Insights from the World That Was series

FeaturedInsights from the World That Was series

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Tuesday’s I try to focus on Insights. This week I am taking another look at Insights from the World That Was series.
A great deal of research goes into writing books. That goes without saying.
But what about books based on the Bible or, for that matter, on history?
The series The World That Was is a fictional story that is based on historical and Biblical facts. I didn’t one day just sit down and dash off a novel. It took tremendous research. This research involved any secular history that related to our beginnings and the Bible.
What does Secular History say?
At first glance secular history is a no-show. But part of the reason for that is that liberal educators have tampered with our history books. Not only with our nation’s history but with world history. So as an author I had to dig.
The history of the Jewish people can be found in the writings of Josephus. It is essentially a secular book thereby subject to error. Even so, it contains a lot of history. Why? Because the early history of our world surrounded a little piece of land we now call Israel. It is also known as Palestine, Canaan land, and other titles.
As you can see that invites you to do much research and you soon find there are conflicting histories. Part of this problem involves the history of Egypt. To be perfectly frank this is highly unreliable. At best you have to guess about the time frames of different rulers.
Egypt is the worst case, but to some degree the problem exists elsewhere. A partial solution comes from comparing known historical people who lived at the same time in different lands. That helps in nailing down the time table. But even that is subject to error. There is a more sure aide, but I’ll visit that later.
Of all the secular writings I have found Josephus a fairly reliable resource that sheds light on people, places, and events. This is very important from an author’s viewpoint.
Why is historical reliability important?
As an author I want readers to feel that the characters and their stories are real. To accomplish this I need them to have confidence in the “facts” of the story. In short, I strive to be accurate when describing the land so that someone who’s been there will readily accept that fact. Now there are exceptions. For example, a description of Mt. Ararat in Noah’s day will differ from a description of Mt. Ararat today. In Noah’s day snow hadn’t been seen before and therefore was a new thing to Noah and the family. Mt. Ararat would have been barren of snow when the Ark landed and for years afterward. But today it is covered in snow and ice. A lot has happened.
So it is important to know about changes in weather conditions?
To some degree, yes. Let me change that to a high degree. I had one man write me with criticisms of the land and of Mt. Ararat in my book. He’d been in the area and said it didn’t look like that at all. He’s probably correct as far as today is concerned, but my story took place over a 1000 years ago. There have been changes.
The Most Reliable Resource
Contrary to the modern liberal crowd, also known as evolutionists, the King James Bible is the most reliable book out there. While it is not a history book, it is totally accurate when it tells of historical peoples, lands, and events.
A classic example of this is found in the Bible’s numerous mentions of the Hittite people. A number of centuries ago cynics “proved” the Bible to be in error. These cynics were the most highly educated of their time. They were the experts you’d turn to regarding history, science, archeology, and more.
They successfully demonstrated that archeology had not turned up any evidence that these Hittites ever existed. This they said proved the Bible was in error in mentioning a people that had never existed and if existed were never a powerful nation.
But time went on and after centuries of denial evidence began surfacing in the early 19th century. The greatest minds of science and archeology were thus proved wrong although that is glossed over. It was of far greater importance to prove the Bible wrong. But the Bible had been right all the time!
We now know that the Bible is without doubt not only the most accurate but is completely accurate as it deals with history and science or any other subject. Man continues to deny it and offers up questions that range from the foolish to the outright manipulation of Scripture.
As an author I have not doubted the reliability of the Scriptures. As a result I discovered the solution to the problem of secular history. Test secular history against the Bible. If secular history is in complete disagreement with the Bible, then bring it into conformity to the Bible. This is particularly helpful when dealing with time frames. It brings unity to the jumbled mass of time frames and enables a writer to better understand what is going on, who is living, who is dominant, and where their chief character lives.
All to often people try to make the Bible conform to the secular. It won’t work. But when you pull secular history into conformity with the Bible it is like a puzzle of a 1000 pieces suddenly falling into their proper place!
What is my Insight?
That when writing a book that is based on history, science, or both you can rely on the Bible. Just remember that so-called “errors” are found in the reader’s mind not in the Bible. In matters of science who is talking. The Bible often relates what someone believes to be true, as with Jacob. It doesn’t comment on whether his “scientific” ideas are true or not, but simply relates the truth of what he believed or what he did.

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

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

Insights From World of Shem Part 6

Insights From World of Shem Part 6

In this issue I will speak on building a character.

When I started writing my first novel I thought I knew how to build characters. But I found there was much to learn. And now after writing a total of 6 novels I am still learning.

In writing the World of Shem I had a unique problem. Usually in writing a novel you build your character from scratch. But in this case, as in my previous novels, I faced actual historical figures wherein certain aspects of their personalities were known. You’d think this made my job easier, but not really. With parts of their personalities already known I had to develop those personalities so that they were consistent with the historical record.

I’ve often talked about research and once again I point to the importance of your doing your research. So I had to first thoroughly acquaint myself with Shem and other historical people, then build upward from that basic knowledge.

For example, in developing Shem I had to make sure that his character was consistent with the historical and biblical known facts. I also took into consideration tradition. A good example of this is the Jewish tradition that Shem was Melchizedek. Not all Jews believed this but some did and I adopted that for the book. But that created another problem: namely that I had to make sure the character not only met the known facts about Shem but also about Melchizedek. And this meant it had to be consistent with the Bible, which I accomplished.

Now I didn’t have to prove they were one and the same person, but it had to be believable. That is why I included the fact that Melchizedek was likely a title rather than a name (much like pharaoh). Combining these facts together to make one person required research, patience, and care.

But that is what you need to do for any of your characters. You want them to stand out on their own. And the only way I know of doing this on a consistent basis is to consistently learn and apply from your very first character to your latest character. Each time you develop a character, whether based on a historical figure or an imaginary figure, you add to your skill set. Then the next character benefits from what you have learned. Hopefully each succeeding book and character is better than the last.

The more often you write the more confident you will get. And the more confident you get the better your characters will come across. This is key to your success. If you don’t believe in your characters you can hardly expect your readers to believe in them. So make this skill a priority in your writing.

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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.

Insights from World of Shem Part 5

Insights from World of Shem Part 5

In this issue I will speak on the Content.

Remembering that your writing is a ministry as unto the Lord you need to make sure your content reflects this. Whatever your topic or story line think of it as part of your testimony because it is.

People will judge you by what you write. And if they know you are a Christian they will judge you according to their view of Christian standards. For example, there are in World of Shem some very adult subjects. When writing these scenes I had to view them very strictly. Now I am not overly concerned with non-Christian standards, but at the same time there are critical areas that are important.

  • Was I doctrinally correct?
  • Was I too explicit?
  • Was it clear that something was a sin?

These are just some of the self-judgments I had to make. And if you are a Christian as well as an author it is necessary for you also to subject your work to an examination. And sometimes I need someone else’s eyes. That is why I invite others to proofread and why I ask for reviews.

Side note: Reviews are not just for the purpose of marketing. They also shed light on potential or existing problems that need correcting.

One of the things we Christians need to remember is Paul’s example. He was free to do a lot of things including eating food which may or may not have been dedicated to idols. But while free to do so there were times he refrained because of the presence of someone who might be offended. In our case that someone is a future reader.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t eliminate something just because it might offend. Some people are offended by the Gospel, but we still preach it! The important thing is to determine the sincerity of the offended person. Then act appropriately.

Honor God and He’ll honor you.!

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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.

Insights From World of Shem Part 3

Insights From World of Shem Part 3

In this issue I will speak about the Copyright Page and ISBN.

The consensus opinion is that you need to have your book copyrighted. Now the truth is that the moment you create the work it is considered copyrighted. This means that you can include a copyright designation in your book (example: copyright © 2017).

You can also file with the government to get the book copyrighted. While there may be additional protection (key word is may be) you are generally safe with the above example.

Along with the copyright you should include for legal protection a statement like the following:

“All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other – except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.”

If your book is being published by a publisher other than yourself they will automatically include such a statement. But if you are using Createspace or a similar service or you are publishing the book yourself then you will need to include the statement on your copyright page.

Your copyright page should also include who you used to print the book. For example, my World of Shem copyright page has the following: Printed by Create Space, a registered trademark of Amazon.com.

Also stated is: Published by T&R Independent Books, Port Charlotte, Florida.

Although I’ve been criticized for including the following statement it is necessary for legal protection:

“This is a work of fiction. Apart from obvious historical references to historical figures and events especially mentioned in the Bible, all characters and incidents in this novel are the products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to people living or dead are purely coincidental.”

In this sue crazy world we live in you need to protect yourself from being sued. You will notice I stated “apart from obvious historical references.” The book is a novel. Parts are facts but mostly it is fiction. To decipher which is which simply compare to the Bible.

If your book is not based on Bible characters or events you can remove the reference to the Bible. If you publish your book outside the United States there may be different requirements, but the above is recommended for books published in the United States.

Finally, you will want to show your ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 plus your company logo (if you self-publish).

Think of the ISBN as a library index card. It stands for International Standard Book Number and identifies the publisher. This worldwide number is required on all books seeking to be sold to bookstores, libraries, schools, and the like.

There are different resources available for getting an ISBN for your book. In fact you can buy a package of ISBNs. Of course they do come with a price tag. But I’m only going to deal with Create Space. Here is a brief description of ISBNs used with Create Space:

Create Space Assigned ISBN

Free; enables you to select Expanded Distribution for CS Direct, Bookstores, Online Retailers, Libraries and Academic Institutions (through Baker & Taylor). This also enables Standard Distribution which gets book into Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and the eStore.

Other Assigned ISBN

Same as above except for Libraries and Academic Institutions

There is more involvement than this, so be sure to independently investigate ISBNs on your own. Each author probably has a different marketing or distribution need, so you need to find out what is best for you.

You might be wondering what these Insight articles have to do with serving. I am running these blogs because part of serving is doing your very best. The idea is to share with you ideas and concepts that will enable you to do your best as an author, publisher, and marketer.

Hopefully this article has been helpful to you.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem, 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).

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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.

Insights From World of Shem Part 2

Insights From World of Shem Part 2

In this issue I will speak about the cover. Usually the cover is done after the book is written, but I am going to cover it now (pardon the pun).

The cover is one of the most important items a writer needs. And often it is approached almost as an afterthought. But it is what first captures the potential buyer’s eye.

What are the important aspects of a good cover? It seems different people have different viewpoints, so here is mine. Good covers have:

  • A picture of nature, a building, or a person relevant to the story
  • Eye catching graphics
  • A good title (in a series you want title to relate to series)
  • A brief description on back matter
  • A brief bio of author on back matter

Again different experts will explain these differently and may have additional requirements. But the thing to remember is that the book only has two or three seconds to capture someone’s interest.

Createspace Gallery

The Gallery is definitely worth considering. While limited in what you can choose, I have found that they do have pictures that can be used. However, they have few pictures that relate to biblical stories or persons.

But I always look. Why? Because they’re excellent quality and FREE! I actually used pictures from the gallery for my books Perished and World of Noah and the Ark.

Buying Existing Royalty free Pictures

This is another inexpensive way to go: photostock.

For my novel World of Shem the gallery had nothing I could use. So I went with a picture I had purchased from Dreamstime a few years back. I not only purchased the picture but the right to commercially use it. And that is a big thing. Don’t just buy the picture, buy the rights to it as well. Doesn’t cost much and it is worth it.

When buying a picture make sure it is the right size (pixels). The license is only good for the picture you buy.

Hiring Professionals

The hiring of professionals is often highly recommended. And you can find professionals who know how to create covers that are acceptable to CreateSpace. For this service you will pay a little more, but not necessarily a lot. That depends on the artist and your needs.

In my opinion I would always check out the options in the same order I listed them. Why? Because the Gallery may have just the picture for you at no out of pocket cost, or buying royalty free pictures might prove to be the jackpot.

Just remember that there are requirements to be met no matter which route you take. The problem is different publishers have different criteria. So be careful! One additional thought, think about the pixels. The recommended size is 300 dpi (dots per inch) which for a 4 x 5 picture would 1200px x 1500px.

If uploading to Createspace’s Gallery it will recommend a particular size and warn you if the resolution is too low. So experiment.

I really like the cover for the World of Shem as it shows a man (Shem?) with hands raised to heaven (praying?). That caught the very substance of what I wanted displayed. Did you like the cover?

By the way I am still (and for the foreseeable future) looking for reviewers. You can buy the book or the ebook on Amazon or you can request a PDF or Epub from me. Then you can read the book and post your review. To receive a free PDF or Epub write me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and put “Book Review Request” on subject line.

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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.

Insights From World of Shem

Insights From World of Shem

In the last issue of A Look At World That Was I talked about the research necessary in writing the World of Shem. Today I’ll begin a series called Insights From World of Shem.

Consistency with the Bible

I have read, and maybe you have also, books based on the Bible that took a very casual approach to the Bible. I have also seen movies that didn’t adhere to the Biblical record. As a Bible believing Christian such actions have a jarring effect. People who read the Bible regularly easily spot inconsistencies in such books. They may or may not know why, but they instantly know something’s not right.

Such people will turn to their Bibles and compare. It is in my opinion absolutely imperative that the author keep the book in line with the Bible. This is also true of secular writing. For example when writing historical novels based on secular history it is imperative to be accurate. In my novel Dead Eye Will there were a number of historical events, places, and people that made an appearance. Accuracy was a must!

But such accuracy is even more important when dealing with a Bible subject. You are dealing with the Word of God requiring accuracy not only in fact but in application. While I hope more Christians write on Biblical events and people, I recognize that it places a heavy burden on that writer.

But it is worth it. When you are finished writing and can look back saying “my story fits right within Scripture” there is a feeling of satisfaction hard to beat. And when you have published such a book a reviewer might say, “He/she brings the Bible to life!” That’s a compliment you won’t soon forget.

So far we have covered Research and Consistency with the Bible. The next issue of Insights will cover another issue.

And don’t forget. I am looking for reviewers of World of Shem. To get a free PDF or Epub contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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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.