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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Seventy-Two

Updated on November 09, 2015

Holy Cow, We’re Still Going Strong

Well, not very strong this week; there are only three questions. But that’s okay, I added a little filler at the end so it’s all good. If this series comes to an end then it comes to an end. It’s been a great run and I’ll ride this horse as long as it will carry me.

So let’s dive into the questions right now, starting off with a great question and a good laugh from Brian.

The Mailbag Returneth!
The Mailbag Returneth! | Source

Pen Names

From Brian: “After an author decides to use his or her real name rather than a pen name, then what factors go into deciding which form of the real name to use? Why did you decide to use William D. Holland on your novels and Bill Holland on HubPages rather than William Holland, Will Holland, Billy Holland, William Dwight [or whatever] Holland, W. D. Holland, or some other variant? My birth certificate name is Brian James Scott Leekley. If I finish a novel, should my byline be Brian Leekley, B. Leekley, B. S. Leekley, Brian Scott Leekley, Brian S. Leekley, B. J. Leekley, Brian James Leekley, Brian James Scott Leekley, B. J. Scott Leekley, or some other variant? Should I go by numerology? By what sounds most highfalutin? By what I use on official papers, such as income tax forms? By how I sign checks or credit card purchases? By how I sign informal letters and emails? Should I take a poll? Should I go by a snap impulse? Should I pray for inspiration? Should I ask my wife? Or? Will it make a difference in sales, other factors being favorable?”

My goodness, Brian, what started as a serious question had me laughing at the end. Hell, throw darts at a board for the answer. It will be as good as any I give you. J

Seriously, why did I use William D. Holland on my novels? Why not?

Okay, here’s the best answer I can give you, and it’s based on a mistake I made very early on.

Perhaps I should tell you the mistake first before I continue.

When I started on HP, I chose a pen name, a nickname I have had since my teen years, namely billybuc. Stupid on my part. I should have started right out of the blocks with my own name, whatever form I wanted, whether Bill Holland or William Holland or William D. Holland, it makes no difference. What does make a difference, in my humble opinion, is consistency. All of my writings should have the same name attached to them, and this is mainly because of marketability and name recognition. Online now I have Bill Holland and billybuc and William D. Holland floating around the cyberworld and that’s stupid of me.

So pick a name and stick with it throughout.

Is this Bill Holland or billybuc or William D. Holland?
Is this Bill Holland or billybuc or William D. Holland? | Source

HP to Ebooks

From Eric: “Great point on subplots. My daughter once asked me about Descartes' "cogito ergo sum" I wove in the subplot that he worked for a wicked queen in Scandinavia, made him get up early in a cold castle and it killed him. She looked at me like I was nuts -tying that in with the concept of proof of existence. The subplot was to show you no longer cogito when dead.

Seriously on Mechanics of HP and transference. I think I made a mistake and put my best drafts of my sermons in the HP editions. I mean I corrected/edited them while publishing. Now in trying to compile for a collection book style publication what should I do mechanically.

And do you think a book of short essays should have pictures?”

Well, Eric, let’s deal with the first question first and completely ignore the “cogito ergo sum” conversation. J

I’m not sure what you are asking regarding the mechanics of HP and transference. You can take your sermons from HP and put them in a book….use the same sermons, word for word…it makes no difference regarding an ebook. I’ve been doing it for years and nothing has happened. I probably have seventy-five “Hubs” that are currently on HubPages that are also in ebooks. So I hope that answers your question although I suspect it doesn’t, in which case you’ll need to clarify.

Should short essays have pictures? I think that is totally a matter of preference. I’ve seen a ton of essay compilations that had no pictures. I’ve seen a few that did. The only real problem with pictures is they make formatting your ebook a little more difficult, so if you want to save yourself some formatting work then skip the pics.

I’m not really sure that pictures add anything to short essays. Good writing adds much more than pictures.

Not in the Top Five of genres...the story of my life
Not in the Top Five of genres...the story of my life | Source

Popular Genres

From Brad: “Here is a question that we can google for the answer, but my question is polling the minds of your readers for their subjective answer.

If a fiction writer is just starting off, what genre and sub genre would be the most popular, the most financially rewarding etc.

If I were going to write on fiction, I would write about something that would interest me, rather than what is popular, and that is just me because I always seem to be outside the parade looking in, rather than marching in it.

I would still be interested in the answer. I will be in the bleachers.”

No problem, Brad. The top five genres, for sales, are as follows:

  • Romance
  • Mystery/crime
  • Inspirational/religious
  • Sci-fi/fantasy
  • Horror

In that order, and Romance is the runaway winner.

How to become a writer

Author’s Thoughts

I had a friend ask me the other day what it takes to be a good writer. She said she used to write but didn’t feel like she was improving. Eventually she became discouraged and just quit writing. She said she had no idea how to improve, that people told her to just keep writing and practicing her craft, but she didn’t know which aspect of writing she should practice in order to improve.

It’s a valid statement. How does one improve at this craft? I can tell someone to write one hour each day for a year, but chances are they will be the same writer one year from now as they are today unless they have some direction.

And that, to me, is the key to improving this craft…direction. Work on different aspects of writing. Work on developing characters. Work on developing scenes. Work on different genres. Work on rhythm and work on sentence structure. Simply practicing bad writing does not make one a better writer; all it does is reinforce those bad habits unless you work towards an attainable goal.

I strongly advise joining a writing group, either in person or online. Getting positive critique will help, and the suggestions that come out of those groups can be invaluable.

I know there are some who believe we improve simply by writing often. I’m not one of those people. I know several writers who are every bit as bad today as they were several years ago. We do not become better writers by practicing our mistakes.

That’s It This Week

Another Mailbag in the bank. My goal is one-hundred. If we hit that then I can lay this series to rest and feel good about it. I hope you all have a stupendous week ahead. Remember, you are the chosen few who have the ability to move people with your words, and isn’t that so very cool? You are craftsmen of the written word and I’m proud to know you.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 16 months ago from New York, New York

      As always great advice, especially on how to improve as a writer, as I am with you on continuing to try all different ways as I go along. Thanks Bill and Happy Monday now ;)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There she is, first as always! Happy Monday to you, Janine, and thank you so much for reading all 72 installments.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 16 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! In regards to popular genres, I was aware that romance was #1, but what surprised me most was #3 inspirational/religious. Is that non-fiction or fiction?

      We are enjoying an incredibly mild November here, so I can't even complain about the weather! I hope you are enjoying your month as well!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa and to answer your question, I think fiction and non-fiction are lumped together under that category.

      Enjoy that weather while you can; I suspect it will be changing soon enough.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 16 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I like the thought of an e-book of short essays by Eric illustrated by Ewbie-esque stick figures.

      Be consistent is a good answer to my question.

      My plan for trying to write better: write as best I can daily; get feedback often; read the best writers daily; keep several excellent manuals of grammar and style handy.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 16 months ago from New Jersey

      I liked these questions! The first one was funny, indeed!

      I've been wondering, as far as names go, as a freelancer, do you title your company or are you just "Bill Holland?" Does your freelance service even need a catchy title? Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I would say that's an excellent plan. Good luck with it and thank you always.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I enjoyed these questions and answers this week Bill. The one from Brian about pen names in particular interested me because recently on another site where I write under the name John Hansen I received a comment from someone I did not know.

      They said it was good to read something new from me and mentioned a book I was supposed to have been writing and reminded me of my promise to include a reference to them in it. I know there is at least one other author with the same name with books on Lulu and Amazon, so I wish I had used the name John D Hansen (or J D Hansen) for my books etc. For any future ones I will probably do that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Kailey! Are you off work today? If so, enjoy the time off, and I'll save your question for next Monday's Mailbag if you don't mind. Thanks my young friend.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 16 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for listing the best selling areas, I'm surprised to see inspirational/religious come third.

      Your piece at the end has hit home with me. I have been taking some tests relating to grammar, and was surprised by how much I have forgotten. For some of us who haven't been in a classroom for more years than we'll admit to, I think brushing up on these skills is crucial. I know these things might appear boring to some but any chance you could go over some of the basics? Words which I'm encountering are: Parallelism, dangling modifiers, and pronoun antecedent agreement. I think the terminology is what's so scary.

      I would also like to hear your views on vampire and werewolf stories. I personally have some issues with these and yet they are popular. For me these are akin to beastiality and necrophilia. I blame Buffy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 16 months ago from SW England

      Having a direction is definitely the key to becoming a better writer; great point, bill. It's like learning to spell phonetically (which some bright spark came up with here in the 70s). Much easier to do but hellish difficult to then learn the correct way to spell because you have to 'unlearn' the other first! Just like practising bad writing - much better to try to become better at one style, then another.... etc.

      With the pen name, I've always used 'annart' almost as a business name - it covers my drawing, painting, writing, whatever. If I ever get round to writing a book, be it story or memoir or some such, then I'll probably use my real name. However, I've already published poems under pseudonyms, probably through lack of confidence - or maybe I don't want my friends and family to know 'that was me'!

      Question: If you became a famous writer (which you surely will), what would be your reaction to autograph hunters, interviewers, etc? I've heard of celebrities who've brushed aside fans because they couldn't be bothered or were in a bad mood. I know that's rude but then there's the privacy angle to consider. What do you think, bill?

      Have a marvellous Monday and a wicked week!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting, John! I actually discovered another William Holland who writes, so that's why I went with the middle initial. The damn internet is too big, John. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, thanks for stopping by. I know for sure that my grammar has suffered over the years. Thanks for mentioning that, and I'll have a response about your vampire statement next week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good morning! Thanks for mentioning your experience with annart....very interesting and I didn't know that was the reason. As for autograph seekers, my goodness, I would love to have that problem. LOL I'll have a better answer for you next week.

      As always, you are appreciated. Enjoy your week! I have to go round up some escaped bunnies right now.

      bill

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 16 months ago

      Good morning, Bill. I like your friend’s question because it hit home. Years ago, I thought I was a good writer. After all I graduated college with two degrees in journalism after I’d been an ad writer for 10 years, but you know what? I look back at what I wrote as little as a couple of years ago and say, “Gawd what an amateur!” The more I write, the more I feel like I improve, so I think you’ve given her some good advice.

      But you are correct that “[W]we do not become better writers by practicing our mistakes.” I think that being able to practice the craft on a website like HP really helps one to see the foibles in one’s writing. Advice to study great writers like Faulkner or Steinbeck goes “write” past the average person’s psyche because we are not them. I think one of the best lessons is to study other average writers on HP and when you see a weak sentence or paragraph, think to yourself how you might have written it. Did you improve upon it or really mess it up good? Of course, I’m looking at this from the eyes of an editor, so it might not work for everyone.

      Not surprised that romance was the best seller. It is also the easiest to write because many popular romance writers take assignments with the plot already drafted and just insert the location, character names, and other details pertinent to that. They can gin out a dozen or more books a year for some of the big name companies that publish romances. I know a “writer” who does that. Now that is writers prostitution.

      Have a great day, my friend.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 16 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      The mailbag never dies! You've certainly shared a wealth of information and knowledge with us over the past year. I'm looking forward to another year of information and knowledge. You can't stop this even if you wanted to. Thank you Billybuc or William D. Holland, or whoever.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 16 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      On the subject of improving, I think you're right about trying different genres - by trying to write in different styles, or for a different audience than we're used to, it should allow us to see what we can do better. Trouble is, not everyone has that ability to see the difference. I think improving is what we do when we strive to change things, whether to use unfamiliar tenses, modes of speech or just simply trying a technique we've seen other writers do. Another good one, Bill. Keep on truckin.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Love the anecdote about romance novels. It doesn't surprise me at all. Maybe that's the field I should be writing in.....naw!!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Bill. You may be right.

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, thanks for your input. I like the way you described it...striving to change things. Very true.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 16 months ago from Hollister, MO

      I fell into a variation of the same thing you mention on the use of your name. I was in the process of establishing a blogger "brand" as "Dr. Bill" when I retired from the university. When I published my first novel, I used my full name: William Leverne Smith - more memorable than "Bill Smith" perhaps. Big mistakes, it turns out. Like you, I've now got total confusion rather than clarity. Your advise, consistency, is the key. Great mailbag! ;-)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 16 months ago

      I say believe in what you write.....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Bill. I do believe consistency is very important in the online game.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, sound advice as always. Thank you!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 16 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I enjoyed this, as I have the past seventy one. I always look forward to Mondays.

      I am interested most in what you had to say about improving ones writing skills by focusing on different aspects of writing--character development, scenes, genre. What part does exposure to the outside world play? I think one part of becoming a better writer is to travel, learn, and certainly to be well read. I'm not talking about reading the encyclopedia on Louisiana so that you can write about Cajun cooking. I mean exploring other styles of writing, reading stories told a century (or more) ago, gaining an understanding of other cultures and ways of thinking. A penny for your thoughts.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 16 months ago from The Caribbean

      All good answers as usual, but I really appreciate your take on improvement in writing. HubPages is my only writing group right now, but I have learned much from the writings of others. Truth is, we have to want to improve; seemingly some are satisfied with where they are. I've learned a thing or two from you. Thanks a bunch.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a great question, Linda, and I'll try to have at least an adequate answer for you next Monday. In the meantime, thank you so much for being here and have a terrific week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Dora. Sadly, what you say is true about some writers being satisfied where they are. One needs to have a hunger for self-improvement in this craft...you obviously understand that.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 16 months ago from london

      Proud to know you too, Bill, and let's go for the hundred mark.

      Another great Hub in the series, and a very interesting question from Brian at the start.

      Practice does help, but it can sometimes be like trying to be rich without desire or ambition, or entering the spiritual life without aspiration. In whatever endeavour, the 'cry' and interest must be there. You already know this Bro. Peace.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 16 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always interesting.

      Personally I think there are a few reasons why you might want more than one penname. For example, if your writings appeal to different audiences. But as long as your voice is consistent, you're probably right to want to stick wit one name.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 16 months ago from Southern Illinois

      As you know I have no desire to write a book but I do want to be a better writer, and I think your advice on practice is priceless.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Side bar.....Bro.....check out new comment on my Toby's Review, if you haven't seen it..........

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do indeed, Manatita! Thank you sir, and peace be with you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Larry. I always enjoy hearing what other writers think about an issue like this one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! I'll gladly take "priceless." A short story coming Wednesday just for you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sis...I will do that.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 16 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      Thanks for the list.

      If Romance does runaway at the register, then does that mean that women are buying most of the fiction books?

      That is a serious question, I know you would see it that way, but some people might not.

      Anyway, I don't hear a lot of men talking about romantic novels.

      So to get more bang for your writing you could probably add multiple genres.

      A SciFy Romance, that has a mystery plot, and throw in a beast for horror, and pray to be saved from it, and you have all of them.

      The title for that book would probably take most of the effort. lol.

      On writing practice

      Vince Lombardi said

      Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

      He must have got it from you. lol

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 16 months ago from Massachusetts

      It might be only three questions but another great week of answers Bill. Sure hope to see installment seventy three next week. Have a great week.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 16 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      "I would have to design a cover with all of Brian James Scott Leekley's names on the cover.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, it was a serious question that deserves a serious answer. I'll have it for you next Monday. I love your proposed book covering all the genres...sheer genius. :)

      Have a great week and thank you!

    • Rumpled Skin profile image

      A N Onymous 16 months ago from Wherever there is sincere fun and friendship being shared.

      I will have to go back to your mailbag installments and garner some much needed wisdom just to catch up and know some of what I've missed because I am sure it will be time well spent. Thanks for this one.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 16 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy

      You have been telling me for ages that I should write a book on felting. I never once figured that I might be able to use the tutorials I already have on HubPages for the same! There I was thinking that I would have to find time to do what has already been done. Of course, there has always a little reluctance on my part because I always dreamed of having my writing in a glossy book. Maybe I should accept that they would look just as nice on a kindle and enjoy the money the benefits of having my writing published in any form.

      I find the name discussion interesting because clearly HubPages has not catered for name changes, especially when it comes to a woman getting married, but there again, a writer might marry and not wish to change her name because her name is already part of her brand name as a writer.

      My mother always told me it was rude to ask questions about money, but the question I would like to ask relates to whether you or others have found it profitable to write e-books? If it is not a question you would like to answer, could you please put a poll question on your next Hub which might shed some light on this question. Thus is one which everyone wants to know the answer to.

      Another interesting Hub this week Billy. It has certainly given me food for thought.

      Sally

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 16 months ago from SW England

      The book I'm currently reading, 'Landmarks', says 'Every hour spent reading is an hour spent learning to write.' I like that because it means you learn what's good and bad too.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great job here w d Holland lest we for get the big e e author.

      Are coffee table books still being published and sold by the millions. I am thinking I like the HP formatting. It reminds me of those hard bound photo journal type books that people used to have on their coffee table. Not to be confused with the weird family photo album, that if they started on would take hours.

      Do you think a bunch of short essays like we do here would work in that format?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I think we'll safely make #73. Thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, that would be one very busy cover. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rumpled, I appreciate that. We get some great questions here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, thanks for the comment and your thoughts. If you want a glossy book you can have it at no cost....download on CreateSpace....they are an affiliate of Amazon, and you can have a glossy book and ebook for no cost.

      I'll be glad to answer your question in next week's Mailbag. Thank you!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Ann. I do think we learn, to a certain extent, by reading and thus by osmosis. Oddly, though, there are a few who don't seem to do that, and I'm not sure why that is.

      bill

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 16 months ago from Norfolk

      Billy, thank you for that info, now I think I would like to go and do a little exploring:)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh gosh, Eric....I don't know. I'll do a little research for you and have an answer next week. Thanks buddy.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 16 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      "Love and Murder in the mist of time travel"

      Amanda and John meet time traveling from different time periods. They fall in love, but there is something wrong in the time travel that doesn't want them to be together. Death surround the two when they find each other in different times. it comes as a mist and when the mist clears, the couple find themselves alone in what were crowded cities. They couldn't see or hear this dark entity, but they could feel its presence and see the changes around them after it had come and gone.

      They desperately wanted to be together, so they tried to escape this entity by jumping into time travel. The entity would somehow follow them into whatever time was their destination. They would learn more about this entity with each time travel jump. One of the things that they surmised was that this entity might not be following them through time, but it existed in every time.

      Even if that was true, how could they defeat this entity and find a time for their true

      love to blossom.

      ----

      About as far as I like to go is plot development, after that it becomes work.

      The treatment would be something on the book jacket.

      Hint, the entity is Satan. That was the mystery part.

      Their solution was prayer.

      Their reward was romance.

      What did you think of the title?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Sally! Good luck. I use CreateSpace and I think they are a very good site.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 16 months ago from The Desert

      Hello, Bill,

      Thank you for another great mailbag. I agree your view on how to improve one's writing. You can't just keep writing, making the same mistakes, on the other hand, you do need to keep writing, as an exercise, just keep the editor in mind as well, and keep learning from your own mistakes and from better writers.

      It is good to know about HP to ebooks, I wondered about it myself - for future reference.

      And now I have a question - at least I think it is going to be a question.

      So I'm writing a novel. There, I said it. Now I'm not so sure I'll post this question. I started a few before, the first one when I was ten. My parents still have the unfinished pages of it. But that's irrelevant.

      My "style" seems to be to just go with the flow. I start writing, and things just fall into place, into some place, not necessarily where I intended them to be. I'm not a planner in any sense, but I did have a general idea of the plot, subplot, and the main characters. When I started writing, however, it all went in a different direction. For example, I introduced a new character, who was supposed to be very minor, just there to help my heroine in something, but as soon as he started talking, he was someone else, and now he's one of the major characters; I started another one as a villain, but after a few chapters, suddenly he's lovable. It just happens, it's like they come alive and don't like the idea I had of them in the first place. It's all good, I enjoy the changes, it makes me feel that they sort of come alive and take me in a different direction. It's an adventure, I enjoy it. But they messed up my plot, and now I feel a bit stuck. I need to go back and redo a bunch of it since the whole idea changed. It seems daunting since I already wrote a lot and I thought I had something. Now I have a few characters that keep talking to me, but I don't see where I'm going with it all. Does this ever happen to you? If it does, how do you deal with it? In the past, this is where I ended up abandoning the whole novel. I am on a mission to finish this time, just not sure how.

      Now, will I hit the post button? If I do, I am publicly acknowledging that I am writing a novel...... and what do I have to loose?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I actually like the title....depending on what the cover synopsis said about the book, I would pick it up at the library because of that title...but I'm weird so there you go. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Emese, to answer your last question, you have absolutely nothing to lose. I'm glad you announced your novel...a "coming out" on my site. How exciting!!!!!

      Seriously, thank you for the great question. The quick answer is yes, it has happened to me, but for the longer answer, you'll have to wait until next Monday.

      Never fear...it's normal for that to happen. :)

      bill

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 16 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Writing is not for everyone. Improving on one's skills is an important fact. Thank you

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 16 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      I just wanted to add, that my multi genre plot can be used by anyone, I will never expand on it, so it is now part of the public domain. I would be interested, if someone comes across a similar plot. as this one was only in my head. I am glad I let it out, now I can put something else in that space. lol

      I would also like to clarify that my problem with subplots are those involving regressions. And it is when, the regression becomes more than a simple foundation for the character. In some cases, I have seen where that regressive subplot is really the substantial plot. I know that it serves some sort of purpose, but at some point it becomes a distraction from the present timeline.

      Back to the real world.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, you are quite correct. Writing is not for everyone. Writing is a craft and there are very few who do it well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I completely agree about subplots. I think many writers, often rookies, will become so involved in the subplots that they forget what the main purpose of the book is. Heck, I've seen it with published authors from big publishing houses.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 16 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      Thanks for the sanity check. Thanks for TIVO because I can fast forward through the subplots. Quality rather than quantity.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always quality rather than quantity, Brad.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 16 months ago from south Florida

      Inspiring as always, Bill, but what makes you think that your loyal, devoted followers will let you stop writing these when you reach 100? No way, my friend, no way!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill ...uh, William ...oh, I mean billybuc. Who am I? Hahaha, that first question did bring the smiles and makes one ponder such. I think your answer is spot on. As far as HP, I think when one signs up for HP, it seems they push for one to use a pen name, but it is good now they allow the writer's real name to be used if one so desires to use it.

      I am not surprised about inspirational/religious books being in third, for when I visit a Christian bookstore ...it is always packed with people buying up books. I think the non-fiction are the bestsellers just from my observance, but all do really well. Everyone loves to read true life inspirational stories of faith it seems.

      I think the best thing to do to improve one's writing is read a lot!

      Don't forget about my late question from last week's mailbag for this Monday : )

      Peace and blessings always

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good advice, as always, Bill. Thanks for sharing some more tips and suggestions for writers. I'll miss this series if and when it ends.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm beginning to think you are right, drbj. There were too many questions for the newest in this series. I love it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Uh-oh, Faith, did I miss a question? Shoot! Give me till next week and I'll answer it. I'm so sorry.

      blessings my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia. I appreciate it.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 16 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for your advice on improving as a writer and as always it is thought provoking and also inspirational as I get ideas while I read. I still have some odd chosen names like the one on here under which I write. However as I learn more and improve I am using my two real names more and more being Rasma Sandra so people don't have to read work from say a Gypsy or a Butterfly or something even crazier that I might have come up with. This way they know I am really serious about my writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasma, I love your last line, and I think it's an important point...that way they know you are really serious about your writing. There is much to be said for that.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great topics, and more knowledge for my base. Thanks as always for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you stopped by, Deb. Thank you so much.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton

      Happy Last Monday to you my friend.. I have not forgotten these wonderful mailbag installments.. just had some add-on duties I had to tackle.. I'll catch up by week's end on everything.. and thank you for still delivering.. I do enjoy the answers and even your filler at the end bless you :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, I understand about add-one duties. I'm going back to work next week so I'll be scrambling to get things done. Thanks for making the effort.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 15 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      My vote would be the 'action adventure' with a little romance thrown in.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, that would be my vote as well. Thanks for weighing in on the discussion.

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 15 months ago from USA

      People are obsessed with the topic of those pen names. I wish they'd give it a rest and just write.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I hear ya, Flourish!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 15 months ago from Chicago Area

      Finally! Getting back to the Mailbag. Lots going on here. Glad to be taking a break and catch up here with my HP buds.

      Re: Pen Names. With the Google-ization and Amazon-ization of our world, it's best to pick and stick with whatever name you've chosen, even if you think something else sounds cooler now. When people do a search, they'll be confronted with a myriad of search results and will wonder if they have picked the right one. On another note, I've observed less interest in the whole pen name thing. But...

      Re: Popular Genres. If I decided to actually write a romance, I'd definitely use a pen name. Can't imagine the looks I'd get at business networking events if they knew I wrote a steamy "50 Shades" type love story. :)

      I'll be back to catch up with the rest of the Mailbag shortly. Happy Weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, thanks for commenting on the pen names question. I totally agree with you regarding online benefits. Sound advice as always, my friend.

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