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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 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.