The Consequences of Research

The Consequences of Research

That’s an interesting title to this blog, but I think you’ll understand better when I am finished.

From the day I began writing I have believed that a good author should support his work with diligent research. Since most of my writing deals with Biblical history it meant really digging into the Bible.

However, it also required me to dig into secular history. This is much harder because not all countries keep accurate historical records. For example, Egypt is a country with a rich history, but its records are confusing, at best.

When writing about Shem (The Rise of Shem) I quickly learned this fact. So what did I do. First, I looked for other secular sources that might provide accurate information. In a few instances I went only with the Biblical record.

This was true when dealing with time frames. Egyptian chronology is a mess. The consequence of this meant I had to reconstruct history as best I could by comparing Biblical chronology and Egyptian chronology. This was necessary to bring a semblance of reliability.

Why was this so important?

The story ranged from the Mountains of Ararat to Egypt and to Libya. As a storyteller I wanted the story to be as accurate as possible although it is a novel.

Another example of consequences was the writing of Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles and Perished: The World That Was. Both of these books dealt with the pre-Flood world.

Unfortunately there is precious little evidence of that world in secular writings.

The consequence of this fact was that I had to dig deeper and widen my net. I not only looked at the Biblical record, I also took a look at myths. While obviously myths they did provide hints at what ancient people believed about their past.

But while studying this issue I made a discovery.

Both in Biblical and secular history there was a sudden explosion of societal growth. Nations were founded, knowledge increased tremendously, and both economic and military growth were demonstrated. In the Bible this phenomenon occurred right after the Flood, while in secular history it simply occurs with no apparent reason.

But when I made the assumption that the Bible was correct and that it happened right after the Flood I discovered what I regard as a truth: The only way society could have advanced so far so fast was if they already had the fundamentals!

Using that truism I narrowed my study to the first 500 years after the Flood. It is simply amazing how advanced the society became in that short period of time. That realization led me to this conclusion: Those 500 years afford us a peek into the past; a peek into the world existing before the Flood.

That opened the past up for me and enabled me to write a reasonable description of what that world was like. Reasonable and probable. It made my novel work!

An author should never be afraid of the consequences of research. Sure, you may discover things that contradict your presuppositions, but you may also learn something powerful and transforming that will take your book to the next level.

Now you may have noticed that I made some assumptions along the way. This is true of all writers, no matter what their views are. My assumptions were that the Bible is always correct (a proven fact) and that secular history is often influenced by other factors other than a search for truth. I also made assumptions about the 500 years. These assumptions had the consequence of opening up my story and bringing it alive!

Your research may not take you where mine took me, but good solid researching will uncover facts that you can incorporate into your novel. The more facts you have, the more believable your story.

Perhaps you have been researching a particular subject. Has it changed your views or heightened them?

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

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My Favorite Character in Perished

It stands without controversy that my favorite character in my book Perished is God Himself. I could write page after page about Him.
However, the purpose of this blog is not to preach, but to teach writing. So my favorite human character is the subject.
It is not that easy to identify which one. So let me take a look at the top five characters.

  • ADAM
    • The very first human being. That alone makes him special. He is also the first to sin. But there is more to Adam than that. When you study him out using facts as well as one’s imagination he is a faithful man who truly regrets his act of sin. This dominates his thoughts and actions for the rest of his life.
  • ENOS
    • This is a man that the Bible says taught men to pray. Such a statement identifies him as someone very important. In Perished he teaches men how to approach God, how to properly worship Him, and to obey Him.
  • ENOCH
    • Aside from being a preacher of righteousness he is raptured. This makes him both an historical person and a revelation of the future rapture of all men and women who have been born again.
  • METHUSELAH
    • He lived longer than any man in history. We are not told much about him other than his age and that he died the same year as the Flood. God used him as a sort of landmark. To have lived that long it is possible he was very rich and very powerful. It is also possible (I think probable) he was a worshipper of God. Why would God preserve his life so long and tie his name to the Flood? Because he was used to help Noah?
  • NOAH
    • A farmer by trade he was called by God to preach and to build an Ark neither of which he was qualified (by human standards) to do. In Perished he realizes he needs help and goes to Methuselah. By faith he preaches to an unbelieving populace; by faith he builds an Ark; and by faith he and his family enter the Ark.

Everyone of these men could be my favorite character. Perhaps because I knew so little about him before I wrote the book and perhaps because of biblical hints I have chosen Methuselah. Exploring his character was exciting and challenging. And intriguing.
When you write, who is your favorite character? It doesn’t have to be the hero or heroine, it can be another character altogether. Your readers will have their favorites, so why not you?
This means personal involvement. As you mold the character you invest something of yourself in that character. Oh, and by the way, just because you are a man or woman does not mean your favorite character is the same sex. For instance, I could have added Naamah (Noah’s wife) and other women who were heroic in their own right.
Another way to look at this is to make every character your favorite. How? By investing your time and emotions in them. That character may be only part of the supporting cast as in a movie, but when you invest yourself in them they take on an importance far exceeding their actual role.
If you do this your readers will find the characters believable.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Book Reviewers Wanted!

This is an alert to all of those who follow my blog.
My latest novel Perished: The World That Was is now available. If you participate in Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free. Why am I telling you this? Because I am looking for book possible reviewers.
If you like to review historical fiction then I encourage you to do the following:

  1. Contact me at information@rfrederickriddle.com and tell me.
  2. Get your Free copy at Kindle Unlimited or for $3.99 at Kindle.
  3. Once you have read the book post it on Amazon.
  4. And let me know about your review.

Thank you in advance.

R. Frederick Riddle

A Self-Interview with R. Frederick Riddle

Normally I blog about writing techniques, but occasionally I will do an author’s interview. Today I am interviewing myself as I just published my first novel with T&R Independent Books, our own publishing company.

So with no further delay let’s get started. As interviewer I will be Ron.

Ron: Welcome to Writer’s World. Should I call you R. Frederick?

Frederick: Some people drop the R and just call me Frederick. So that is OK.

Ron: As I stated you just published with T&R. Briefly tell us about your company.

Frederick: T&R Independent Books was founded by myself and my wife in 2014 for the sole purpose of publishing our books. In the past two years it has evolved to not only publishing but providing inexpensive training course in writing plus a free directory of Christian authors with links to Amazon.

Ron: But it is still primarily for publishing your books?

Frederick: Yes. We have already published two of my books: So You Want To Write? and now Perished: The World That Was. We plan on publishing my wife’s (Tress) debut novel later this year.

Ron: I understand Perished is actually a republishing of the book. Walk us through that if you could.

Frederick: Earlier this year I bought back the publishing rights to the original Perished. Once that was done, I set about reformatting and rewriting the book. So while the Title is the same, there have been a few changes in content. It also has a different cover.

The reason for doing this is two-fold: 1) When first written I didn’t expect it to be a series, which it became. 2) T&R exists to publish our books and it only makes sense to have all the series books under one imprint.

That is why I plan on rewriting The Rise of Shem. Since I will be changing the title as well as content, I don’t plan on repurchasing the rights.

As for Perished, the book covers world history from Creation to the Flood. It tells the story behind the story. I think fans, both current and future, will enjoy this book because it is slightly different than the original yet still brings the Bible alive.

Ron: You mentioned world history. Does that mean historical fiction?

Frederick: Yes. It is also action and adventure as well as Christian fiction.

Ron: Where do you write from?

Frederick: My wife and I live in Port Charlotte, Florida full time.

Ron: Briefly, what led up to this book?

Frederick: Aside from the launching of T&R, I have wished I could rewrite the book. But it was owned by America Star, the publisher. It wasn’t a major rewrite, but I felt it would be a stronger novel. As for the original, I have long had a deep affection for Biblical history. In this world of confusing, humanistic explanations of life, the Bible stands out as the sole authority on early history. Putting that history into a fictional story that remains true to the facts enables me to give people an alternative to the mythical beliefs of modern science.

Ron: What was the timeframe for writing this version?

Frederick: I bought the rights at the end of August and republished on October 12th. So about a month and a half.

Ron: That’s fast. You must have been busy.

Frederick: Very. But I enjoyed it.

Ron: What is your platform?

Frederick: That remains a work in progress, but generally I write this blog and make use of Social Media. I also plan on reaching out for more interviews and reviews.

Ron: What’s next?

Frederick: I’m real excited about  my next book. It will actually serve as a bridge between Perished and Shem. It will focus primarily on Noah’s Ark, including during the Flood. After that comes the rewrite of the Rise of Shem, plus I have another in the series called Abraham. So I have a busy future.

Ron: Where can interested readers get your book?

Frederick: Create Space Estore and Amazon.com for the print, and the Ebook is available at Amazon.com only.

I might also add that I will be looking for reviewers probably through Goodreads, although interested readers can contact me through information@rfrederickriddle.com. I will provide a PDF version to them, although buying it through Amazon would give more weight to their review.

Ron: Thank you. To those of you interested in R Frederick Riddle’s Perished:The World That Was it can be purchased here for paperback or here for Ebook.

For our readers I am planning on doing future interviews with upcoming and established authors. I will try to give you advance notice.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Keeping Your Focus Part II

In Part I the topic centered on how health can distract from our focus. Today I wish to explore how finances can impact us.

Finances can have either positive or negative impacts on our business. But whether it’s positive or negative, finances can be a major distraction.

For example, one of my titles in T&R Independent Books is Vice President of Finance. This means that I am involved with the daily budgets, check writing, credit card balances, etc. It can be very involved and can easily distract from my writing.

Speaking as a man involved in financial work for over twenty-two years, I know firsthand how time consuming and frustrating money management can be. It is demanding of both time and energy.

So, how do you balance the needs of finance with the needs of marketing?

One answer is “FREE” marketing tools. And there is an abundance of free tools available. Not all will work for you, or for me. But they are there for your perusal.

The key to using free tools or the equally abundant marketing ideas is ‘not to jump from horse to horse.’ It can be very tempting every time you run across a new idea to abandon what you are currently doing and jump to this new idea. I have had to fight this temptation throughout my career.

For example, I may come across a marketer promoting his/her marketing approach. A free video, course, or seminar may be offered to promote the idea to you. Now, you might think I’ll say stay away, it can mislead you. On the contrary, check them out!

But after you’ve sample the ‘free’ stuff, step away and take a deep breath. Does this marketing solution really fit with who you are? Will it work with your book marketing?

It all comes down to a principle a friend once taught me. He liked to visit Florida, especially the Orlando area. He would come across offers to travel free to Orlando and to stay free for x number of days at a nice hotel. The only catch was that he had to attend a seminar on real estate. He would jump at it every time! Why? That’s where the principle comes in.

The only obligation was to listen to the presentation. No requirement to buy. So here it is: Although he was committed to the seminar there was no commitment to buy anything. For an hour or more of listening to the presentation he got all the benefits of the offer.

In marketing you can do the same thing, but instead of lodging you are getting valuable information that you may use; all for free by simply giving your email address and reading/listening to a presentation!

So how does that impact your marketing focus?

Well, you:

  • Get a fast track education on new techniques
  • Save money
  • Actually get information that may make your marketing more effective.
  • get the above while maintaining focus on your writing.

I don’t believe I’ll ever stop using free or inexpensive informational tools. If I get one new idea that benefits me it is well worth the small investment in time. I am then able to focus on putting that information to work in my marketing plan. In fact, the longer I am in this business the smarter I become and am able to refine my own marketing efforts.

In the above case I am able to focus on both marketing and financing. But if I jumped on the follow-up offer I could easily get bogged down and find myself entangled in a frustrating situation that deprives me of the energy needed to write.

If I was advising a new author I would say the following:

“Writing is your primary focus, so learn how to minimize your marketing and financial efforts. By so doing you can stay fresh and keep your focus on writing.”

In short, investigate new strategies, but be wise.

One tool that can help you is budgeting your time. This is a lot more difficult than it first appears and is different with each person. You must determine your priorities, such as where do you want to concentrate your focus? I would suggest you keep a short listed of priorities. And don’t be afraid to revise that list when needed.

Budgeting your time is only one way of keeping your marketing and financing under control. You may know of other tools. Tell us about them.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. His latest novel is a rewrite of Perished: The World That Was published by T&R Independent Books.

Keeping Your Focus Part I

Ever since I wrote my first novel I have had to work at keeping my focus. You might think that it gets easier with each succeeding book. It doesn’t.

There are many interruptions that can affect one’s focus. In this blog I will cover several. Today it will be health.

Your health affects your ability to focus.

In 2014 I had a major heart attack. While I recovered quickly mental focus has been slow to come back. I need to take a rest periodically. It’s an ongoing struggle that I am slowly winning.

Prior to my heart attack I could stay on the computer virtually all day without interruption, but now I often need to take a short nap at least once during the day. I get mentally tired and find it difficult to concentrate on the work being done.

So, like I said, health affects your ability to focus.

So what do I mean by focus?

Here is my definition: Focus is the ability to concentrate on both the problem and the solutions. In marketing, it requires a high degree of study to determine the best course of action.

When I wrote my first book I quickly learned that most marketing was going to be by me. Over the years I have learned that there are a multitude of marketing ideas. So one part of focus is sorting the ideas out and determining which one is best for me.

This requires study and concentration. It is not easy. Especially since many of these ideas are well defined and presented.

So how do I focus?

Remember my definition? I’ll repeat it: Focus is the ability to concentrate on both the problem and the solutions. In marketing, it requires a high degree of study to determine the best course of action.

As can be seen, it can be tiring, exhausting.

Each one of us have different make ups. Different things disrupt our lives. But all of us need to focus on our work whether writing, publishing, or marketing.

So if necessary, take that nap. Do whatever you must to keep your ability to concentrate at a high level.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Noah

I have been writing about how I wrote Perished: The World That Was. Today I write about Noah.

What was Noah like?

If you believe the movie ‘Noah’ he was not very nice. In fact, he was something of a mental case. Further he didn’t think humans were worthy of redemption.

All in all the movie ‘Noah’ is fiction with extremely little ties to the facts.

When writing the book Perished, I strove to make him exactly like he is portrayed in the Bible: a man saved by the Grace of God and commissioned to build an Ark to the saving of mankind.

Both in the church and outside the church you hear statements such as:

1.     The Ark was the first ship (heard preached)

2.     The Ark was unseaworthy (popular belief)

3.     Noah was crazy (popular belief and taught in movie)

4.     Noah was a drunk (he did get drunk once, but no indication he was a drunkard)

All of these are false. Nowhere in the Bible is the Ark ever described as the only ship built before the Flood. The truth is that the ‘blue print’ given Noah by God presupposes some knowledge of ship building.

Noah was a farmer, who grew grapes, and was not a shipbuilder. In olden days farmers often did some carpentry, but nothing like building a ship.

Scientists have determined the Ark to be very seaworthy. And the Bible shows a man who loved God and was very godly in character.

These were just some of the issues I had to deal with before I could create an accurate picture of Noah.

Some people claim the entire story is a story taken from the Epic of Gilgamesh. But the Bible account is a first hand eyewitness account of the events. Gilgamesh was written after the Flood, indeed after the Confusion of Tongues!

So my job was to portray Noah as a highly intelligent, godly man. Fortunately I had the Bible as a ready reference. There are a lot of facts about him if you look. Secondly, we know from science and archaeology what the world may have been like.

So once I had all the facts gathered I was able to weave a story about him and his family that not only was believable, but probably very close to the truth.

All of this teaches a very important truth: When using a historical person do your research. You want your character as believable as possible.

 By the way, I am in the final stages of rewriting Perished: The World That Was. It should be coming out soon, so watch for it.

Your comments are welcome. Just make a comment below.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Hooked on Writing

Those of you that are familiar with me know I published my first novel in 2003 at the age of 60. But you may not know that I got the bug to write as a teenager.

You may ask why the large gap in years? Even as a child I had an active imagination and came up with stories that were adventurous and exciting. And, of course, I was often the hero. When I entered my teen years this ability to conceive stories (never told to anyone) led me to desire to write. English became one of my favorite classes.

But choosing a writing career doesn’t guarantee you actually start writing and publishing books. To achieve this requires a commitment. Thus the reason for the title ‘Hooked on Writing.’

You are likely going to run into roadblocks that either frustrate or cause you to stop. You are tempted to quit. Being hooked on writing is all about persevering. You press forward.

As a teenager I wanted to write, but I knew precious little about writing a book. In my early twenties I served in the Navy and got out in 1968 at the age of 25. You might consider this my first roadblock. But at worst it was a delay.

I shortly afterward signed up for a course on writing. About the time I was making progress I ran out of money. This was my second roadblock. And it effectively stopped me in my tracks.

In 1973 I received Christ as my Savior. This motivated me to want to write Christian fiction. But I still knew little about the subject. Frustrated in this effort I turned to poetry. I liked (still do) rhyming poetry. I began writing poems. In addition, I began writing computer programs for my own use. Neither of these furthered my career, although the poetry played a role in winning the heart of my future wife.

I continued trying to write stories. However, most stories lasted only a chapter or two while one actually went much further before being abandoned. In every case, I was unable to relate to the characters I developed or the plot itself.

But in 2001 I had a breakthrough. I was reading my Bible for my daily devotions. I was in Genesis, chapter 6 where you read of Noah and the Flood. Sudden inspiration struck! While the facts of the event are laid out for everyone to see, there is a story behind the story never told. I set out to tell that story.

Since then I have written several novels and am completing a rewrite of my novel Perished: The World That Was. It will be available soon.

Are you tempted to quit? To throw in the towel? Are you frustrated by some roadblock such as: lack of money, uncooperative characters, or a plot going nowhere?

The question for you to answer is: Are you hooked on writing?

If so, don’t give up. There are things you can do:

  1.  Write something other than fiction
  2. Read other authors in your genre
  3. Be open to ideas
  4. Take a course
  5. Pray

Praying is important because if you are a Christian you should want God’s blessing. He will answer that prayer, but maybe not as fast as you like. Be patient.

Meanwhile consider taking a course. There are many out there including Authors Academy which we offer. This inexpensive course will get you started. Click here and begin your new career.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.