Insights From World of Shem Part 7

Insights From World of Shem Part 7

In this issue I will speak on scenes.

As I have worked on my books over the years I have come across different ideas about writing scenes. The discussion usually centers around opening, middle, and end of scene, all critical areas. But one area that doesn’t get much attention is separation.

What Is Separation?

Here I am talking about separating one scene from another. The closing scene may or may not introduce you to another scene. If the new scene involves a different character then the last scene probably won’t introduce it.

But whether introduced or not there is a need for a clear break between the two scenes. Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly discovered that you were in a different scene without warning. Suddenly you’re confused as to who is talking, what is being talked about, what action is taking place, and where it is taking place. To say you’re confused is an understatement!

One of my earlier books printed by a publisher other than T&R removed all my separation symbols leaving readers confused. It really left me looking like an amateur and the reader less than satisfied. Having a separation of scenes is extremely important.

How Do I Separate Scenes?

In general there are probably 100s of methods to separate scenes, but as a reader there are a few that have stood out. Here are a few examples:

[ blank space ] = Some authors simply place a larger than normal blank space between the closing paragraph of one scene and the opening paragraph of a new scene. This is simple and generally effective. However, I find when reading such books that it is easy to overlook the white space. Our eyes may choose to skip the space due to our interest in the book. We may also assume a printers’ error and skip.

[ *** ] Three or more asterisks are an effective way to separate scenes. The eyes will pick them up and the reader will know what they mean. I tend to put my symbols in the middle of the page, but that is really up to you.

[ &&& ] Three or more ampersands work well, also. Again, I find putting them in the middle a very effective move.

[ ### ] Here you have three or more pound or number signs as the symbols. Once again I would place them in the middle.

[ ……. ] I have used seven dots as a separator. The reason for using seven instead of three is that three dots ( … ) can mean that text (from another document) has been only quoted in part. It can send the wrong signal. So seven dots is what I would prefer.

There are numerous ways to separate, but the above are my favorite. The key is to find the symbol you want and consistently use it throughout the book. You might think that using several symbols will look good, but there is the danger of distracting the reader.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem (Book Three), but Perished The World That Was (Book One), and World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two). If you would like to review any of these 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 World of Shem.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Insights From World of Shem Part 6

Insights From World of Shem Part 6

In this issue I will speak on building a character.

When I started writing my first novel I thought I knew how to build characters. But I found there was much to learn. And now after writing a total of 6 novels I am still learning.

In writing the World of Shem I had a unique problem. Usually in writing a novel you build your character from scratch. But in this case, as in my previous novels, I faced actual historical figures wherein certain aspects of their personalities were known. You’d think this made my job easier, but not really. With parts of their personalities already known I had to develop those personalities so that they were consistent with the historical record.

I’ve often talked about research and once again I point to the importance of your doing your research. So I had to first thoroughly acquaint myself with Shem and other historical people, then build upward from that basic knowledge.

For example, in developing Shem I had to make sure that his character was consistent with the historical and biblical known facts. I also took into consideration tradition. A good example of this is the Jewish tradition that Shem was Melchizedek. Not all Jews believed this but some did and I adopted that for the book. But that created another problem: namely that I had to make sure the character not only met the known facts about Shem but also about Melchizedek. And this meant it had to be consistent with the Bible, which I accomplished.

Now I didn’t have to prove they were one and the same person, but it had to be believable. That is why I included the fact that Melchizedek was likely a title rather than a name (much like pharaoh). Combining these facts together to make one person required research, patience, and care.

But that is what you need to do for any of your characters. You want them to stand out on their own. And the only way I know of doing this on a consistent basis is to consistently learn and apply from your very first character to your latest character. Each time you develop a character, whether based on a historical figure or an imaginary figure, you add to your skill set. Then the next character benefits from what you have learned. Hopefully each succeeding book and character is better than the last.

The more often you write the more confident you will get. And the more confident you get the better your characters will come across. This is key to your success. If you don’t believe in your characters you can hardly expect your readers to believe in them. So make this skill a priority in your writing.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.