Write to the Heart of Your Reader

15 Nov

003I’m writing this on Veteran’s Day.

Naturally, my thoughts go to my dad today.

Dale Leroy Holland died three days short of this fiftieth birthday back in 1969.  I was twenty at the time, and I held him as a heart attack took him from me.

He was in the U.S. Army from 1941 to the end of the war in 1945, and he served in six campaigns in Italy during that time, including Sicily, Anzio, and Rome.

And that’s pretty much all he ever said about the war.  He simply would not speak of it, and in not speaking about it he managed to make a very loud and powerful statement about war.

Thank you, Dad!


“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince


I love that quote and I love the message it says to writers.bills%20pic%202%20001

Writing should be an emotional undertaking.  Writing should grab you, shake you, and never release you.  Writing should be visceral in nature, forcing the reader to feel with all of his senses, and when the reading is done, to reflect upon it, savor it, and hope for more.

I am reminded of that when I think of my dad and his military career.  The mere fact that he wouldn’t speak of the horrors of war perfectly described, in my mind, the horrors of war.  By not speaking he said volumes.  By not speaking he forced my mind, and my heart, to grasp what he had experienced.

I hope, one day, to be able to write that powerfully.


Someone asked me in a recent Mailbag if I knew of any good editing programs.  I don’t use one myself, but Consumer Reports and a couple other rating services rate WhiteSmoke the best of the best.

Just in case you were interested, and you have an extra $300 to spend.


Writer’s Digest has a fun little writing prompt/exercise every Friday on Twitter.  I’ll let them tell you about it and then you can check it out this Friday if interested:

About #StoryFriday

#StoryFriday is a fun, collaborative process that takes place every Friday on Twitter and is hosted by Writer’s Digest‘s Online Editor Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems).

How it works:
We write the first line on Twitter, then someone adds next line on Twitter and so on. When you contribute a line to the story, place #storyfriday at the end of your tweet (i.e., He was leaving on a jet plane and never coming back. #storyfriday) so everyone can read it and follow along. To read past stories, visit the #StoryFriday Archive below.

Start time:
Around 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, Brian will post a new prompt through @WriterDigest with the #storyfridayhashtag.

And there you go!


Have I mentioned the poetry form “Tricube?” If not, let’s do it now. If I have mentioned it before, sorry about the repetition.

A Tricube is a mathematical poem made up of three syllables per line x three lines per stanza x three stanzas per poem.

Here’s an example from Tracy Davidson in a poem called “Finished.”

I put down

The gold pen

She bought me


My fingers

And eyes strained

With fatigue


At last, her


Is finished.


Try it, you just might like it!


As I’ve said before, Christmas is coming, and as I’ve also said before, wouldn’t it be nice if all writers out there bought books by indie writers for Christmas presents? Well I, for one, think it’s a lovely idea.

So there’s on such book to consider:  “Whimsical Cute Animals” coloring book by my friend Sannel Larson.  This is such a great gift for any child or an adult with a child’s heart. Seriously, please consider buying this over the holidays and, in so doing, supporting a very talented and nice human being.


Hang in there!  Your notoriety and fame is right around the corner.  Look, up ahead…can you see it?

I hope so!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



26 Responses to “Write to the Heart of Your Reader”

  1. Janine Huldie at 4:21 pm #

    Bill, love the nod to your dad and I can’t help, but think of my grandfather on Veteran’s Day, who served during WWII, as well. And you are right what is in our hearts may be invisible to others, but is always there for us. Happy Tuesday now once again!!

    • Billybuc at 4:54 pm #

      That was beautiful, Janine. Thanks for sharing that, dear friend.

  2. Lawrence Hebb at 9:15 pm #

    ‘Notoriety might be around the corner, but fame may be a little ways off!’
    Really enjoyed this post.

    • Billybuc at 3:23 am #

      Thank you Lawrence. I’m pretty sure fame is very, very far off, my friend.

  3. Lea Tartanian at 9:30 pm #

    Bill I loved this so much I printed it out to keep with my writing journal. I love your statement that writing should grab you, shake you, and never release you! You are my writing role model. Your energy is a gigantic inspiration to me. God bless, Lea T.

    • Billybuc at 3:24 am #

      Lea, thank you dear friend. If I inspire then I’m one happy writer. Blessings always.

  4. Christy B at 11:54 pm #

    How nice to learn about “Tricube” – you had one up on me there as I hadn’t heard of it, Bill! As for your tribute to your father, so well done, my friend. He would be proud of you with your writing career and how you are guiding other writers xx

    • Billybuc at 3:24 am #

      Thank you Christy! It’s hard for me to say what my dad’s reaction would be. He wasn’t one for the Arts, but he was always proud of me so yes, probably, he would have approved.

  5. marlenebertrand at 1:34 am #

    Beautiful tribute to your father, Bill.

    By the way, I totally savor the stories and books that you write. I have settled into script writing versus short stories and novels, nevertheless I learn a lot from you – about being a person – about being a writer. I enjoy all that you do to help us. Thank you.

    • Billybuc at 3:25 am #

      Marlene, that is such a kind thing for you to say. Seriously, thank you, and blessings to you always.

  6. Cynthia at 2:44 am #

    Awesome thoughts, Big Bro! I think it’s great to support Indie writers. 🙂 I really like the Little Prince quote, too. So true! I hope you’ve had a wonderful day!

    • Billybuc at 3:26 am #

      Thank you Lil Sis! I just think we all need to do our part in supporting each other. Some days, we are all we’ve got. 🙂

  7. Michael Milec at 3:01 am #

    Interesting introductioin. Certainly, one can say that the rmemories of the fathers are more alive as we gaining in years. Some experiences of their lives though not told, we obtain them transmitted in the spirit because we are united by endless love … Is not that true, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Yes, it is and I do understand you well my friend.
    Blessing and peace

    • Billybuc at 3:27 am #

      I know you do, Michael my friend, and yes, it is true, united in endless love!

      Pax vobiscum

  8. suziehq at 8:44 am #

    What a beautiful nod to your dad Bill, sometimes as you rightly say lack of words speaks volumes. Very interesting post this week my friend, have a great week and weekend, any markets this week? Enjoy whatever you are doing xxxx

    • Billybuc at 2:41 pm #

      Thank you Irish and no, no markets. They are all done until April, I’m afraid. I could do some holiday bazaars but I think I’ll concentrate on the writing this winter.

  9. irinadim at 10:37 am #

    Bill, that quote from The Little Prince is one of my favourite quotes. And what you say about writing is so true. .. My dad also didn’t speak about his POW time in Germany until much later in his life. I think they just wanted to enjoy life again away from those horrible memories. Great post! Cheers Irina

    • Billybuc at 2:42 pm #

      Irinadim, very true about our dads. The further they could push away from that war experience the better.

      Thank you!

  10. Jo Miller at 11:21 am #

    Thanks for the tip about the editing program. I really appreciated it, and also loved your tribute to your Dad.

    • Billybuc at 2:42 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jo, and I’m glad that tip helped you.

  11. phoenix2327 at 11:26 am #

    Let’s see $300 converts to £240…nope still too pricey. I just stick to grammarly.com and my own common sense. 🙂

    So for a writer to make his reader feel the experience, the writer needs to live those experiences first, then write about them. I need to live a little more.

    • Billybuc at 2:43 pm #

      Mostly I agree with that, although I’ve written about war before, fairly-convincingly, and never been in one…but as a general rule, I do believe that to be true, Zulma.

      • phoenix2327 at 9:54 am #

        I may be splitting hairs here, but I believe you’ve written about the effects of war on the human spirit. You don’t need to have fought in a war to write about the devastation that can cause to the psyche. And I also believe you write more than fairly convincingly. You move us with you well-crafted prose. Enjoy your day. 🙂

      • Billybuc at 2:41 pm #

        Split hairs all you want, Zulma. I do believe you reached the core of my message. 🙂

  12. Shauna L Bowling at 5:36 pm #

    Nice tribute to your dad, Bill. I made sure I sent a heart-felt message to mine on Veterans Day. He was a fighter pilot, flew in Nam and made a career of the Air Force. Since he’s three hours behind me, my message was the first thing he saw when he awakened. He told me it warmed his heart. That was my intent.

    • Billybuc at 7:09 pm #

      Very nice, Sha, and so important to do. Thanks for sharing that, dear friend.

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