HOW NOT TO WRITE

FeaturedHOW NOT TO WRITE

Today’s blog delves into bad writing.

A few years ago I spoke at a meeting where we were discussing someone’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 greatly, but I had agreed to read and so I read it, 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!

If it was a best seller then how can I say such hard things about it? And if my views are correct how come it was a best seller?

I’ll answer the second question first. Sex sells. So does filthy language.

I said bad things about the book because they were true.

Back to the meeting. In my review I condemned the book for the language and excessive graphics. One attendee, obviously a fan of the author, objected. She claimed to personally know the author who she claimed was a great person.

Now understand this, I never condemned the author as a person. I condemned the writing. There is a difference, but this attendee attacked me anyway. There were others in the room who agreed with my analysis, but this woman was obviously type A and wouldn’t back down.

Since that meeting I have talked about writers not using profane language or excessively graphic scenes. I mentioned it once in a blog and a reader commented that I was imposing my religion on the readers.

Not true. 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. 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 are 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!

 

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him 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.

Mistaken Call

FeaturedMistaken Call

Mistaken call? What is that?

If you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you have probably been guilty of this. Sometimes when we are desirous of God’s will, we actually get ahead of him.

In the Old Testament we read of Rebekah. When she gave birth to Esau and Jacob, God had made a prophecy, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

Rebekah knew by this that Esau, the first to come forth, would serve Jacob. But Isaac favored Esau. So Rebekah took it upon herself to deceive Isaac so Jacob would get the blessing. In doing so, she actually got in front of God and the consequences of her action are felt to this very day.

In like manner, we as Christians get in front of God. Sometimes we hear a call that was never given.

Like all Christians, when I got saved and immediately had a desire to read God’s Word, to worship Him, and to serve Him. These are the first calls upon us, but we’ve got to be careful. We need to get into the right church, worship in the right manner, and serve according to His will.

Like Rebekah knew God’s will concerning Jacob getting the double blessing, I knew God wanted me to serve Him. So when the head usher came to me and asked if I was willing to be an usher, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t pause to ask God if that’s what He wanted me to do nor did I stop to think about the opportunity. I simply said yes.

Later that same day I did ask God’s blessing on my call to service. But the problem was I got the cart ahead of the horse. Moreover, I got in front of God.

I believe that if I’d asked God His will, He would’ve said yes. But I never gave him the chance. As a result I was miserable that first year of service. But when the term was up, I went back to God and asked Him if He wanted me to continue serving as an usher. He said yes.

I learned a valuable lesson. Always seek God’s will first! That is more important than the call itself. Once I learned that principle I put it into practice. And God has used me in a variety of areas.

It is always a mistake to assume God is ok with your decision. If your decision is wrong, it can lead you down a wrong path. But asking God first doesn’t guarantee a right decision.

There have been times when I asked God first and didn’t receive an answer right away. I have even asked several times, but didn’t receive an answer. Then I made a mistake. I looked at the facts I knew and decided God was leading me down a particular path.

Don’t get me wrong. I truly believed it was God’s will. But as time went on I came to realize I was mistaken. But what had I done wrong?

I got impatient!

God has a plan for us and we need to patiently wait on His calling. And when we haven’t heard the reply we thought was right, we need to patiently wait longer. Getting ahead of God can be costly in terms of time, energy, and money wasted. So we need to make sure of God’s leading.

How does this apply to me as a writer?

It means questioning myself. It means asking myself questions about the book before I ever write my first sentence. I means asking Him questions throughout the writing; questions like “Is this the right scene?” or “Is the plot correct?” or other questions. I need to involve God in all of my writing.

But not only that, I need to involve Him in the publishing and marketing, as well.

As with other aspects of the Christian life, God doesn’t always answer with a yes. I once knew a man who claimed he always got a yes. But nobody is perfect. All of us err sometimes. And God has three possible answers: Yes, No, and Wait. Wait is actually a delayed Yes. But wait means wait.

So seek God’s leading and let Him do the calling. And be patient. Then when He does call, be ready to follow.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him 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.

Review of Book Blueprint

FeaturedReview of Book Blueprint

Rating: 5 stars
Special thanks to Jacqui Pretty for sending me a review copy.
I am an author of Christian fiction, but I have written a couple of non-fiction books. More importantly I am always willing to learn how to write better. That said, I thought I knew how to write non-fiction. This book was an eye opener for me.
The author appears to favor publishing houses while I favor Indie Publishing and am now publishing my own books. But I found that her wisdom applies across the board. Her book is filled with cogent and practical words of advice.
I also found the book extremely easy reading. She stated principles, then proceeded to build upon them. An example of this technique is her discussion of a book’s Introduction. She not only stated the principle, “your introduction in arguably the most important part of your book,” but she also put her principle into action with an excellent introduction.
Repeatedly she demonstrated a solid understanding of her subject. By the time I finished the book I was thoroughly convinced that this blueprint is a valuable asset for me. Especially since I am seriously thinking of rewriting one of my books and may write a new one as well.
In rating this book I examined it from several angles:
Cover: 5 stars – I generally like more eye appealing covers, but while this didn’t measure up to that, it did measure up on such things as Title (great title), positioning, and promise.
Fulfillment: 5 stars – This book makes some great promises, such as: “The goal is that by the time you finish all of the exercises you will have blueprint that’s so detailed your book will write itself.” As a reviewer I didn’t work the exercises, but I could tell by the comments and instructions that these were concepts that would actually work. I believe this is a promise that any committed student would find fulfilled.
Readability: 5 stars – As I stated in the review it was easy reading. It moved along at a quick pace and was easily understood.
Structure: 5 stars – Perhaps the most important as the way she structured the book transmitted the information in a way that both informed and built upon itself so that the next bit of information fell into place naturally.
Content: 4.5 stars – The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that the author didn’t really address self-publishing. The principles laid out are good for both professional publishing and self-publishing. But in all honesty I am being a nitpicker.
The overall rating is therefore 4.9 which rounds off to 5 stars.
– – – – – – –
R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him 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.

A New Year’s Message

A New Year’s Message

Soon we will be entering the year 2017. Before taking a look at what we might expect in the new year, let’s take a look at 2016.

2016 was a very active year, although it didn’t start out that way. It was for us a normal year until March when we bought ourselves a new (for us) 2013 Ford Fiesta. While a great car, it was God’s miraculous hand in our getting it that really stood out. But that is not the subject of today’s blog.

Instead we are looking at T&R Independent Books, our adventure in self-publishing.

Here is how 2016 unfolded:

  • August/SeptemberT&R Independent Books bought the publishing rights to Perished. This was the foundational book of The World That Was series.
  • October T&R Independent Books published the rewritten and reformatted Perished. This was the publisher’s first novel.
  • NovemberPerished was placed in the KDP Select program.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books published Noah and the Ark, book two of The World That Was series.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books began seriously getting ready to publish Tress Riddle’s debut novel sometime in January 2017.

As can be seen T&R Independent Books has had a rush of activities in the latter half of the year. It has truly been an exciting and busy year. Behind the scenes Tress Riddle has been working on her first novel, a mystery aimed at teens and young adults.

Also during this past year we have witnessed an explosion politically thinking. In Britain they had the Brexit  vote and in America we had the rise of Donald Trump. In both cases the average citizens revolted against the political elite demanding that they be heard and represented.

Whatever you may think of President-elect Trump he was wise enough to hear the rumblings and tap into them. Here are a few reflections:

  • NovemberDonald Trump won the national election for President of the United States.
  • NovemberUninformed men and women took to the streets and rioted in protest. This represented a national disgrace in our education system as the protestors showed their ignorance of the United States government. (We are a representative democracy, not a pure democracy where popular vote dominates.)
  • November3rd party candidate pushed for meaningless but costly recounts. Results were essentially the same.
  • DecemberTrump begins assembling cabinet showing that he actually intended to keep his campaign promises.
  • DecemberTrump won the Electoral College vote.

If I was writing on political issues I would spend some time addressing the lack of knowledge some people have demonstrated. As mentioned, our country is a representative democracy – a fact our citizens should have learned in high school! It was so designed to prevent large populous states from ruling the country (there are only four or six states that fit that bill) and from anarchy that often comes from pure democracy.

However, this is a blog on writing, so let’s move on.

I am really proud and excited about the achievements of T&R Independent Books! Founded in 2014 by my wife and myself, T&R had to withstand my heart attack and much foundational matters for the fledgling business. But 2016 has been a breakout year for the business.

I have now had three books published by T&R Independent books: So You Want to Write? (2015), Perished (2016), and Noah and the Ark (2016). In the meantime, my wife has been working hard on her debut novel which will soon (probably January) be published.

So what are my predictions for 2017?

Here’s a list of possibilities:

  • Publication of Tress Riddle’s debut novel.
  • Rewrite and publish So You Want to Write? with new material.
  • Write and publish book 3 of The World That Was.
  • Tress Riddle’s second novel published.

These represent another active year for the Riddle family. Sandwiched in-between are a variety of marketing events. Plus a renewed commitment to this blog.

I am seriously looking into adding video blogs to this blog. I plan to explore the idea of interviewing other authors, plus have videos on writing techniques and aids. I have the capability, but it comes down to cost versus effectiveness.

We wish all of you a happy New Year.

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured in greater detail.

A Christmas Message

A Christmas Message

This year Christmas comes on a Sunday. This is the best time ever. People gathered in their respective churches worshiping the very Savior Whose birthday we celebrate!

You will notice that I still call it Christmas. In the world we live in today Christ has been all but taken out of Christmas. Instead you get Xmas. People have forgotten why we celebrate this day.

Over 2000 years ago Jesus was born to a virgin not on Christmas day, but that is when we celebrate His birth. A miraculous event that has never been repeated (although some will try to prove it has happened). The world doesn’t mind Him as long as He stays in the manger, but it bothers them greatly when He preaches and claims to be the One True God, the Only Way to Heaven.

The truth is that we don’t know when Christ was born. One belief, supported by both Biblical and secular history is that He was born sometime in the September/October period of time. One supporting fact is that such a time would agree with the shepherds being in the fields not too far from Bethlehem. Back when I had my own podcast I did a program on the subject of Christ’s real birthday.

I studied the subject and discovered that people who put a lot of emphasis on numbers arrived at a time in September. They even identified the day and year! I don’t know if they are right (I’m not into numerology), but when all the facts and speculations are put together September and October seem far more likely than December.

But the best we can do is speculate as to the actual date. It would be nice to know the date, but God has withheld that information. Probably because we would turn the date into some idolatrous thing. In any case, we simply don’t know the right date.

You might ask why I am writing this in a blog devoted to authoring. But our writing careers would not exist but for what He did on the Cross. There would not be Christian anything. We would all still be in our sins, without hope. Not only did He save us, he has directed our lives. And He gave us whatever writing talent we may have!

He saved us, equipped us, and is using us. Not just us, but He uses other Christians as well. Perhaps you. So whether you attend church on Christmas day (I hope you do) or not, it is a good time to remember what He did for us.

This Christmas take time to remember Him. I thank Him every day for my salvation, but on Christmas that thanks takes on a deeper more intimate meaning. He delivered me from the bondage of sin and provides daily strength and guidance.

There is much going on during Christmas day, let’s not forget the One it is all about!

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

What a Week!

What a Week!

Have you noticed that you haven’t seen my blog in over a week? Well, it wasn’t planned that way.

A week ago last Wednesday my wife and I were on the way to church when our car suddenly shifted in to neutral (or at least seemed to).  The engine was racing, but the car was coming to a stop. After stopping I turned the car off, then a few moments later turned it on again, and shifted into drive. The car was working again!

We arrived at church and I immediately sought out two friends who have been or are car mechanics. After church service, they checked the car out and took it for a test drive. Their verdict: Transmission.

Not something I wanted to hear, but I knew they were right. The next day I took the car to the dealership where I bought the car. Fortunately the car had an extended warranty on the transmission (by manufacturer).

However, while I waited for the car to be repaired I was without personal transportation. So Teresa’s sister stepped forward and provided it.

But that was not the only thing that happened.

Enter the Charlotte Crud. That is the name we in Port Charlotte call a disease that hits about this time each year. It is not always the same, but seems like a really bad cold. You lose your energy and do a lot of coughing. It doesn’t last only a day or even two days. It can last weeks. In my case it lasted at least a week. Being the loving husband, I shared it with my wife and hers’ lasted about a week.

The result of these two situations was that I got very little accomplished. I was able to get enough energy to publish my second book of The World That Was series, Noah and the Ark. It is now available on Amazon and will soon be published by Smashwords (after I do the necessary preparation).

However, most tasks that I normally perform didn’t get done and that includes this blog. But now I am back.

I am really thankful that the Lord God watched over us throughout these days keeping us safe from harm on the road and healing us from sickness. I also am thankful that he provided Teresa’s sister to chauffeur us around. That was a blessing.

By the way, the series The World That Was is now available on Amazon with two books, Perished and Noah and the Ark. If you know someone who loves reading historical fiction these books would make an excellent Christmas gift. Take advantage of this season as next year the prices may go up. Best way to get these is to visit my website and go directly to the Amazon page. Just click here.

 Your comments are welcome. Just make a comment below.

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

GENRE

First, let’s explain Genre. It is defined in Wikipedia as: A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

Principle

There are many Genre subgroups. So you, the author, must decide which subgroup(s) your writing fits. Discovering your genre will be a valuable aid not only in marketing, but in the writing and publishing of your book.

Don’t brush this aside. When I first began writing I didn’t even know what genre was, let alone which one I was under. At best I knew that I was writing fiction.

As time went on I began understanding the meaning and importance of genre. The more I learned, the better my writing and my marketing.

Tips

Take a close look at your writing. It is probably more than a single genre. And that is good! Identify all the genres your book would fit within.

Example

In my case I write both fiction and non-fiction. In the fiction arena my genres have been American History, and Bible history. But my writing genres are also: Adventure, Romance, and even some Mystery.

My non-fiction works have been on American History, Bible History, Politics, and How To.

Application

Identifying your genres will be crucial when you get around to marketing your books. It will also help you in determining such things as your audience. This is very important as you will want to specify who your marketing efforts are aimed at. Otherwise you might be putting forth great ads with excellent content but reaching an audience that is not interested. And that would be a disaster!

As stated in the Principle it also affects your writing and publishing. In writing, knowing your genre keeps you on mark. Meanwhile in publishing, it helps you in selecting your publisher.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

– – – – – – –

R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing: Facebook

Using Social Media as a marketing tool is a multifaceted subject. But we will only be looking at a few uses.

What is Facebook?

According to Wikipedia: Facebook is a for-profit corporation and online social networking service. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 it is located in Menlo Park, California.

Primarily it is a very popular social networking site where users can easily interact with one another. Facebook has grown tremendously and is now not only for personal communications but has a strong business flair as well.

Facebook ads give advertisers an alternative to Adwords. For authors it might just be the preferred format for advertising.

I can only speak for myself but I have been very disappointed with Adwords whereas Facebook ads have done better for me. At the very least Facebook offers a credible competitor.

One of the factors that I like is that Facebook has a large database that can be defined narrowly. While Adwords has similar capabilities Facebook offers, in my opinion, a stronger defining tool that allows me to determine or customize my audience by geography, age, gender, interests, and more.

It is also tied to my Business Page which is a plus.

Do you have a Facebook business page?

Whether you use Facebook Ads or not having a business page gets you name recognition. And it can serve as a landing page. In my case I have designed other Landing Pages, but I do use my Facebook Business Page as a Landing Page in some ads.

You can also use your Facebook business page not only to inform existing and potential customers, but to act as a conduit. For example, at the bottom of this blog article you will see a statement that reads, “Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.” This allow you to comment on my blog, plus while on the page you can “Like” my page and “Signup” for Authors Academy.

I have barely touched on what you can do with Facebook, but I think you get the point: Facebook deserves to be an integral part of your marketing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

 – – – – – – –

 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing: Your Website

Book Marketing: Your Website

Your website should be an integral part of your book marketing efforts. Today I will discuss some of the basics of website development.

 First of all, you need a website. I use Godaddy, but there are plenty of potential hosts out there. Today’s blog is not about the various hosts although I may blog on that in the future. Rather, today I am going to assume you have purchased a domain.

 Why?

 Because when you own your domain, you have more control of the site and the content. For example, if you decided at some point that you are unhappy with your website host, you can move to another host.

 Another reason for owning your own domain is that you can have a domain that is keyed to your name. When I first started out I bought rfrederickriddle.com as my domain. As you can see it was keyed to my author’s name. Recently we (T&R Independent Books) bought the domain tr-indbkstore.com, which again reflects our company name.

 As the owner of rfrederickriddle.com I was able to cancel the content on the site and redirect it to the T&R site. So I retained my professional name brand and people searching for me are redirected to my home page on T&R’s site. That is only one positive of domain ownership.

 This blog is not big enough to go in to great detail on web development, but there are a few points that need to be made.

  1. White background is often better that dark. (Don’t believe me, visit a site having a dark background and quite often it is hard to read the content.)

  2. Put eye-catching content above the fold (making the content the first thing visitors see).

  3. Highlight your book(s)

  4. Link to your blog, newsletter, and social sites.

 There is much more. But the above are generally agreed to be important.

 The title of this blog is marketing your website. So let’s discuss promoting the website itself. There are ways available to you to promote your site, such as:

  1. Facebook page

  2. Facebook ads

  3. Twitter page

  4. Twitter ads

  5. Your email signature

  6. Your blog

  7. Your newsletter

  8. SEO

  9. Word of Mouth

 These are just a few methods available. Each could be discussed in a separate blog.

The key here is that you put some effort in letting word get out about your website. It won’t be overnight. Be prepared for a long term effort. Your website’s visibility will grow.

 

– – – – – – –

R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Profanity in Writing: Is It OK?

Profanity in Writing: Is It OK?

Profanity sells!

That is a fact. Which is one of the reasons writers employ it. Some will say they do it because they want their characters to be real. But this argument falls flat when you view real life.

Sure many, not all, people swear. I was a sailor and learned to swear, but that doesn’t mean that all sailors swear (though they have that reputation). But the truth is that even those who do swear usually are mindful of the people around them. It is rare to find someone who swears all the time.

Personally, I don’t like swearing or any kind of profanity in writing. One critic read a recent book review in which I explained my 2 star rating of the book was partly based on the excessive profanity. It was a book that left me feeling dirty, and I don’t think I was able to finish it. In fact, I eventually threw it away.

 Back to the critic. He took exception to my condemnation of profanity. Called it absurd and proceeded to attack me personally because of my Christian stand. I replied to that critic that I felt that way about profanity before I ever became a Christian.

 This critic had also defended profanity in writing because “most” people swear. This is dubious at best. Perhaps if you are talking about an occasional swear word this might be true. But constant swearing? Kind of depends where you frequent.

 The truth of the matter profanity in writing has less to do with creating “real” characters and more to being a crutch. Instead of investing time and effort into creating believable characters some authors opt for profanity and graphic text. These are crutches usually designed to cover poor writing.

 The sad part of this is that I have read (or started to read) books that were well written. They had good plot and strong characters. But then they inserted profanity. Ruined the book which ultimately landed in the trash.

 If you have been around for awhile you may remember some of the classics of old. Rarely did you see a swear word. Actually the authors often used symbols for swearing, such as “#$@&%*!”. And I am going to say something that may astound you.

Using symbols in place of actual swear words is more effective than the swear words.

Did I really say that? Yes. And here is why.

The writing of fiction, whatever genre you are in, has a primary goal of connecting with the reader. And how does a reader connect with a book? His/her imagination! It is the author’s job to trigger that imagination, to excite it and pull it in. That is why so much emphasis is placed on strong characters and well developed scenes. When describing a scene the author doesn’t get bogged down in details but gives beautiful (or ugly) descriptions that leave it up to the reader to fill in the smaller details. That is why two or more people can read the same words and ‘think’ it described something altogether different.

Same thing with language. Using a symbol actually triggers the reader’s imagination. One reader will supply a word or phrase, while another reader will apply an altogether different meaning. They personalize the text, making it something they are familiar with in their own lives.

Unfortunately there are famous authors who have used profanity in their books. Why? I can’t read their minds, but all to often it is because profanity sells. And that is sad. Especially if they are able to create strong characters without it.

– – – – – – –

R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page.