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Blog by Ron More on How I Wrote Perished

Perished:The World That Was

I wrote previously on the subject of How I Wrote Perished. In that blog I covered how I was inspired and about Research. Today I take a deeper dive into how that book came to fruition.

I had the facts, and I was able to recreate the world prior to the Flood based on those facts. Plus, I talked referred to grammar and editing. Since grammar really comes under editing, I want to spend some time on Self-Editing versus a Professional Editor.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a free video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos is Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Professional Editing

There is little doubt that if you can afford it, having your book professionally edited is the best way to go. The problem is that few authors can afford professional editors. Here are some reasons why you would not use a professional editor:

Cost. This is the biggest reason. This is the professional editor’s business and he or she is not likely to give away their skills. Again, if you can afford one, then go ahead and look for editors that give good value for the buck.

Restrictions.

Some editors, not all, insist that you abide by their rules and decisions. For instance, publishers, including self-publishers have editing departments. These involve a fee and, in my experience, require adherence to their decisions. I ran into this in my first book, and since I didn’t want them to say I couldn’t use the King James Bible or some other feature of my book, I chose to self-edit.

While the arguments against self-editing are valid, they are not absolute. It simply means you will have to work harder. It comes down to choice.

How hard is it?

I found it extremely hard. One of the arguments against self-editing is that the author is married to the work. The author is the author. Rather basic, but that means you may overlook errors.

For example, you may have used the word ‘there’ instead of ‘their’. Both are legitimate words, but have totally different meanings. You as the author will have the tendency to supply the correct word though the wrong word is used. We don’t like to admit that, but it is a blindness that we have to our own work.

That was a simplistic example, but it is one I have made more times that I care to admit.

How do you correct that?

The only way I know how to correct that is to really focus on the reading. Errors like the one above are not found by grammar checkers. It requires reading and understanding the context. So, I have to take my time and read the text slowly.

Another aid is the use of beta readers. They will spot your errors a lot easier than you and they are less expensive. Remember, when using Beta Readers or any other aide that this is your book. If you are an Indie Author, then you are taking responsibility for all aspects of writing of the book. It is your book and you have the final say.

But the key here is hard work. You are taking on a serious responsibility and that means focus, focus, and focus. And it will likely take multiple edits.

When I started out editing my own books, I soon learned how fallible I am. Whether I used readers or my own efforts, I still made mistakes. This taught me the value of multiple edits. And I might add, different types of edits.

Different Types?

Yes. I have reviewed my work looking for grammar mistakes. I have also reviewed my work looking for spelling errors. I make extensive use of Microsoft Word’s Spelling & Grammar checker. But when using such tools, it is always wise to remember the context. You don’t want your character to sound like an English professor unless the character is an English professor.

I want my characters to sound normal. So, I allow and purposely put in wrong grammar in a character’s spoken word (surrounded by “”) and their thoughts (which I use italics to indicate).

Are my books perfect? Doubtful. But neither are other authors. I have read masterpieces and I have always found errors. Few and far between, but there are errors.

Your goal is not perfection, but a book that is as error free as you can make it.

I have mentioned being an Indie Author. I will discuss this in greater detail in a future blog, but I am a fan of Indie Author, or more accurately, Indie Businessperson. There are pros and cons on the subject, but for me the pros outweigh any of the cons.

So, briefly, there are traditional authors, self-publishing authors, and Indie authors. A traditional author follows the traditional route: write the book, get an agent, and get a traditional publisher. This is still the choice of some authors, but there are some major obstacles which I won’t cover here.

Self-Publishing is a misnomer. The name attracted me, and my first book was self-published. But it is really more of a vanity press than anything else. It cost me $400 for the package and now the cost is double or more. It is, in my opinion, better than traditional publishing, but you the author still don’t have control.

The Indie Publisher is in control of the writing, editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing of the book. As the publisher you could hire out the marketing aspect if you want. The key is that you are the boss, and you are responsible.

The choice is yours. We publish a Guide to Writing which covers the basics in writing, publishing, and marketing. The link takes you to the bookstore.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Tess Research and Preparation

Teresa (Tess) Riddle

Today, I would like to talk about the research and preparation I had to do before writing the first page of my book.

I already knew that I wanted to write a mystery book that was fictional.  I already had an idea of how the story would go.

Back in the day, in the neighborhood that I grew up in, there was a certain house that always looked creepy to my friends and I. Rumors were always going around that if you visited the family who lived there, don’t let them take you down into the basement. We were always careful when we went to that house on Halloween night. One time, when the people weren’t home, a couple of the neighborhood boys went inside and had a look around. Back then, people didn’t lock their doors.

That’s where I got the idea about writing a mystery about an old house from.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a free video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos is Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Next, I had to come up with a fictional name for the town in which the mystery would take place. That was hard. It seemed like every name I thought of, and checked out on the internet, existed somewhere in the world.

I had a hard time coming up with a name, but finally decided on one that already existed. Since the book would be fictional, I decided I wouldn’t mention a state that the town was located in. That seemed to work out well for me.  

Once I came up with a town name, I had other questions that needed answered. What kind of business places would the town have that I wanted to include in a story? Would the town have a recreational area/park where people could go camping, fishing, swimming, go boating, canoeing, etc.?

I had to draw out a map with street names, and decide which business or place would go on each street.  I also had to decide where the elementary school, junior high school, and high school would be located.

Would the town have a police department or sheriff’s department? How many people would work there? What would be the pecking order be? I also had to come up with names of officers and what their position in the department would be.

I had to decide how the layout of the police station/sheriff department would be inside. Where would the jail and courthouse be located?

Once I got all of that decided, I had to do more research on coming up with names for my characters. I decided that two families would be the main characters in my book. The first family consisting of a dad, a mother, twin sons, and a daughter. The second family would consist of a dad, a mother, a son, and a daughter.

In choosing first and last names for the characters in my book, I had to be careful that I didn’t use the names of actual people that I knew, or had known. I didn’t want them or a family member coming to me and asking why I had used their or a family member’s name in the book.  

 Because I was writing a fiction book, I could make up names of people. 

I also came up with names for the people who had owned the old house that my story would be about. There would also be three troublemakers who were in town.  I had to come up with names for them

I also had to give names to the people who own different businesses around town.

I’d make up a name for other characters, as they were added to my story.

Once I had the names of my characters I needed, I started writing out an outline of how the story would go in each chapter.

 Once I got a basic outline of each chapter written out, I had to set up the format for my document (margins, font, writing style, etc.) before I could start writing the book on the computer.

There are many other decisions to make when writing a book, but I covered most of the basic research you need to do when writing a fiction mystery book. 

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/Tessriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron: How I Wrote Perished

R. Frederick Riddle image

How I Wrote Perished is not just about my writing, but I have included ideas that you might emulate. It all started with inspiration.

INSPIRATION

My history prior to the writing of Perished: The World That Was takes you all the way back to my childhood. Looking back, I have always had a lively imagination. As a child I would daydream of heroic stories in which I played the hero. These were typical childhood fantasies, but I guess I never grew up. It is a fact that to this day my imagination works overtime.

As a teen, I realized I wanted to write stories and as a young adult I actually signed up for a writing course which I eventually dropped for lack of money. But I had the bug and never quite quit writing.

I also loved reading books, so I read a lot of books. I occasionally tried to write a novel but even if I got to the point of developing a plot and working on a novel it eventually ended. I would hit the proverbial wall which I didn’t know how to get around. So, the novel was stopped and eventually ended in the trash. This was not necessarily a bad thing since these attempts can best be described as terrible.

At the age of 30, I received Christ as my Savior. In an instant I went from a man destined for Hell and became a child of God. Some people mistakenly say that all are children of God, but what they really should say is that all are created by God. When I received Christ, my destiny was changed and I became a child of God, a member of the family of God.

But asking Christ to save me didn’t just change my eternal welfare. The Bible teaches that many other things took place then as well. I already had the desire to write, but I believe that God also changed my approach to writing and gifted me. But I was unaware of that. At the time I still couldn’t put together an entire story. I would get so far and then hit that wall. But God was working on me.

From that time onward God worked in my life changing me. My worldview was brought into agreement with the Bible. As I studied the Bible, I began growing spiritually. I not only attended church but began having daily devotions.

But in 2000 everything changed!

Up to that time, I had written poetry (it won my wife) and computer programs (amateur) that helped my employer. None of these completely satisfied, but they kept my fires burning. I even dabbled in the hobby of building a model train with a village that became the center of another novel. But it also came to an end.

Then on one day in the year 2000, I was doing my morning devotions. My habit was to read a chapter a day until I’ve read the Bible through. It usually took a couple of years, then I started over. (I still try reading a chapter a day, but now my wife and I do devotions together, which has taken first place.) On this particular day, I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Ark. And the inspiration hit!

I thought, This only covers the basics! There’s a story untold and I can tell it.

From that moment of inspiration, I knew what I wanted to write. But there was something else. I took this in prayer to the Lord and I was given a certainty about writing that I had never experienced before. I could never prove it, but I now knew it was God’s calling on my life.

As a side note, let me say that such a realization changes your life and your approach to whatever you were called to do. Other changes will take time, but the call to write was instantaneous!

Soon, I was busy writing my first book, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles (no longer available). The book was published by AuthorHouse, and it was good enough that the president of a Christian university read it, complimented me, and encouraged me to continue writing. Such commendation was better than a published review because it undergirded my belief that God had both called and equipped me to write.

And it changed my life!

I not only continued writing but I eventually wrote the novel Perished which became the foundation for the series The World That Was which includes Perished, World of Noah and the Ark, World of Shem, World of Abraham, World of Jacob, and World of Joseph.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a free video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos is Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

I didn’t just start writing as soon as I was inspired. Instead, I began what some authors might consider a dirty word: Research.

But it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:

To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark). To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).

But how did I get the facts?

There are a number of ways.

Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible). Read history books. Do a deep internet search. Use logic based on historical facts.

If you are writing about the Bible, it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished, I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis, but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That requires a great deal of time and effort.

The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.

The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search, I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources.

But a word of caution.

While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some sites are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So, you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.

But it is the fourth item, I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate, it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Savior and that Christ is that Savior. So, it only relates the historical facts needed to convict us of our need for salvation and spiritual growth.

When writing Perished, I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together, try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.

So, I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.

So how did I resolve this issue?

Let me give you a challenge. Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:

Government, Arts, Industry, Warfare, and more.

I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead, there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know as the Flood. We arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?

We are speaking of a 300-to-500-year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world, then everything falls into place!

And that opens up a window into the past!

It occurred to me that if I look closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood, I have a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.

When studying the ancient past prior to the Flood, we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And, thereby, I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.

Which is what research is all about. Most of the time, research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel, they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate and true.

When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812 and was centered on the brother of an ancestor, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada, I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – history, deep internet research, and logic.

Is it worth it?

By far most readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was the inclusion of facts which brought the story alive. I include such things as the clothing worn, the preparation of food, the food itself, and much more. All of which helps enliven the story. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!

Research is just one aspect of writing, but yes, it is worth it. If you are in the ministry as a pastor, Sunday School teacher, or similar ministry, then you already know how to research. And you probably know that you learn more about the subject than you can ever relate. I learned that as a Sunday School teacher and that has helped me as a writer.

I have covered inspiration and research. But writing also includes learning the rules of grammar, editing, and so much more. These are topics I plan to cover in future blogs. But here are a few hints.

If you self-edit your book, then that requires multiple edits. You have to overcome the fact that you know what you wrote or intended to write, and your brain will tend to gloss over errors. That means intensifying your reading! Please, don’t think it must be perfect. No book, other than the Bible, has ever attained that level. Every writer is a human, and we make mistakes. And if you do make mistakes, I can show you how to easily correct them.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email. And if you like my blog, why not subscribe? The button is in the sidebar on the right. Type in your email, click on Subscribe, and you’re done.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron: Writing Bible-Based Novels

R. Frederick Riddle image

Those of you who follow me are aware I write Bible-based novels . Perhaps you are interested in doing the same.

Writing Bible-based novels is how I became an author. I had struggled for years trying to write a novel. Usually they were secular in nature, but one thing they all had in common was that I would get so far into the story and then writer’s block. I was stopped and eventually set the story aside.

But in the year 2000 I was reading the Bible account of Noah and the Flood. And suddenly God opened my eyes. The Biblical account didn’t give a lot of detail. Instead, God provided just enough detail to acquaint the reader with the fact that man had become corrupted and He was going to destroy the world and begin again with Noah. To know our sinfulness and our need for a Savior, these facts were more than enough.

But I saw the possibility of a novel that would still bring that truth out and yet entertain. Thus began my writing career.

Writing a novel based on the Bible can be very successful or it can be very risky. All sorts of people have their own ideas about the Bible. You are not going to please everyone. But if the follow some simple guidelines you should be able to appeal to a fairly large audience. With that in mind here are a few guidelines.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos are Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

So, what are the guidelines?

  • Always assume the Bible is correct

You can really get messed up if you accept the popular myth that modern science knows better. Modern science can shed light upon the Bible but it can never contradict the Bible.

  • Do Your Diligent Research

This is a must.

The best method I have found is to use the Bible as a filter or better yet as a spotlight. Whenever you find a new ‘fact’ shine the Bible spotlight upon it. This will keep you from going astray. And look for little known facts. For example, in my series The World That Perished I studied the clothing, foods, industries, and weapons used in that era. Research should be paramount.

  • Work the Biblical Text into the Story

In other words, sometimes you take a direct quote of one or more verses and make them part of the story. If you use the KJV Bible, you will want your characters to use KJV language. I mixed the Old English and modern English together so that the characters could speak using both interchangeably.

  • Use Bible Characters

This is unavoidable but is also good. If your reader is familiar with the Bible, then there will be a common connection between your novel and the Bible.

  • If you can avoid conflicting characters do so

But you may run into more than one character with the same name. This creates a difficulty especially for readers who skip (I had a reviewer who skipped and thereby claimed I was inconsistent with my characters).

  • Use only one Bible version

You can use other versions to increase your own understanding, but only use one in the book. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing your reader. I use only KJV, because I believe it is the only accurate version. However, the choice is yours.

  • Don’t Be Preachy

That doesn’t mean not including the gospel nor does it mean not having sermons or other Christian statements. It means not being overbearing. It means the gospel, sermons, etc, should all fit within your story seamlessly!

As of this date, I have only had one reviewer pan one of my novels. I referred to him above. He skipped his way through the book, which is a major no/no for reviewers. Generally, I have received four-and-five star reviews. Why? Because I followed the above rules. And I made a conscious effort to pull the reader into the story.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. The website is still a work in progress, but you can save our website address or make use of our RSS feed: https://www.trbookservices.com/blog/feed/.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a change and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Tess: Why I became a Writer

Teresa (Tess) Riddle

I want to share with you a few reasons why I became a writer.

First reason for becoming an author.

I started reading books when I was in fourth grade because of the teacher I had. She loved reading books, and would read a portion of a book to us each day, after we had lunch. Her love for books rubbed off onto me. I started buying Nancy Drew books, Hardy Boys books, etc. to read.  

 In 9th grade, I took a “Book Reading” class.  The teacher of that class had a love for books. He had each of us pick books we wanted to read.  As we finished reading each of our books, we had to write a book report, plus do a little research on the author. That’s when I became interested in reading books that had something to do with history.

After the break, I will discuss this further.

We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos are Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected].

Check us out and get your career moving. Now back to the article.

I also had other teachers in 9th grade that loved to read, and who passed that love on to me. My English teacher had us read books and write a report on the book and the author.   In World History class, the teacher had us read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”.  In English Lit and American Lit both, there was a lot of reading involved.

In the 12th grade, in American Government class, we were required to read the constitution and memorize it.     

It was good that I had developed a love for reading. Otherwise, I would have been in trouble. In certain classes in junior high and high school both, reading books counted as ¼ of our semester grade.

The second reason:

When I took my college entrance exam in high school, there was a portion of the exam that included writing. We were given a few subjects to choose from to write about. Once we picked a subject, we had so much time in which to write a story based on that subject.  When the results from my college entrance exam came back, a school counselor sat down with me and went over the results. He said, “Teresa, in the writing area, you scored in the top ten percent of the nation. I really think you need to consider writing as a profession.”

I dismissed the idea and didn’t think about it anymore. I had my heart set on going to college and taking classes in the business/secretarial field.  Well, during my two years of college, I was required to take a few English classes: “Foundation of Communication One”, “Business Communications”, and “Business Letter Writing”. A lot of writing, plus creativity were in those classes.  I just couldn’t seem to get away from taking classes that involved learning how to think for myself when it came to writing.  

This third reason is really the main reason I started writing books. 

Several people I knew, and some I didn’t know very well, started complaining that more Christian writers were needed to write books.  It was getting harder to find good clean books to read that didn’t have swear words or dirty scenes in them.  It was also starting to get harder to find devotional books for women that used the King James Version Bible verses.

God started dealing with me about writing fiction books that didn’t have swearing or dirty scenes in them. After I wrote my first book and got it published, I started writing my second book. After doing research and started in on it, God spoke to me about putting that book aside and start writing Christian Devotional books for women.

That is what I am doing at present, writing a Christian Devotional book for women that contains KJV Bible scripture.  I hope to have that book published before Easter.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/tessriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Get new posts by email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron: New Blog

R. Frederick Riddle image

If you have been following my blog, you may readily see that in some ways this is a new blog. At the same time, it is an old blog that conveys to you information you can use as a Christian author.

If you are new then I hope you like this blog enough to follow me. And please use the the comments to let me know about yourself and your views.

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Blog by Ron: A Writer’s Job

R. Frederick Riddle image

What is a writer’s job? Before answering that, we need to see what it isn’t, or what constitutes bad writing.

Several years ago, I spoke at a meeting in a local library. The librarian knew I was an author and invited me to speak at one of the library sponsored meetings. The subject was a review of a book by a famous author (name intentionally withheld).

I didn’t know the author or her books, but I agreed to do the review. That was a major mistake, and as a warning I suggest you always know the who, what, where, and how, before you say ‘yes’.

I took a copy of the book with me and began reading it. It didn’t take long for me to discover that the book was filled with foul language and filthy sex. It was a struggle to read and very offensive. Finally, I went to the librarian and expressed my desire not to review the book.

I don’t remember our conversation word for word, but in the end, I decided to honor my commitment. That was one of the most difficult reviews I have ever done. It was a terrible book which I would never recommend.

But the plot was strong and could have easily stood on its own without the language and sex. The author had a good imagination, but somehow felt it necessary to include graphic sex and language, which made it a terrible book.

But it was a best seller!

How could I condemn a best seller as a bad book? And if my views were correct (they were), how come it was a best seller?

I will answer the second question first. It is simple: Sex sells! As does filthy language.

As for the first question, I said bad things about the book because they were true. Remember that it is not sex, violence, and swearing that makes a great book, but plot, believable story line, and strong characters.

Back to the meeting. In my review I condemned the book’s excess. One attendee, obviously a fan of the writer, objected. She claimed to know personally the author who she claimed was a great person. Which may be true, but I didn’t attack the author, only the book.

Like I said I never said a word against the author. I condemned the writing. And there is a difference between them. But the attendee then attacked me. There were others in the room who were split between us. Some agreed with me, others didn’t.

Was I wrong? No.

Since that meeting I have talked about writers not using profane language or excessive graphics. I also wrote in the blog about it. A reader responded by saying that I was imposing my religion on the readers.

That was not true. Long before I asked Jesus into my heart to save me, I knew that such writing was wrong. There was even a time I enjoyed that kind of literature, but I knew it was wrong.

Now I am a Christian and have the Bible as my guide. But whether a writer is a Christian or not is not the issue. Great writing uses the imagination of the reader.

After the break, I will discuss this further.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos are Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Some people might object to my statement that great writing uses the imagination of the reader, and point to the author’s sales as proof.

But sales don’t make a great writer, either.

Pornographic books about in our world and they sell. That only proves the depraved nature of mankind. Many people enjoy that sort of thing. But pornography in any format is not a great thing.

Neither is excessive violence. I use violence in my books along with sex. But I leave the imagination up to the reader. Putting swearing, graphic sex and violence in a book doesn’t make it more realistic. Contrary to the idea that all men and women swear, have illicit affairs, and are violent, there are many people out there who try to live their life and maintain a good reputation. Some of them are Christians, but there are many non-Christians who try to live moral lives.

A writer’s job is to stimulate the reader’s imagination, not replace it!

The reader’s imagination is important. It is one of the tools we writers have at our disposal. One of our goals is to stir that imagination to the point where the reader identifies with one or more characters and gets involved in the plot to the extent he or she can picture it.

You’ve heard the term, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, but the reverse is true also, ‘a thousand words paints a picture’. A painter: that is what I see a writer as. We are painting with words.

So, how should a writer paint?

Put another way, how do you the author show passionate characters and/or events without crossing the line?

Believe it or not, there was a time when authors solved this dilemma. In the case of language, they simply used symbols, such as, #[email protected]&%*! And these are called grawlixes. Odd word, but I looked it up and that’s what they are called.

There are a lot of reasons and uses for grawlixes from extreme curses to any swear word at all. It is up to the author. While in today’s world the use of grawlixes is hardly used, I think Christian authors should use them. Sometimes, you want your character to respond emotionally. For instance, a man smashes his finger with a hammer. That suggests a strong word, maybe a curse. Then use a grawlixes and let the reader’s imagination fill in the word.

In the case of violence, you can write a violent scene without all the blood and guts. For example, in my novel Perished: The World That Was, the following scene took place:

Akkub turned and saw Meremoth rushing at him. He blocked the initial strike although staggered by it. Meremoth used a two-handed grip to force Akkub back. Suddenly Akkub lost his footing and Meremoth’s sword came slicing downward unblocked.

Everything seemed to stop as the General looked at his severed hand still gripping the sword.

Here we have a sword fight that results in one man losing his hand. The amount of detail provided is not too graphic, but it is enough to stimulate the reader’s imagination. And different readers have different levels of imagination, so each reader may picture the fight differently. In any case, the scene is full of action yet not too graphic.

The violence was visible, the result was obvious, but it didn’t get into the gross appearance of the hand.

In the case of sex, my usual approach is to focus on the events leading up to the act and to the events leading away from the event. Again, I let the reader’s imagination fill in the gaps.

In truth, the reader’s imagination is a valuable tool available to every writer willing to make use of it.

It is a tool that needs to be sharpened. You do that by using it. Moreover, you experiment and see what works. As deeply as I believe in what I am saying I have had people who reviewed my rough drafts tell me that I needed to back off in this or that scene. So, you need people you trust to review your rough draft before you submit it for publishing.

My final thought on this is what is your ultimate goal? We all want are books to sell. That is a given. But what is your ultimate goal?

Is it to simply get rich? Then you’ll probably reject everything I’ve said.

Is it to simply write? Then you may or may not care about this blog or about sales.

Is it to write your very best book? Then I contend you want your writing to be above reproach. Fame and sales would be nice, but you want to be able to say to yourself, I did my best. And that brings a deep sense of satisfaction!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministy, aka Ministry Services, is both a change and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

I promised that I would keep you informed about the website. Well, it is not completed, but the blog has now transitioned to it. And my wife is beginning her own blog!

My RSS is rfrederickriddleblog.

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Blog by Tess: Struggle Writing

Teresa (Tess) Riddle

My struggle writing began in 2014, I was sitting in McDonald’s with my husband. Told him I felt that the Lord was telling me that I needed to start writing books.  He supported me in it.

I went home and started gathering information for writing a book:

  • what type of story would I write?
  • where would it take place?
  • layout of the town’s businesses and streets.
  • what is the size of the town’s police department?
  • What is the pecking order?
  • names and description of each character in my book
  • the list goes on.

After the break, I will discuss this further.

We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos are Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected].

Check us out and get your career moving. Now back to the article.

After a few interruptions, I finally got around to start writing my book in 2017.  But then came another interruption.

One day a knock came at our door. It was the landlord’s agent who told us that we had 30 days to move out of our Condo. The owner wanted to sell it!

We started packing, but in the midst of it, we ended up evacuating to Lakeland, because hurricane Irma was headed our way. After a few days there, we came back to Port Charlotte and continued packing boxes for our move.

Finding a place to live was a struggle. Everywhere we tried to find a place, they had a long waiting list.  We finally ended up in a hotel for 3 days before moving into a camper loaned to us by a church member. Praise the Lord!

We lived there for several weeks before we were able to move into our current apartment. 

When we moved in on Oct 27, 2017, and got settled, I started writing again.  In January of 2018 I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo radiation and chemo for several weeks, plus some surgery. That did me in, to the point I could hardly do anything, let alone write.  It took me weeks to get my strength back.  But they had gotten all the cancer!

When I got much of my strength back, I started working on the book again. In 2019, I was again diagnosed with round two of cancer.  Again, I underwent chemo and radiation.  It was 2021 before I could continue to work on my book. I was determined that I was going to finish that book and get it published.

I finished and published it in 2020! It was a wonderful feeling knowing that I had finally published my first book.

I started writing book number two, another fiction. Late in 2021, God started dealing with me about writing some Christian Devotional books for women. I put the fiction book aside and started doing research for a devotional book. At present I am in the process of finishing the book so it can turn it over to my proofreader.  I would like to be able to publish the book by the end of the month. 

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/tessriddle.

RSS feed is tessriddle/feed.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a change and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

I promised that I would keep you informed about the website. Well, it is not completed, but the blog has now transitioned to it. And my wife is beginning her own blog!

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Blog by Ron: Follow Me Issues

R. Frederick Riddle image

I am working on getting the blog to allow you to Follow me and/or Subscribe to my blog. I am having some technical issues which is one reason for this blog.

However, it is also an opportunity to tell you that the new website is progressing and should be “LIVE” no later than April 1st. My goal is much sooner!

If you see icons for following and for social media, then I have met another goal.

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Blog by Ron: Christian Viewpoint

R. Frederick Riddle image

I thought it would be a good idea to discuss Christian Viewpoint. I have touched on this subject in years past, but Christian Viewpoint is a very important factor for Christian authors.

Now, right up front, I want to admit that there are possibly Christian authors who don’t write from a Christian viewpoint. That’s extremely hard to do, because once you have gotten saved, the Biblical truths begin to infuse your thinking and how you react to the world. But it is possible.

But if you are one such individual who has acknowledged that you’re a sinner and need Christ as your Savior and have sincerely asked Him into your heart, then I believe you are a Christian.

And as a Christian this blog is something you should read.

As a Christian we are to belong to a church. It is interesting to look around at the churches and God always seems to provide people within the local church who can serve within that church. This is not an accident. He knows what He is doing.

The typical local church consists of:

  • Pastor
  • Associate Pastor
  • Deacons
  • Treasurer
  • Choir
  • Song Leader
  • Ushers
  • Janitors
  • Instrumentalists

Most of you know these, but what about:

  • Kitchen workers
  • Nursery workers
  • Office workers
  • People who can care for the property
  • People who can do carpentry
  • People who can paint

And the list could go on. Some of these gifts we easily recognize as gifts, such as preaching. But there are many gifts, such as writing, that are not on that level (edifying gifts). Instead, they are serving gifts.

I believe that writing is a service gift. God calls men and women to serve Him in a variety of ways. He gives us talents and gifts to serve the church. Not only serve the local church, but to serve the Christian community. One such gift is Prophecy.

Prophecy?

Yes. We tend to think of prophecy as the gift of foretelling future events. But that is only part of it. Prophecy is also forthtelling; that is, it is the ability to communicate the gospel. Basically, that is what a preacher, evangelist, or missionary is doing. They forthtell the gospel. And that is an edifying gift.

This is usually done orally. But writing things down and communicating the Biblical truths also come under this title. And that is where Christian writers, whether in a ministerial position or not, come in. And that is also a serving gift.

And then there is another gift: the gift of Knowledge.

Knowledge?

Yep. Where prophecy is forthtelling, knowledge is clarifying, understanding and being able to communicate that understanding to others. This is what we as authors do even when writing fiction. Whether fiction or nonfiction we have an opportunity to communicate Biblical truths.

The concept therefore is of Christians writing as a Service! Authorship covers many genres and categories within each genre. The concept of writing can be reduced to writing from a Christian viewpoint.

After the break, I will discuss this further.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos are Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

What do I mean by Christian viewpoint?

Basically, this involves the tenor of your writing. In my case I write novels that are based on Bible stories. There are such books out there that are based on Jewish or Christian views. Obviously, mine is Christian. My books may or may not be based on the Bible, but all will be characterized by a Christ-centered theme. By that I mean that the reader will come across scripture pertaining to salvation. It will be a theme that runs through the entire story.

I believe God calls each of us to some ministry. A few are called to be pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, but most are not. So, does that mean we just sit around doing nothing? No, the church would die without workers; or to put it better, servants.

Now my books do nothing to help the local church work better. Although, I am now getting into writing nonfiction books that can help a Christian in their day to day lives and in their service to the church.

Why do I write with a Christian viewpoint?

The reasons are twofold. First, the Bible stories are true events, not children’s stories. They are about real people and real events. The stories are meant for people of all ages. And they are written to instruct not entertain!

God is not in the entertainment business. Each of His stories is meant to teach or drive home a point. A good example is the story of Noah and the Ark. This has been widely viewed as a story for children. However, the story has very little entertainment value as written. But it is highly instructive and teaches us about God’s love and provision.

My job is to take that story and weave in material that transforms it from its instructive nature to an exciting action-based novel that awakens the imagination of the reader without losing the instructive side. Judging by my readers’ comments, I have been successful.

Secondly, my job is to put God on display. The Bible already does this with great effect. So, it is not as difficult as it seems except in those situations where the Bible is silent within the story, but comments on it later on. As an author, I can lift those comments from the future Bible sections and insert them into the story itself. I do this with actual quotes or an imaginative conversation that is true to Biblical context.

But it is not just to put God on display. It is also to enable my readers to see and feel His love and power. I can think of no greater compliment than to learn that my novel has so impressed someone that he/she desires to read the Bible!

So, in general, my Christian viewpoint is to relate Biblical stories that emphasize God’s love and power in an entertaining manner that both uplifts and convicts.

Your Christian viewpoint might be a little different. It doesn’t have to be Bible stories for example.

The point of this blog is to show you that as a Christian author you have an important place. We live in a world where non-Christian books abound. We are a true minority. But we are on the winning side and know the truth.

God has given you the gift. Don’t just use it for your own gratification. We’ve all seen entertainers, especially singers, who started out in church and later went big in the world. I am not saying that it is wrong to sing professionally, but I think it is better when the singer uses the gift given by God to glorify God. And if you are a Christian and have received the gift of writing, then it seems to me that it should benefit the church, especially your church.

How?

Writing books that can be used by the church. That is somewhat obvious. Here’s another one: providing money to support the church beyond your tithes. Helping other Christians by using your money and your voice on their behalf.

My wife and I love to write. And the idea of making money appeals to us. But both of us want our writing to accomplish whatever God’s will is concerning our success and how we use that success for Him. That is exciting!

Whatever genre you write in can be used for God. It doesn’t matter if God is mentioned or not, but the worldview can still be such as to point to God. The thing is, God has gifted you with a precious gift that He wants you to use according to His will. Find out what that will is and submit to it.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a change and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

I promised that I would keep you informed about the website. Well, it is not completed, but the blog has now transitioned to it. And my wife is beginning her own blog!