When is Good Grammar Correct?

FeaturedWhen is Good Grammar Correct?

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Is Good Grammar Good Enough?

I have over time written a good deal about writing. I’ve covered numerous subjects including publishing and marketing. Having recently written TR Independent Books Guide to Writing I’ve decided to take one particular aspect of writing and focus on it. If you’d like a free copy of the book simply write me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com, request the book by name and whether you want the Word version or PDF version. I will promptly email you a copy. This book is not available at retail.

In today’s blog I’d like to take a look at grammar, so I’ve copied the chapter that deals with the subject in general (other chapters deal with certain aspects).

So let’s talk grammar. If you were writing for a college course or a college professor you might be expected to write perfect grammar. Less than perfect might have disastrous consequences. But when you are writing novels good grammar may be more desirable than perfect grammar.

Huh?

To understand what I mean you must understand what perfect grammar is. In perfect grammar you are not allowed mistakes. In addition, perfect grammar has rules that must be followed religiously. It requires a very rigid structure. But good grammar may at times be perfect (as when the storyteller is narrating) and other times less than perfect (as when characters are talking or thinking). That’s a simplistic explanation but it will do for now.

Let me put it another way; perfect grammar is usually stilted whereas imperfect grammar brings a certain aliveness to the story. In a story with multiple characters you don’t want all your characters to sound alike.

In my speculative fiction series Christland there are robots and androids. There are also humans. Humans tend to use contractions like ‘isn’t’, ‘don’t’, or ‘haven’t’. But androids use a more perfect grammar and say ‘is not’, ‘do not’, or ‘have not’. Same meanings but spoken differently. I constantly check to make sure that the androids never use contractions unless desired.

It’s the same thing with humans. In the series World That Was I had Methuselah use an expression, ‘So God has said, so shall it be’. This becomes a phrase he uses and is therefore identified with him. No other character uses it.

Is it good grammar?

It doesn’t matter. It is something he says.

And that is an important distinction. When someone is talking or thinking their grammar may or may not be good let alone perfect, but it must be consistent! The only acceptable reason for inconsistency would be a change in the character like having matured, gotten educated, or some such thing. There must be a reason that the reader sees and understands!

So here is a chapter from the book.

Watch Your Grammar

Principle

Your grammar must be perfect!

Right?

Actually that depends on who you talk to and the specifics involved. Here is my take:

Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. For example, let’s say one of your characters only has a ninth grade education.

You would not want that character talking like a professor. For that matter, you really don’t want any of your characters to talk that way unless they actually are professors.

Now I don’t recommend that you try to imitate slang and accents, but just be cautious. Maybe allow a character to have a favorite saying. In Perished: The World That Was I had Methuselah with a favorite saying, “So God has said, so shall it be.”

Which brings up a related principle: Be consistent. If I later had someone else using that same phrase it could have been a jolt. Be consistent.

So here’s the principle: When you are dealing with conversation (or even thoughts) you can and should be less than perfect but consistent. Everything else should be perfect.

Aside from speaking, there is the matter of punctuation and spelling. With the tools available this should never be a problem, but it does occur. It is therefore necessary to check your spelling and punctuation as often as possible.

Tip: Be consistent. If Bob is talking like a country boy on page 2 and a professor on page 132 then you better have shown a transformation. Because your reader will spot inconsistencies.

Example

The boys is clothed alike. [This is poor grammar.]

The boys are clothed alike. [Much better.]

“You guys look the same.” [OK.]

“The boys is clothed alike,” Martha said. [OK, if this is consistent with Martha’s education and you’re emphasizing it.]

A rule of thumb is that grammar rules don’t have to be followed rigidly when verbal conversation is taking place or when someone is thinking. (This is an argument for emphasizing thoughts with italics.)

Tip: A rule of thumb is that grammar rules don’t have to be followed rigidly when verbal conversation is taking place or when someone is thinking.

Application

Both my wife and I try to watch our grammar usage. One of the tools we use is Microsoft Word’s grammar checker. It’s not perfect, but it helps. Also, we use the spell check, but it is not always up-to-date. So we make use of the ‘Add to Dictionary’ tool.

Other resources are grammar books (especially older versions that really emphasized good grammar), and the internet.

Make use of as many resources as needed. And pay attention to grammar and punctuation when editing.

Tip #2: Don’t use slang or social media language. It might be good on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media but not in a book unless the language belongs to the character(s).

That was the chapter on Grammar, but actually the subject of grammar is more extensive than that, which is why other chapters deal with some particulars of grammar. For instance, you can include scenes within that subject. The book has chapters on the Starting Scene, the Middle Scene, and the Ending Scene. You could also include viewpoint (there are chapters on the different viewpoints). Grammar is broad and yet specific.

One of the various resources (yes, there’s a chapter on that also) an author needs a Grammar book that includes capitalization, sentence structure, and a whole lot more.

But a key principle that you should remember is what was stated earlier: Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. It is your job as an author to find those exceptions, such as conversation, and use them to enliven your story!

Conclusion.

So, is good grammar good enough? Yes, if you’re careful and consistent.

Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into grammar. In the future I will periodically visit a subject found in the writing guide. In the meantime don’t forget that the book is free, easy to read, and the entire book is only 101 pages. And if you’d like to know more about our Writing Services simply request a free copy of our booklet TR Writing Services and we will send you a copy absolutely free and with no obligations.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

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 [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Why We Celebrate Resurrection Sunday

FeaturedWhy We Celebrate Resurrection Sunday

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at We Celebrate Resurrection Sunday.

On Sunday we celebrated Easter or Resurrection Sunday. In either case we celebrated the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Some people favor the crucifixion as taking place on Friday (Good Friday). However this is based on a misunderstanding of Scripture. It is true that it took place the day before the Sabbath, but there was the Passover (a Sabbath) that week on Thursday.

There is the additional problem of getting three days and nights between Friday and Sunday. There are some pretty fanciful ideas out there to solve that problem. The truth is that we are talking about real days as in 24 hours. You simply can’t get three 24 hour days between Friday and Sunday.

To resolve this some have placed the crucifixion on Thursday. But this still doesn’t work because the Jewish day started at dusk (around 6 pm). So you’d have Friday and Saturday (2 days) and Thursday evening, Friday evening, and Saturday evening (3 nights). An additional problem is that the Passover (a High Sabbath) was on Thursday.

The only solution that works is the crucifixion was on Wednesday. Passover began at 6 pm, thus beginning Thursday and the Passover. Now you get three days and nights with Jesus rising sometime between Saturday 6 pm (start of Sunday) and Sunday 6 am.

I’ve included a chart to show the events of those days.

However the real point of our celebration is not the name (Easter vs. Resurrection Sunday) or the day of crucifixion. Nor is it just the resurrection. We celebrate His death, burial and resurrection. He died for our sins thus satisfying the holy justice of God and rose on the third day to signify that we have new life in Christ. The two must be together.

It has special significance for believers: It proves the deity of Christ; it fulfills scripture; it proves that what Christ said about Himself and His power to forgive sin is true; it shows there is eternal existence after death; and it shows that ultimately Christ and all believers will have the victory irrespective of politics, etc. here on Earth.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

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 [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

FeaturedSinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Every week  I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

The title of this blog is taken from the famous Jonathan Edwards sermon. That sermon dealt with the fact that the only thing keeping the ungodly (unsaved) out of Hell is God. In other words, God keeps such people alive and out of Hell to give them the opportunity to be saved. How long He gives them is strictly according to His will not theirs!

Just as this truth shook millions of churchgoers who heard or read this sermon the same should shake those of us who are believers. The same Bible that teaches the truth about the unsaved also teaches that while the saved are secure in the Lord they also are kept from a different judgment purely based on His will and purpose.

What do you mean?

As a believer I am forever secure. I was saved by grace, I am kept by grace, and I will continue to live according to His grace. But my rewards in Heaven are based on works.

But before we discuss that let’s take a look at the very first word in the title, namely Sinners.

Who are Sinners?

Many people believe and some even teach and preach that there are small sins, medium sized sins, and then the whoppers! Furthermore, they teach that Hell is the destination of those guilty of the big sins or whoppers. But the Bible doesn’t teach that.

In fact the Bible says in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” and in Roman’s 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In verse 23 it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners! And in case you think you are the exception take a look at Revelation 21:8:

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Did you notice ‘and all liars’? It only takes one lie to become a liar. And you, my friend, have told at least one lie; and so have I!

Then all will go to Hell?

Without God in your life the answer is yes. The Jonathan Edwards sermon showed that the unbeliever (aka unsaved) is only a fraction of a second from Hell. But Roman’s 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and has provided for us a way to Heaven. In Romans 10:13 it says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”; in other words, if you sincerely ask Jesus to save you He will. And He knows whether you are sincere or not!

Then a Believer isn’t under God’s Wrath?

That is true. However, God sets a very high standard for our behavior. When we got saved He didn’t take us home to Heaven. Instead, He left us here to serve Him. To accomplish that He wants us to triumph over our sins but we live in sinful flesh and will continue to do so until we are raptured or die!

Then we have no hope!

Wrong! If you belong to God (and all believers do) He loves you eternally. He loves you and will make a way for you to confess your sins and restore your fellowship. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Oh, you mean we can sin all we want as long as we ask forgiveness afterward?

If you approach life with that attitude you will find yourself in a world of trouble. 1 John 1:9 is not a free pass. It’s talking about real confession of the heart with the understanding that God can read our hearts and knows whether it is true or not. And don’t forget, it’s talking about forgiveness not consequences.

I’m confused.

That’s because you haven’t discerned that the wrath of God and the judgment of believers are two separate issues. The wrath of God is upon unbelievers (unsaved) while God’s judgment of works is reserved for His children (only believers are the children of God; all people are the creation of God).

So what is this Judgment of Works?

In the old Roman arenas the victors were rewarded by leis or something of that nature. The victors would wear them like crowns. The governor or some other high official would sit upon a seat called the Bema Seat to award the victors.

Just as that governor watched and awarded the winner God is watching us. When His people (all believers in Christ) do His work He takes notice. Someday we’ll stand in His presence and He will reward us for what we did for Him. He will reward us with crowns that we’ll cast at His feet in awe and worship for Him.

Oh, then our works are involved!

For rewards, yes; for salvation, no. In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Combine that with James 2:18, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” and you get a powerful statement of faith.

Then we are ordained to work?

Yes. We are saved by grace, ordained to work, and displayed for all the world to see.

But what if I don’t do good works?

Good question. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul touched on this issue. Within that verse is the following phrase: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Castaway is not the loss of your salvation. Rather it is the loss of usability. It means to be put on the shelf; to be worthless for service; to be unusable! It means God will reject your service!

I can’t think of anything worse than that for the believer!

That’s scary!

Yes it is! And some don’t like that idea because it doesn’t fit with their concept of a loving God. They’ve adopted the Hollywood concept of love where God ignores our sins because He loves us! But this is not found in the Bible. He is both a loving God and a holy God. He does and He will judge sin!

God loves me but He hates it when I sin. And then there comes broken fellowship, correction, forgiveness, and restoration. But before forgiveness I must first confess. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is a promise from God to all believers. And please note that it’s sin being forgiven, but nothing is said of the consequences! (God promises to forgive a man for drinking alcohol if he repents, but He doesn’t promise the man won’t get Cirrhosis of the liver.)

Conclusion

We who have trusted Christ for our salvation are spared the Wrath of God which is for an unbelieving world. But God will judge our works that follow our salvation. And if we are disobedient and thereby sin we are in danger of being castaways. It means that we could enter Heaven without any crowns to cast at Jesus’ feet! What a tragedy that would be!

In writing this blog I am very aware of my own sinfulness. I received Christ as my Savior on May 9, 1973 and have a home in Heaven. The Bible doesn’t teach sinless perfection. In fact it says in 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Therefore we need to trust God, rely on His help and mercy, and worship Him with all our being!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

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 [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Are They Making the Trump/Pence Space Challenge a Reality?

FeaturedAre They Making the Trump/Pence Space Challenge a Reality?

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Monday’s I try to focus on issues. This week I am taking a look at Are they making the Trump/Pence Space Challenge a Reality?

The following is a posting of a Newt Gingrich article.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence announced what may prove to be the boldest space challenge since President John F. Kennedy said America would go to the Moon in 1961.

In implementing President Donald Trump’s historic vision for America to go beyond the Moon and Mars, Vice President Pence sent a clear message that Americans were returning to the Moon by 2024 – and we are going there to stay.

The boldness of the Trump-Pence plan can be seen in the fact that this new target is four years sooner than NASA’s most recent estimate. It was a strong response against, NASA’s long history of budget overruns and project delays. Vice President Pence made it clear that “what we need now is urgency,” and that the competition for American leadership in space is “not just competition against our adversaries; we’re also racing against our worst enemy: complacency.”

The Vice President’s challenge to NASA was remarkably bold and direct. In his words, “failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option.”

His words signaled a profound move away from the traditional space bureaucracy:

“We’re not committed to any one contractor. If our current contractors can’t meet this objective, then we’ll find ones that will. If American industry can provide critical commercial services without government development, then we’ll buy them. And if commercial rockets are the only way to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years, then commercial rockets it will be.”

In some ways, Vice President Pence’s challenge is even greater than what was facing President Kennedy. It’s true: Kennedy was inventing a new organization and radically expanding the Washington bureaucracy. But that meant he was building something young, fresh, excited, and innovative.

Trump and Pence are trying to reinvigorate, reorient, and redirect an existing, deeply entrenched bureaucracy with a long history of great achievements – that is deeply committed to doing things how they’ve always been done.

Furthermore, President Kennedy was able to use the threat of the Soviet Union to get a massive increase in space funding. At its peak in 1966, NASA was spending 4.4 percent of the federal budget. At that percentage in President Trump’s 2020 budget, NASA would have a budget of $208.8 billion instead of $21 billion. If NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had almost ten times more money in his budget than he does now, he could do amazing things — but he doesn’t.

Vice President Pence recognizes that a new approach must compensate for the absence of new money. He said on Tuesday, “we will call on NASA not just to adopt new policies but to embrace a new mindset. That begins with setting bold goals and staying on schedule … NASA must transform itself into a leaner, more accountable, and more agile organization. If NASA is not currently capable of landing American astronauts on the Moon in five years, we need to change the organization, not the mission.”

The Trump-Pence-Bridenstine team has two great advantages over the Kennedy era efforts in space.

First, we have a half century of developing new, better, more reliable, and more flexible technology. The reusable rockets of SpaceX and Blue Origin are miraculous improvements on the rockets of the 1960s. Radically smaller microelectronics, breakthroughs in materials technology, the development of 3D printing, and the emergence of artificial intelligence all combine to give us a chance to do more in space – and do it better, faster, and cheaper. However, this is only true if the bureaucracies can be overcome.

Second, there are now competitive companies that can undertake dramatic challenges previously unimagined for the private sector even ten years ago.

Since the bold, exciting challenge of Vice President Pence’s speech, I have talked with key people in the private sector space industry. They are prepared to enter a competition to put astronauts on the Moon — and to stay there. Moreover, they say they can do so ahead of schedule and under budget.

The Trump Administration should propose an open competition. It should not be about planning, engineering, paper pushing, or having meetings. It should be about flying.

Boeing should be challenged to fully take over the Space Launch System project — which it has been paid billions to manage in a traditional cost-plus process. Boeing should be liberated from NASA’s traditional pattern of management, over-planning, and underperforming. If Boeing could liberate its designers and engineers to be mission-oriented rather than process-dominated, the SLS could leap forward, and its price would drop.

At the same time, companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin should be invited into the competition. The central goal would be getting Americans back to the Moon and keeping them there. Companies that meet the goals ahead of schedule should get a bonus. The first company to meet the project goals should get an even bigger bonus.

Furthermore, companies that come in under budget should be allowed to keep 20 percent of the savings. And there should be an opportunity for fully funded new entrants to come and compete.

Importantly, participants should be paid only for achievement – not for planning or process. One suggestion I have heard from industry was for companies to be paid a price per kilo of delivery on the surface of the Moon.

There would have to be a lot of details worked out, but the excitement of a genuine American space race – with each company going all out – would inspire a new generation of Americans to go into space.

At the same time, each company would acquire new capabilities that would be a resource for our military, a building block for getting to Mars and beyond, and an enhancement for low Earth orbit tourism and manufacturing.

This would be a bold implementation strategy worthy of the bold Trump-Pence vision.

Your Friend,
Newt

In the above article I emphasized words and phrases I thought significant.

Note: This was such a well written article I felt that it should be seen by others. For transparency I had nothing to do with the writing of this article. Personally, I found this exciting news; something that should have happened a long time ago. But we needed a President with vision and the willingness to proceed. We’ve got him and he’s doing it!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

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 [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.