Author Bob Hostetler

My Favorite Blog Comments

If you’re reading these words, you’re probably aware of the richly informative and entertaining blog posts the agents of the Steve Laube Agency post daily (Monday-Friday). I’m constantly amazed by the wealth of free and valuable information my colleagues share (and I pitch in every Wednesday with some drivel of my own).

As helpful as I try to be in my posts, it’s consistently the comments that make reading the blog every day so worthwhile. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to mention just a few of my favorite comments on my blog posts so far this year.

For example, in a January 9 post titled, “One Agent’s Rearview Mirror,” I rejoiced in (among other things) having donated blood six times in the previous year. Joey Rudder commented,

It may sound strange (at least until I explain), but thank you. Thank you for donating blood six times. It will be fourteen years ago this month that my husband and I rushed back to the hospital when I began hemorrhaging a week after our daughter was born. I will never forget the fear, the possibility of not being here to watch her grow up.

She will be fourteen soon. I have thousands of memories stashed in my heart with more coming every day, and I thank God for every one of them.

So again, to you, Bob, and everyone who donates blood – a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” and God bless you for the powerful difference you’re making.

Back in February, I posted twice on the subject of “writing playlists,” the music different writers find helpful to listen to (or not) as they write. I cribbed a whole new repertoire of writing and editing playlists for my own use. Thanks, everyone!

My post, “Write for Narcissists,” occasioned this comment from Linda Riggs Mayfield, recalling a conference appointment with my former colleague, Dan Balow:

Dan asked me WHY I wrote [my] historical novel series, and I was caught completely off guard. I hadn’t even thought about the why. I went into full teacher mode. I said I think there are things most people don’t know about history that they should that they would consider more palatable if it were embedded in fiction. That off-the-cuff answer was completely honest and very revealing. It was all about ME sharing what truths I thought readers should learn through my fiction. ZINGER! But fiction isn’t curriculum. I need to be thinking about what the reader already wants to know and meeting that need.

Thomas Womack commented on my post, “Break the Rules…On Purpose,” saying:

“In our writing, many of us will often put rules (instead of clear communication) in the driver’s seat, failing to realize that in many circumstances a conventional ‘rule’ will hinder clear communication instead of promoting it. I don’t think grammar can ever be a hard science, try as many like to make it so. It seems to be rather a living, breathing, changing thing, and perhaps the better we realize that, the better our writing will be. I suppose the real test is never ‘Did I follow the rules?’ but rather ‘Did I clearly communicate, without distracting or confusing the reader?'”

Carol Ashby, commenting on my “Using Someone Else’s Words (What is Fair Use?)” post, offered a helpful resource:

“You can find the publisher’s preferred format for copyright statements at the Blue Letter Bible. Search a verse in any version, click on the reference (chapter:verse) for one of the verses displayed, click on the Bibles tab, and 24 different translation choices will be offered. The copyright info is linked there for each translation.

Andrew Budek-Schmeisser is a faithful, skilled, and always-entertaining commenter, who writes his responses in sonnet form. Commenting on my post, “Recent Questions I’ve Been Asked,” Andrew wrote,

To get name recognition,

just change a single word;

thus, to the world I’ve given

‘Tequila Mockingbird’.

This does sometimes raise alarums,

and purists sheik, “You’ve sinned!”

when they see my work on orange farms

which I call ‘Gone With The Rind’.

I’m really very grateful,

that titles own no rights,

allowing my delightful

ode to parents, “Mothering Heights”.

And for an aquatic path through strife,

come read my ‘Porpoise-Driven Life’.

And, finally, the best comments are those between blog readers, as they offer encouragement, even prayer support, to each other–not only in their writing pursuits but in health matters and life struggles. Those are by far my all-time favorites.

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New Words for a New World

The good folks who produce The Merriam-Webster Dictionary recently announced the addition of 640 new words to the newest edition. Words like “go-cup” (a beverage cup to take out of the restaurant), “bioabsorbable” (a substance that can be absorbed by living tissue), and “on-brand” (consistent with a particular public image …

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Recent Questions I’ve Been Asked

Since becoming a literary agent, I’ve been fairly impressed with myself. It became obvious, almost immediately, that (judging from people’s respect for and faith in me) my IQ climbed 20-30 points and my expertise tripled once I began accepting clients. So, as you might imagine, I field quite a few …

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Rewrite is Constant

Whether you’re a published or unpublished writer, aspiring or “arrived” (as if), you have probably discovered one of the foibles of the writing life: Rewrite is constant. You can’t escape it. In fact, unless you’re a brand new writer, you probably can’t help but edit and rewrite repeatedly and reflexively …

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Details Are Great Except When They’re Not

One attribute of good writers is an eye for detail. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, relating relevant and memorable details can make your writing sing like a soprano at the opera. Like Nero Wolfe’s love for the Phalaenopsis Aphrodite orchid or Wendell Berry’s onomatopoeic depiction of the “good, good, …

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Break the Rules…On Purpose

As a rule, writers should have a good grasp of the rules. Rules of grammar. Style. Usage. And the fundamental rule that you never walk the out man. Oh, wait, that’s baseball. It’s a good rule, though. As a writer and an editor, I like the rules. Most of the …

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Write for Narcissists

Every reader is a narcissist. Hold on, there. Don’t get all mad and sassy yet. Let me explain I often tell developing writers, “No one reads about other people; we read only about ourselves.” Go ahead and quote me, just be sure to give me credit and send me the …

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