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Blog by Ron Do You Watch Your Word Usage

Do you watch your word usage?

Word usage plays an important role in writing. Consider the following:

  • Short words tend to speed up a story
  • Long words tend to slow down a story
  • Some words are more difficult to understand; use clear, concise words
  • Some words have different meanings in different contexts
  • Some words are more difficult to pronounce than others
  • Use verbs and adverbs wisely (check grammar book)
  • Don’t use long sentences unless necessary
  • Short sentences tend to speed up a story
  • Normally try to stay at or below 8 sentences in a paragraph
  • Check your spelling

More on this subject after the 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 Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Now, back to the subject of Word Usage.

Word Usage means more than Grammar

While grammar and spelling are important factors, you should consider other things as part of word usage. For instance, keeping track of a character’s speech characteristics.

That may sound odd, but if a character first appears as one who stutters, then you need to have that character stutter throughout the book. Which means, you will need to track the character’s speech to make sure he or she always stutters at least up to the point to where the stutter is cured.

What else should you track? How about a character’s:

  • Favorite slogans
  • Difficulty pronouncing certain words
  • Use of slang
  • Overuse of words and/or phrases

These may seem minor, but getting them right can make all the difference in your writing.

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.

If you would like to review any of our books, contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, and your name, and we will send a PDF of the chosen book to you.

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Blog by Ron – Should I take a Writing Course?

Should I take a writing course? That is a question you might be asking yourself. And the answer is: You should consider it if you don’t know much about writing.

Our DNA

It is said that we all have a story in us. But while that may be true, it is also true that most of us are not born with a basic knowledge of writing. On the other hand, you may have been born with a desire to write as part of your DNA.

I believe that describes me. I was born into this world with a DNA that led me first to reading books and later a desire to write books. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the knowledge of how to write.

Later on when I asked Jesus into my heart and was born again, He gifted me with writing talents. But they were innate. That is, I didn’t sit down right after getting saved and begin writing books. I needed to be taught.

Writing Courses do Exist

There are plenty of writing courses available for you and they come at a variety of prices. Some are good and some not so much.

Have you seen the ads for writing courses that promise you four,-five,- and six-digit incomes from writing? Some of these involve copywriting, which we are not concerned with here.

But there are writing courses available.

School of Hard Knocks

Let’s say you google ‘writing courses’ and discover that they  either promise the world or are quite costly. You throw up your hands and say, “No way! I’ll do it myself!”

Well, you just signed up for the School of Hard Knocks, which I am a proud graduate. But I don’t recommend it.

Besides, why should you re-invent the wheel? Or in this case, why re-invent writing?

That is where writing courses come in. And it is why I write this blog and why I am now offering a writing course designed for your busy time and wallet. But before I talk about our course, I want you to be aware of others that are available.

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 Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Other Writing Courses

There are some excellent courses available. And there are others I would not touch. I am sure you have seen ads on Facebook and other social media where you are promised or perhaps guaranteed that you will write a bestseller within a very short time.

Consider this:

There are thousands of newly published books every week or two. That means that if you sign up for a course today, there are already multi-thousands of books and authors already out there before you get your first lesson!

What to Look For in a Writing Course

A good writing course will teach you the basics of writing. Some of your more expensive ones will teach you advanced writing skills. But what you need are basic skills. So, what are they? These skills are:

  • How to discover your genre (and what a genre is)
  • Character building
  • Scene development
  • Time and location of your story
  • Viewpoint
  • Grammar
  • Basic Editing
  • and more

As you can see there is a lot to know about writing, but don’t let that intimidate you. A good course will teach all of that in easily digested lessons.

School of Hard Knocks

The question is not what course to take if new to writing, but what course you will take. If you decide that you can’t afford to take a writing course or you have a strong do-it-yourself attitude, then you will take the School of Hard Knocks.

But before you decide on that plan of action, let’s take a look at the true cost.

  • Frustration – It is an extremely frustrating school.
  • Time – Failure is your primary teacher and consumes time and energy.
  • Wrong Tools – Wrong tools and wrong lessons learned.
  • No guarantee – No guarantee you will ever graduate.

Authors Basic Training Course

The killer for most people is the cost for these courses. I have seen courses that cost upwards of $1,000, $1,500, or more. I couldn’t afford them which is why I ended up in the School of Hard Knocks.

Earlier I said I would tell you about our writing course. We at T&R Independent Books started the Christian Authors Business Institute which offers the Authors Basic Training Course.

This six-month course covers all the items mentioned above and more. Each lesson comes with a brief video presentation plus a PDF lesson. All to be downloaded at your leisure and studied at your pace. Plus, these lessons come packed with additional tools that you can download and put in your digital library.

Writing Course Description

I am personally excited about this class. Registration for the next class has already begun and I will provide a link. But let me describe the class first.

One of the things I believe strongly is in a close relationship between student and teacher. Although we are not in a physical classroom, our digital classroom includes:

  • a brief video for every lesson
  • scheduled live Zoom meetings (two)
  • up to three student requested private Zoom meetings which will be private.
  • Downloadable PDFs for your digital library

Registration for Writing Course

If you are interested in a writing career and would like a no-nonsense approach that will provide you a level playing field where you will have the opportunity to succeed, then click on the ‘I want to Learn More’ link below.

I Want to Learn More

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 – What are Writers Resources?

What are writers resources? That is our question of the day. But another question also pops up. Why should I use resources? So, you have a what and a why. Let me answer the why first.

Why Should I Use Writers Resources?

Our ancestors didn’t have much in the way of resources available to them. If they were Christians they had God, but the average Christian did not have the Word of God at hand. So, they didn’t really have readily available resources.

But times have changed! We now have at least one Bible in our possession. Likely, more than one. Plus, we have dictionaries, grammar books, and so much more.

With so much available why wouldn’t we make use of them?

But as Christians, we are expected to do our best at whatever we do.

What are these Resources?

Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We are only looking at writing resources today.

Brief List of Writing Resources

  • Books on writing
  • Grammar books
  • Dictionaries
  • Maps
  • History books
  • Bible
  • Bible commentaries
  • How to books
  • and more

You may have noticed Bible and Bible commentaries. These would be needed if you are writing Bible-based fiction and/or nonfiction.

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 Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Tip #1 – There is no excuse for not having information that you need. We live in the age of the internet. You can search for just about anything on it. But be careful. The internet is rife with false and misleading information. While it can be a rich source of material, you have to be careful.

I have found it helpful to stick with proven sources. Sometimes I venture out to new sources, but I also check their content against the proven sources and against my own knowledge.

Tip #2 – Bookmark your favorite resources. Chances are you will need them in the future. This is a small feature on the Internet, but bookmarks or favorites are extremely valuable for someone who does a lot of research, especially if on multiple subjects.

The resource list referred to earlier is just a brief list of basic resources. When you are writing you should have near you any resources that you may need. A lot depends on the genre you are working in, but having resources available is a good practice.

What Writers Resources do You Recommend?

You may not use these all the time, but I recommend having available a dictionary, a book on grammar, and  perhaps a book on writing even our very own Guide to Writing which we periodically update and is available in our store.

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 – First Step as an Author

R. Frederick Riddle image

Taking the First Step means what? Let’s take a moment to answer that.

The First Step

You know someone like my wife or myself that are authors. And the thought has occurred to you that “I would like to do that.”

But you don’t.

Then you read a book, smile, and think, I’d like to write a book like that.

But you don’t.

Life continues on and one day you think, I wish I’d written a book.

But you didn’t.

What’s wrong with the above. It’s simple. You didn’t take the first step.

What is the First Step?

My wife, Tess Riddle, has recently written two books. One is a nonfiction titled Chatting with Tess: Walking with God and has been published. It is now available at Amazon.com and our site T&R Independent Bookstore. The other book is a novel and titled, Keys to Murder. It is in the process of getting published.

But Tess hasn’t always been an author. These are her first.

Tess Riddle went to college not to be a writer, but to seek skills she could use on the job. But the Entrance Exam showed she had writing skills. Plus, her English professors encouraged her to write. But I can truthfully say that I don’t recall her ever saying she wanted to be a writer until 2014 when we founded T&R Independent Books.

The desire had been there since her college days, but she had never taken that first step.

Again, What is the First Step?

Essentially the first step is making a commitment. Thinking about writing a book doesn’t get a book written, but if you commit yourself to something there is a better chance of it happening.

Think of a baby. They aren’t born walking. They have no commitment of themselves to walk. In their case, the mother and father want to see them walk, so they make a commitment. Then they encourage the baby to walk, assist the baby to practice and learn, and put them in positions where that first step will take place.

The baby doesn’t start off thinking I want to walk. Somewhere along the way the parents’ dream becomes their dream and purpose.

Writing is similar.

My wife was told she had the tools to write, but she didn’t really believe. The burdens of life got in the way. But she still had the tools and as time went on the concept of a story.

One day I learned of her secret desire to write. And I encouraged her. Did I know how well she could write? No. As her husband I loved her and believed in her, so I encouraged her.

But it wasn’t until she purposed in her heart to write the book that she really took that first step

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 Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

My Story was Different

That first step is critical, but there are other steps to take.

As a teenager and later as a young man, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And I was committed to becoming an author. But I didn’t know how to take my imagination and put it in an understandable story on paper.

Though I thought I was committed, I wasn’t really.

I signed up for a writing course and was progressing. But then one day I got laid off from job and I had to drop out. Later, I returned to work but never got back into the writing course.

It is More than saying I Will Do It

Tess (aka Teresa) had to do more than think about writing. She had to do more than come up with a plot. She had to do more than say, I’m going to write.

The truth is that all of us have things we want to do. But we don’t take that first step. She could have given up when we moved down here to sunny Florida to take care of her mother. Yes, she was delayed, but the secret burned within her.

She could have given up when I suffered a heart attack shortly after she declared her desire to write. Even though I encouraged her, she could see difficulties at least for the short term. She had a husband to care for. But the dream still burned within.

Over the years, she’s struggled to get that first book on paper. But life kept getting in the way.  But finally one day, she committed herself to writing a book. She made a commitment to herself and to God that she would write. Making a commitment to God is very difficult to do, but also very motivating.

Commitment is the Key

On the other hand, my first step didn’t occur until I was 60 years old. And it came about through my Bible devotions when God showed me that there were stories I could write based on the Bible. That discovery changed my life and I committed myself to do it.

Commitment to do something takes you only so far. Part of commitment is to actually start writing. As for Tess, with life constantly demanding her attention, it was difficult and frustrating. Add to that the advice coming at her from me and others.

But the day came when she started writing. Not to please me nor others. And I don’t believe it was to please herself. The day came when she believed that God wanted her to write. That was a major step.

We both believed that God wanted us to write and we believed Him. That is part of the first step, but it wasn’t it yet.

Then What is the First Step

I’ve already mentioned the obstacles she faced. But here is where she finally made the first step. She sought God’s will, kept writing, and overcame the obstacles. In retrospect, the fact that she wrote a first draft of the book was the first step.

It is relatively easy to write the first few chapters but persevering and finishing the book takes a lot of faith, grit, and pushing on. She faced a constant battle that threatened to stop her, but she continued on and finally was able to deliver to me the first draft. Not only the first draft of a nonfiction book, but also the first draft of her novel. This put her miles ahead of my first step which resulted in a single book being published.

In my case, I had to overcome the roadblocks that had stopped me so many times in the past. It wasn’t until I did that and continued to the end that I truly committed myself.

That was when we took our first steps. I took my first step of commitment in 2003, but Tess took her first step in 2022.

What I’m trying to say, is that when that baby took his or her first step it wasn’t really the first step. But when that baby began walking ever so wobbly, falling, and getting back up that was the first step. And then the baby starts adding things like running.

As a writer you will face obstacles. If you stop because of them, you haven’t really taken that first step. But when you persevere and complete that first rough draft, you’ve proven to yourself you can do it.

Sure, there is a lot of work before the first draft becomes a published work. But now your confidence starts growing and you can take the second, third, fourth, and more steps! Now she was ready to get the help she needed to become a published author. And that is when I could really help her through. Now we are both authors and have learned the value of commitment. Writing is something we need to do on a regular basis. There are many steps an author has to take, but the first one is commitment. A commitment to yourself, but more importantly a commitment to God.

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 – Is Writing a Christian Service?

R. Frederick Riddle image

Is writing a Christian service? That is a very good question. However, that is a question you can should ask about any job that exists and should be asked by every Christian.

Any Job can be Christian Service

There are exemptions to the idea of a job being a Christian service. For example, a bartender sells and serves alcoholic beverages, which is not Christian. Neither is prostitution. So, here are some principles to apply:

  • It cannot be Christian service if it is contrary to Biblical teaching.
  • A particular job may be fine, however, if it uses deception then it is not Christian service.

The true test of service, any kind of service, is as follows: Does it

  • Agree with Biblical facts
  • Honor God
  • Inspire people to read the Bible
  • Encourage people to worship God
  • Enable others to serve
  • Inspire people to live godly lives

These are just a few tests, but can you think of others? And, once you’ve completed that list, consider whether the question really goes to motive and behavior more than the nature of the job.

The Bible teaches us:

  • Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. (Col. 3:22)
  • And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. (Titus 3:14)
  • She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. (Prov. 31:27)

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, especially, about writing. 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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. 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.

How Does This Apply for Writing?

This calls for some self-examination on your part. Look inward and examine your thoughts and motives. These will reveal a lot. However, right here is a good place to practice Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

You have motive, however, is it a commitment to the Lord? Is it to earn a living? That is good motive, but it doesn’t sound like a commitment to the Lord.

Is it because you like and, perhaps, are good at writing? Again, that is good. But is that enough to be Christian service?

What is Christian Service?

To me, Christian service is doing something that furthers the Gospel in some fashion, which leaves a large opening to be filled. Below I list some examples of furthering the Gospel, but it is important to remember this is not an exhaustive list. Read these and think about other examples you can add.

What are Some Examples?

Examples of furthering the Gospel are:

  • Soulwinning
  • Handing out tracts
  • Helping people
  • Inspirational novels
  • Inspirational true stories
  • Devotionals
  • Teaching Books

And the list goes on. For example, Tess, my wife, is working on a devotional while I am working on a doctrinal book for laymen and for non-Christians which would come under Teaching Books.

Christian Service can also be a Motive

I am thinking about someone who is a lawn caretaker, miner, logger, and others. The work may not lend itself directly to serving, but a motive like fund raising for a local church, going on a church mission’s trip, or simply helping other Christians out. These are but examples and you can probably come up with others.

The point here is that giving can cover a lot of activity that indirectly supports our desire to tell others about Christ.

Conclusion

The answer therefore is Yes, writing can be a Christian service. And add to that this idea: we need more Christian writers than ever before! We live in a time where anti-christian behavior, even persecution, is increasing. Christians need to know more about their God and how to live, and non-Christians need to learn and act upon the fact that they need Jesus Christ!

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 Do You Need a Coach?

R. Frederick Riddle image

Do you need a coach?

You are the final authority on that question but let me provide you with a few reasons you may need a coach. Here is a partial list: You are

  • new to writing
  • hitting a wall
  • Unsatisfied with the book
  • thinking about quitting
  • dejected because your book has been rejected
  • in need of direction
  • not seeing your books sell
  • frustrated
  • are aware of what’s wrong with the manuscript but you don’t know how to fix it.
  • experiencing other reasons

I have written over 12 books over a 19-year period. Do I need a coach? You might be surprised at my answer.

The answer is yes.

Why?

There are a number of reasons, but the primary reason is that when left to myself I get very critical. I have a lot of knowledge regarding writing, editing, and publishing, but not all of it is good or agreeable.

That produces anxiety which in turn causes temerity, hesitation. I determined several years ago that I needed help. I didn’t like the way my career was going nor did I know how to change it. Thus began a repeated prayer, Dear Lord, I need a mentor. A short prayer but a correct prayer.

Earlier this year I came in contact with another author who is also a coach. We connected and he started coaching me. Someday, perhaps soon, I will go in to the many ways he has coached me, but right now I just want you to see that though I had written over 12 books I still needed a coach.

Coach Assets

Does he know more than I do about writing? Perhaps, but that is not necessary.

Does he know more than I do about editing? Perhaps, but that is not necessary.

Does he know more than I do about marketing? Perhaps, but you get the picture.

When you watch a football game or a basketball game or any sport, your eyes are focused on the athlete. But if it is a professional sport then you can bet there is a coach involved. Is he more talented than the athlete? Most coaches of professional sports that I have seen are out of shape.

But his skill set is to draw the best out of the person he is coaching. And that is what a coach is for a writer.

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. 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.

Christian Coach

So, it can be argued that we all need coaches. Speaking as a Christian, I recommend that if you are a Christian, you should have a Christian mentor. Please note, I did not say Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, or any other denomination. It helps if you and your coach are of the same denomination. But the primary thing I am emphasizing is that your coach be as committed to Christ as you are at a minimum.

That can be difficult to learn, but if the two of you are talking to one another, then you should determine the fit rather quickly. I knew nothing of my coach’s denominational connection or his spiritual maturity. But as we talked about writing, I learned a great deal about his spiritual maturity simply by talking to him. I have since learned we are not the same denomination, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he loves the Lord Jesus, is committed to serving Him, and operates within biblical boundaries.

Coach’s Advice

Another facet about an author is the advice he or she provides. I have greatly benefited from his advice. In case you are wondering who he is, his name is Tom Blubaugh and Christian Authors Community is the writers club he founded.

I will write more about the organization in the future.

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.