Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

Insights navigation:

[ Insights ]

RSS feed

Don Williams comments

Sometimes the hardest part is letting go (sob-sob)
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   08/08/2003)

Yesterday I finished writing a novel I've worked on for years. Whether it'll ever be published or not is another story. I'm learning that crafting a cover letter can resemble the following:

Dear Scribbler Brothers,

Last night I put finishing touches on a novel I've spent many years writing. It is a dark account of betrayal and deceit against a backdrop of violence, corruption and sexual intrigues among members of a large East Tennessee clan who are mostly Baptists...

(Note to self: That won't work).

Dear Scribbler Brothers,

I finished writing a book last night based on events that actually never happened. This is a work of fiction...

(Too excessively redundant.)

Dear Screwball Brothers,

I wonder if I might interest you in the novel I spent the last several years writing. It probably isn't very good, so don't feel you have to answer right away, but when you get a chance I wonder if you might...

(Humble, too humble. Double-check brothers' names)

Dear Scribbler Brothers,

Here is my novel. It is awesome. If you don't publish it I will fly to New York and personally kick your...

(Too aggressive? Get second opinion)

Dear Scribbler Brothers,

Last night, I finished a manuscript I've spent years writing. It is a dark and stormy novel...

(Never mind.)

Dear Scribbler Bros.,

The following novel is based on real events involving real people. However, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental...

(Double-check legalese.)

Dear Scribbler Bras,

I just finished the novel I've spent years writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and...

(Get over it.)

Dear Scribblers,

I've spent several years writing the enclosed novel. It has been a very interesting experience. I have come to know these characters, the Stoneciphers, as well as my own family, as I have spent many days and nights shaping them. I so appreciate the sacrifices my family has made on my behalf. They have been so supportive through the years. I sent a copy of this to my kids at the reformatory and they were impressed. I feel I know my heroine as well as my own wife... whats-er-name...

(Ask wife what her name is.)

Dear Scrabble Brothers,

I wonder if you'd be interested in publishing the enclosed novel. Last night I managed to kill off Rev. Thomas Hamby, the villain, and coerced Silas Joe and Mary Jane to make love and bring the story to a climax. However, I'm afraid if I wait much longer to get this published they will break up again and Silas' good friend, Lige, will make a pass at Mary Jane and start causing trouble in my computer, as they are completely without discipline. Sometimes late at night I hear them in there brawling and fussing and carrying on as if demon-possessed. They sound like my in-laws. Please take them off my hands...

(That's plain weird.)

Dear Scribbler Brothers,

My name is Don Williams...

(Too common.)

Dear Scribes,

My name is Lance Lovecraft Faulkner and I've written this epic novel. It's about a country music singer who journeys home to the Smoky Mountains to confront his evil father, who is really good at heart, as it turns out, and a mother who, beneath her veneer of icy reserve, actually loves him. Then there is sweet Mary Jane whom he kidnaps, erroneously thinking she's his half-sister, in order to gain vengeance on his father, and so Mary's mother, Ashley Rose, goes ballistic and torches the countryside in her fury to get her daughter back--I draw on the Greek legend of Persephone and Demeter. When they're reunited the scene is so touching it brings me to tears every time I read it. I've spent many years carefully breathing life into these characters and shaping their destinies and--and--I won't let you have them! Not at any price. Forget about it. They're mine, all mine! Without them life has no meaning...

Sigh (Try again tomorrow.)