to being a writer.

Jump ahead six months and Bev encouraged me to write for HubPages. Jump ahead one year and I wrote my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias,” and I was hooked.

The driving force behind all of that? I guess, if I were to sum it all up, the driving force was the passion I had once I started writing, and my desire to improve my craft. Commercialization? I always need money. We are always scrambling to pay bills and have a little left over, so I was hoping to make a little income while doing something I love doing.

Did I even come close to answering your question?

See You Around the Block, or up Your Alley

It will be a busy week ahead for many of us, so I wish you peace and tranquility as we shoulder our way through the end of 2016. Thank you for everything you have given me this past year. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.

See you soon!

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 6 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, I just had to stop in to wish you a wonderful week ahead and very, Merry Christmas to you, Bev and your family, too. Thanks Bill for just being you and for always being such a trusted friend. Seriously can never say that enough!! :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I was looking forward to this one and you did not disappoint. That fluff stuff is quite interesting. The plagiarism info got me thinking that I may not have a single original thought. I'm cool with that.

      Thanks for your answer to my question. Your story reminded me of the concept that we let our light shine for others. Perhaps more folks would find some joy in mine. So the more we spread the word the better. That would almost make marketing a service.

      Your love and joy shine through even in the details of your craft.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas, Janine. If you look up the word "loyal" in the dictionary, your picture is there....just saying

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Now you get it, Eric. Let the light shine through your words....the more you write, the more light there is.

      Thanks for being you, and may the love of the season spread over you and keep you warm.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 6 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning! Subzero cold here in CHI. Brrr. But glad it gives me more time inside to write and such. ;)

      Re: HP Amazon/Book Capsules. I also have had no issues with putting my books in the Amazon capsules here on HP. However, as they move hubs to the HP network sites, I've had most of those capsules removed. I'm sure this is to help traffic on those sites. I don't get bummed about it since sometimes I'll make more from the increased traffic than the ever elusive Amazon sales.

      Re: Plagiarism Checker. I've never used them either since I write from my own head. I see their value in checking if you hire writers and want to see if they've just swiped someone else's work and tried to sell it to you.

      Hope you and Bev have a wonderful Christmas and I'll see you on the other side of 2016!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      I love my Grammarly but should point out that if I want to add a product text link via Amazon it will not allow me to unless I use another browser other than the Chrome which is the one I usually use, inconvenient maybe but I still think it worth having a grammar checker. I think the idea of having a plagiarism checker is a good one too since so many people think it is ok just to copy and reap the benefits which we know is most definitely not the right thing to do.

      Thank you for all your support during this past year Billy. I do wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and may the New Year bring you all that it is that you desire.

      Sally.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 6 months ago from Europe

      I wish you very loving and happy holidays, Bill. I don't care too much about clichés. See you back alive and kickin' in 2017!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, thanks for mentioning your experience with the Amazon capsules. I thought I wasn't reading the question properly. LOL Stay warm, my friend, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Sally. Interesting about Chrome and yes, that would be inconvenient for sure.

      Merry Christmas, my friend, and thank YOU for your support this past year.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Buildreps. May you always enjoy your life and may love surround you always. Happy Holidays!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 6 months ago from Fresno CA

      Good reading, Bill as always. I enjoy your writing and I can say with the rest: Thank God for Bev! She must be wonderful! Have a special and blessed holiday.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 6 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill. At the risk of repeating myself, I must say how pleased I am with Grammarly. It checks spelling, grammar, and plagiarism. It explains why the grammar is incorrect and how to fix it. It spots duplicate content quickly and provides information on where to find it. I was hesitant at first about paying for a subscription. However, a craftsman always has the right tools for the job. Grammarly is a tool I use to ensure I'm producing the best I can. I wouldn't be without it.

      On a different note...there is a fun website called 'I Write Like' where you submit a sample of your writing and it tells you who you write like. I've tried a few times and have been compared to Gertrude Stein and Dostoyevsky (!!!). Perhaps you and your followers might like to give it a try. The link is www.iwl.me

      In the run up to Christmas, time is at a premium. I'm taking the time now to wish you and your loved ones the bestest Christmas ever and a bright New Year. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thank you so much, Denise. She is wonderful and I'll tell her you said so.

      Happy Holidays my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, thanks for finding the time to wish me holiday cheer, and I do the same for you. Merry Christmas, my friend. May love follow you wherever you go, and thank you for being such a good friend. I'm going to borrow your comment about Grammarly for next week's Mailbag, if you don't mind.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 6 months ago from United Kingdom

      Awww...ain't you adorable.

      Of course, you can use my comment. Go for it, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Zulma!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 6 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I was expecting your answer would be like this, Bill. I got the doubt because I tried to put the amazon capsule, but it did not show up. I will try again to check it. Sally was telling above something like if I try from Chrome it may not accept. I always use the Chrome browser. It is very easy and convenient for me.

      And, my Grammarly is very good to detect spelling mistakes and other issues. I recommend it for others. But, about plagiarism, why should one try at all to copy another's content and if one wants to put some ideas of others they should do it in their own sentences. That is what I believe.

      Thanks for the knowledge shared by you in this mailbag as well as all your mailbags.

      Wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 6 months ago from Nibiru

      That's a lot of installments you have there billy, very useful information for those in the world of writing.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

      I find it interesting that Bev was the one who pushed you towards writing more. I believe it was the same for Stephen King, his wife encourage him to complete Carrie and submit it to a publisher, and the rest is .... (no cliche here) Ka-ching!

      Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I appreciate you sharing your experience with Grammarly with us all. It's good information to know, and I agree with you about plagiarism.

      A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive. My followers keep asking questions and I just answer...it's a nice arrangement.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ka-ching for sure, Mary! LOL Merry Christmas to you and yours, my friend. Thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill your enthusiasm never wanes in helping us with your answers. I appreciate you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays..

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 6 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      And may your holiday season be filled with love as well, my friend. Thanks for more of your wisdom It's been a great 2016 for the mailbag!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 6 months ago from Massachusetts

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Bill. Love the mailbag and so glad that you keep it going.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas, Ruby, and thank you very much for your friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you. Bill, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, the same to you. Let's hope 2017 is the best year yet for both of us.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 6 months ago from Oklahoma

      Great read and have a wonderful holiday, my friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 6 months ago from Queensland Australia

      There wasn't a lot but they were quality questions this week, Bill. All answered expertly of course :) I hope it just continues to get bigger and better in 2017. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Larry, and Happy Holidays to you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, thank you! I have no reason to suspect this will die off. It's picked up momentum all on its own. :) Merry Christmas to you.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 6 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Here's to us all having a healthy happy and passionate 2017! Have a wonderful Christmas with Bev and family you deserve some well earned R & R! I'm having my two brothers plus their families and two others so 13 of us in my small apartment will be lovely and cozy, more about spending quality time together so can't wait xxxxxxxxx

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 6 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Thanks for turning me on to Tom Robbins' writing, Bill. He's been a great source of fun and insight. And I'll say the same of you! Adios, and Happy Holidays!

      -E.G.A.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 6 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I can't believe that Christmas will be over by the time the next mailbag comes out....So, I am wishing that you and your family enjoy your Holiday celebrations and gatherings! Spread the love!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 6 months ago

      And a good cold day to you my friend Bill. It was 15 degrees here in the sunny south this morning when I got up. Brrrrr. Very interesting mailbag today. I’ve never heard of a plagiarism checker, but it sounds like a great idea. I’ve already told you this, but I’ll tell it again. I wrote a short story seven or eight years ago, and it’s never been published, not even here on HP but I was thinking about doing just that. Then a few months ago a very good writer whom I consider a good friend/follower wrote a flash fiction using the very same plot, just a different place and characters. Now if I ever decide to publish my story, I could rightfully be accused of plagiarism.

      I have to say that it is a very unique idea that I got from my studies of metaphysics. We were also taught in metaphysics that when an idea is released on earth by the heavenly powers that be, it is released to more than one person. I choose to believe this. My point is that maybe all of us need plagiarism checkers. LOL

      You and Bev have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And stay warm.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Irish, you are braver than I. I can't handle crowds of any size in any space. LOL But I'll make it through the holidays with a smile on my face, and I also wish for a fantastic 2017 for us all. Thank you dear friend.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 months ago

      Dear billy,

      Your wife is beautiful and so are you. Wishing you and yours a beautiful Christmas...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Eldon. I can't read too much of Robbins' work, but I do find him entertaining in small doses. Happy Holidays to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Spread the love indeed, Melissa, and Happy Holidays to you and yours. Stay warm and safe!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Checking in Bill. Thank you for answering anyway and reading through the comments also helped. Wishing you and Bev and all of your farm residents a very Merry Christmas and an inspirational and healthy 2017.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I have a very suspicious mind, and that just seems too bizarre to be a metaphysical occurrence. LOL Oh well, the world turns in mysterious ways, doesn't it? I'm beginning to think a plagiarism checker is a good idea.

      Merry Christmas to you, my friend. You stay warm; we're a balmy 37 today.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, that is a lovely thing for you to say. Thank you so much, and thank you for your friendship. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry I couldn't be more help on that, Rasma. Grammarly seems to come highly recommended. I do believe I'll check it out.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 months ago from England

      I hope you and Bev have a wonderful Christmas Bill. I always love all the support you give us all, and your questions and answers are always spot on!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      At least the questions were not back breaking this week. And now a rest until the holidays pass, or another 10,000 words of your next novel, whatever comes first.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 6 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Bill that part that you wrote about writing the bare bones of the story and then coming back and using the five senses to fill in the parts that need to be filled in inspired me to go back and we work some of the things that I have been writing. I also am going to apologize because my house burned down last week and I have not been able to get on and read anything I am using my cell phone right now which is hard for me to do because the words are so small and I am using the voice text thing to put this comment. Butt I wanted to make sure that I get some inspiration because I hope to have access to a computer so that I can continue to write after Christmas. If not I am going to have to find a way to use this cell phone. Oh, by the way, no one was hurt in the fire. We lost most of our property and our sort of homeless right now but we have many people who have offered to help.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      I liked reading about your early experiences writing on FB and getting started. Many people can probably relate to that awakening realization that there is talent to be honed.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Merry Christmas, dear Bill and Bev... hope you will take some time to recharge and rejuvenate over these days... Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Nell, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I suspect the 10,000 words will come first. Thank you, always, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, I can't tell you how sorry I am. I am just grateful you and your family were not hurt. Blessings to you, my friend, and I hope you find a way to make this a Merry Christmas.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, thank God Bev recognized some talent in me, or I'd still be posting paragraphs on Facebook and nothing more. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will, Maria. Bev won't allow me to work over the holidays. Merry Christmas to you, dear friend.

      love,

      bill

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 6 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, great hub as always. Happy holidays to you. I hope to ask you a question next year for your next mailbag assortment as soon as I can think of one or two. Cheers my friend!

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      Linda Lum 6 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, good morning, Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday to Bev.!!

      Thank goodness for her. If not for her you would not be here, and without you I would not have stuck around. The only support I receive for my writing is the words of encouragement I get from you and a handful of others on HP. My family couldn't care less.

      Have a wonderful day with your lady. Is is truly beautiful inside and out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas to you, Kristen, and thank you for your support in 2016.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, your family is not that different from most writers' families. That's okay, we all will support each other and we'll carry on. Thank you for your support, and Merry Christmas to you and that family of yours.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California

      May you have a wonderful Christmas, Mr. Holland, and thanks for providing an excellent answer. I am gradually learning this as I embark upon yet another unfulfilled opus, written completely on the fly on my phone. I love writing descriptions, though in my own sort of unconventional, stream of consciousness way.

    • Happymommy2520 profile image

      Amy 6 months ago from East Coast

      Have a wonderful holiday Bill! I wish you lots of luck for Hubpages 2017.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for another edition of the mailbag, Bill. I hope you and Bev have a great Christmas and new year.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Happy, and I wish the same for you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 months ago from The Caribbean

      Merry Christmas to you, Bill and thanks for the support, the training, the answers and everything you have given through your articles. I have one question for the next mailbag, if and when you choose to continue.

      Do you have a favorite among the books you have written? If I could only buy one, which would you recommend? Why?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Writing a novel on my phone sounds like Mission Impossible to me. More power to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, thank you for your faithful support, and Merry Christmas to you. The best book for you to read? Most of them are thrillers, so if you don't like thrillers I would go with "Resurrecting Tobias," a sort of autobiographical look at my life. I think you'll like it.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      Thank YOU for everything you've given US this year, bill. I don't know how you do it, what with all the rest of your work. You are advisor, mentor, friend and you encourage all the way through. Thank goodness HP has your mailbag.

      I've decided I'm going to read my way through most of 2017. I'll have no more renovation to do and can reclaim my life. The house will give back to me then! I can then catch up on my HP favourites' books, poems and articles.

      A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Bev and your family, bill! Thanks for being such a good friend.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, thank YOU for all you have done in supporting me. I love my online friends, some more than others, and you are in that last category....I really do hope, one day, we can meet, but until then I'm enjoying this "brilliant" friendshiip.

      Merry Christmas, Ann!

      bill

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      "Bottom line: tell your story ...." That's the hard part.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Brian, I never said it would be easy. LOL Merry Christmas my friend, or Happy Holiday, or heck, just plain blessings always.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 6 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      That last question from Eric leaves a lot of thought. Writers love to write. Doing it for cash doesn't often feel like work, even if it's technically "commercialism." It can feel like fun with a cash bonus.

      Happy holiday!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Kailey! I don't mind doing freelance work for customers. It's still writing, it's still creating, and I get paid for it. That is a win in my book. :)

      Thank you my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 months ago from Central Florida

      And another year comes to a close. What will 2017 be for the Mailbag, Bill? Year three? Pretty incredible, isn't it?

      Happy New Year my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year, Sha, and God bless in 2017. Thank you for your friendship and loyalty.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Billy, I almost missed this writer's mail bag !

      Once again, I have to say that programs like Grammarly, installed on your computer's hard drive, disable Microsoft Word's excellent spelling and grammar check.

      Sometimes I use an online checker, which doesn't affect any of my programs.

      Re plagiarism. Just pop a sentence of your work in Google search. It will immediately present similar sentences. Or use an online checker.

      Really, Grammarly, installed on my computer, and I couldn't find each other. I found it to be an intruding nuisance.

      But to each his own. Maybe I have done something wrong, and maybe Grammarly offers online checking.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Martie! I think it's helpful to hear the good, and the bad, of any app. I value your opinion.

      Happy New Year my friend.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Some really good stuff here. Maybe I can help with the 'plagiarism checker'.

      When I was writing for the 'content mill' they actually used one for all their articles! Literally every one went through the system, and it was set pretty fine! As fine as ten words in sequence, if it found any ten words in the sequence they were found in the article, you got a note to rework the article, or you could send it to your editor and ask them to check it manually (the risk was missing your deadline and consequently payment)

      I've used Gramnarly, and its great for picking up bad grammar (that's the free version) but if you want the plagiarism checker I believe that's in the 'premium' package you pay a fee for.

      By the way, thanks for the reassurance on the 'fluffing' the stuff.

      As Steinbeck said, "Never start a rewrite in the middle of the first draft!". (Had to remind myself of that this week!)

      Blessings,

      Lawrence

      Mel, I've written almost the whole of my next novel using only my phone and 'Google docs'

      Go for it bro!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Lawrence. Wrote your novel on your phone? I can't imagine doing that. LOL Just one more reason why I love the Mailbag. It's always interesting hearing about the process other writers use.

      bill

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