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Should I Write Nonfiction?

Here’s a question: should I write nonfiction? It’s a simple question but it raises a lot of additional questions that you might be wise to answer.

Question #1, I write fiction, what is needful to be done differently to write nonfiction?

Surprisingly, I have discovered that writing nonfiction is not a whole lot different than writing fiction as far as my work output is concerned. The biggest difference has been to make dry facts enjoyable to read.

In fiction, I employ my imagination to a high degree and have the freedom to create new characters, dialogs, etc. In nonfiction, I have to be fact oriented. It is not just a story; it is a document that relates facts in a manner that instructs and possibly entertains the readers. Like any writing, the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Question #2, If I write nonfiction do I need to stop writing fiction?

That is a personal question that only you can answer. There are authors who write both. Recently I have joined those ranks. I would recommend you try it before you arrive at a final conclusion.

You just might discover that you are good at it!

We will explore these and more on the other side of the break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Question #3, Do I have the skill level?

This is another question that requires effort on your own to discover the answer. I would say that many of the skills needed for fiction are needful for nonfiction.

You still need to do research, check your spelling and grammar, and perform other writing basics. One helpful thought might be to read nonfiction books, particularly on your chosen topic. This is not required, but it might help you see what skills you may need.

Question #4, What topics would I write about?

One of the rules I have followed in writing fiction is to ‘write what you know about’. That can change over time. In my case I love history so it was natural that I would write historical fiction. I also love the Bible, so it was natural to write about historical people, places, and events in the Bible.

Later, I developed an interest in science and exploration of space. I have read several science fiction books and didn’t care for the requisite alien life that dots the landscape. But when I started writing speculative fiction, which is science fiction from a more Christian point of view, I found I enjoyed it.

The same is true about nonfiction. Write what you know or what you are interested in. I am not talking about reporting. We live in an age where the average reporter simply echoes what someone else has said.

For examples of this, simply look at the Covid-19 coverage. Whether you are reading the New York Times, an Associated Press article, or most major television news, you get almost identical information. Not because those news sources are reporting the truth, but because they are either too lazy to the digging to verify the facts or because the ‘facts’ reported simply fall in line with their political agenda. In fact, sometimes you feel like you are reading an article written by the Democratic National Committee.

If you are going to write nonfiction, you should be willing to rock the boat a little. Dig down and find out what is true. Don’t accept so-called ‘fact checkers’ as, in my opinion. they are of little use. In general, report as old-time reporters use to report by digging deep for the truth.

Question #5, Does this require a lot more research?

Generally, my answer would be yes. For the simple reason that your entire book, article, or document is fact based. But that only means you include more of your research material.

If you’ve been following my blog for any time, then you know I believe in doing research. Fiction is more believable if soundly based on facts, and nonfiction literally requires facts. Basically, you still do the research and perhaps more depending on the subject.

Question #6, Am I willing to put the extra work in?

Again, this is a personal choice. I do not know how much time and effort you normally put into your work. If you invest hours and hours of time and effort in writing fiction, then the increase in work is probably minimal.

But if you toss off fiction with little work, then you can expect a dramatic increase in your work load.

Question #7, What’s my motive?

Motive is always important. I recently wrote about your motive for writing. That covers both fiction and nonfiction. You might want to review it. However, that primarily covered writing in general.

Writing nonfiction can be just as exciting as writing fiction. Most fiction has some truth involved and often requires research into people, places, and events. In science fiction and speculative fiction, you need research into tools, inventions, discoveries, and more. Nonfiction almost always involves research. Plus, in nonfiction you need to have references so your reader can check them out for accuracy and additional information.

In conclusion, take a look at what you know about yourself. You will likely discover that you have more skills than you thought, and that you know more than you think. Don’t let the unknown stop you. Give nonfiction a try and discover if that is a worthwhile writing career choice.

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Researching Egypt

Researching Egypt may sound odd for a blog title, but it isn’t as odd as you might think. I have often talked about doing your research. Well, I have been writing a book that is nearing completion. It is the World of Joseph, subtitled Mentuhotep Vizier of Egypt. Guess what, it takes place primarily in Egypt!

So, it required research. The subtitle itself is a product of this research. Before I started, I didn’t know Joseph’s Egyptian name other than the one given him by Pharaoh. But research showed that the name Mentuhotep was the name that history identified with him. The many and conflicting names of pharaohs and their viziers was just one of the issues I had to deal with when doing research.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the work all by myself. I am not an expert Egyptologist. But through the internet I was able to gather a great deal of information about the Pharaoh, Sesostris I, along with the Vizier Mentuhotep, and the capital of Egypt, which was Itjtawy pronounced Ish ta way. Through research I was able to find the possible location of this mysterious city, design the palace which resembled other Egyptian palaces, and locate the land of Goshen.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Tracking down Joseph in Egyptian history was quite a struggle. Not for me, but for Egyptologists. To begin with, Egyptian dynasties had to be discovered. Using ancient records proved daunting and made for a very unreliable Egyptian timeline, which not only didn’t compare with the Bible but didn’t compare with other well-known facts.

Fortunately, Egyptologists were able to make additional discoveries that led to a new Egyptian timeline. Although not intended, this new timeline merged well with the Biblical timeline.

But another aspect in tracking down Joseph was that Egyptians either did not know Joseph as Joseph or they chose not to use that name. It was a Hebrew name and therefore unlikely to be used by them. What the researchers did is research the Biblical facts regarding the feast and famine. Combining this knowledge with the knowledge they now had of where the Hebrews settled, the researchers were able to zoom in on the 12th Dynasty or Middle Kingdom. And when they did, they discovered that Mentuhotep was likely the Vizier we know as Joseph.

This vizier under Sesostris I was the second most powerful person in the government. He is credited with many things, chiefly the survival of Egypt during a seven-year famine! And not just that, he played a significant role in helping to establish the 12th Dynasty.

So, the truth is that others did the research, and I reaped the benefits! Not only did I now have a reliable history from which to work, I was now able to dive into the 12th Dynasty and discover much information, some of which found its way into my novel.

This is an example of what it takes to create a believable story. It is also an example of how you, the author, should handle the need for information. Whenever possible, let others do the heavy lifting of research. Eventually you have to get involved, but it is a major aid if you let others do the work for you.

And there is a big reward for you when the book is finished. First of all, you get a very special feeling of accomplishing something. While the novel is fictional, when the facts are examined, the book not only comes alive, but the reader gains insight. Moreover, the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the times and the people. And you have written something that has value.

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Ron’s Lit Tip Slow Down the Writing

09 24 2020

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

Have you rushed your story?

Perhaps you had a story bursting to be told. You sat down and started writing. You wrote and wrote. It seemed to flow from your brain to your fingers. Your imagination was on fire! And you continued to write.

Finally, it was done, and you felt ready to be published. Perhaps you asked a friend to proofread it, not for mistakes but accolades. Or perhaps you decided to read it through anticipating another surge of pleasure. Alas, that’s not how it went.

Instead your friend tried to be gentle, but she had to point out the errors, lots of errors. Over a hundred errors! Or your own reading revealed the multitude of errors. In either case you are flabbergasted, shocked beyond belief!

On top of all that your masterpiece looked disorganized, and just plain crummy.

Devastated you pick up the typed manuscript and rip it to shreds before dumping the remains into your wastebasket.

What went wrong?

You’ve made 3 Key Mistakes

1 – You rushed it! There is nothing wrong with working hard on your story, but the truth is there is preparation before you start writing. If you start writing first, just remember that chances are you will have extra work later on.

The better approach is to start asking questions about the story you want to write. Basically, they are the Who, What, When, and Where questions with a How included. Some writers do that first, some while they write, but in either case it needs to be done. Some experts suggest breaking the process into time schedules. Whatever works for you. I don’t have a time schedule like that. Years of writing have developed habits that involve both the writing and the necessary research and editing.

2- First Draft. This is where the 2nd mistake takes place. You’ve finished the book or thought you had done so, and you seek to get it published. But the truth is this is your first draft and first drafts are rarely ready to be published. You need to review, edit, and repeat. Some writers hold off until the end before reviewing and editing. I often do it more frequently, perhaps every chapter and with a final review and edit at the conclusion.

This seems time-consuming, but for me it breaks the process up and sometimes leads to a reevaluation of the entire story. Whether fiction or non-fiction you will need to have some kind of review and edit.

3 – You Quit. This is the third and worst mistake. It stems from the first two mistakes where you rushed it and got discouraged by the results. Instead of quitting you want to respond with more energy and determination to finish the story. Take a look at the first draft and identify the good parts, the fixable parts, and the wastebasket parts. Wastebasket parts are those parts that don’t have a place in your book.

When I wrote the nonfiction book Trump an Outsider’s View, I realized from the start I had to go slow. I was going to be covering a lot of material and needed to get it right the first time. So, I was forced from the beginning to do diligent research. As mentioned above, I performed the review and edit tasks as I was writing the story. So, the completed draft was not just my first draft, but my second and third drafts. But I still needed to review it.

It was hard work, under time pressure because it needed to be published before the election, and frustrating. But I believed in the project and pressed on so that by October 1st the book was already out and being marketed.

Tip: Slow down, edit, and never quit.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Lit Tip: Bible as a Resource

09 23 2020

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

Have You Considered Writing a Bible Based Novel?

Bible based novels do very well. When I owned a bookstore on the internet Bible based novels were one of my best-selling items. The Bible is filled with characters to be explored.

Isn’t that hard to do?”

Perhaps, but it is worth it. My most successful series has been The World That Was which covers from Creation through Jacob. I am currently working on the World of Joseph.

Bible stories come with the same advantages and disadvantages of writing historical fiction. You start out with facts. That means your primary characters will be taken from the Bible and therefore cannot be altered. Same with the basic story itself. You are dealing with facts and your novel must operate within those facts.

I referred to Historical novels above. That is a good comparison because the Bible is among other things a historical book. Where it writes of historical events and people these are hard facts and provide a would-be writer with a ready cast of characters and events.

I thought the Bible was just a myth.

No, it is not. It is actual history. While often challenged it has been proven correct repeatedly. Sometimes archaeology disputes the Bible, such as the existence of a Hittite empire, but in time the Bible is proven correct. In the case of the Biblical Flood versus the Gilgamesh Flood it is easy to see that the Biblical Flood account is a first person account written by Noah and his sons while Gilgamesh was written well after the Flood, in fact after the Confusion of Tongues at Babel. Accuracy and the ability to recreate things such as the Ark also point to the Bible as a reliable history source.

So, How would I Start?

The same way you would with any history. First go to the source, the Bible, and copy or summarize the facts. You want to know Who, What, When, and Why. Once you have a basis understanding of the facts, hopefully saved in a document you’ve created, you can then work on the plot.

As in historical novels you already have a plot built. But you may have a story within the story which is the real plot of your book. Whichever one you choose you start developing it. You may have added fictional characters to go along with the historical characters. One strength you have is the ability to research the real characters (average height, weight, skin color, education, religion, and more) that can be used to develop the fictional characters.

Do I include God in the Book?

If God appears in the Bible story, then it is a definite yes. If not, then it is optional. But if you do, be sure that the God of your book is true to the God of the Bible. One method I have used is to research all of God’s statements and actions in the Bible, not just in the story itself. That allows me, the author, the opportunity to broaden the behind the scenes spiritual activities.

What about conflicts between Bible accounts and historical accounts?

It is always wise to remember that historical accounts are the views of men and they may and do change. The Bible accounts were written by men of God writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Always view history through the lens of the Bible to get the most accurate information.

Tip: Consider writing novels based on Bible stories, but remember it requires diligence on your part.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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News Covid-19

09 18 2020

Welcome to News which is published every Monday and Friday.

Although my book Trump an Outsider’s View is already available for purchase or Pre-Order (today is last day), I continue to follow the stats. If you read the paper, you might get the picture that things are still bad and getting worse.

Not So!

But there are still new cases.

True, but the number of true cases is going down. That’s a good thing not a bad thing. But the true story lies in the death rate.

Death Rate?

Yes. I published my newest book Trump an Outsider’s View on September 11. The eBook is currently in Pre-Order and will be released tomorrow. In both versions I had the following stats:

Total cases: 6,438,739

Total deaths: 192,834

Death Rate: 2.99%

Compare those numbers to today’s (September 18, 2020):

Total cases: 6,670,496

Total deaths: 197,447

Death Rate: 2.96%

How do you determine Death Rate?

You divide the total deaths by the total cases. This gives you a running average. When viewed over a long period of time (say January to September 18) it mitigates the delay factor people talk about.

A Closer Look

When you run the numbers, you find that during that seven-day period new cases went up by a total of 231,757 and new deaths went up by 4,613. Convert that to daily, and you get an average of 33,108 new cases and 659 new deaths.

That is considerably below the numbers for the height of the pandemic.

What does that mean?

It means the pandemic is slowing down. Now that the cases are also on a downtrend, the Death Rate is no longer plunging as it was from June 1 through September 11, but it still is moving downward.

But the News Media has changed its focus.

Now the focus is on the economic damage done by the virus. But as with the death rate the media is behind on the economy. Although they state that Americans applying for jobless benefits fell last week to 860,000, the emphasis is on the historic highs that number represents.

Again, they report that jobless claims fell by 33,000 but the article emphasizes the high numbers in relation to last year. In other words, they can say they reported positive news which is true. But they wrapped it in negative news. The truth is that the economy is slowly (that is, slower than we want) ramping up.

Employment is rising and unemployment is sinking. And that is far more important news than the fact we have hit record breaking levels. Yes, we did but that primarily took place in months past. We are now seeing the American economy on an upward climb. It is slower than we want but there is no reason to believe it won’t speed up.

Speaking for myself, I expect the economy to be stronger by election day than it has been for a while now. I also expect the new cases and new deaths to be lower perhaps in the 1% Death Rate. That doesn’t change the tragedy of even one death, nor does it excuse the Democrats for first denying the Pandemic (and accusing Trump of racism) in the beginning nor their use of the pandemic to further political aims.

We will still see Democratic opportunism and negativism, but I am glad we have a President who is optimistic about America and its future.

The clouds of the pandemic are dispersing, and the sunlight is shining through. It is time to smile again!

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Tip of the Day The Right Mixture #4

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at The Right Mixture #4.

In my last 3 blogs I talked about readers’ imagination, including Immerse Yourself in the character, Backstory, and Making it Real. Today we move to Research.

Research? Again?

I probably talk about research more than any other topic related to writing. And here is another as it relates to my last blog of Making it Real.

How does Research Make it Real?

Part of making your story realistic is to have the right information about a place or event. I am currently writing a story which partially takes place in a major American city. And I am doing the necessary research. If I haven’t been there it means digging deep so that people who have been there will recognize it. They’ll be able to picture the scene.

Why is that Necessary?

Remember those people I mentioned above. If I mention something and don’t describe it right, they will notice it. And it might ruin their reading experience.

I’ve used this example before, but I once read a story based on Noah and the Ark. At that time, I was working on a novel of my own about the Ark. I read this man’s novel and enjoyed it to an extent. But because he described unlikely items, such as a drinking glass, I didn’t enjoy it as much. I found myself looking for other mistakes instead of simply enjoying the book. You don’t want that to happen with your books.

Research Adds to the Story.

Proper research and usage add to the story sometimes subtly and sometimes noticeably. It’s an excellent tool.

More on the Right Mixture next blog.

Tip of the Day: Use research as a writing tool.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. 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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Ron’s Tip of the Day Research

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Research.

Lately I’ve been touching on a subject dear to my heart, Research.

Why Research?

Because when you are writing fiction or non-fiction research is a necessary and a sometimes overlooked necessity.

I don’t Understand the Importance of Research.

That’s a fair statement.

Let’s say that you are from Michigan and you are in a bookstore looking for a novel to read. You find one titled “Deadeye Will” (a book I wrote). What would you expect to find?

  • Michigan scenery
  • Michigan cities
  • Michigan people
  • Southern Ohio cities

Which of the above would you least likely expect to see but might?

Southern Ohio cities.

While you might see places outside of Michigan you would certainly expect to see something of Michigan. In that book you see places in southeast Michigan (i.e., Detroit and Pontiac,) central Michigan (Saginaw and West Branch), and northern lower Michigan (Thunder Bay).

All of this requires research. You want enough detail to make for a good story, but you also want it to be as accurate as possible to please the people in those areas that might read your book.

In my opinion, research is the key element that a story turns on. Your book might be fiction, but a good description of where it takes places can bring a book alive. On the other hand, poor research or no research can really hurt a book.

I once read an otherwise good novel based on Noah and the Ark. But it was ruined for me because the author included drinking with a glass. I’ve never seen any evidence that glass existed. It’s a little thing, but it can create a jarring note.

Tip of the Day: Diligent Research can pay big dividends for your book.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. 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.