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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Sixty-One

Updated on August 24, 2015

Don’t Look Now But…..

Summer is coming to an end. Oh, I know, officially not for another month, but we all know it really stops on Labor Day, so ignore the solstice stuff and mourn with me.

The calendar pages keep turning. Change is inevitable, the only constant we can bet the bank on. What changes will happen in the fall? The winter? How will we react to those changes?

Just some random musings before I get down to business and answer some questions.

Let’s start with a marketing tip.

Welcome to The Mailbag
Welcome to The Mailbag | Source

MARKETING

From Babby: “Maybe that's a good question for you Bill. Can you recommend any (non-painful) marketing titles that would be an advantage to writers who in this day and age really need to think about how to market themselves?”

Non-painful marketing titles? I’m not sure how one eliminates the pain from marketing, Babby. J

I’m going to take you on a different route for the answer to this question. Let’s not talk about books. Let’s talk about online newsletters that I have found to be very helpful, newsletters and blogs like “The Writer’s Market,” or “The Writer’s Digest.” I also enjoy the blogs by Hope Clark and Janet Reid. I find some great information on those sites and it’s all for free (read non-painful).

If you are talking about marketing your own book, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is hold book signings and readings at libraries and independent bookstores. Get out and meet the buying public. Become one with the buying public. And then go get a second job like the rest of us. LOL

I read once that a successful writer will have one-hundred people that will follow them to hell and back. What’s the point? Those dedicated one-hundred will spread the word about the writer through word of mouth, and there is no better marketing plan than word of mouth.

How many followers like that do you have?

How far back in the family tree do we need to reach for our characters?
How far back in the family tree do we need to reach for our characters? | Source

Family Trees

From Zulma: “Hey, Bill. Do your characters have a family tree that you refer to? Mine do. Have a great day.”

Zulma always has great questions, ones that force me to dig deep, and for that I am appreciative.

Mine do not. Mine just have a general outline of important facts about them. Maybe mine should. Maybe they would be more interesting if I did what you do, Zulma.

I think this falls under the category “individual preference.” I know of other writers who do this. Maybe I’m just too impatient to start writing. I do believe that the more information you gather about your characters, the better you will know them and, in effect, become them when you write….and that is a very good thing.

Timelines Revisited

From Mary: “Okay, so you have your timeline, but you're writing fiction, can't you play around a bit with the facts if it is a work of fiction? (Next mailbag?) I mean, you make up a town, you make up people, can't you change the time with it not necessarily being true, like making a year pass really fast? 365 days is a long time when you're pressing onward!”

Mary, here’s the thing about fiction: It is make-believe, and you are the director of the altered reality. You can do whatever the hell you want to do.

I have read books that skipped ahead a year. I’ve read books that skipped ahead a decade. I’ve read books that went back in time (hey, I wrote one of them). If skipping ahead is necessary then do it. Only one word of caution: When a writer does that, they need to pay close attention to the flow of the story. Make the transition smooth or you’ll confuse the readers, and it’s never a good idea to confuse your readers.

Eric and Paragraphs

From Eric: “I know there are basic rules for "paragraphing" but lately I am wondering if paragraphs aren't most effective as punctuation. It seems some writing uses them as pregnant pauses within the same line of thought. Dare I say even you do it? Set me straight would you please.”

Eric, you are showing some amazing insight with this question. Knock it off, please! J

Yes there are basic rules for paragraphing but seriously, who cares? There are basic rules about all parts of grammar, and successful writers break those rules every year and make millions of dollars doing it. Although there are, most definitely, rules of grammar, the one rule I think is most important is that rules were made to be broken when writing fiction.

As for the second part of your question/observation, most definitely paragraphs are used to control the pace and flow of the story. I do it often and totally ignore the rules set down by Sister Mary Elizabeth at St. Patrick’s School.

Déjà Vu All over Again

From Lawrence: “Really enjoyed this hub and all the great advice. I have a sort of question but I'm sure I know what you'll say.

I came up with a plan for a story but some of the gadgets in the story make for Star Trek type stuff (its not a SF story) but the other day checking some info to reply to comments on other hubs I found the gadgets are actually being used and changing the way we understand history!

I reckon you'll say ‘WRITE THE DAMN STORY’”

Lawrence, you know me so well.

WRITE THE DAMN STORY!

Listen up because I’m only going to say this once. There are few original ideas in the book world. Most stories are rehashed, repackaged and reworded storylines that have appeared in print for hundreds of years. The names and settings have been changed, but the basic plot/storyline is the same as others. What makes an individual story unique and entertaining is the talent of the author.

Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl have a family and live happily ever after. Ever hear that one?

Man is shot. Detective chases down clues. Detective catches bad guy. Sound like any book you ever read?

Boy grows. Boy becomes a man. Boy comes of age and learns about life. Sound familiar?

Use the gadgets. Don’t use the gadgets. The most important thing you can do is put your own personal touch on the story…make it yours….and yes, write the damn thing!

It would be hard for me to offend these family members....they are all dead.
It would be hard for me to offend these family members....they are all dead. | Source

Cuts like a Knife

From DREAM ON: “Bill have you ever thought of non fiction writing? An autobiography of your life ? If you did in writing how do you protect people that were instrumental in your life but we're cruel in every way, shape or form. I found that the truth hurts and even though it's true people don't want to hear it or see it in print. So would it be better to turn it into a novel and make characters that resemble the real people you have met and let the smart readers connect the dots. Who are we really talking about ? Example Say I had an ex girlfriend who destroyed my life. Instead of telling the truth and letting everyone know the truth turn to fiction and give my new girlfriend in the story Cindy Suffera who has a body that won't stop at the same time she makes me wince every time I even mention her. From years of pain that she has caused that still cut like a paper cut aggravating every day but not deadly.Thank you for your suggestions and insight. Have a great day.”

I’m wrestling with this one right now, Dream On. Not an autobiography but definitely a memoir about a particular time in my life. I’m leaning towards changing the names to protect the innocent…and the guilty. J I just think fiction gives a writer a lot more leeway and allows us to write freely without worrying about hurt feelings (or lawsuits). The most famous example of this in literature that I can think of is “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Harper Lee patterned her characters and her story after real people and real events, but changed all the names. That turned out okay so I’m thinking I should do the same thing.

See You Next Week

The Mailbag just keeps on keeping on, and will continue to do so until you run out of questions or I drop dead. I’m hoping neither of those things happens, so let’s keep those questions coming and I’ll keep exercising and eating right.

Thanks to those who had questions this week. If you have a question, just leave it in the comment section and I’ll tackle it next week.

Have a superb week of writing. The world is counting on 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 21 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, so not happy that summer is coming to an end, but again all good things must come to an end at some point, I suppose, but still not ready for winter and cold. That said, always appreciate all your great and wonderful advice here. So, as always can't thank you enough and wishing you an amazing week ahead now! ;)

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 21 months ago from United Countries of the World

      Interesting to read! I have a question to you. Ever since the HubPages team has been introducing changes to the site, many hubbers feel like discontinuing writing on HubPages. What is your take on the issue? Would it be all right for new hubbers with potential for quality writing?

      Thanks, billybuc!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I am more than ready to have the hot weather end, but not summer. Oh well, Nature isn't paying any attention to me, so it's time to get the coats out of storage.

      Thank you as always for being here and Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      adevwriting, it's good to see you here. Thank you for coming. I'll have an answer for you next Monday.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Bill, some really interesting questions and answers this week. Along the lines of adevwriting's comment: I know you don't frequent the forums so I thought I'd mention this for your opinion. I read one forum thread a little earlier that says HP maybe considering splitting the site in two and establishing one closely moderated for all the high quality, high traffic hubs and those that have undergone the Hub Pro editing, and another with only basic moderation for all the 'lower quality", creative writing etc. (where mine and most of those I follow would fall) The way things have been changing around here I wouldn't discount this as being a possibility.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting, John! As long as I can still find my friends and support them, I'm happy. Thanks for the heads up on that. I'll be looking for more information for sure.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Billy

      I totally agree, it has all been said and written.

      At the same time how you make the word sausage can give a story a different flavor, but it is still story sausage.

      I am not saying that it will taste better than the classic story sausage, but it will have its own flavor. Chances are when you mess with a classic recipe, you are more likely to make a bad batch.

      Although, the current readers might not know anything about real classic and swallow it with delight. With 350 million potential reader in the US, I am sure any story can get 40,000 readers.

      I think that the phrase, "It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times" can also apply to stories.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 21 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! We've got two more weeks before school starts here (we wait until after Labor Day), so we are going to make the most of it!

      Great questions and answers, as usual. I look forward to the next installment!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree totally, Brad. I like to look at writing as a crapshoot. I'm just rolling the dice and hoping I don't come up snake eyes. :) Thanks for the drive-by. It's always good to hear from you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Melissa! Same thing here for school. Everyone is out buying supplies and clothes in anticipation of the big return...me, I'll just be writing. :) Happy Monday my friend and thank you.

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      Shauna L Bowling 21 months ago from Central Florida

      I wish our summer would end. It's been ungodly hot here. I can't stand to be outside for more that five minutes! I'm looking forward to the cool breezes and low humidity of fall. Pray global warming doesn't mess with it!

      So you're thinking of writing your memoir as a fictional story? I guess that makes sense. You're a great fiction writer. Now that think about it, the two novels of yours I read are fiction pieces based on the bones of truth. So, yeah, that works!

      Congrats on your new baby chick, Bill! Puff up those feathers, proud Papa! :-)

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 21 months ago from Europe

      I see you must be in a great mood today! That made me smile. Have a great day and keep your fantastic writing up. I've actually a question for you.

      What do you think, Bill. Is it better to publish one book, of let's say 100,000 words, or 5 books of 20,000 words each? Both books concepts cover in general the same content, but the content can be cut into pieces easily. Thanks, and I wish you the best autumn of your life:)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning! Thought I'd start my week with the Mailbag.

      LOVE the marketing tip about gaining your 100 followers that will go with you to hell and back. I gotta start countin'... The trick is to get them to talk about it. Sadly, the happiest customers are often the quietest when it comes to sharing. Naysayers? They're vocal to hell and back. But don't they say even bad PR is good PR? ;)

      Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, honestly, I still haven't decided. I was talking to Bev about it yesterday and it could still go either way. I'm sure you'll hear about it once I decide.

      Thanks, and here's hoping for cooler weather

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, you had me smiling with that last line...thank you for the well-wishes. Great question...I'll have an answer for you next week. Happy Monday my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, there is much truth in your statement. The good ones do seem to be fairly quiet....I guess I'll try to get 200 staunch followers and increase my odds. :) Thanks and Happy Monday to you.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 21 months ago from south Florida

      Well, you did it, Bill. After writing 60 - 60! - installments of this series, you came up with this one, the 61st. And I enjoyed it the most. Not that the previous gems were uninteresting but the questions in this one were most original. And the answers? Well, realistic and to the point. Bravo!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj! I couldn't have done it without you and my other great followers. You are appreciated greatly.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 21 months ago

      Bill, I truly enjoyed reading this article. You really made this engaging for the reader. The summer has quickly passed us and fall is certain to bring many changes, let's look for the good ones. I find literature characters with family trees fascinating. Have a great day.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 21 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, the mailbag just keeps getting better, looking forward to celebrating your century and thank you for all the sage advice, dear uncle Bill! :)

      Another exceptional write, well done to you and the writers who posted questions.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your input, Dianna! I hope you had a superb summer and now on to the Fall.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo! I'm happy I've been elevated to the status of uncle. :)

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 21 months ago from New Jersey

      So many great questions and words of wisdom, this week! I would definitely love to read your autobiography if you ever write one. Then again, we all let our lives slip into our posts on here, and it has been a pleasure getting to know you this way, gradually. I look forward to more!

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      William Kovacic 21 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Bill,

      I just want to say I'm enjoying the Mailbag. Most importantly I appreciate the time you invest in us. I believe we are here to learn, not just read. Where lives intersect, there is purpose. Your purpose is evident, not just Monday but throughout the week.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 21 months ago

      Bill, have had out of town guest. Muse threatened to leave, so I threw company out!

      Great information, as always, Bill.

      I'm buzzing right along, but have realized it would be best to disconnect phone while working. (Temperamental Muse)

      Happy Monday, my friend!!

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kailey. In truth, I don't think my life is terribly special, but I think most people feel that way. It's only when we tell others the life we have lived that we come to realize that life in general is interesting and every person is fascinating.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, you are always so kind in your comments. Thank you so much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday my friend DJ. My phone rarely rings and when it does I don't answer it during working hours. I have successfully trained my relatives and friends not to bug me while I'm writing. :)

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 21 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Another bunch of entertaining and thought-provoking answers, Bill - is there any end to your knowledge? (Obviously not). By the way, I'm sure a Billybuc Biography would be a great read, but me - I'm sticking to fiction, cos my stories are a hellovalot more interesting than my life!

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 21 months ago

      Pleasure to go through the wonderful information, your jovial mood added a glamour to it, thanks for sharing, Bill Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, in truth, I feel the same way. I can be characters in fiction I only dreamed about in real life. :)

      Thanks my friend and yes indeed there is an end to my knowledge.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you enjoyed, m abdullah javed...thank you so much.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for the marketing tips.

      As for the end of Summer, I'm ready, but I also live a little farther south than you:-)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Bill, what are the essential elements of any story beyond a mere anecdote or incident? How about: When a new circumstance disrupts how the protagonist expects hir situation to develop, the antagonist opposes the protagonist's response, which puts the outcome in question and reveals and further shapes the protagonist's character? Or?

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 21 months ago from Hollister, MO

      You know I come down on the side of fiction for those family stories... no question about it. Memoirs take a lot of courage, regardless of topic. Thanks for another great mailbag. ;-)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill, your series is a big success. So many writers share the same fears and anxiety. 'Just write it.' Now that is a good slogan.

      Book signings, public librairies - I don't think so. But then again, I know more about what does not work than what does work.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 21 months ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy,

      Yes, the signs of Summer making its departure are beginning to be evident here too, even though we had 29 degrees of heat on Saturday! However, the leaves have begun to fall from the trees and that is a sure sign that it is on its way.

      I love the idea of the family tree, such a common sense way of plotting the characters for a book. My problem will be stringing those characters all together to turn the whole thing into a damn fine Story, but one thing is for sure, I AM GOING TO WRITE THAT DAMM STORY.

      I am curious, does it ever feel to you that writing a book is a bit like giving birth?

      It does seem to me that there is so much emotional energy put into writing a Book. Do you ever feel as if it will suck the life blood out of you?

      Have a great week Billy,

      Sally

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 21 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      As expected, a river full of helful tips Bill! Thanks for covering the marketing question! That wasn't painful lol. I have subscribed to or consulted a few of the resources you mentioned for years. Good to know that a seasoned writer believes these to be reliable resources too.

      I think every writer needs a visible sign that reads, "Write the damn story", somewhere near their workplace. No matter what type of writing we do, we all get hung up on grammar or symantics or something else that stops us from actually getting the writing done. Maybe if we see it often enough, we'll hear it speak to us and we'll get on with our writing projects sooner; and address the technical parts later.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      yes you do, Larry, and if I lived in Oklahoma I'd be praying for Fall. :) Thanks for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, any old time I need an intelligent question I can turn to you. I'll touch upon this next Monday. In the meantime, have a great week and thank you.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 21 months ago from Massachusetts

      Another great installment Bill. I also do not like the heat so I am looking forward to the end of summer. Problem is I don't like winter either. But, fall is my favorite time of the year so I am looking forward to the next few months. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes they do, Bill, and I'm leaning towards fiction for this one for exactly that reason. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, it's not for everyone, I really do understand when a writer shows reluctance to hold a book signing or reading....and I can match you mistake for mistake along this journey. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, you had me laughing with your comment. Thanks for the chuckle. I'll have an answer to your question on Monday. Until then, have a great week of writing and living.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Babby, that's actually how I write my first drafts. I don't give a hoot about grammar the first time through a story. I don't want to ruin the flow. There is more than enough time to get technical on the second and third pass through the manuscript.

      Thanks for the question and the loyal following.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 21 months ago from SW England

      Amazing questions and answers this week, bill, all so interesting and perceptive. I learn so much when I read this series, not only about writing, and about you, but about the other writers here; it's fascinating.

      Here's a question for you; do we unconsciously show our own feelings and character when we write (fact or fiction)? I'm not talking about 'voice' because we can control that, I'm talking about something that comes through the writing whether we realise it or not. Hope you see what I'm getting at.

      Hope all's well with you and yours. I'm trying to come to terms with an uncharacteristically awful week of truly rotten weather - yes, even for England! It hasn't stopped me going out and doing things but it should be better!!!

      Bedraggled, rain-soaked, wind-buffeted Brit from Bridgwater!

      Ann :)

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Zakinov 21 months ago from California

      Great installment Bill! I don't mind the heat, and I live in San Diego, so for me the end of summer signifies nothing but the approaching autumn holidays and slightly longer nights I guess... Would love to read your memoirs!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 21 months ago from london

      Another great Hub, Bro. I break the rules all the time and yes, I know you agreed on something similar, so let me not steal your thunder. I read somewhere that Emily Dickinson used a lot of Capitals, but hey, I do this often.

      I mean why say 'shadows of darkness' when I feel that I can do so much better with 'Shadows of Darkness?' Why not capitalise Peace,when I am talking about that which passes beyond all human understanding?

      Let us continue, Bro, you and I. Not too much in the way of hard and fast rules, they may limit our creativity. .. Shalom!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I don't know about you, but the older I get the less I like extremes. I'm not sure whether that's good or bad...it just is. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I feel your pain about the weather. We've had a few summers like that here...more than a few, actually. The last time I owned a motor scooter I swear it rained all summer. :)

      Thanks for the question. I'll get right on that answer.

      Have a super dry week.

      bill

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      Marlene Bertrand 21 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Awesome, Bill! Love your answers. And, hey, I'm all about taking life and making fiction out of it. I don't sweat too much if the "real" person manages to find their character in the story, but I do take care to be sure the general public won't be able to readily identify the characters... unless they are already familiar with the story to begin with.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kalinin....maybe one day those memoirs will become an actual manuscript.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I'm definitely against anything that limits my creativity. Great comment my friend. Carry on and we'll make our own rules as we go along.

      blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for adding that, Marlene! Wise words to follow for anyone considering a memoir or fiction based on real life.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 21 months ago from The Caribbean

      The mailbag is like a weekly talk show featuring various authors or author to be. I'll keep tuning in.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 21 months ago from southern USA

      "The only constant we can bet the bank on" ... is the Monday Mailbag series! You have given us all a good reason to look forward to Mondays, Bill. We all are a curious bunch who come up with great questions that produce great answers.

      Hey, exactly what’s the difference between an introduction, a foreword, a preface, and a prologue? Also, with each, is there any particular type of book one should use in lieu of the other? I know this one is elementary, but it can be confusing at times.

      Remember, anytime you need to tell me NO on my questions, my feelings won't be hurt ...

      Peace and blessings and hugs from southern USA

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 21 months ago from Texas

      Bill, not happy that winter will be here before long, but not unhappy to see the end of the over 100 degrees every day for weeks on end.

      Another fantastic mailbag.

      Blessings and hugs my friend

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 21 months ago from australia

      Hey Bill, the end of winter just approaching here, a particularly cold one this year. I think I'm just crawling out of hibernation. Good mail bag this week, particularly liked the paragraph question and answer. I also think a non - fiction book would be a winner in an Angela's Ashes genre..

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 21 months ago from New York

      Summer to winter is just a transition from heat to snow! Of course there is school and all that, but being retired with grown children I try to completely ignore it. (I worked in a school district the last 18 years of my career.)

      Anyway, great installment as always. This is like a runaway train and hopefully there's no stopping it. We all look forward to Mondays and the Mailbag.

      Thanks for answering my question. I kind of thought that was the answer, but you validate!

      My children's book is slow going waiting for the illustrator, but nothing good comes easy.

      Have a wonderful week.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 21 months ago

      I don't care that summer is coming to an end. Just make sure this column goes on and on.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks, Dora! I hope our sponsors keep giving us money. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I love your questions. I would never tell you to stop. Thank you so much. This one will require some serious firing up of my memory banks. :)

      blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shyron! I'll gladly give up the heat for some comfortable nights without sweating on the sheets. :)

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Happy Spring to you, Maj. I hope you thaw out soon and can enjoy some warm weather...of course, that falls under the category "be careful what you wish for," doesn't it? :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, good luck with that illustrator. I'm afraid I wouldn't have the patience you are showing. I'm not big on waiting I'm afraid.

      Thank you and Happy Tuesday to you. See you next Monday.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop. It's still going strong. Next week's installment is already filled up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill this one is fantastic. I like my new way of reading this series. I wait for a day and then I get all the bonus comments - cool. You have a great readership and really nice friends. That speaks volumes of you.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 21 months ago from United States

      Installment 61...wow!

      I have told you before and telling you again...Just darn admire your knowledge cause writing on HP is these days getting tough for me since can't think of topics :P

      I like how you have explained the character development and appreciate your knowledge.

      Sadly summer is over, and kid is going back to school so yeah and not so yeah too :(

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very informative edition in your mailbag series, Bill. Thanks for sharing the interesting ideas.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 21 months ago from Singapore

      At times, grammar rules can make writing feel stilted. When imitating speech in fiction, it's important to break'em!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 21 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for sharing another wonderful hub in this series.

      I particularly liked the question asked by Mary and Eric. I believe when writing in a flow, some rules of grammar are bound to be broken. And if the reader is engrossed in the writing, there are little chances that it will be noticed. All the same we should take care to avoid the errors.

      Thank you for sharing!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 21 months ago

      Hi friend Bill, wonderful questions; wonderful answers. I love your answer about breaking the rules and Sister Mary Elizabeth. I think we all had those. Mine was a college professor we called "Jay", who was really a great guy and love by all of us. However, Jay was a stickler for the rules of transition. I found that breaking them from time to time actually improved my writing.

      Please tell Dream On to write a story, not a whine, if he wants to publish. I get the impression that he wants to write a cathartic whine ("destroyed my life" "years of pain", etc.), which is okay if he doesn't actually want to publish.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Eric! I hang with some pretty cool people...you included. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira. I get it regarding school...I was the same way with my son.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia! I have some great followers who have great questions. I just fill in the blanks and hope it sounds intelligent.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Michelle. Thanks for mentioning that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good comment, ChitrangadaSharan, and I thank you for it. It's a fine line we walk, as writers...flow vs grammar....the good writers do it naturally.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks MizB. I'll pass the word on. This writing gig is a tough one...so many rules to be broken and knowing which one to break when is a tough decision. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excuse me but I have a legitimate question. Maybe. You are actually quite organized. You get a lot done everyday. I want to be like Bill. But when I write stuff just comes and it does not come on my table of organization and productivity. Just when I get rockin and a rollin in thought and writing the danged second period bell goes off and I have to go do algebra instead of writing. Even if I set time aside to write, well it just does not work that way. Help!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, you do make me laugh. I'll see if I can't formulate an intelligent response to your dilemma next Monday. Thank you sir!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 21 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the response, Bill. Admittedly, I do spend a LOT of time on details. That's the way I'm hard-wired.

      Anyway...I finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and began work on my first novel. I spent on hour constructing the first page then walked away and did something else. I came back to it, read it as an outsider and found myself confused. I can't believe I fell into the trap of introducing too many characters in one go.

      Do you have a method for introducing characters so your readers don't feel that they are being ganged up on?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, it's a common trap. The good news is you began that novel. :) Bask in that glory. I'll have an answer for you Monday, and thank you.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      61 and counting.. or not..:) Like Eric's question.. and your answer so yes I keep finding use for your mail bags...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Frank, and I keep finding use for your visits. :) Thanks buddy!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      I am taking a rest from the world.

      I grew up in Manhattan, and on Long Island, and one of the things that I liked was that so many people would congregate at the donut shops, not just to pick them up and run with them. But it was like a very small town meeting.

      A regular coffee in NYC was with cream and sugar. Probably a British influence.

      Anyway, it was the atmosphere that I remember as being alive and diverse. Friends and acquaintances and a mix of strangers.

      In California, it is a bunch of trades men, and committers hurrying to work.

      How does this relate to writing, because I believe that technology today has changed this way of life. Today, texting a friend is good enough, and there is no reason for a physical present the cyber of virtual presence is OK.

      Now this is strange coming from someone like me that doesn't read fiction, but it doesn't mean that I don't notice this change to the impersonal cyberville.

      Finally, here is a question for you. What is the most marketable fiction story to write today? What is the genre, the subject, and the angle of writing about it?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I happen to agree with you about technology changing this way of life. I can't say I'm too happy with it, but it is what it is. Thanks as always for being here. Enjoy your rest from the world, and I'll have an answer for you on Monday.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 21 months ago from sunny Florida

      These are always interesting to read even though sometimes I do not get to them in a timely fashion.

      This is such a great way to pick the brains of so many...even questions can cause one to begin new trains of thought---I think.

      hoping all is good in WA. We are wet here but thankfully no big winds...just lots of rain...

      Take care of you and yours.

      Angels and hugs and blessings are on the way ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, this series of articles is so much bigger than I ever dreamed. Just goes to show you how little I really know about writing. :)

      blessings are heading your way double-time.

      bill

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 21 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, I like the idea of changing the names to protect all that need protection in your story. Now YOU can write the damn thing.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Figured thats what you'd say! Might take me a while as I'm having fun writing hubs at the moment and finding out that tge truth really is stranger than fiction!

      Have a great week

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thanks Deb. All I need now is time, that elusive thing we all seem to run out of.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, you are obviously enjoying what you are doing, so carry on, my friend.

      bill

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