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Blog by Ron – The Love of Reading

R. Frederick Riddle image

Recently I wrote about The Love of Writing and mentioned the love of reading. I thought today I would expand on that a little.

I Love to Read

As I mentioned in that blog, ever since I was a child, I have loved reading books. It was as a child that I read the masterpiece War & Peace. When I finished the book (it is a large book) my father questioned me about it. After all, it was a classic and I was just a child. I don’t know how old I was, but I don’t think I was twelve yet.

In any case, he asked me several questions about the book touching on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the disastrous retreat, and the triumph of Russia. To all of these I answered, then he read or possibly reread the story and checked my answers against the book.

Obviously, I didn’t know or understand much about sex nor about the deep intrigues, but I did remember and understood the invasion, the battles, and the retreat on the larger screen, so to speak. He not only told my doctor, who didn’t believe him, but proved it to him. (I was under heavy medication back then and the doctor probably thought I was ‘slow’).

But that shouldn’t have been a surprise to either of them! Ever since Kindergarten I had developed a love affair with books. I don’t remember a lot about my childhood, but I know I loved to read. And I was particular about what I read.

I Had a Great Imagination

Along with my love for reading came a strong imagination. I don’t know what other children did, but I would read a book or watch a movie and imagine myself as the hero. Always the hero, never the villain.

This imagination is often common in children, but as they grow up the imagination gets stilted usually by well-meaning parents. And when the child reaches adulthood much of his or her ability to imagine is gone.

But some of us persevere and it can lead to a writer’s career. In my case, it did. As a teenager I began putting my imaginative tales on paper. They weren’t very good from any standpoint. But they did show that I was developing a desire to write.

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.

The Love of Reading Can Lead to the Love of Writing

Reading should be encouraged in children. It is a necessary part of life. If you want to excel in school, you have to read. If you want to excel in any trade, you have to read.

But more than that. Reading opens the world to you. When I got saved and began reading the Bible, I discovered what was for me a whole new world. I already loved history, and now I was reading about the history of mankind from God’s point of view.

I fell in love with the King James Bible first for its unmatched language, and later for its accuracy. This blog is not about the superiority of the KJV but studying the history of the Bible persuaded me of it. That plus the realization that you can’t say the Bible is the absolute Word of God and, at the same time, claim any version will do. If it is the absolute Word of God, then there can only be one version because there are differences between them. So, you must choose.

Perhaps I will write a blog on that someday and I definitely will write a book on the subject. But the point here is that I fell in love with the KJV, which in turn led me to a writing career where I write Bible-based novels, and now I write Bible-based nonfiction.

The Love of Reading Helps in Research

If you have followed me for any time at all you know that I am a fan of doing your diligent research. And if you don’t have a love of reading you will discover that research can be truly boring.

Why?

Because it requires a lot of reading. By ‘lot’ I mean a great deal of reading. Writing fiction requires a great deal of reading, especially of the lay of the land, the products manufactured and sold in the area, the people, clothing, and the list goes on. Reading is essential to getting your story right!

Do You Love Reading?

I suppose it is possible to be a successful author and not love reading, but I believe I have discovered that reading other writers, especially in the same genre, enlivens my imagination. And once enlivened, I can then imagine new stories.

. 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 Ron A Case for Self-Editing

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I am going to make a case for self-editing your manuscripts. But I am going to start with a negative.

You Should Not Self-Edit Because

  • likely to self-consciously read it as it was meant not as written
  • You are married to the story and reluctant to change it
  • It is the job of professional editors to edit
  • Professional editors are trained to spot errors

You can see that the main reason for not self-editing is that you as the author will have a blind eye to errors unless you truly focus on finding them. A professional has the training and experience to do this, but you probably don’t have it.

This is a major problem and the primary reason for not editing your own manuscript.

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.

Self-Editing is Important

Whether you hire an editor or not does not excuse you from doing editing. Is that a contradiction? No. A good writer edits his or her own work religiously!

Some writers go to great lengths to do a good editing job. Nothing wrong with that and if you are able, then do it.

But there is a good chance that you will end up doing your own at least until you are established. A good principle to live by is that self-editing is important to your future success.

That principle applies even if you use a professional. If you are going to hire someone, you want to present a manuscript that is as ready for publishing as you can make it. Then the editor gets her hands on it and takes it to the next level.

A Helpful Tool

As a matter of principle, I recommend that you choose which tools you use. The purpose of this blog and all my blogs is to acquaint you with principles and tools. You are your own boss.

One author I know, her name is Kim, uses what she calls a Map Out. At least that is the name I remember. When I first heard this term recently, I didn’t know what it meant. But she explained it, and so I can say that I use that tool although it is my own version.

As a matter of practice, I create documents that outline the story or the characters or the research or all of the above. Previously I didn’t use this tool, but I now see value in it, so I am in the process of establishing my own Map Out.

Examine your own practice and it is likely that you use a very simple form of the Map Out. You have the choice of keeping as it is or creating an entirely new one. It is helpful tool.

How Often Should I Edit?

That’s easy. As often as you can!

Some authors wait until the book is done before editing. Some want to edit as they write, some at the conclusion of a chapter, and so forth. The point is to have a plan in place that features frequent edits.

I tend to edit after every chapter, but sometimes I will edit at the conclusion of a scene. It varies.

And remember there are different types of edits. You could, for example, do a spell check, a grammar check, story flow, and other types. The types of edits may depend on whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction. Genre can also impact what types of edits to use.

Another tool is Research

If you have read my blogs in the past, then you know that I encourage you to do your diligent research. Some writing projects require a lot of research, some not so much. But even the most basic novel needs some research to establish credibility for the story.

Self-Editing is Rewarding

Bet you didn’t expect that comment!

Yes, self-editing is hard work, especially if you are acting in place of a professional editor. But I have found that self-editing helps me better understand my own work. It helps me spot errors and inconsistencies. In addition, it helps me define the story, the character, and the event.

Self-editing has led me to completely rewrite entire scenes. And when that makes my manuscript better, I have a sense of accomplishment.

Self-Editing May Be Necessary

The truth is that the average writer doesn’t have the wherewithal to hire a professional editor. Professionals can be expensive. So, even though you know you should hire a professional, you can’t afford one. That puts you behind the proverbial eight ball.

In such cases, you will need to double down on the editing. But I have some good news for you.

Self-Editing Does Not Require Perfection

Right about now professional editors are up in arms and shouting at me, “You’re wrong!”

Let me explain.

I love reading books. I have been reading since my childhood. One of the first books I read as a child was War and Peace. I read it and explained it to my father. He then read it and saw my comprehension was very good. But that’s another story, let’s move on to my contention self-editing need not be perfect.

Over the years I have read many books, including master pieces, such as War and Peace. And I confidently can state that I have never read a book that didn’t contain any errors!

Don’t believe me. I challenge you to read some of the greats, but with a critical eye. You will find minor errors and sometimes major ones, but they are there. How can I be sure? Aside from my own reading there is the fact that all authors are humans. And since we are not perfect the likelihood of our works being imperfect are extremely high.

The errors may be as simple as misspelling words, bad grammar, or more serious. They may be the author’s errors or printing errors. The point is that even a professional can and does miss things. To be honest, they generally do an excellent job, but they are not perfect.

What Does it Mean to Me?

It provides you a goal. Basically, your goal is to eliminate as many errors as possible. That is hard work, plus you have the disadvantage of being the author. You are literally forced to divorce yourself from your authorship of the book and focus on it as an independent editor.

I Have More Good News

An Indie author has an advantage over the traditional and so-called self-publisher. Some people use self-publish and Indie publish interchangeably, but they are different. One difference I explain here.

Once you publish your book with a self-publisher, such as AuthorHouse, it is done. They may allow you to edit afterwards, but it is limited. An Indie publisher can edit the manuscript, change the cover, and other things like price, etc. as often as they want. And at no extra cost!

I know, because I have done it and I still do it.

I would recommend to you that you reread your own book every once in a while to see if there are errors or maybe changes you want to make. Then make them.

About the Author

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 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 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.