When Writing Offends

When Writing Offends

Today I am writing about When Writing Offends.
You are going to offend somebody with your writing. This is a true statement whether you’re writing fiction, blogs, or anything else. It’s likely to happen. And some writers write with the intent to offend.
I am not writing about that. Rather, I am talking about poor writing. A few years ago I spoke at a meeting where we were discussing someone else’s book (name intentionally withheld). The book was full of foul language and filthy sex. I had agreed to review the book not knowing the author’s tendencies. In fact, I started to back out because it offended me so greatly, but I had already agreed to read it and so I read did, although it was a struggle. My conclusion, it was a terrible book. I would never recommend it to anyone.
But it was a best seller!
You might ask how can it be poor writing and still be a best seller? Simple, sex sells!
But the problem with the story was there was a basically good plot but the sex, language, etc. overrode it. Now to be sure, there was at least one fan of the writer who defended the book. Her defense bordered on insulting rather than anything constructive, but it does show such writing does attract people.
I once was accused of trying to impose my Christian faith upon others. Not in that meeting, but here on the Internet. But the fact is I believed that writing should not contain profane language or excessively graphic scenes long before I ever accepted Christ as my Savior. In fact, I wasn’t even attending church back then. I’m not talking religion I am talking about what makes a great writer.
Sales doesn’t make a great writer.
There is a constant flow of pornographic books that sell. Mankind is attracted to such books. But they are not good books.
Before I got saved I read well written books of all types. I even read books that had great plots, fantastic characters, while also leaving little to the imagination. And the interesting thing is that these books were great even if the bad stuff was left out. In fact, I would contend they would have been better.
You read any of my novels and I leave out the excessive graphics. That doesn’t mean there’s no sex, violence, or anything like that. When I write a scene I leave the excess up to the reader. Which brings up an important maxim:
A writer’s job is to stimulate the reader’s imagination not replace it!
So I always have a stopping point. This is true whether it is sex or violence.
But what about language?
Well, let’s take a look at that. Those defending the practice contend it is more realistic, that everyone swears. But that is a false statement. There are a lot of people who don’t swear. Hollywood and TV has created an image that says swearing is normal, but we all know people, a great many people, who don’t swear.
So, first of all, swearing is not as prevalent as advertised.
Secondly, even if it was prevalent, we need to ask why most people read. It is to escape the reality of their lives, to imagine, to relax, and to be uplifted. Sure some are drawn to the dark side (a little Star Wars there), but I doubt that is the majority.
So, how do you the author show passionate characters and/or events without crossing the line? Believe it or not there was a time when authors actually solved this dilemma. In the case of language they simply used symbols, such as !@#$%^&. The reader automatically knew they represented a swear word. Some readers probably substituted their favorite swear word if they liked to swear. But the key here is that the reader didn’t feel deprived, but simply read on.
In the case of violence or sex the authors highlighted the activities leading up to the event. For example, in Perished I wrote of a battle where a sword fight took place. Read it for yourself:

Akkub turned and saw Meremoth rushing at him. He blocked the initial strike although staggered by it. Meremoth used a two-handed grip to force Akkub back. Suddenly Akkub lost his footing and Meremoth’s sword came slicing downward unblocked.

Everything seemed to stop as the general looked at his severed hand still gripping the sword.

Here we have a sword fight that results in one man losing his hand. The amount of detail provided is not too graphic, but it is enough to stimulate the reader’s imagination. And different readers have different levels of imagination, so each reader may picture the fight differently. In any case, the scene is full of action yet not too graphic.
In the case of sex, my usual approach is to focus on the events leading up to the act and to the events leading away from the event. Again, I let the reader’s imagination fill in the gaps.
In truth, the reader’s imagination is a valuable tool available to every writer willing to make use of it.
It is a tool that needs to be sharpened. You do that by using it. Moreover, you experiment and see what works. As deeply as I believe in what I am saying I have had people who reviewed my rough drafts tell me that I needed to back off in this or that scene. So you need people you trust to review your rough draft before you submit it for publishing.
My final thought on this is what is your ultimate goal? We all want our books to sell. That is a given. But what is your ultimate goal?
Is it to simply get rich? Then you’ll probably reject everything I’ve said.
Is it to simply write? Then you may or may not care about this blog or about sales.
Is it to write your very best book? Then I contend you want your writing to be above reproach. Fame and sales would be nice, but you want to be able to say to yourself, I did my best. And that brings a deep sense of satisfaction!
Offences can’t be totally prevented. But your offences due to unnecessary graphics, language, and the like can be reduced and maybe eliminated. Try it.

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 to the Stars 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 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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The Joy of Writing

FeaturedThe Joy of Writing

Today I am writing about the Joy of Writing. If you’ve followed me for awhile you have probably read where I said something like, I love writing. I love writing, Period!

Do I want to sell books? Of course. Do I want my books to be best sellers? Who wouldn’t? Do I want to influence others? You bet.

But when the day is done I love writing!

That is why I am currently working on two novels. One is another World of books while the other is a Christland book. Worlds far apart. But I love both.

I love the creation of scenes, the necessary research to bring characters alive, and bringing it all together into a complete novel. I’m not so thrilled with the editing, polishing, and changing of the story, but they are necessary so I endure.

Writing brings me a feeling of accomplishment. Seeing my words in print, whether on my computer or the Internet, feeds my ego. When I finish a novel I probably sit a little straighter and smile more.

On the other hand, I don’t like negative reviews. Reviews are a necessary part of successful writing, which is why I constantly ask for reviewers. I will never have enough reviews!

But won’t some be negative?”

That’s a good possibility. But both are needed. Good reviews tell the reader that it’s a good book; bad reviews help the writer improve. In fact, bad reviews, even if wrong or uninformed, enable a writer to improve.

I primarily write novels. But novels influence people sometimes far beyond the author’s original intentions. There have been times when a reader told me that he or she had to look something up in the Bible to find out whether the scene just read was my imagination or the Bible or both. That’s a compliment!

So what am I saying? Simply this. If you write for the joy of writing, don’t let the details get you down. Maybe your book isn’t selling like you’d like; don’t let it get you down. Be alert to helpful advice or criticism, but continue writing. Each book, each scene, each criticism makes you a better writer.

Write!

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 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 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.

The Mighty Pen

FeaturedThe Mighty Pen

Today I am writing about the power of the word. We writers wield a powerful tool that can inspire, transform, build or it can tear down, spoil, destroy. Writing is a time honored craft that can and often does serve God.

Generally I blog about writing books; in particular, novels. But there are other examples of where writing can be viewed as a service. These are writing:

  • Blogs

Blogs are not only an expression of yourself, but they are sources of influence, as well. Some people are only known because they have a fantastic blog. It’s easy to get started with WordPress and it is fun.

  • Letters

Some people write letters for others. You can actually make money doing this. You can also personally influence people for your own causes.

  • Novels

My favorite. If you have a lively imagination you can write lively stories. Writing Christian fiction is not much different than writing fiction. It is fiction with a Christian worldview. If you can do this, you have the potential to be very successful or extremely happy because you are doing something you truly love.

  • Poetry

In the early days I wrote poetry, but it was for personal use. It actually helped me win my wife. I was never interested in pursuing it as a career, but I did enjoy it.

  • Skits

Writing for skits, plays, etc. can be rewarding. I know next to nothing about this, but people have and do make good money in it.

  • Soul Winning Tracts

You’ve seen all those tracts out there. Go to any church that believes in and practices soul winning and you will find a tract rack or display. Somebody writes them. And many are very good.

What other examples are there? Write them down. And then take them to the Lord to find out if any are for you. Being a writer is rewarding whether you make money or not. There are other more enduring rewards like satisfaction, self respect, the respect of others, and that feeling you get when you’ve done something right.

As for me, I write not to get rich (probably a good thing) but because I love to write. You could say it’s in my blood. Why do you write? What is your motivation?

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 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 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.

Publishing with Create Space

Publishing with Create Space

Last Friday I was helping a friend set up a publishing platform. So I thought it appropriate to discuss Publishing With CreateSpace. This may end up being multiple parts, but here goes.

Why Should You Avoid the Big Publishers?

That’s a good question. There are of course good reasons for using the big publishers, more often known as traditional publishers. In brief, they are established and well known, which gives them a marketing edge and they pay royalties, sometimes good ones. But beyond that they are the ones who are in control and reap the profits.

Traditional publishers exercise literary control. They decide whether your book will be accepted or not for publishing; they have control over the content; and they control most of the publishing process.

What About Self-Publishers?

When I started writing in 2003 I began with AuthorHouse. I was pleased with its quality, its low price (about $400 back then), and the guidance I received. But as time went on I became dissatisfied. At $400 per new book it wasn’t all that cheap.

Self-Publishers are better than traditional but they still have ultimate control. If you want to have control of your writing, publishing, and marketing then you need a different approach. That brings us to CreateSpace.

What is CreateSpace?

CreateSpace is a publishing platform that offers you the control you desire and, along with it, the ability to reap the profits. Would you like to start getting 35% royalties at the first printing? Or how about 70% royalty? Either one is possible.

When you publish your book through CreateSpace you can also transfer the document to KDP Kindle. However, I recommend publishing the Kindle version directly through KDP. Or you can begin the process through CreateSpace and once transferred to KDP, go to KDP and replace the content with content that has been customized for Kindle (ie., removing paging, headers, and anything else that is unnecessary for an ebook). I always copy the finished CreateSpace book to a name such as [Title] + “for Kindle” so that I have one for print and one for Kindle.

What Other Advantages are There?

With Self-Publishers you will probably pay for your ISBN number (either within price or extra), which is necessary if you want to sell your book to libraries, schools, or even worldwide. CreateSpace will provide FREE ISBNs or they will sell you one. The CreateSpace ISBNs automatically are eligible for Expanded Distribution which allows for CreateSpace Direct (wholesale, etc.), Bookstores and Online Retailers (e.g., Barnes and Noble, Ingram, and NACSCORP.), as well as Libraries and Academic Institutions through Baker & Taylor.

It all depends on your needs. Generally, I have found their free ISBN to be what’s needed.

Another advantage is the Photo Gallery. While it is not extensive and, in my opinion, needs to be expanded, the gallery provides many photos that can be used as covers. And if you have a photo you’d like to use they allow you to upload it (needs to meet their standards). Or you can hire someone to make a CreateSpace compatible cover for you. Except for a few rules, you have control.

You have control over the size of your book, and the pricing of your book. Over and over again, you are given the tools to exercise control. And for the most part, it is free!

How Do I Set Up a CreateSpace Account?

It’s actually pretty easy. You’ll need an email account, which will serve as your ID, plus you will need bank account information so that they can pay you your royalties. There may be some tax questions as well. Those are the essentials. After that it is simply following the prompts and answer questions.

How Do I publish a Book?

Again, it is easy. You sign in and are taken to the MAIN PAGE. Here you will select Add a Book. Once you have selected this you will be given a choice of how to proceed in creating your book. You will want to take the guided tour.

Each step of the way you will be guided and asked questions. The first decision will be the Title information. Title information is required and can be changed. It is necessary for you to receive an ISBN number. Once you’ve created a title and selected what type ISBN you want you will save the progress. From that time on the ISBN cannot be changed; it is locked in. However, you can change the title information.

To upload a book it may require a PDF manuscript. Simply save your Word copy to PDF and upload that version.

Do You Recommend CreateSpace?

Since we created T&R Independent Books we have found CreateSpace to be an excellent publishing platform. It works very well for us. We have used it since 2014 and plan on continuing to use it going forward. Your needs may differ from ours so you will need to make that decision yourself.

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 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 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.

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).

– – – – – – –
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.

Insights from World of Shem Part 4

Insights from World of Shem Part 4

In this issue I will speak on the About the Author page.

Have you placed an About the Author page in the back of your book? You should. You want to let the reader or potential reader know about you and what they can expect if they buy your book.

Sometimes, when I am looking at books to buy at a bookstore or borrow from the library, I look at both the back cover’s bio AND the About the Author page. Why? Because if I am unfamiliar with the author I want to know more information about him or her before I decide on getting it.

So what should you include in the About the Author page?

The first thing you want is a good, quality picture of yourself. I don’t recommend using your Tablet or cell phone. I have used a picture taken by a friend who knew how to take professional grade pictures. And he used a professional camera. It is different than the one on the back cover of my book. It’s more informal. Because I usually go for black and white interiors, the picture is also black and white even though I inserted a color picture.

It is important to remember that there are criteria to be followed regarding any pictures you include within the book’s interior. Create Space has their requirements and other publishing houses have theirs. They may not all be the same, so be sure to find out what is required and what is acceptable. Then make sure you meet them. If you don’t the book may be rejected, requiring you to bring the picture up to snuff.

What about including text?

Generally speaking your picture and text should take up only one page in the back of your book. In my books I only have two brief paragraphs below the picture providing the essential facts about me. These facts include how long I’ve been writing books, the books I have written (if you’ve written lot of books you may want to mention only the series), and my contact information.

The contact information should only be your email address. Unless of course you have a business phone that you’ve made available for them. But as a general rule an email address should be all that is needed. The reason for contact information is twofold: the reader wants it and so do you. (Hearing from a reader, even a disgruntled reader, shows interest.)

Can I put the About the Author page in the front of the book?

The front matter usually includes a title page, copyright page, dedication page, and contents (optional) page. I have also included a Note From the Author page which relates to the book, but I have never included an About the Author page in the Front Matter.

That being said, I don’t know of any rule that says don’t do it. Books that I have purchased sometimes included Other Books By the Author in the front but I don’t recall ever seeing their Bio in the front. So you probably can, but look at other authors and books for examples. And if you don’t find any then maybe you should consider it not a good idea. The choice is yours.

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).

– – – – – – –

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.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” Prov. 6:6.

Has God called you to be a writer? Is it hard? Do you feel like quitting?

Here in Proverbs we learn that God takes a dim view of laziness and basically not doing the work. It is true that writing can be hard work. But if God truly called you to be a writer He never provided the option of quitting.

But I know how you feel. Before I ever published my first novel I often felt like quitting. Especially when a story would suddenly hit the wall and I knew it was going nowhere. While I did quit the novel, I never quit writing. And it is important to know there is a difference!

Anyone who has been a writer for awhile has had to change directions at least once but probably more often than they might want to admit. When writing you are investing a part of yourself and it becomes very difficult to stop and reject the work. However, if you consider what you have learned about writing during the project then it has not been a waste of time and effort. Instead you have learned something you can use in your next project.

Quitting as a writer is altogether different. By quitting you are saying that God never called you. If you say no, God called you and it didn’t work out then you are saying God made a mistake. God never makes mistakes! So you need to re-evaluate your calling. Did He call you to be an author or not? If He did then you can’t quit, because it would be disobedience.

Assuming therefore God called you to be a writer then you need to evaluate your writing. What is stopping you? Are you in the right genre? Do you need additional skills?

When I was trying to write and not succeeding it was very frustrating. To offset this I wrote computer programs (most of which were used only personally) and poetry (which helped me win my wife). But behind it all I still had that drive, that calling to write. I often prayed about it and would pick up pen and paper and try again. I even developed a model train hobby that I converted into a story. It didn’t work, but my point is I kept trying.

In my case the solution came through my daily devotions as God showed me that the Bible is loaded with true stories waiting to be the foundation for novels. Your experience will probably be different except that God is just as interested in your success as mine. So keep your prayer life strong and listen for His guidance.

Not only did God open the door for my writing career to open, He also opened the door for my wife and I to become the publisher of our own books (soon she will have her first novel published). In 2014 God gave me the idea for being a self-publisher in the truest form. I talked to my wife and she immediately was enthused. Thus was born T&R Independent Books with her as president and yours truly as vice president. This decision opened the door for us and provided us not only with greater potential earnings but with greater control over every aspect of writing. But it wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t listening to God!

It is my belief that roadblocks in a Christian’s life are there for a reason. Sometimes it means quit  a project to be sure, but never to quit doing His will. Roadblocks come with multiple solutions which could include plowing through them, going around them, going over them, or even going under them. In other words, roadblocks are often opportunities. We just need to stop, pray, and seek to discover what the opportunity facing us might be.

So if you’ve been called to write don’t let a roadblock stop you. It might just be God trying to get your attention and redirect your path.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for 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.

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” Psalm 3:3

Today we live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. They mock us and, in some cases, try to harm us. But no matter what they do we have a God who is our shield. Nothing can be done to us without His knowledge and permission. So even if they kill us, God protects our soul and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.

But how do I apply this to my writing career?

As a Christian you have standards – Bible based standards. And when you take a stand on those standards the world attacks you. This can come in the form of writing ‘experts,’ editors, publishers, and marketeers, or just well-meaning friends.

When this happens remember that God is your shield. Look to Him for guidance and reassurance. If your stand is Biblical then He will “have your back.”

For example, let’s say that you been searching for an agent to help you get a publisher. You finally found one you like. When he reads your book he says, “Your book is too bland. You need to spice it up. Your characters need to be more realistic.” Usually a statement like that means you need to have more sex, violence, and vulgarity than what you’re conscience permits. That’s assuming of course that your characters are well developed.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex and violence are part of life. But as Christian writers we are not to exploit sex and violence. There is a big difference from inferring sex and actually describing it. As for violence we don’t need to be overly graphic. In both of these areas our understanding of Biblical standards governs what we write.

Back to the agent. The agent has given you his advice and has made it clear that unless you change things as he has described, he won’t represent you. Complicating the matter is the fact that you have not been able to find another agent. What do you do?

You stick with your Biblical principles. You need to remind yourself that God is your shield. And since God knows everything from before Creation, He already has prepared for you a safety net. That net could be the sudden appearance of an agent who will represent your work without compromises. Or God could lead you to go the self-publishing route. Or He may provide something altogether different.

The point is that if we trust God and do things His way He will work it out to be for our good (see Roman’s 8:28). And chances are you may even be surprised by how He does it!

One last comment: As a Christian writer you don’t measure success the same way the world does. The world uses sales, royalties, etc. as the measuring stick. While you certainly shouldn’t ignore such data, your real success must come from a Biblical perspective. Does God approve? Not that you’re going to hear a verbal “good job” from Him, but your Christian conscience will let you know and He may well give you a great sense of peace. And no matter the sales, God takes care of His own!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for 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.

How I wrote Perished Part I

How I wrote Perished Part I

This series will give insights into the writing of the novel Perished. It will cover such things as inspiration, research, writing techniques and publishing platform.

INSPIRATION

My history prior to the writing of Perished takes you all the way back to my childhood. Looking back I have always had a lively imagination. As a child I would daydream of heroic stories in which I played the hero. This is typical childhood fantasies but I guess I never grew up. It is a fact that to this day my imagination works overtime.

As a teen I realized I wanted to write stories and as a young adult I actually signed up for a writing course which I eventually dropped for lack of money. But I had the bug and never quite quit writing.

I also loved reading books, so I read a lot of books. I occasionally tried to write a novel but even if I got to the point of developing a plot and working on a novel it eventually ended. I would hit the proverbial wall which I didn’t know how to get around. So the novel was stopped and eventually ended in the trash. This was not necessarily a bad thing since these attempts can best be described as terrible.

At the age of 30 I received Christ as my Savior. In an instant I went from a man destined for Hell and became a child of God. Some people mistakenly say that everyone is a child of God but what they really should say is that all are created by God. When I received Christ my destiny was changed and I became a child of God, a member of the family of God.

But asking Christ to save me didn’t just change in my eternal future. The Bible teaches that many other things took place then as well. I already had the talent and desire to write but I believe that God also changed my approach to writing. At the time I still couldn’t put together an entire story. I would get so far and then hit that wall. But God was working on me to put Him first.

From that time onward God worked in my life changing me. My worldview was brought into agreement with the Bible. As I studied the Bible I began growing spiritually. I not only attended church but began having daily devotions. And I started putting Him first in my life, even in my writing.

But in 2000 I became an author!

Up to that time I had written poetry (it won my wife) and computer programs (amateur) that helped my employer. None of these completely satisfied, but they kept my fires burning. I even dabbled in the hobby of building a model train with a village that became the center of another novel. But it also came to an end.

Then on one day in the year 2000 I was doing my morning devotions. My habit was and is to read a chapter a day until I’ve read the Bible through. It usually takes a couple of years, then I start over. On this particular day I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Ark. And the inspiration hit!

I thought, This only covers the basics! There’s a story untold and I can tell it.

From that moment of inspiration I knew what I wanted to write. But there was something else. I prayed to the Lord about the writing and in particular of writing novels based on the Bible and I was given a certainty about writing that I had never experienced before. I could never prove it, but I now knew it was God’s calling on my life.

Soon I was busy writing my first book, Refuge (no longer available). The book was published by AuthorHouse. And it was good enough that the president of a Christian university read it, complimented me, and encouraged me to continue writing. Such commendation was better than a published review because it undergirded my belief that God had both called and equipped me to write.

And it changed my life!

I not only continued writing but I eventually wrote the historical novel Perished which became the foundation for the series The World That Was which includes Perished, World of Noah and the Ark plus soon World of Shem, and World of Abraham.

The novel is available in both print and eBook. If you enjoy the book please post your review on Amazon.com. Not only do they helped me get a better position on Amazon, but I enjoy reading what readers have to say. And I thank you in advance.

Part II will begin looking at the novel Perished. First up, research.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. 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.

Being Wise

Being Wise

A wise man will hear, and increase in learning…”

In Proverbs 1:5 we are told to be wise, to increase in learning and be a man of understanding. We have all probably heard sermons on this, but this blog is aimed at authors so what does this mean for the Christian author?

Actually this verse is related to Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Taking these two verses together and applying them to us as Christian authors is a very impactful action.

The very first thing that must be done to gain wisdom is to worship God. More specifically we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which occurs when we invite Him to save us. This is what we call being Born Again. This term is misused today to mean something like a fresh start. But it actually means a new relationship, of becoming a child of God (which only occurs when we are saved not when born in the flesh).

But what does wisdom mean to me as a writer?

I have stated this previously but it is worth restating. There is plenty of advice on and off the internet about writing, publishing, and marketing your books. The question is not do I listen but how do I discern good and bad advice. The answer is the Bible. God has laid out principles for us to follow. A wise writer takes those principles and used them as a filter for understanding and applying the wisdom.

Not only should a Christian writer use a biblically sound filter, but they need to apply the wisdom gained. So what are some of these principles?

Principles:

  1. Romans 11:29 : “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We usually apply this to spiritual gifts, but God also gave us other gifts which we are expected to use. The ability to write is a gift. Has He given you that ability? If yes, then use it.
  2. Joshua 1:8: “…meditate therein day and night...” Whether your book is based on the Bible or not keep your focus on the Scriptures. He has promised to bless you!
  3. I Thess. 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” Pray about your writing, publishing, and marketing.
  4. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart…” Trust Him, He knows what is best and will provide.
  5. Proverbs 12:24 : “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.” Be diligent in your writing, apply yourself. You may say your story wrote itself, but it still requires you to do the typing, editing, proofing, etc.
  6. Colossians 3:23: ‘…do it heartily, as to the Lord…” Put your heart into it, be proactive.

These are but a few principles. They are like nuggets of gold. The Bible is full of principles, so search for them and apply them. I believe that if you base your career upon the sure Word of God that God will bless you.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. 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.