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Blog by Ron – Is AI a Useful Tool

Is AI a Useful Tool for writers? That is a question that deserves an answer and leads to more questions.

Let’s answer that question first: Yes, AI is a useful tool for writers.

AI, which means artificial intelligence, is already making its presence felt in the literary world. Go on the internet and you will find advertisements aimed at writers and proudly offering services that use AI. This can range from simple story telling to the more complex uses.

AI a Useful Tool for Book Covers.

With AI you can design, create a writing style, write a book description, and get imaginative titles all at your fingertips. It saves time and produces outstanding results.

AI a Useful Tool for Content.

With a few words or sentences you can give AI instructions using a plot you provide to write a story for you. If you want, you can simply state a simple concept and let AI develop the plot itself.

Another thing you can do is instruct AI to study your writing style and learn how to write like you write. You can also tell it to do the same using someone else’s style. That is simply amazing!

AI has been on the outer edge of knowledge for a while. You could argue that Google Search or any other search engine is AI. Sort of like a baby. There are other tools such as Grammarly that could be identified as AI in its infancy.

By the way, the story that AI writes using your style would probably be indistinguishable from your actual writing to the extent that no one, not even you, could tell the difference.

AI a Useful Tool for Your Budget

Using AI you can set up and manage your budget, plan expenses, prepare a speech, and just about anything else. This is fantastic and can save a lot of time, effort, and tears. Just think someday you will wake up in the morning, tell your robot maid or butler to prepare breakfast and provide a detailed report on your finances and whether or not you can afford to buy a new car.

Wow!

Then Why Do You Say to be Cautious?

Because AI is almost impossible to control. You can give it instructions and guidelines, but it doesn’t necessarily believe that it must follow them exactly. You must provide strict instructions and it may not obey.

For example, I recently tried to create a book cover using AI. I started out by giving simple instructions using the book title and author name. But the results that came back showed AI’s imagination at work. It added details I didn’t want, misspelled my name though I had spelled it out, and was completely unsatisfactory.

I started over several times and each time I tried giving more detailed information. But I could not get the book cover I wanted. In the end, I went another route and pretty much did it manually.

Publishers are already asking questions and requiring authors to acknowledge whether they are using AI to assist or generate their work.

Why?

I have told this story before and will do so again. Jane Friedman is a famous and popular author. She knows how to write. Her books sell.

One day she woke up to discover that several books proclaiming her as author and were on Amazon and Goodreads. The problem was while it was her name and her writing style, she had never written them. Moreover, the books were probably filled with junk or AI-generated content.

She eventually got the books unlisted from Amazon and Goodreads, but it took a lot of time and effort. She used everything she could, including social media. Those books were unlisted, but her reputation may have been hurt, perhaps hundreds or thousands of dollars went to someone else. And there must have been a great deal of unwanted stress.

If it could happen to an experienced, successful author then it could happen to you.

Is That All?

No, it is not. AI can plagiarize other authors and get you into a legal mess. But let’s say you employ AI to write your story and you take measures to guard against plagiarism. You take the story and thoroughly edit it until you are confident that it is ok.

But something slips through without your knowledge. There is an old adage, “Ignorance is no excuse.” Just because you edited the book and did your best to find anything that violated copyrights or other rights doesn’t excuse you if something slipped by and you violated somebody’s rights.

You are guilty and could suffer harm to your reputation, bank account, or maybe your freedom.

Use AI with Caution.

I am not against using Ai. In fact, I probably use it unknowingly. But I don’t want to have my reputation ruined, or I be sued, or be jailed. The wise person will use caution.

AI a Useful Tool, but is it You?

You may not care whether the book is truly a work of your imagination. But I do. When I pick up a book that has my name, whether it is my author name or legal name, I want to be able to say, I wrote that. I want to be able to look in the mirror or to look into someone’s eyes and say, “Yes, I am the author.”

But if AI wrote the book using only my original idea, and then I edited the book, is that the same as having written the book. In my opinion, NO.

Besides, I love writing. Why would I want a machine to write the story for me when I love writing?

AI a Useful Tool for Research.

If you have read or listened to me very long you know I believe in the necessity of research. But I don’t love it!

AI can be used to research material for your book as long as you fact check it thoroughly. I see it as a valuable research tool that can reach where I cannot reach, go where I cannot go, and ask questions I may not know to ask. Just think how explosive that is! It can revolutionize your writing, embolden you to do things you have never done, and take your book to unimagined heights.

AI a Useful Tool When You Are in Control.

Control is a must. But how?

That is a question that may take years plus a lot of lawsuits to adequately settle. But here is the approach I plan on taking.

Cover Design – In my experience Ai has yet to learn to listen to my requests and create a cover I like within the parameters that I set. So far, AI consistently fails me in that respect.

Research – I do find AI very helpful in research. But when I get research results, I want it with references that I can look at and verify. That is very important.

Content – I think this is going to require me to use programs that examine my work and report to me violations of copyrighted material that require acknowledgement or removed.

Yes, AI is Useful for Writers!

But be Cautious.

___

R. Frederick Riddle is an author, teacher, publisher, and the owner of T&R Independent Books. The website is at Home – T&R Independent Bookstore (trbookservices.com).

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Blog by Ron – Words Are Necessary Tools

Words are necessary tools for authors. Lately I have been posting about reading and writing. Why am I so insistent on this subject?

Necessary Tools.

When God created men and women the use of words was immediately practiced. I know that evolutionists think early man simply grunted and drew pictures on walls. Other than artifacts indicating that man has lived in caves at times, they have no proven evidence that man couldn’t communicate through words.

We know that the first chapter of Genesis was written by God Himself, plus that Adam began writing afterward, probably after being ejected from the Garden. In addition, we know that mankind was created and God saw everything as “very Good.” That translates to perfect.

I believe and the Bible certainly indicates that Adam and Eve were highly intelligent, probably geniuses. Listening and talking to God required words, such as naming the animals. naming the foliage. Adam and Eve used words from the very beginning. There was no evolution.

Adam and Eve not only communicated with God, but with one another. Words were necessary for them. Which brings us back to the initial statement that words are necessary tools. Since we are talking about writing, the statement can be made that words are necessary tools for authors.

Tools of our Trade.

It should not surprise you that I said that. We authors work with words all the time. Not just writing our stories, although that can require thousands of words, but getting published and selling our books also require words. Doubt that? Consider the need for grammar aids, and, recently, AI.

Words Require Caution

Say the wrong word at the wrong time and see what happens. When I was a naïve teenager working on the assembly line, I made a joke to a woman. It was innocent, and harmless, but the wording and structure of the words caused her to interpret the words differently than I met. She instantly was angry. Fortunately, I gave her my meaning and she realized I was telling the truth. I do not know what she would have done if she hadn’t believed me. I was much more careful in my conversation and choices after that.

Writing books is communication between the author and the reader. You don’t want to use the wrong word at the wrong time. It can turn off that reader quickly. You lose that reader plus others influenced by that reader.

Reading is important.

I encourage authors to do research. Words are extremely important when doing research.

Research involves reading internet material, other books, and, sometimes, academic documents.

Words Require Something

If everything I have said is true, what does that mean for me? Basically, three things.

  1. Study to show thyself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15a)
  2. Search the scriptures is a good rule given by Jesus. There it was knowing Jesus. But the writer is also to search or research material that may enter your book. But it is also needed for publishing and marketing.
  3. In Psalm 90:12, we are told to apply our hearts to wisdom. That is referring to godly wisdom, but it is an excellent principle for writing, as well.

In other words, study, do the research, and apply what you learn. These three habits are well worth the investment of time and yourself.

___

R. Frederick Riddle is an author, teacher, publisher, and the owner of T&R Independent Books. The website is at Home – T&R Independent Bookstore (trbookservices.com). He is also on Facebook.

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Blog by Ron – Self-Improvement

Self-Improvement can be a good thing or a bad thing. The choice is yours. Let’s look at the bad side of self-improvement.

Self-Improvement is Based on Repetition

It is true that repetition can be very helpful. One of the best ways of developing good habits is to repeat chores, tasks, or thinking. However, repetition of bad actions, etc., can lead to bad habits. The latter repetition is easier than repeating good things. It is natural and often unobserved until it is practically too late.

When I started writing, I had some bad habits and I naturally kept repeating them. To develop good habits I first had to find and define the bad habits. Then work at getting rid of them.

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. Each class registration occurs between the 25th  of a month and runs through the 24th of the following month. The new class starts the following month.

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.

Self-Improvement Without Professional Help is Risky

I am self-taught in many areas – some good and some bad. That is the risk of doing everything with a ‘Do-it-Yourself’ mentality. It is a choice that comes as a result of not having, and maybe not affording, professional help. Sometimes doing it myself is the only option.

But if you broaden your understanding of ‘professional help’ to include software or books, the cost can be reduced dramatically. In my early years, I bought books on the subjects of writing, publishing, and marketing. This was generally good, but over time, I discovered that not all information agreed with one another, or was helpful. Sometimes, they disagreed. When I began using the internet, this same problem occurred.

I regularly practiced these helps not knowing that some were actually hurting my business rather than helping it. And the longer I went without finding and removing them from my toolbox, the longer it took to eradicate them.

It May Require Taking a Course

I love to read and was willing to seek out books that would guide me in the way I was to go. But the world is filled with Do-It-Yourself gurus. They develop systems that work for them and may work for others. However, all to often these systems don’t work well with other systems. The result is chaos and failure.

In my quest to improve myself I looked for a mentor, but mentors are hard to find and sometimes expensive. Courses can be expensive as well. But courses often require commitment because of their high cost. That is a problem, but you might want to consider that the results can be worth the cost.

Although I have written over 10 books and have a course for writers, I find that even I can make use of a course. Practically speaking, we are never to the point where we can’t learn something new.

Self-Improvement Requires Research

When looking for a good course you need to examine the ones you are considering. To begin with, you need to research what you need. That requires you searching your own needs. It is really helpful if the course helps you identify those needs. For example, my course on writing gets you focused immediately upon business needs, and helps you understand there is more to writing than putting down words. You are a businessman or woman, and you need to know what that requires. Another course may focus on your personal needs. That is why the better courses start out with the basics even if they seem unimportant.

Self-Improvement Courses Require Commitment

Ugh! Doesn’t that sound like hard work? Yes, and you need it. It is said that anything worth doing is worth working hard at doing. One of the advantages of spending money for a course is the expense almost demands commitment. You don’t want to spend money and end up throwing it away.

Then there are the lessons to take and complete; homework to do, and perhaps interaction with your coach. If you don’t already have a degree of commitment, you soon will; and that is a good thing!

It is a Journey

In the long run, self-improvement takes you on a journey from lacking the ability to be a good author and becoming an excellent author. Writing is part skill, part talent, part knowledge, and a hefty percent of good, old-fashioned sweat.

Have a wonderful, promising, and fruitful journey!

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, our missions minded outreach, is both a charge and an exciting ministry to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Researching Ian

Researching Ian took me down a different road than I have been following. In the past, my research has been primarily looking up facts from online and written resources. That is the normal route to be taken as an author develops his plots.

But my new book, Ian and God’s Providence, requires something more; getting firsthand stories form the very people involved in that day’s activities. This was new, but I dived into it.

Complicating Researching Ian

The primary person to be interviewed was the fact that the primary person being interviewed is a pastor, who was very busy coordinating the Hurricane Relief program that Tri-City took on.  But when I approached him with the idea of a book detailing the Sheppard family’s trial by storm.

Another complication was the need to get the information as soon as possible. This is because stories of disaster usually have only a small window of opportunity to reach the people while they are still interested.

Still another complication to Researching Ian

Each person I contacted I told not to worry about grammar, etc., as I would be editing their contributions, but to write about the events as they remembered them. This is important because it adds the personal, firsthand touch providing the reader with different views of the events.

Everyone was excited about the project and their opportunity to participate. But the complication that arose was the fact that all of them were busy. Ian impacted everyone to the point that there daily routine was now filled with additional work.

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. Each class registration occurs between the 25th  of a month and runs through the 24th of the following month. The new class starts on the following 1st.

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.

Personal Interview with Pastor Jay

None were busier than Pastor Jay. He still had his daily care of the flock, but he also was the Coordinator of receiving and distributing the supplies that soon were arriving in the church parking lot. This required a great deal of time.

In addition, he was constantly receiving phone calls from pastors around the country who wanted to help. It was an amazing example of the Christian family coming to the aid of other Christians.

Researching Ian Bears Fruit

Pastor Jay finally made the time to sit down and talk with me about the research I had already done, and what he could provide. He graciously discussed all of this, plus he made other suggestions and contributions.

One of the suggestions was for me to contact everyone that was involved and get their own stories. This would provide multiple views of the same events and allow the reader to get a fuller, more personal intake of the events. I recognized the importance right away.

All of this has led to a book that is a personal, and powerful read!

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 – I Am Who?

R. Frederick Riddle image

I am who? Have you ever taken a good look at yourself?

We all have to ask ourselves that question at some point in our lives. When you stop and consider who you are you quickly learn there isn’t just one example.

Consider.

I am a blogger.

I am not saying that I am a good blogger or a bad one. But I write a blog that you are reading right now. In my blog I occasionally comment on world events, but mostly I talk about writing. Through my blog I pass on knowledge about writing.

I Research.

I research information for my blogs. But I really do a lot of researching for my books. And that includes both novels and nonfiction. Research is a necessary part of writing, so I spend hours and days researching.

I love history

I love history. It is no accident that my writings, fiction and nonfiction, are all historical in nature.

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.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

I am an Author

I write novels, blogs, and inspirational books. I love writing and can’t imagine doing anything else with the same passion. It is in my blood.

A Misplaced Michigander

I was born, raised, and actually lived most of my life in Michigan. Now I live in Florida. But at heart I am still a Michigander. I follow the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Pistons, and even the Detroit Red Wings. Sure, I follow teams here in Florida, but not like I do in Michigan.

I am a husband.

I love my wife. We will be celebrating 41 years of marriage in September. And I wouldn’t trade with anyone else!

I am a Vietnam Veteran

And I am proud of it! I served 4 years in the good ole United States Navy. Serving in the Armed Forces is both a duty and a privilege. In my case, I was a Radioman and I served in the First Fleet and the Seventh Fleet.

A Resident of Port Charlotte, Florida

While it is true that I still have Michigan blood, I have learned to love Florida. Especially during the months of December through April. It is one of only a handful of states having no winter. O, Floridians may argue the point, but with temperatures that never get below 20 degrees, they don’t have a case.

I am a Brother, an Uncle, and a  Great Uncle

All of them live in the northern state of Louisiana. They would probably argue that it is a southern state, but they are definitely north of Port Charlotte, Florida.

I am a Senior Citizen

I worked hard to get to this age, and I am proud to be a Senior Citizen. I am old enough to be President of the United States and young enough to know that I forget to much to be a good one.

But Most of All I am a Christian!

I love Jesus Christ who came to earth, took my sins upon Himself, took my place on the cross, and died for me. He is my joy and my life.

Who are You?

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 – 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 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.

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

R. Frederick Riddle image

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 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.

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 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 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.

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: 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 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.

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.