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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #370

Heading to the Ocean

It’s Friday morning as I type this. When I finish this, I’m going to take care of a couple errands, do a few chores around the home, walk the dogs, and then pack a small bag for a two-day mini-vacation at the ocean with Bev. A friend of ours is letting us borrow her beachfront home for the weekend, and you can’t beat free for a value.

I’m not a big fan of the ocean. I don’t dislike it. I just don’t get a big thrill out of it. The Washington coast is always windy. It’s almost always colder there. And the water is frigid. None of those are big selling points for me. Bev loves it, though, and the dogs will have a blast on the beach, so it will be a fun getaway. Me, I’d rather be in the mountains, but I’ll comfort myself with a cheeseburger or two. It will be nice to get away, so I really don’t care where we go. As long as I’ve got Bev and the dogs, I’m good.

I have no profound message for you this week. Just thought I would tell you about our mini-trip. Let’s get this Mailbag done so I can go take care of those chores and errands.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Too Much Mystery

From Rodric: “Mystery pulls people into a story, just the right amount. My question, Bill, is: When is mystery appropriate? Is it from chapter to chapter or every other chapter or what?”

That’s a great question, Rodric. I think it all depends on the medium.

With a short story, I think you certainly need to build the mystery throughout the entire story. You need to get down to the nitty gritty pretty quickly with a short story. A novel, though, gives you the freedom to stretch that mystery out a bit. With a novel, you have to spend time developing the characters, giving some backstory, those sorts of things, so the mystery can move at a slower pace.

I do try, however, to drop a nugget of the unknown at the end of each chapter, just a tease to entice the reader to continue.

If you’ve never written a mystery novel, pick one up at the library and see how that author does it. Most good mystery novelists will follow the tips I just gave you.

Reading mysteries helps to writer mysteries, or so I believe.

Reading mysteries helps to writer mysteries, or so I believe.

Using All of the English Language

Also From Rodric: “I never forget that you wrote that a lazy writer uses the same words more than once in a sentence. I have my thesaurus handy since I read it. You explained that you didn't mean adjectives or combining forms, or such as the word "the." My next question is: When is too much, too much trying to avoid the same word in a sentence?”

I really think it just comes naturally after a little practice and a little awareness, Rodric. I don’t consciously try to avoid using the same word twice in a sentence, but I’m aware of it enough to catch it almost all of the time. When is too much? I don’t think there is too much in this case. Again, I’m not talking about words like “and” or “the” or “is,” although even those words can be used to death by a lazy writer. But words like “awareness” or “sunshine” or “playground,” those words should never appear twice in a sentence, and I would argue against them being used twice in a paragraph. It’s just not necessary and, I repeat, it is lazy writing.

A Gift?

From Mary: “You have given us in this mailbag a remarkable number of tips. I like best trying to say things in new ways like the example you gave. I try to do that in my notebook but often, I find myself wanting for words, for unusual comparisons in spite of my experience. Do you think some people just have the gift?”

It’s an interesting question, Mary. I do think some people are more “in tune” with creativity. I think some people see the world with creative eyes. I can go for a walk and a short story will pop into my mind. My wife Bev takes the same walk and doesn’t see a scene in a short story. I walk downtown and I’m studying the people I pass, looking at physical characteristics, and some of those people end up in my novels. Bev is too busy smiling at them and asking them how they are doing on that lovely day. Two different people, two different ways of seeing the world. Do I have a gift that Bev doesn’t have?

Maybe I’m splitting hairs here because of the word “gift.” Yes, I think some people are just wired n such a way that they see “creatively,” while other people see with marketing eyes or humanitarian eyes.

Does that make sense?

DIALOGUE

From Josh: “When is there too much dialogue in a novel or short story? How does a writer know when enough is enough? I’m always afraid I’m going to stunt the flow of a story by writing too much dialogue.”

It’s a valid question, Josh, and it should be a concern for every creative writer.

Dialogue should be used to enhance a story. It should be used to propel a story. It should never be the story. Just like none of us want to hang out with a person who talks too much, none of us want to follow characters who dominate the story with too much talking.

There are scenes when dialogue dominates, and in those cases, I try to split up the dialogue by interjecting background information, just a sentence of two to break it up, something like this:

“Do you really think you can pull it off, Adrian?”

Somewhere in the distance a car honked. A neighbor shouted for his kids to come inside. The clock on the wall chimed nine.

“Can I? I don’t know. Will I? You bet your ass I will.”

I hope that makes sense, Josh. As a general rule, two or three lines of dialogue, then a short break of a sentence or two, and then repeat.

There is a difference between listening/speaking dialogue and writing it.

There is a difference between listening/speaking dialogue and writing it.

Grammar Question

From Mr. Happy: Now, as I was writing to a friend a passage from a book, my eyes spotted a couple of things. I will write-out the passage:

""Pinker is a respected professor of psychology at Harvard, a few would accuse him of pulling his punches or yielding to thought leadership's temptations. Yet his talk became a cult favorite among hedge funders, Silicon Valley types, and other winners. It did so not only because it was interesting and fresh and well argued, but also because it contained a justification for keeping the social order largely as it is."

See after "Silicon Valley types" there is a comma and an "and". Why have a comma when You have an "and" there?

Also, after the word "argued" there is another comma, followed by a "but". Feels like that comma is also unnecessary? What do You think?

The book is Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas and this is on page 126. (Really good book by the way!!)

Oh man, I hate grammar questions. LOL

It’s been so long since I learned grammar, under the iron hand of Sister Mary Elizabeth, that I’ve forgotten the rules for questions like this. I suspect, and this is just me, the author used those commas simply to break the sentence up, sort of like taking a deep breath before continuing. I understand what you are asking, but I probably would have used commas there, as well, simply because it felt like the thing to do in those instances.

I know that’s not much of an answer, but keep in mind I hated learning grammar from the nuns.

Anybody out There Own a Rv?

These short mini-vacations have me thinking about buying a used RV. Nothing huge, just something for Bev and I and the dogs to take more of these short trips. Or maybe a pop-up camper to put on our pickup truck. I don’t know. We’ll have to give it some thought. If you own one, let me know in the comments how you like it.And if you have questions for the Mailbag, include them below in the comments, or email them to me at holland1145@yahoo.com and I’ll include them in next week’s Mailbag.

Thanks for the questions this week. Have a fantastic week ahead, and I’ll catch you down the Road of Life.

P.S. we are back now, Sunday afternoon, a wonderful time was had by all. The dogs chased rabbits and deer, Bev flew kites, we all took walks along the beach, and I listened to music and thought of writing short stories. All in all, a near-perfect weekend, only near-perfect because I don’t believe in perfect.

Just keeping it real!

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

MMiebakagh, I'm like clockwork with the Mailbag. I post at 6:30 a.m. my time each week, without fail, give or take five minutes.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

Happy Sunday, Heidi! The only reason I would be concerned if you missed a Mailbag would be your health. I would worry you were sick or injured, that's how reliable you are.

Happy Sunday my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

Thank you Devika! I'm very happy you find value in this series.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

You are never late to the Mailbag, Alyssa. Thanks for finding the time.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 25, 2021:

Right! Waiting for Monday. But no one ever knows when good Bill publish it. Hope this smokes him to specify a time?

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 25, 2021:

Okay, it's Sunday and almost time for the next Monday Mailbag. But I'm stopping by anyway.

Re: Too Many Commas? In both instances, the commas are appropriate. In the case of the one after "Silicon Valley types," there is argument about whether a comma is needed in a list like this or not. This instance it was used, and is called the Oxford or serial comma. In the "argued" case, it could be argued that it joined two independent clauses or ideas. In both cases, I see the comma use as correct. And, no, I never was a nun who taught English.

Anyway, that's all since I need to gear up for another Mailbag in less than 24 hours. Happy Sunday!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 25, 2021:

Hi Bill your mailbags are interesting and sharing your experiences here is with many lessons to be learned. Another wonderful write up and I enjoyed reading. Mini vacations are awesome!

Alyssa from Ohio on July 23, 2021:

Sorry I'm late Bill! A wonderful mailbag and I'm so happy to hear you all enjoyed getting away for a bit. Have a lovely weekend!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 23, 2021:

Bill, you're welcome.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 23, 2021:

You are a wonderful addition to our community, Miebakagh. My thanks to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 23, 2021:

Audrey, I miss those early days on HP, but I guess there's no holding back time. All things change, my friend. I'm glad you and I became good friends. For that I thank the HP staff.

love

bill

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 23, 2021:

Great talk. Audrey! Seriously, I was not around when Bill H, start the Writer's Mail Bag. That said, I've been learning a trict or two here and there as I board the mail bag on Mondays from the middle of last year. Great mail bag every Monday. And a first!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 22, 2021:

HP writers flock to you like bees to honey. Remember the early days before the mailbag? We needed you then and we need you now. A shout out to Bill Holland for helping us all to up our writing skills!

Love,

Audrey

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Thank you Brenda! We would probably only go on trips during the summer, or to warm places in the winter, and I'm not too fond of the tent campers. I don't want to feel like I'm actually camping. lol

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 21, 2021:

Bill,

I'm so glad you got to take another mini vacation.

As for getting an RV..that sounds great. It may take a little more gas but it's less hassle.

I used a tent camper once and when a storm cam along it ripped a place in the tent and then we needed to stitch it up before it got damaged more. Wasn't too easy.

And there's not alot of room.

The ocean...i love to look out at the vastness of it, but you are right...it is so much cooler & windy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

I'm very happy to hear that, Misbah!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on July 21, 2021:

Sir, I am fine. Thank you very much. You are very kind.

Blessings always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Thank you Vidya! It's hard for me to imagine that there are people who have never seen a mountain. LOL I have lived with them within view most of my life. But then I would be terribly confused living where you live, so it's all relative.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Lora, what a lovely surprise, and what a great bonus: two questions for next week! Thank you my friend. I hope this finds you well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

I'm glad you found this helpful, Rodric. I know what you mean about characters who will not shut up. lol Just keep it in mind. We all get a bit verbose from time to time.

Thanks for the new question, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Thank you Misbah! It's good to see you back among us. I hope you are doing better, my friend. Blessings and good health to you always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Thank you Mary! I do think writing a novel comes easier as you do it more often. Same with short stories. Simply by doing it you develop some skills, like with anything else.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

You are never late for the Mailbag, EK. Thank you for stopping by.

VIDYA D SAGAR on July 21, 2021:

I am so glad I found your article in my feed. Very interesting and educative questions and answers. I always enjoy reading the mailbag. You are lucky to be born creative Bill. Glad you enjoyed your getaway with Bev and the pets. A change of scenery is much needed. I love the ocean but I love the mountains too though I have never seen one. Hill maybe but not a mountain. Looking forward to your next short story. Have a great day.

Lora Hollings on July 21, 2021:

Wonderful mailbag, Bill. I'm glad that you enjoyed your trip to the beach. What would you say distinguishes a good writer from a great one? And what is a common mistake that many first time book authors make?

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on July 20, 2021:

Thanks for answering my questions, Bill. Your answer to Josh regarding dialogue helps me especially in my last article where you left that advice.

I felt like my characters talked too much, but they would not shut up! I literally felt compelled by my muse to keep them going! I still feel like I can go back and break up some of that dialogue! I think my article was approach 4000 words!

My question this time:

Is it appropriate to take long articles and break them into smaller articles on Hubpages--not about writing but a function of Hubpages?

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on July 20, 2021:

Mr. Bill, Thank you so much for this fantastic mailbag. I'm a little late, but it's better to be late than never. Lol. I enjoyed reading it, and I like the way you said,

"Oh man, I hate grammar questions. LOL."

I especially liked your responses to Rodric's questions. Thank you for sharing wisdom.

Gratitude, Sir. You are very kind.

Blessings always

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 20, 2021:

I’m glad you had a good break. I love walks on the beach. Thanks, too, for your response. Because you are wired that way, you vibrate to creativity. In a way, because of all I read here in the mailbag, I am now conscious of how a writer uses his characters and the ways he builds up the plot. Although it reduces my enjoyment of the novel, I puzzle over how the writer built up the ending which sometimes is unexpected and this gives me a different pleasure. I hope you get your RV.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on July 20, 2021:

I am late but didn't forget to read the mailbag. All the questions in today's mailbag are interesting and helpful for every writer. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

Stay safe and healthy...

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

We had a great time, John! Thanks for being diligent and finding this on the feed. That's not always easy or possible to do.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

There truly is a very subtle difference in English between the two countries, and I'm learning every day the nuances of the two. I think I'll be learning my entire life. lol Thank you sir!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

Thank you Linda! I'm afraid I missed one of your articles this weekend. Hopefully I can still find it on the feed so I can comment.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

Thank you, MIebakagh!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

Flourish, you made me laugh and you made me jealous. I love the tennis simile, and Wyoming is one of my favorite states to visit. Have fun!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

I agree with you about Rodric, Pamela. He has always been eager to improve in his craft, and I will always be here to help someone who genuinely wants to improve.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

Thank you Peggy! The research has begun. We are watching Youtube videos on them and our eyes are bulging from the online information. LOL I'm pretty sure we will do it down the road, so to speak.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2021:

I agree with everything you have written here, Alan. Poor grammar I will call out, but only in a personal message and never publicly. I never want to discourage someone from writing with a negative online comment.

And I do try to avoid nitpicking. I find it to be more detrimental than helpful, and that's never my purpose.

Thanks for your thoughts.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 20, 2021:

An excellent Mail Bag again, Bill. I was late so surprised to find it on my feed. I hope you are having a wonderful and relaxing break away at your friend's beach house.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 19, 2021:

Bill, this is an excellent article, and reading it one can learn a lot of things. To write a mystery book is an art and that is beautifully brought out by you. Grammar? yes, you cant do away with it. there is a subtle difference in English between England and the USA.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 19, 2021:

That I agree. Really true.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 19, 2021:

I'm glad that you and Bev had an enjoyable weekend. A change in scenery can be very refreshing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 19, 2021:

Thanks Bill for the read.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 19, 2021:

Hey Bill. On vacation in Wyoming but trying to read and comment. Too much dialogue in writing is distracting like watching a tennis game. Back and forth, back and forth.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 19, 2021:

I'm glad to find you on my feed as you never know.Doctor appts. interfere with my computer time. OLO

I am glad you and Bev had such a good weekend. It is always nice to get away.

The questions today were interesting. Rodric is becoming a very good writer, so I am glad he is asking those type of questions. Your answers are always great. Have a good week, Bill.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2021:

My parents owned several different types of travel trailers. My husband and I met them once in a Texas park and shared a great weekend. The advantage of having everything you need with you is a perk. You can also stay in locations where there are no nearby lodgings. That is also advantageous if you wish to be surrounded by natural scenery.

I say go for it if you find a good deal on a used one. Just think of the places you, Bev, and the dogs will share! So happy for you that you experienced your beach getaway!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you for those kind words, Denise. I don't worry too much about grammar anymore. I figure I do the best I can, it reads out loud fine, and people seem to understand me. That's good enough for me.

We did have a very nice weekend, and we are planning more getaways, so we have that to look forward to.

Blessings always, my friend, and thank you!

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on July 19, 2021:

Rules of grammar are admirable if you're an essay or text book writer. When it comes to creative writing I wouldn't recommend throwing the rules out altogether but some relaxation of the rules is ! called for, to build up tension or to slow it down - "take your foot off the gas" is a metaphor I've seen somewhere. It's been that long since I sat in class or in an exam hall - just under 57 years - that I might've tossed it out with the babies' bath water. I've written seven books and any number of pages on here and never been told, "Oi! You've put a comma too many on here ..." I have pulled somebody up on their use of 'whisky' as opposed to 'whiskey' (the first is Irish or American, the second is Scots'). If somebody's grammar on here is 'up the creek' I'll ascribe it to them being from either across the Pond or complete outsider. I'll still read what they've written and (maybe) pull them up about factual fairytales.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Commas, Sha, are tough. Proper use of them doesn't always read well, if you get what I'm saying. I just go with the flow and hope the reader flows with me. lol

We were watching videos about travel trailers last night. We are really enjoying these getaways.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Mr. Happy, that's a fascinating fact about the child with parents who attended college. I had no idea, but it does make sense.

I'm big on commas. Probably too big! I always have to go back and eliminate a few on my first edit. I like them too much. lol

Never seen an ocean? I have to remind myself, from time to time, that there are people who have never seen the things I take for granted. When I lived in Vermont, there were people there who had never seen a 14,000 foot mountain like we have here, and others who hadn't seen the ocean. They couldn't fathom that we had both in one state.

Happy Monday to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Bill! It was nice walking on the beach and the dunes, but it's just not the same for me. I love the mystery of the mountains, the changing scenery. I'm just a mountain man at heart.

Have a great week, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Rosina! I do have another short story to share, but it won't happen until next week. I'll try not to disappoint with it. Happy Monday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Exactly, Manatita. Give me flow any old time. It's necessary, and I find it is very difficult to teach to others. Thus, the gift controversary. Some people have an innate sense of flow. Some never will.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Peg! Oh, I have a lot of ideas about stories. What I don't have a lot of is time, I'm afraid. I think I started writing too late in life. A lot of future stories will never be published, I'm afraid.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thanks, Linda! It's not that I'm anti-ocean; it's just that I'm pro-mountains. lol And I like the Oregon coast a lot more than the Washington coast. Still, this was a nice weekend of no responsibilities.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Dora! I break the grammar rules quite often when writing fiction. I just have to go with what feels right for me and hope the reader can figure it all out.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I appreciate you always stopping by. For sure, the short trip was relaxing.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 19, 2021:

I have to agree that I don't believe in perfect either. Excellent maybe, but not perfect. I used to think I was pretty adept at grammar and things like commas but the rules have changed recently (within the last 10 years). Where there was an "and" you used to not need a comma but now all the grammar programs like Grammarly, insist on putting one in and HubPages edits will too. Things change so don't trust what you used to know. It will probably change tomorrow.

I have no questions but I love reading the answers. You always have something amusing, entertaining, or educational to say. I wouldn't miss it. I'm glad you got to get away and have a relaxing time.

Blessings,

Denise

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 19, 2021:

I'm glad you and Bev had a nice little getaway and that you're giving yourselves more quality time together away from responsibilities and the homestead. A change of scenery does wonders for the soul.

With respect to Mr. Happy's grammar question, I think the commas he is wondering about are correctly placed. In the first instance, the commas are depicting a list, so to speak. In the second instance, the comma is offering a pause, as you suggested. Otherwise the sentence would be too long.

One comma I find inappropriate is in the first sentence. "Pinker is a respected professor of psychology at Harvard, a few would accuse him of pulling his punches or yielding to thought leadership's temptations."

To me, the comma between "Harvard" and "a" should either be a period or a semicolon.

Interesting mailbag, Bill. Glad I was able to come in under the radar!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 19, 2021:

"I’m not a big fan of the ocean." - I have never seen an Ocean but I do love Water so, I cannot see why I would not be a big fan. I am amazed even by these giant lakes we have here in Canada. Oceans I imagine would be much more impressive, in their grandeur.

"I never forget that you wrote that a lazy writer uses the same words more than once in a sentence." - Here's something interesting: a child who grows-up in a family where both parents attended a college, or university, will by the age of ten, know roughly 40,000 more words than a kid that grows up in a family in which the parents have just high-school education. It's not just about lazy. It's about up-bringing too. That matters.

“When is there too much dialogue in a novel or short story? - Never too much dialogue!! Haha!! When I was a kid, like eight-nine, I would just read the dialogue in books. I would flip pages and if I saw no dialogue, I immediately claimed that the book wasn't worth it. I am still very much like that with stories: I want dialogue!! If not, I'll just read an essay, in which You can tell me all that You are thinking about. Extremes - I am a creature of extremes. : )

"Just like none of us want to hang out with a person who talks too much" - If You got that Latin heritage in You, there is no thing as "talking too much". We talk, talk and talk some more; with the hands too - the hands also talk. Haha!!

I'm goofin' around but why not? Thanks for your opinion on that comma. I almost find it a matter of preference and not so much of rules. Interesting that You would have used commas there too. Thank You - I appreciate it!

Have a fun week ahead!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 19, 2021:

I’m with you, Bill. Give me the mountains any day over the beach. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sound of the ocean, but the scenery never changes much.

Grammar was never my thing so I struggle with it. I abide to the feel of flow and comfort, if that makes sense. Glad you enjoyed the trip to the coast, have a great week.

Rosina S Khan on July 19, 2021:

Nice to go through your mailbag, as always, helping us to learn new stuff all the time.

I am glad you and Bev and the dogs enjoyed the short weekend trip. I am looking forward to reading more of your short stories.

Happy Monday, Bill. Wish you a great start to the week.

manatita44 from london on July 19, 2021:

Excellent! You're having more fun these days! Sweet! Lovely question and answer from you to Mary. Creative Writers have an additional 'sense.' A 'gift', yes. You may even have noticed that sometimes my prose flow like poetry, because something sends me into this zone.

I like your responses about Grammar. For you and I, flow is more important. Grammar is a must, but at times there's a necessity to bend the rules for better delivery or other reasons. Ask Shakespeare and Dickinson, Twain or even King. Sweet!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 19, 2021:

Nice that you and Bev had a relaxing getaway. Outings seems to bring new thoughts with the different surroundings and sometimes even inspires a story or two. I like what you shared about dialogue in a story or novel.

Good advice all around.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 19, 2021:

Bill, it's good to know you're back safe. I'm with Bev on this one. The mountains are beautiful, but give me that roar of the ocean and the smell of the salt air and I'm a happy (and relaxed) gal.

Good questions on writing this week. You've really got Rodric thinking, and that's good. The grammar question contained a glaring error that neither of you picked up on--the dreaded comma splice. Ohmygoodness, I hate run on sentences.

Have a great week my friend. I'll try to come up with a question for you.

Dora Weithers on July 19, 2021:

Good Morning, Bill. Have all the fun you possibly can. You and Bev deserve it. The dogs too.

I like your answer to the grammar question. Sometimes the rule just doesn't work for a comfortable read. If it's uncomfortable for the writer, it may be for reader too. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 19, 2021:

Hello Bill!

Good to know that you enjoyed your short weekend trip, along with Bev. These short trips are good for rejuvenation and relaxation.

Your answers to the fellow writer’s questions are very helpful, with special reference to dialogue, and mystery writing.

Thank you for sharing your expertise. Wish you all the best.

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