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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Sixty-Three

Updated on September 7, 2015

It’s been quite stormy here in western Washington this past week, but the Mailbag made it safely to your doorstep. We don’t let a little thing like weather keep us from our appointed rounds.

Let me just take a moment to thank all who voted for me in the recent Hubbie Awards. I am honored and humbled by my awards. In many ways I’m still that insecure novice writer who began a little over four years ago, wondering if I have what it takes to make it as a writer. Your vote of confidence is greatly appreciated.

Now let’s get going. We have some quality questions to read and answer.

Welcome to the Mailbag!
Welcome to the Mailbag! | Source

Template for Novels

TFrom Brian: “Bill, your answer to my question (like all of your answers) was excellent and helpful; thanks for it. However, my question as you understood it was different than my question as I understood it, so I will rephrase it.

What is a template of the essentials that apply to any story, whether an oral tale, a folk tale, flash fiction, a short short story, a short story, a novella, a novel, a novel's subplot, a play, a film drama, a graphic novel, or whatever sort of story? What elements are needed for it to be a story, without any one of which it would not be a story at all, whether excellent, mediocre or awful?

My suggestion again, with additions: ‘When a new circumstance disrupts how the protagonist expects hir situation to develop, posing a threat and/or opportunity, the antagonist opposes the protagonist's response, and this conflict puts the outcome in question and reveals and shapes the protagonist's character, the whole being told with feeling.’

Does that leave out anything needed or include anything not needed? I guess what I am seeking is a generic, fill in the blanks, story logline.”

Brian, I’m sorry for the confusion. I think I’ve got it right this time. I had to do some brushing up to answer this one. The key elements of a story are something we all do instinctively, I think, so to actually label them required a bit of research.

The consensus seems to break down a story into five key components: characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution of that conflict. I was quite satisfied with those five until I decided to see what the Writer’s Digest had to say about it. They had a different five, namely orientation, crisis, escalation, discovery and change. In my opinion, crisis, escalation, discovery and change are the same as plot, conflict and resolution, so lump those together with characters and setting, which is basically what orientation is, and you have your template.

Is that clear as mud or as clear as a mountain lake?

Bev was not impressed with the new pronouns, but she was open-minded.
Bev was not impressed with the new pronouns, but she was open-minded. | Source

Generic, All-inclusive Pronouns

Also from Brian: And another question: Your answer copy edited my suggestion, replacing 'hir' with 'his'. During this past year, I've noticed some writers using 'hir' for 'his or her' or for 'him or her' and using 'ze' for 'he or she'. See the Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog. This seems to me a good idea that should be adopted by writers for use when appropriate. Do you agree?

It’s interesting you asked this question, Brian. During the same week that you asked this, I saw “ze” for the first time and I do mean the very first time. If this is a popular trend then I missed the notification. J

Do I agree? I guess so. I see no harm in it, and if it pleases people to do so then why not? The traditional part of me has a hard time imagining Hemingway using “ze,” but what the heck. If that’s what makes people happy, I have no problem with it. Just don’t expect me to do it.

SUCCESS

From M Abdullah Javed: “Very interesting questions this time Bill Sir and equally interesting answers thank you. Of them all, the query about the hard part of writing, like giving a birth, deserves serious approach. Though you have clarified but from an experienced person like you we need still more elaboration as most of the writer feel writing depends a lot on one's mood and the conditions in which he or she lives. But that in no way can be basis for writing a good book or to become a writer with loyal audience?”

I confess to being a little confused by this question, and I apologize for not clarifying it before I answered it.

There are so many factors that explain a writer writing a great book or having a loyal audience. First, and foremost, writing a great book is a matter of talent and skill. There is no substitute for talent. I believe there are millions of mediocre, or average, writers. I believe there are very few truly talented writers. I do not say that to disparage anyone. I just think it is the truth.

Greatness comes to few. An athlete can practice for years and never have those intangibles that make an athlete great. The same is true of musicians, painters, photographers, writers or for that matter architects.

I think when we talk about loyal audiences, though, we are talking about something completely different. I think I have a loyal audience, but I don’t think that is entirely attributable to my skills as a writer. Some of it can be traced to my personality and natural inclination to make friends and treat people with respect.

I hope I was in the “ballpark” with my answer.

When your muse takes the train out of town, go find something else to do
When your muse takes the train out of town, go find something else to do | Source

Lost Desire

From Ruby: “What do you do when you've lost the desire to write?”

Well my friend, I’ll let you know when it happens. J

Seriously, my first gut-response to your question is you should just walk away from writing and live your life. If the desire isn’t there then the product produced will reflect that lack of desire. Go do something else you are passionate about, and wait for the muse to return. She can be a fickle wench at times, and there is no forcing her hand.

Online Writing Courses

From ArtDiva: “Are there any good online study courses for a writer to learn taking their writing skill from articles into story form?”

I don’t suppose if I just said “yes” you would be satisfied, would you?

There are lots of them as a matter of fact. Check the following out:

Gotham

Open Edu

WRITER’S DIGEST UNIVERSITY

Like I said, there are a lot of them. Do a quick online search for “free online writing courses” and pick out one that works for you.

More Next Week I’m Sure

Unless we have a blizzard in September that shuts down the power and internet, you can rest assured the Mailbag will ride again next week.

Thanks to everyone who participated this week. I look forward to the questions that have not been asked yet. Blessings to all my friends at HubPages. Without all of you this would just be a web address and nothing more.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 22 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, huge congrats again about the Hubbie Awards, as you are truly so deserving. And as always thank you for sharing your much well needed writing wisdom hear. Happy Labor Day now and have a great week ahead.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Janine, and may you have the happiest of Mondays, dear friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 22 months ago from Central Florida

      I was surprised by the "new" pronouns. Apparently, I missed the memo too. I thought they were typos! Frankly, I don't like them. Who came up with that idea anyway? The English language is hard enough to master; why throw nonsensical words into the mix?

      I'll have to admit my muse has taken a vacation. Perhaps she's waiting for me to get comfortable with the changes in my life before she returns. I've tried to put on my creative hat but it just isn't there. I know it's only temporary, so I won't force it. She'll be back when the time is right.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 22 months ago

      Good morning, Bill. A small quake just hit Northern CA as I write this. A recommendation over a blind search is what I was trying to avoid because there are so many, so I'll check out the three you have listed. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I think it's all a fabrication of the PC Police. We must make sure in this society that we don't exclude anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, to the point of ridiculousness. I think I'll stick with he and she.

      The muse will be back. Of that I'm certain.

      Happy Monday dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad I could help, Diva. Thanks for stopping by. I hope the quake was mild without any damage. Take care.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

      Happy Monday Mailbag Day, Bill, or Labor Day today ... you labored!

      I'm afraid my muse has been incognito for a bit, but still working on a good bit of writing except waiting for the magic to return. I am to the point that I just do not want to publish something just to publish something, if you understand what I mean ...there has to be some element of magic to the post or forget it ...

      I'll never use those "new" pronouns. Sha used the right word, nonsensical! My thinking is, if it ain't broke don't fix it : ) All of this PC stuff is going overboard. I'm sick to death of it.

      I've been thinking of something way out of my norm in writing, but just do not know how my followers will take to it or even if I could pull it off. However, it has been my experience that to stretch our writing to something out of our norm, is most exhilarating and satisfying, especially when well-received. However, if we never try, how will we ever know? Maybe that is what I have been missing and why I haven't published in a bit. A while back I participated in a challenge to write fiction but a bit on the dark side, and I was surprised how easily it flowed and how well-received it was by those who read. It still was uniquely my style though, which I think is key.

      What I have in mind is quite ambitious, at least to me, in that it is something I have never attempted and may totally throw off my readers a bit or surprise them. Anyway, I love C. S. Lewis and his Screwtape Letters, which to me is brilliant. I am just really asking for your opinion as I am not sure how it would be a question for writers in general, but maybe it is. If I were to attempt to write something from the point of view of "Faith Reaper" but then add in the point of view of, let's say, an "anti-Faith Reaper" : ) ... or the darker side as some sort of devil's advocate type persona, do you think that is too ambitious of a project (not to copy Lewis)? I do understand it must be well done to be effective in what it is I am attempting to convey in the message. In the meantime, I will attempt to finish what I have written in my usual manner.

      Another useful Monday Mailbag here.

      Peace and blessings

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Labor Day, Faith, although i don't think I've had this day off for five years now. :) Oh well, I hope you enjoy it.

      As for your question, I'm going to answer it in depth next Monday but for now, let me just say this: I will be disappointed if you don't try it. Too ambitious? I don't believe it is possible for a writer to be too ambitious.

      Enough said for now. Thank you for a fantastic question and have a superb Monday.

      blessings always

      bill

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. With the day off I am here earlier than normal today. As always another great week of questions and answers. I hope you are taking some time to enjoy the holiday? Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Bill, good to see you taking a day off. I hope you're enjoying this last weekend of summer. Where does the time go, right? I'll write until one and then putter around in the yard getting things ready for the winter that is surely right around the corner. Thanks for the visit, my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Those 'hir' and 'ze' words are new to me. I learned them in your mailbag article. This is the place to keep up with new and old info for writers. Thank you.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 22 months ago

      Congratulations Billy. Your awards and recognition are well deserved. As for ZE, Hir and who knows what else, I can't stand it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I'm very glad to hear that. Thank you so much for always being here, and blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, we agree once more. How about that? :)

      Thanks my friend.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 22 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Bill,

      First of all, a big congratulations on winning the Hubbie Awards. I would have voted for you again and again for the simple reason of writing so prolifically that you inevitably write something off and on that interests me immensely.

      These questions and answers were great. I think I am like you in using his and her in a conventional manner. I will never use 'hir' and 'Ze'. The latter one is a also used as a taunt for Germans using English language so I am going to refrain from using it.

      Also, when I don't want to write, I revert to other interests more and more - reading more adventure travel books and reading more hubs on these pages, hiking more with my dog and doing more and more photography. And this leads to many ideas and urge to get back to writing.

      Thank you once again in just being there for the rest of us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Suhail, thank you so much. I'm just trying to be as giving to the rest of the community as others were for me when I first started here.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 22 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      You are most welcome, Bill, and please continue doing this great work.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just what are you doing laboring on labor day? You good looking guys get all the weather -- Supposed to be only 95 here today, liars. Somehow "Ze was a chauvinistic machismo pig" just looses something with the new neutral words. I read that part about "components" of a story. I want a job where I can sit around and come up with labels like that. I don't think my life "story" would fit into the mold.

      You did another great job with this edition, thank you

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 22 months ago from london

      Some tough ones this week, Bill, and a medal for hanging in there. You deserve a lot of Love ...

      Peace.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 22 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill, I have never heard of the term "hir" before, I don't think. Or, I did in college, but do not remember! I like it! So, thank you for teaching me something new!

      I LOVE your train photo and the caption under it. What a brilliant line!

      Congratulations, again, on the Hubbie awards! It's so awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll try, Suhail. Thank you again.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Eric. You always leave me chuckling. No, components and labels just don't work with your story, buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I get more love than a man could hope for, but thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Kailey. I'm glad you liked the train photo....I was scrounging through my folders looking for something that would work...guess I got lucky. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill...this installment has been personally helpful to me at this time. Ruby's question called my name. I have arrived at my answer....loudly & distinctively. It IS a problem for me, so here goes.

      I have in no way by any means, LOST my desire/NEED to write. My lack of creating new articles these days has "everything" to do with the continual beatings, direction, rules, forced "suggestions" from HP.

      I can safely assume I'm not writing the "types" of hubs they want, or google wants or WHOEVER wants....I doubt I'm writing them in the WAY they insist. If they force me to have my hubs be primped, crimped & fiddled with by their "experts," I WILL, sure as hell, go back in and put my hubs as they were. AS I, AS THE AUTHOR, WROTE THEM. They will like me less. Am, I worried about them disliking me? HA! I think everyone knows me better than that. ( I have good reason to dislike them anyway.) I don't need their love.

      My point is, since I know what my earnings are, I'm pretty sure HP is not making much money on my work. Soon, with all the changes they plan, I see they'll be asking the low money-earners to go home.

      I have this thing about giving of myself only to be spat at in the long run. Give me a phrase to meditate on, in order to kick my muse in the butt & get back to writing!....Thanks bro. Love, Sis

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      I've kind of lost my muse here of late, and walking away for a bit sounds great, but with blogging being how it is, it seems like every time you step back you wind up starting completely from square one again.

      Another quality installment, Bill.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      It's so funny, after asking that question I came up with a story and a poem. Go figure? Thanks again for all you do to help us in our writing journey...

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 22 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Great stuff here (as usual). The free courses sound like being worth a check.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I understand...truly. I make a dollar a day on HP after more than 1,000 hubs. I have done everything I can to get the HP braintrust to listen to me and it falls on deaf ears. You want a phrase to meditate on....here it is, the same one I use....WRITING MAKES ME HAPPY AND MY WRITING HELPS OTHERS!

      That's what keeps me sane during the long hours when it's just me talking to the chickens. :)

      bro

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, for sure, taking a break from blogging is a good way to lose your followers. I understand that for sure. Good luck finding that muse, and thanks for giving me some of your time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Ruby! I'm glad that fickle wench came back in time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They just might be, Lawrence. Let me know if you give them a try, and thanks for being here loyally.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I should know this. The simplest things are the very best. My muse felt the nudge......thank you as always. YES!! By golly, My writing makes ME happy and helps others! What else can matter? Now wonder we love you!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Quality questions, for sure and your answers were spot on. I have to say, regarding the new gender neutral agenda, this is the first I have heard of "hir" or "ze." Politically correct for sure. But, like you, I'm not inclined to go there yet.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 22 months ago from south Florida

      I must be old-fashioned, Bill. Those new pronouns you mentioned do not appeal to me at all. Guess I'll continue to use 'youse guys' when referring to either or should I say, any, sex.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure, "hir" and "ze" will not be part of my stories, ever. Thanks for letting us know they exist. You answered the interesting question, very well.

      I also appreciated the discussion on the "parts of a story" - useful, fascinating really. Thanks, again!! ;-)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Doc......My personal favorite is "Yo Dudes & Dudettes!! Like it? Gets their attention. Shortly afterward it gets me some very weird looks. Some people have absolutely ZERO sense of humor!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Sis! And here I thought it was my beaming smile. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I'm kind of busy trying to be PC in all other walks of life. I think I'll pass on this one. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I was somewhat famous when teaching for saying "you guys" to the whole class. Amazingly no one seemed to care. Go figure!

      Thank you, as always, for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. I'll be by to see your next installment shortly. I just took down a shed and I need to rest for a few. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I used to say dudettes all the time, and very few people understood. They thought I was just making up words. What the hell is happening to our society today???? No sense of humor and no sense of history.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Ah reckon, Dude! SO...what's wrong with made-up words?? There seem to be a MILLION of them...or else my grandchildren are multi-lingual somehow!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I'm not even sure it's made up. I'll have to check but I would be dudette is in the dictionary.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's not in Websters but it is in the Urban Dictionary. That's good enough for me. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 22 months ago

      I am along the lines of using "guys" when I talk to a group of students. So far everyone is okay with it. It's Midwestern lingo. Glad the weather will not prevent the mail from coming! Have a great week, Bill.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your mailbag hubs are always interesting and informative, Bill. Thanks for keeping the series going.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 22 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, congratulations on yet another Hub Award, and so well deserved.

      It's good to see that the questions continue to flood in, all interesting and very useful.

      I'm not sure that the English language is in need of a new pronoun, but apparently, there is a need for a singular gender-neutral third-person pronoun. This is meant to prevent confusion when the gender of a person or thing is in question. I must admit, I do get in a muddle when attempting to describe a person who is neither male or female. Thank you for another great Mailbag. My best always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for weighing in, Dianna! I'm so used to saying guys, I doubt I could change. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I find the questions very interesting and they force me to think, which is never a bad thing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jo. The awards are from my peers and that makes them very special. Enjoy your week in Bedfordshire.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      templates to a novel I found very interesting and helpful Billybuc.. keep the mail coming my friend :)

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 22 months ago from Minnesota

      Greetings Bill from Minnesota! Sorry for the delay in commenting but yesterday was the kid's last day of freedom, so we didn't spend it online...

      Congrats on your well-deserved Hubbie Awards! I wish they came with a monetary reward!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll do my best, Frank. Thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, greetings from Olympia. I'm just happy you're here, so thank you....and honestly, I'm just humbled that my peers think so highly of me. Thank you again.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 22 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      I really like the picture of the old time train.

      At its peak the Railroads numbered about 50, and there were over 100,000 miles of track.

      That was before the car and oil companies got rid of the competition.

      I strayed from the mailbag, but consider these few lines as an attempt to write. It won't write the wrong of being out of scope, but I checked the spelling so I am no dope. I did stretch the hub rope, but that shouldn't be something to mope. Nope, it isn't, that is my hope.

      :}

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Apologies in being late to congratulate you on your hubpages awards; you deserve them over and over and I'm proud to be one of those who voted for you.

      I must confess I've never seen 'hir' or 'ze' before and I cringed when I realised it wasn't a typo! What's wrong with writing his/her or s/he? I use those but I feel a little uncomfortable with the s/he because it's sort of lazy. Like using 'them' when one means him or her. I just don't like it; others can use these alternatives if they like of course, that's one way the language changes and I won't criticise, but I'm not about to start using hir or ze!

      I had a question all ready for you this week and I've forgotten it because I didn't write it down! Old age or just bad memory? Both, I fear!

      Hope all's well with you and yours, bill.

      Ann :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill. This week I am anti- making up our own words, perhaps especially pronouns. And Pro - Ruby continuing to write for our entertainment. Her writing is joyful and what is better than that?

      I think Brian's question was tough and there are no short cuts or magic formulas.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I for one miss the times when railroads were king. Hopefully they'll stage a comeback.

      As for your attempt to write, it reminds me of Dr. Seuss....that's a good thing. :)

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Ann, always good to see you stop by. New pronouns? Rubbish I say!!!! If it was good enough for William Blake then it's good enough for me.

      Have a superb week my friend.

      And thank you about the awards.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Mike! I'm all for making up new words.....but I want to make them up just because and not in an attempt to keep from antagonizing a small group of anal people with nothing better to do than get upset over pronouns. LOL Thanks buddy.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 22 months ago

      Hi Bill.

      Writers are great minds apparently as your mailbag's questions and answers suggests. As for the 'simple -minded' I will happily continue with your " just don't expect me to do it" until 'understood my English in spite of my grammatical faults.' Thanks.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 22 months ago from Canada

      Hey Bill, I like your Writer's mailbag Hub idea, very positive direction for the community. I like Ruby's question, but I'm not sure I agree with the solution suggested here, while I do agree that the 'inspiration' to write may flag at times, I really believe that writing is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration, so I say, stay the course, keep writing even if it seems like drivel, doggerel or dull, somewhere in there will be a line or a story you can use. Alrighty then, that's my two bits :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 22 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Congratulations on you Hubpages award, it's well-deserved.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 22 months ago from New York

      Oh happy day! Whenever there's a new mailbag installment I know I'm going to be educated and entertained.

      My muse took a train out of town to get away from the heat and the muscle spasms in my back, but, I know she'll be back cause you said so ;)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, I have no expectations of you other than friendship, and for me that is more than enough.

      blessings always, my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you snakeslane. I would have agreed with you a year ago. Now I agree that your opinion is as important as mine. :) Whatever works, works!

      Thank you for the visit. I'll be by shortly to see what you've been up to.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Blossom. I greatly appreciate that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, feel better soon and I hope the heat shuts down soon...of course, that just means the cold will follow. :) We can't win.

      Thank you for being here, dear friend.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for your helpful reply to my question, Bill. I showed it to my screenwriter brother John, and he liked it, too. He added that the best writing advice he ever got was from Robert Towne, who said (I am paraphrasing): find out what your main character fears most and face him or her with that. John gave the example of the film LEAVING LOS VEGAS, in which a woman most fears falling in love yet falls in love with the main character.

      My suggested template seems to me to match up with your answer. What others call setting or orientation, I call circumstances or situation. What others call characters, I call the protagonist and the antagonist. What others call plot, I call a disruption of the initial situation leading to conflict. What others call resolution, I call outcome. What others call discovery and change, I call the shaping of the protagonist's character. I left out escalation because it is not essential in all forms of story. It is important in a novel but not in flash fiction. I think it is essential for a story to have a core of emotion. A story in the abstract is about a transition of emotions, such as complacent to lovestruck to broken-hearted to overjoyed.

      Anyway, I think I am beginning to get a grasp of the essentials of a story.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I'm glad I finally got it right with your question. Sorry for the confusion but the end result turned out all right. Best wishes my friend, and thanks for the question.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      Congratulations on your Hubbie awards! Wonderful job! And you were going to call it quits after the 1000th hub!

      I can't imagine using ze as a new pronoun. And I was always bugged by the presumptive masculine so you'd think it would be a great solution. It's just weird to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the kind words, Flourish. As for ze, it's not for me. :)_ It is just weird and I promise you it won't appear in my writing.

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      Heidi Thorne 22 months ago from Chicago Area

      Well, ya learn somethin' new every day! I also had never heard of the "ze" pronoun. Ick! However, with all the useless drama regarding transgender and orientation issues (I say be who and what you want to be), maybe it's not such a bad idea to be gender neutral. The evolution of language marches on!

      Sorry for the tardiness to the Mailbag. Working with authors and trying to get to my own writing. Have a great weekend!

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 22 months ago from United Countries of the World

      Stopped by to say congrats on your Hubbie award. Keep up the good work, billybuc!

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      Deb Hirt 22 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I had heard about those pronouns years ago, and believe they were set forth for the transgendered folk, then they worked their way to more common practice. As always, excellent info that once again, taught me something more.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No apology necessary, Heidi. I just appreciate you taking the time to visit and toss in your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you adevwriting. I appreciate that very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Deb. I've heard of them but I don't plan on using them. Call me old-fashioned and move on. :)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Given the choice of "he or she" or "he/she" or "ze", I prefer "ze" (or 'e or whichever gender neutral pronoun catches on) because it's shorter and faster to type.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, that made me laugh. I suspect I would choose it for the very same reason.

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      Barb Johnson 22 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      I'll say it again - Well deserved awards Bill!

      Didn't get the memo on the 'ze' pronoun either. Interesting, good to remember in case I see it used but no thanks.

      Thanks for the mailbag Bill- we always know that we'll learn something!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Babby! I appreciate that, about the awards. I hang with good people. :)

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