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).

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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: World of Noah and the Ark

FeaturedInsights: World of Noah and the Ark

Insights: World of Noah and the Ark

“The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
God communicated His intentions to Noah and sent Noah out to preach the coming judgment upon mankind and indeed the world. But the world didn’t listen. They went on their way singing, dancing, living immoral lives, and laughing at Noah and those who followed him. But God had the last laugh.
Not that He was laughing. He had warned them and caused Noah to build a ship so designed that hundreds of people could have been saved. But only 8 people were saved! He had warned them and provided a refuge but they spit in His face.
But we’re no better!
God still warns us. Not of a coming judgment of water but of a coming judgment of fire and pestilence. But we are no better than our ancestors. Today to believe in the Bible is to be increasingly mocked. So-called smart people laugh at the Bible, mock it, and generally mock God. They ask:

  • Where is God?
  • Where are His miracles?
  • When is His judgment?
  • Where are the preachers of righteousness?

They go about not only mocking God and His Word but mocking Christians. Then there are those who invade our churches to change doctrine. I know of a pastor who once held to the fundamental truth of the imminent return of Christ also called the Rapture. Now he’s departed from that fundamental truth yet still wants to be called fundamental. That’s a story for another time, but my point here is despite God’s repeated warnings we play fast and loose with His Word, we ignore His warnings, and we go on our merry way.
I’m not talking about our proclivity to sin, although that is certainly a major problem. The truth is that this world has rejected God. Nowadays people call that which is evil, good and that which is good, evil. The Bible condemns homosexuality but our world embraces it and its offspring: Lesbianism, same sex marriage, gender identity. etc.

  • Instead of the absolutes of God’s Word we now have the end justifies the means;
  • Instead of the sanctity of life we have abortion;
  • Instead of strong families we have the breakdown of the family and the rise of homosexuality.

Folks, we all need revival; we need Christ; we need the Word of God!
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.

Insights: World of Abraham’s Lot

FeaturedInsights: World of Abraham’s Lot

Insights: “Just Lot”

“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” 2 Peter 2:7-8

One of the most interesting and relevant characters in the Bible is Lot. I say that because of the man’s lifestyle and God’s judgment on him. In the Bible the use of the term “just” is a salvation term referring to someone who has trusted God for his salvation (deliverance from the judgment of God for sin). In other words, Lot was a saved man!

But Lot was guilty of greed, incest, drunkenness and more. In our thinking he couldn’t be a Christian. But God says otherwise.

It says in 2 Peter that the sin of Gomorrah vexed his righteous soul from day to day …” Seeing their ungodly behavior bothered him. He hated the sin and probably never practiced it himself, but he was contaminated by it. So much so that his virgin daughters were able to get him drunk and commit incest with them!

We sit in judgment of him, but are we any better?

The truth is that Christians today would be harshly condemned by our ancestors. We proclaim Christ but have become modernized in our thinking, our behavior, and our worship. Our souls are vexed by all this but we do nothing about it. I’m just as guilty as anyone else.

What should we do?

Pray and seek revival! We need to return to a Biblical perspective in our lives.

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.

The Persecuted Church Part 3

FeaturedThe Persecuted Church Part 3

I’ve been writing about the persecuted church. Today I continue with Part 3.

It is hard for us in America to visualize true persecution. We see it in other countries but here in America it is still somewhat hidden. Here it is more sophisticated, less obvious. But it is growing.

The anti-Christian movement has reached our colleges.

That’s right. In the very place we expect open discussions and tolerance the opposite occurs where Christianity is involved. Christians are ridiculed, ignored, and/or punished. Belief in the Bible is equated with ignorance even though many of these colleges were started by Christians. Christian beliefs and behavior is frowned up.

The world, even here in America, has decided their morality is higher than God’s. They have turned things upside down. Where once life was valued, abortion (the taking of an innocent life) is considered a woman’s right. Where once freedom of expression was upheld, Christians are losing the right to practice their faith. Where once we were taught in our schools that God was our Creator and Savior, He is now persona non-gratis.

Immorality is not only on the rise, it is lauded as morality. Homosexuality is the new right not found in any religious text, but praised by men and women around the globe. Disrespect for the American flag is growing; the flag is fast becoming just a thing of the past rather than the representation of men and women of whatever color fighting for our nation and paying with their blood.

Our schools today are unsafe. Because of guns? That’s ridiculous! Our nation grew up with guns. The problem isn’t guns in our schools; the problem is God and His Bible has been kicked out. Do a little digging and you will see that about the time God was kicked out the violence began.

If you really want to stop violence in the workplace, in the schools, and in the home, you need to invite God back into your lives.

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.