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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Twenty-Five

Updated on December 15, 2014

Number Twenty-five Coming at You

Who said good things don’t last? Whoever it was never jumped on the Writer’s Mailbag bandwagon. I guarantee that! J

Welcome back. You ask, I answer, and we all go home winners, satiated and basking in the warmth of closure. I’m practicing my creative writing while I write this introduction. How am I doing?

Enough of that silliness. Let’s get started with another installment of this series. We’ve got some great questions and some adequate answers, so let’s begin with a question from Linda.

Welcome to the Writer's Mailbag
Welcome to the Writer's Mailbag | Source

The First Paragraph

From Linda: “ Perhaps this will find its way into your Monday writer's mailbox. How does one create the perfect first paragraph, or perhaps even the perfect first sentence in a novel. You need to grab your reader's attention at the very start.


Perhaps I have a short attention span, but I know that if I'm not hooked by the end of page 1 I give up and go on to another book. Life is too short to spend time reading something that doesn't rev your engine. “

Linda, I’m actually going to write an entire article on this one, because I see so many writers struggle with the introduction in their articles. Let me briefly say a couple things and then I’ll refer you to the article coming out later this week.

You are absolutely correct, Linda. I call it the Ten Second Rule. A writer has ten seconds to sell me on their book, story, or article, and if they haven’t done it in that time, I’m gone. The same is said by agents, publishers, and editors. Show me the spark early or don’t bother!

So, how do we do that? How do we capture a reader’s attention in ten seconds?

There are obviously many ways to do that, but let me touch on two at this time.

We all share the five senses, so the first thing I would suggest is that you use that knowledge to relate to your readers. Even if you are writing an article about baking meatloaf, you can immediately grab the attention of readers by describing how delectable that meatloaf smells in the oven, or the mouth-watering experience of that first taste.

Find commonalities that most readers can relate to. Use personal experiences that will generate memories in your readers, or….go for the Big Bang Theory. I used this theory in my recently-released novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.” The first line of that novel is:

“I once witnessed a stoning.”

If that doesn’t grab your attention then chances are you are comatose.

I’ll have more on this later in the week. Thank you, Linda! Great question!

Overusing Media

From Petri: “Is it possible to overuse social media when promoting our work?”

Yes!

Next question!

Of course it is, just as it is possible to overuse television or radio, the newspapers or door-to-door advertising. I’ve got this theory about Facebook and other social media. Would you like to hear it? I think that the average Facebook user ignores 90% of the promotions they see on Facebook. There are just too many, and I think subconsciously, we all just tune that stuff out. If all I posted on Facebook were promotions about my books or articles, nobody would follow me. I am convinced of that. I try to post stuff about my daily life so people will have a chance to get to know me as a human being rather than just a writer who is trying to increase his views.

Beware of over-promotion. You just might be cutting your own throat by force-feeding too much promo on people who are your online friends.

Loving Those Recipes

From Michael: “Bill, you seem to dislike recipe articles. Why is that?”

I’m laughing as I prepare to answer this. Listen, and listen closely: I do not dislike recipe articles, nor do I dislike craft and travel articles. What I dislike are poorly-written, boring recipe, craft, or travel articles. I would read more recipe articles if the writers would take the time to make them interesting and actually use proper grammar, but unfortunately, few do that. My time is too valuable to read a recipe for steamed broccoli when I don’t even like steamed broccoli, so you better give me a great reason to read that message from hell. J

There are quite a few writers who are my friends, and I’ll read anything they write simply because I am loyal, but for those writers who are not my friends, they better rock my world with their words or I’ll be a no-show. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is in Billybuc Land.

Proper Grammar

From Cheryl: “How important is proper grammar? Do you really think all of those silly little rules need to be followed religiously?”

In the order that they were asked…….vitally….yes….and a qualifier at the end.

I have said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times in the future: I am a writing snob. I think writing should be raised to a higher level, and we can’t do that if we toss aside grammar and start bastardizing the language. I have too much respect for the greats who came before us. Writing is an art form, and it needs to be treated like one.

As for the second question…yes, I think those silly little rules need to be followed. If you continually make grammatical errors, what message are you sending to your readers? If I see one grammatical error, I just figure everyone is entitled to a mistake. If I see two in an article, I start to question the intelligence of the writer. If I see three, I start to question my own intelligence for having read that far.

Note to HubPages editors: you should feel the same way when you are choosing the HOTD.

As for the qualifier: I think it is perfectly all right to suspend the rules of grammar for effect, and most definitely when writing dialogue, if you are trying to portray something specific about one of your characters. Other than that, though, it’s just sloppy writing.

A writer who edits his/her own manuscript is walking a slippery slope
A writer who edits his/her own manuscript is walking a slippery slope | Source

How to Find an Editor

From Linda: “ I do have two questions: (1) how do you go about finding an editor for a manuscript, and (2) (regarding your comment under "First Draft"), what do you have against Tolstoy?”

I’m laughing about Tolstoy. I’ll get to him in a second.

Finding editors is as easy as opening up HubPages. I found my current editor, JayeWisdom, on HP and she is a very good one. There are others on that site as well. Bravewarrior comes to mind immediately. These are people I trust and you can trust them as well.

As for Tolstoy, he’s just a bit long-winded for my tastes, and that is a purely subjective opinion. I understand why people consider him one of the Greats, but I’m just not one of those people who can sit through his rambling reflections. Any book over four-hundred pages is a book that is in risk of losing me. Take into consideration, though, that I also don’t like Shakespeare, so I realize that I’m a bit different.

Thanks for joining me this week
Thanks for joining me this week | Source

That’s It for This Week

I already have a multi-part question from Sha for next week, so I’m quite certain you’ll see another Mailbag next Monday. Until then, write like your tail-feathers are on fire, and always…always…enjoy the process.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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

      Thank you Zulma! I feel much better reading that. It goes over my head, between my legs and out the door, I'm afraid. :)

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, Shakespeare is hard. Unless you're well versed in the history, politics and societal structure of the time most of it goes over your head. I've had to read some of his plays several times and see a performance or two before the light bulb finally turned on over my head.

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

      Bobby, I'm sure glad I'm not alone on Shakespeare. The guy is just way to confusing for me. I'm a simple man, I guess. Thanks so much.

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      Robert Morgan 2 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Great hub, Bill. Thanks for another great writing lesson.By the way, I cannot stand Shakespeare's the language is so hard for me decipher and I end up missing the meat of the story. Thanks again for all you do for the community. Blessings, Bobby

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

      Deb, thank you very much. I have always guessed that my dislike for Shakespeare is a character defect. Shhh, don't tell anyone. :)

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Honesty is always the best policy and you have done that. Whether or not you like Shakespeare or Tolstoy is all relative, but the important thing is that you keep me interested. You do that SO well...

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

      Anna, it's always good to see you and thank you. Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Informative as always.

      Very true about the initial read/reject period and yes, your 'I once witnessed a stoning,' definitely gracefully soars over that particular hurdle! A genius of an opening line.

      Happy New Year to you and your family Bill. :)

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

      Thank you very much, vkwok!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for more great advice, Bill!

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

      Mary, it's good that you have those people who watch over you. You are infinitely more patient than I am to read the entire first chapter before making a decision. :) Thanks for your thoughts.

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

      ChitrangadaSharan, especially on Facebook, over-promotion is becoming quite annoying.

      Thank you for being herre.

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

      Yes, Vellur. It is something I am constantly guarding against. Thanks for your thoughts.

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

      Thank you Bill! I can say without hesitation that you are much better at this than you let on, and I've read almost all of your work.

      Have a superb Wednesday my friend.

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

      Heidi, I think it's too late. I obviously got you started, and I love it! LOL Spray and pray....a classic description. Thank you as always.

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      In all fairness to a book, I will give it more than 10 seconds. I will read at least the first chapter of a book before I put it down forever. I agree with the HOTD remark. Once one was chosen and there was a misspelled word in the title!

      I have a friend here on HP that will point out errors in my Hubs as soon as she reads it, and I'm grateful for that. I have a Granddaughter who lives next door who has an "eagle eye". I have her proof my Hub before I publish it.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you for sharing another helpful installment of Q-A. Your thoughts about the first paragraph is very useful and as you said over promotions might irritate and might do more harm than good.

      Thanks!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Over promotion can have negative effects and yes cut your throat, great installment. Thank you for sharing.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Installment twenty five? Amazing. What a great series this has become. Congratulations.

      Your ten second rule is something I am constantly thinking about. I know how easily I personally can lose interest so I really need to work on capturing readers in that first sentence or two. Have a great week.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Don't get me started on the overuse and misuse of social media! Social media, too, is an art form that takes practice to get right. Problem is people have confused it with what's lovingly called "spray and pray" advertising and direct mail tactics; it is neither. There's a reason it's called "social" media. Okay, stepping down from soapbox.

      And these days, I'd likely called the 10-second rule a 7-second rule. Just sayin'.

      Fabulous-ness as always!

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

      Linda, thanks for not forcing that recipe on me. I appreciate that. LOL As for your question, I think I'll add it to the mailbag for Monday...so stay tuned.

      Thank you my friend.

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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Mailbag Monday. Love it and thank you for your advise this week. I am interested in your suggestion that writers should appeal to the readers' primal level--excite their senses. You certainly do that, and do it well. When one of your characters was in combat, we (readers) could see, smell, and hear everything he was witnessing as we walked with him through the jungle.

      To create scenes like that do you interview people who have had such experiences, do tons of research, or do you have an incredible imagination?

      (By the way, I will never force a steamed broccoli recipe on you.)

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

      John, thanks for the recommendation about Tolstoy. I'll look that collection up and give it a go. As for Shakespeare...well....I guess I just don't know what's good. :) Thanks my friend.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Bill, I loved the questions and answers this week. I agree with everything especially the 10 second rule and the comments about HOTD. I only ever read that if the title grabs my attention but more often than not I am disappointed with the spelling and grammar. Once in a while I read one that I feel deserves the accolade. As for Leo Tolstoy. I agree his novels are long winded but a book of his short stories really influenced how I live my life (not how I write). They were his version of parables and contained valuable life lessons. As for the world's most famous Bard.. I'm with you. The part of English I disliked most was studying Shakespeare. Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliette were just bearable, but Hamlet, King Lear etc.. sorry, not for me.

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

      Nicely stated, DDE. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Frank! When I started this I hoped to create something that people looked forward to once a week. It's nice of you to tell me I achieved that goal.

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

      Oh, Iris, at worst it was a very gentle kick. :) I just don't write them, although it would be a challenge to see how interesting I could make them if I did. Maybe one day I'll give it a go. Anyway, Happy Tuesday to you and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Alicia. Now don't get singed from behind. :)

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

      Thank you Theresa! I couldn't do what you do, so this world has a nice mixture of writers who manage to cover every genre, and we are all richer because of it.

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      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      People write differently in grammar one should write with interest. Thank you.

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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Once again you got me eagerly waiting for the mail.. with my dogs put away so there will be no interruption...it's here number 25!.. I do enjoy monday's mail Billybuc... you get to the grit bare bones of the questions.. and yes i'll be waiting next week for the two parter..bless you

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      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Bill, these are always chock full of great info and I'm glad you wrote what you did about recipes. I have a love/hate with them. I don't have any inspiration when I write them anymore. I do them mostly for those followers who follow me because of my baking. I read one of Catherine Giordano's recipes the other day. It was a great example of what you're talking about. I need to either up my game in the future or not do them. Your point is taken. It's not right to bore readers to death. Thanks for the kick in the pants! :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the idea of writing like my tail-feathers are on fire! Thanks for another installment in your helpful series, Bill.

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      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Bill - I always enjoy reading your Mailbag Hubs and find myself agreeing with you 98% of the time!!! However, I am also so grateful that I write research papers, essays, and poems. With the former I don't have to grab my reader in the first paragraph (first page will do) and with the latter, poetry, I can throw grammar to the winds. I think my constitution just isn't suited for fiction. :) But thank heavens there are so many of you who find fiction a great match. Take care. Theresa

      PS Best Line in this HUB. :) Note to Hub Pages editors: you should feel the same way when you are choosing the HOTD. AMEN!!

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

      LOL...Flourish, I knew I liked you for a variety of reasons, but this just cemented our friendship. Right on my friend! Thanks for the belly laugh.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      OMG, someone else who dislikes Shakespeare! High five, buddy! I usually don't admit it in educated company, lest I be considered a redneck.

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

      Ruby, I look forward to DJ's comments daily. She is one funny lady for sure.

      And you are one devoted follower. Thank you dear friend.

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

      Thank you Jo! Time is flying by, isn't it? My goodness, December will be gone in the blink of an eye, and we can all start dreaming of drier, warmer weather. LOL..How's that for wishful thinking?

      Have a wonderful week, my friend.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      HaHa, DJ. came through again. She cracks me up with her wit and BTW you're up-front and funny too, that is, when you're not too serious..Hee. I always learn from you, even though I make grammar errors, but not as much as I used to, thank's to you and others...Smiles...

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

      Thank you Bill, and best wishes to you as well.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Catherine, and I'm the same way. Breezy style? I like that description. Thank you! :)

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

      Thanks, Bill. I believe that article will come out Wednesday.

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

      Aww, thanks, Pop! I make errors constantly, and quite often don't catch them in articles...luckily, I have some HP friends who will point them out for me.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...yes, Ann, it is definitely from Hamlet, and for that I feel terribly sorry at this moment. :) Thank you for the chuckle. Isn't it funny, but I'm the same way with grammatical errors...they detract from the book for me.

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

      Lizzy, thank you, and I have to agree about Dickens and Austen. It's a wonder that I love "Grapes of Wrath" considering how that book begins. How many ways can one describe a drought? LOL

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

      Power to family, Ann! I'm glad the toothache is better, and I simply have to read that book where grandmother exploded. :)

      Happy Monday to you, my friend, and thank you for caring about the English language.

      bill

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, another enlightening edition of the mailbag. Oh how time flies! I can't believe another week has gone by. When I see your mailbag, I know it's Monday and I'm about to learn something, you always deliver the goods. Very useful Q&A.

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

      Too funny, Nell! What a great description of Shakespeare. Thanks for yet another belly laugh.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt, Marlene, there will always be grammatical errors. I can live with that. What I can't live with, as an author, is writing something that does not make sense or that ruins the flow of the story.

      Thanks for sharing your truth and experience.

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Another good mailbag. I especially appreciated your 3 step approach on the grammar, and usage. Also the caveat. Best wishes! ;-)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Billybuc: I love your breezy style and useful advice. The 10-second rule also applies to hubs. Make that first sentence interesting if you want me to read further. There are hundreds of new hubs everyday vying for my attention.

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      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well, I guess it's time for study hall, Mr. Holland. I'd better get to work. Looking forward to your article on the first paragraph!

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I agree, we all need to pay attention to proper grammar. I hate when I screw up, despite reading my work over and over again. A second set of eyes is invaluable. For that matter, you are invaluable too! Up, useful and awesome.

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      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Writing 101 - To semi-colon or not to semi-colon? That is the question. If I'm not mistaken isn't that a play on words from Shakespeare, my friend? Hamlet, as I recall. lol

      Loved the question (and the answer) on grammar. I'm with you on that one. I've actually come across grammar errors in Bibles, though not many. But I have come across errors in other books and every time I read something that isn't punctuated right or misspelled, it takes away from the story. With all the editing tools we have out there today, there really is no excuse for bad grammar.

      Another installment well done, Bill.

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      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I'm so glad you snuck in that little dig at the HOTD selections! I've read several that did not seem to warrant the honor, or live up to the "quality writing" standard that is said to be required. Grammar and spelling errors were rife, and I was shaking my head that the article was selected.

      As for the "ten-second rule," having grown up as a reader, with no TV in the house, I'll give them the first chapter. If a book has not caught my interest by the end of the first chapter (or halfway through, in some cases), then I'm done.

      However, I do understand the impatient attention span of today's instant gratification generation. It's a shame, really. Some great books by some of the greatest authors don't begin with much of a hook.

      Then, there are books I did not bother to read for the same reason: "The Catcher in the Rye" comes to mind for a boring lead-in. Ditto for Dickens' "David Copperfield." It is not so much the lack of a hook in those cases, but I've little patience for flowery language and drawn-out descriptions of the shades of color of every blade of grass in the lawn; descriptions of the type that seemed to be favored by the likes of Dickens, Austen and others of the 19th century.

      (I don't care much for Shakespeare, either, by the way!)

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      How many times do we have to promote the merits of good grammar? I'm fed up with it, frankly. I'm at the point of saying, if you can't manage it, don't bother writing at all! Then I feel guilty and want to help those who really don't understand or can't grasp the basics well.

      I know I've mentioned it before but my favourite opening sentence of a novel is 'It was the day my grandmother exploded.' It is from Crow Road by Ian Banks and it's one of the best novels I've read. It grabs you right from the start.

      You make us smile, you make us laugh; most of all, you make us think.

      Thanks, bill.

      My week started with raging toothache and a wonderful visit from my sister and my children plus little ones. The toothache faded to insignificance! How's that for 'family power'?

      Have a great week, bill!

      Ann

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      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      LOL! well they are all a load of pretentious nonsense aren't they? Dickens writes so much gloom it could coat the walls better than paint, and Shakespeare, well, he always reminds me with plays which are written in poetry fashion, of rupert the bear! lol! read them when I was a kid!

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

      Oh Nell thank God I'm not the only one who doesn't appreciate Shakespeare. LOL For years I've felt like an ignorant loser.

      Too funny! Thank you!

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

      Thank you Martie! A free exchange of ideas among writers....that's one thing I love about HP.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you m abdullah javed. I'm very happy that you enjoy this series of articles, and I appreciate your loyalty to my writing.

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      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I use to be snobbish about grammar until I worked for a publishing department that had four stages of editors (four eyes). I was usually first or second eyes and then the publication was passed on to the third or fourth eyes. Even with all that editing, publications still came off the presses with errors. I've seen New York Times Best Sellers with multiple errors. To date, the only book I have ever read that is completely error-free is the Bible. Nevertheless, you are absolutely right. Hiring an editor is a good thing, but note that it doesn't guarantee perfection. Such is what it's like being human.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Billy, well I can honestly say your hubs are always entertaining! lol! I hate Shakespeare too! and Dickens and all those so called 'Classics'! why do they keep on about them when we have so many great writers today? beyond me totally! great read and advice as usual, nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      I totally agree with you, and I think this installment, like the rest, is a great guideline for all writers.

      “I once witnessed a stoning.”...... is a mind-blowing first sentence. Immediately all of the W's are triggered: who, what, when, where, why?

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      Great advice here Bill sir. Though your focus is pretty clear, by virtue of the answers we are now clear about your interest in recipe, craft and travel articles. We have noticed that such articles are very well received here, looking forward to see you in these areas as well. Thanks for guiding and inspiring us to fly high.

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

      Jaye, to borrow your phrase, you are spot on. Show me a writer who cannot handle constructive criticism, and I'll show you a writer not long for this business. Thanks for pointing that out.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, Stephen King does get a pass. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because he doesn't write in Old-English. :) Have a great week, my friend, and thank you.

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

      Thank you, Eric, and you are very welcome. Have a great week, buddy.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      You produced another excellent Monday Mailbag session, Bill, with a bit of humor thrown in for leavening. There's a nice mix of questions, and your answers are spot on.

      I enjoy reading the comments for these Q&A hubs. Sallybea's description of receiving helpful feedback and her own positive reaction to it made my day. It's an impressive example of an individual being able to look objectively at her work and use feedback as a learning experience. Writers who can accept editorial suggestions given ' in the light of being helpful and in the light of friendship' usually don't repeat the same mistakes. In the process, they become better writers.

      Voted Up+++

      Jaye

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      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      So, you're a broccoli hater?! See, I learn something new every week....Of course, I also didn't know that you aren't a fan of long books (does Stephen King get a pass?) or Shakespeare (not a big fan myself). Oh--you're writing advice was very helpful also! :)

      Have a great week!

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

      A really great one this time. This is just a great service you provide. Thank you.

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

      Thanks, Randi. I think any writer worth their salt will take poetic license from time to time...it's the ones who don't realize they are doing it that I worry about. :)

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      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      While I do take "poetic license" and often write for effect over grammar, I am also a grammar and spelling snob. A bit if an oxymoron, I know!

      Great advice here, Bill! Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Enjoy it, Carol? I love it!!!! Way to go, my friend, and best wishes on that ebook series. One of these days your ship will come in...hopefully soon.

      Happy Monday, Carol!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, that is a great description and absolutely correct. I love it!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Mari, I readily admit that I am in the minority concerning Shakespeare. I'm fine with that. :) Thanks for being here, young lady.

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      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      Now that I am writing again I have to pay attention to your teaching hubs. I am attempting a 12 ebook series as I have mentioned. You will enjoy this Bill. I wrote an astrology book over 30 years ago with partner by request from a literary agent...It didn't make it--but the 30 page synopsis is very glib and funny. So I am using some of it. Never throw out any of your writings is the lesson for the day.

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      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I got to thinking about the 10 second rule for the opening paragraph. It sounds like a topic sentence on steroids. I will have to work on the opening.

      Thanks

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      dragonflycolor 2 years ago

      I agree to the greatest extent on that Hub of the Day comment! It's so important to have proper (or at the very least, above average) grammar when writing and being selected for HOTD.

      I disagree on your position with Shakespeare, dear sir! Thou wouldst have a duel of the most sinister kind, as if the rays of the sun were to battle through the canopy of rooted life, penetrating joy into thy soul!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, thank you for sharing that. I've done the same thing, usually in an email so as not to embarrass the writer, and that has always been well-received. We should be here to support and help each other, and it's nice to hear that other writers feel the same.

      Have a wonderful week, Sally, and thank you.

      bill

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello

      Billy, very interesting questions this week. I agree with you about correct grammar and spelling. It is so easy to run a hub through word to check it before publishing but we don't always do it.

      This brings me to something I would like to share with you. Recently a writer on HP wrote to me after having written a very nice comment on one of my hubs about pottery.

      I hope that Marie Flint won't mind me sharing her name and her act of kindness.

      She made some editorial notes on the hub for me,' in the light of being helpful and in the light of friendship'.

      Rather than take offence I wanted to publicly say that I so much appreciated her help. It has made me look at my work in a slightly different way and I hope I won't make the same mistakes again. If everyone had a 'buddy' who would do the same perhaps we would up our standards - which is perhaps the idea behind the editors on HubPages.

      Nice one again Billy, I hope you have a terrific week.

      Sally.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, all I can think of is to get a bigger chair. LOL I suspect a great many writers can relate to your dilemma. :)

      Have a great Monday my friend, and thank you.

      bill

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      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Mailbag Monday! Again, already?

      Where does the time go??

      You do give great advice, and I appreciate all your efforts.

      I do have a different problem, of sorts. You see, I have been sitting in this chair for OVER two years, and my derriere has become the same size as the seat in the chair.

      HELP, PLEASE!!!

      Your friend,

      DJ.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rachael, I don't understand it either, but I think it sends the wrong message to the online world, and I think it's bad for business for HOTD and an insult to those of us who consider writing to be a craft.

      See, now my blood pressure is up. LOL

      Happy Week to you, my friend, and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Sha, you are very welcome. Friends take care of friends, right?

      Busy time of year, but I think I'll manage a normal schedule until the 24th...then two days off.

      Have a great week, and thank you.

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      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      Ok, now you got my fire burning with talk of HP editors. I sometimes wonder who the HP editors are and if they were out on a bender (drinking) before they came to work . And picking HOTD? OMG, I can't believe they didn't tell the writer to clean up the grammar or spelling first. If they were a helpful editor, they would have made the hub worthy of HOTD and send out a message to others what a stellar HOTD should look like. They are sending the wrong message with grammar mistakes. And, even though I am not part of it, what happened to those new HubPro staff who are supposed to be editing our work? I opted out for this very reason. If they don't have correct grammar and rules of writing experience (or common sense), they have no business telling me how to write or change my work. I have serious doubts about anyone editing my work (or anyone else's) when I see what they consider acceptable in HOTD and featured hubs that should be unfeatured. Ugh, I'm sorry I got started with this in my comment, it sends up my blood pressure. lol I love your mailbag Mondays, and I'm glad I'm friends with one of the editors you mentioned.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, don't feel bad. I don't like Tolstoy or Shakespeare either. Shakespeare's language is just too laborious to decipher for my liking.

      Thanx again for the shout-out. Much appreciated!

      Enjoy your week, Bill. I'm afraid I won't be getting much done from here 'til Christmas. Shopping, baking, and cooking are on the immediate agenda for now. I'll be glad when the holidays are over. December is a month of constant interruptions. But I'm looking forward to spending quality time with my son come Christmas Day.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Janine. I don't understand choosing poorly written hubs for HOTD, and I'll never accept it.

      Happy Work Week to you, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria. As for Sha, I have her back and she's got mine. That's the way friendship works, right?

      love,

      bill

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      I loved your nod to the HOTD here with grammar usage and you know I couldn't agree more on this and more. But seriously, so glad you are still doing this series every Monday and thank you always for your insight. Wishing you a great week ahead now, too!

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      Maria Jordan 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Awesome, Bill...I love your attention to proper grammar with a nod to our Sha as an example of a good editor. Looking forward to next week's question and your response! Happy Monday - Love, Maria