How to Schedule Your Time

FeaturedHow to Schedule Your Time

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look atHow to Schedule Your Time.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Really! Everyone knows how to schedule don’t they?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Not because the people are stupid. They were probably never taught to schedule.

I learned the hard way of the necessity to schedule my time. As I entered the multifaceted world of writing, publishing, and marketing I found my time to be precious. Everything and everyone wanted it.

One of the best books on the subject I have ever read was Success God’s Way by Charles Stanley. He included a whole chapter devoted to the subject of time management. It is based on Ephesians 5:15-16: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

However, you do it, it is necessary that you schedule your personal and professional time.

But Scheduling is more than just the setting up a time for each task, it is making priorities. Every day I make a short priority list – by short I mean no more than three items. It may start out as more than three items, but it often is reduced to a more manageable three.

This is not your typical “to-do” list, but it is related. Think of it this way, make your “to-do” list and select the top two or three.

If you are like me, having a long list usually leaves items undone and I a little discouraged. But when I limit it to two or three there is a much better opportunity for me to accomplish all of them!

Scheduling also involves appointments. As an author you will need to keep track of when you are to meet with or contact agents or publishers or even reporters, when you are supposed to do a book signing, and many other events.

Tip #1: Redeem the time: make good use of your time. Schedule it!

Tip #2: Make your “to do” list and select the top two or three.

Tip #3: Do it!

Example

I actually schedule my time beginning with my morning devotions. I have what I call Focus. I usually focus on two, sometimes three items related to writing. I also write them down in my calendar.

However you do it, make it a habit. You will quickly discover just how valuable a habit it is!

Application

Scheduling is not really rocket science, but it does require thought. It rests firmly on your concept of what is truly important for your writing career. It is one of your most important priorities.

So if you have never put down a to-do list before do it now. It’s easy. Start by writing down, in no particular order, everything you think is important to be done.

Then narrow the list down to seven or ten items (still no order).

Now you have what I call a typical to-do list. Your next step is very difficult: arranging the items in order of importance. I suggest three categories: important, more important, and most important.

That will probably take some time, but your next step requires you to take the top three. By this time everything should be in order of priority. But it is possible that the top two or three items may be tied. If so, you need to narrow it down further.

To help you get to your final two or three items, ask yourself what needs to be done and what has to be done.

Now you have your list of two or three must do items. The final step is the most important: Do it!

The above excerpt is from TR Writing Services Guide to Writing.

Digging deeper, what is the danger of not scheduling? Here are some dangers right off the top of my head:

  • Not getting it done. If you don’t schedule your time there is the danger of forgetting to do a necessary task when you wanted it done.
  • Rushing the work. When we don’t schedule the work and then later realize it must be done now, we tend to rush. Thereby producing a document or book or whatever with errors and sloppy work.
  • Not enough time to edit. You’re under the clock and you’ve rushed the work, but still don’t have time to properly edit. This will result in you publishing a terrible book or being forced to cancel or delay the book project.

It is never too late to begin scheduling. My body is loaded with lazy bones which causes me to take shortcuts. One shortcut is to forget to schedule my work or to make a careless schedule. Either one or both can lead to waste of valuable time.

That said, I can restart, reboot, or whatever you want to call, but the main point is to get myself back in the habit of scheduling.  Which brings up my final tip:

Tip #4: Make scheduling a daily habit.

That is easier said than done. It requires work. Make it the last thing you do in your work day by scheduling the next day; or make it the first thing you do in your work day by scheduling that day’s work. Then work it!

And if you forget to do it, get back on board immediately. Sometimes I’ve neglected a schedule and then realized it after already starting my workday. In cases like that I stop what I’m doing and schedule the rest of the day. It’s not perfect and certainly not desirable, but it does work.

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How To Setup Your Book’s Page

FeaturedHow To Setup Your Book’s Page

If you want our free Guide to Writing book just contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and ask for it. We’ll rush it to you.

As shown in the video setting up your margins is critical to your books. Moreover, you need to set up orientation, headers, footers, and more. Guide to Writing will show all this an more.

How To Setup Your Pages

FeaturedHow To Setup Your Pages

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look atHow to Setup Your Pages.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Page setup is critical to your book. Different publishers have differing requirements, but I will show you two possible setups.

Standard 11 x 8.5

Top: 1”; Bottom: 1”

Left: 1”; Right: 1”

Gutter: Usually the same as Left or inside

Although this is considered standard, the book is reduced by the publisher to a smaller size such as 9 x 6 which in reality is the new standard. I recommend that when setting up your books margins, you use the 9×6 setup. The follow is only a suggestion; experiment.

eBook 9 x 6

Top: .79”; Bottom: .79”

Left: .79”; Right: .79”

Gutter: none (same as left or inside)

TIP: The Gutter: is the same as left or inside margin

Some publishers require Headers/Footers, while others don’t want them. So you need to find out what your publisher wants, which means, that you may have to go back and copy the manuscript with a unique name and redo the margins, headers, etc., which is an argument for being your own publisher.

Tip: If possible, do your setup before you start writing

We use the 9 x 6 setup. But whatever you use, set it up first, you can always change it later.

Example

This book’s setup includes the 9 x 6 margins. Since it is both a print and an eBook and there are page numbers, headers, and footers in the print version. The eBook will not have them.

Application

We use the 9 x 6 setup because we are in charge of our own publishing. If we use an outside publisher and they have different standards we can make an additional copy just for them.

The above excerpt is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it provides a starting point for you. The margins given can be a good starting position, but chances are that you’ll need to adjust them according to your book size. For example, many of our books have been converted to the 9×6 size. Plus, the pages range from 250 – 400 in page length. That means that we use the following margins: Top is 0.76; Bottom is 0.76; Inside or Gutter is 0.63; and outside is 0.63.

No matter what your current settings are, you can change them later!

A good practice is to always preview your book before publishing. You don’t want the gutter too big that it becomes part of the front or back covers. Nor do you want it too small causing the front and back covers to overlap the gutter.

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Art of Writing Multiple Viewpoints

FeaturedArt of Writing Multiple Viewpoints

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Multiple Viewpoints also known as Multiple 3rd Person.

In this blog I will be exploring a difficult, yet in my opinion, profitable methodology. I previously wrote about 1st and 3rd Person viewpoints or POVs, but in the following I am writing about having multiple primary characters. Now, as a rule of thumb, you never want more than one primary character at the same time.

If you read any of my books I often have multiple POVs. You should also notice that I follow my own advice and clearly identify the person who’s POV I’m using.

One last thing before we dive into the subject, don’t let the subject intimidate you. You can master it if you focus on applying the principles of good writing.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Imagine yourself as a reader who gets to read the minds of the characters. Not necessarily all the time, but at critical times. It gives you, the reader, the power and knowledge to understand what is going on to a greater degree.

In Third Person Viewpoints you are reading or “listening” to the thoughts of the primary character. But in Multiple Third Person Viewpoints this is multiplied so that the reader has the opportunity to grasp more and understand more.

That being said, I would not suggest too many characters at one time. Generally I try a limit of to two or three characters. And only with the primary character do I have constant contact.

Tip#1: Generally speaking, multiple characters with observable viewpoints should be introduced early. An exception is when a book spans many years; you can space them out.

Tip#2: Unless you are truly great with prose keep your primary character as your primary POV. In books spanning many years make sure you have a smooth transition between the old POV and the new POV.

Example

In Perished: The World That Was you have a book covering 1656 years. It starts with Adam being the primary character but he eventually dies and another takes his place. This continues until Noah becomes the primary. One difficulty was that these characters sometimes lived at the same time, so I had to be careful about the transition. In most cases this happened at the death of one or in other cases it was in different scenes.

I do not recommend doing this in a story that is more compressed in time. Most likely your primary character will be constant throughout the book.

Another example from the same book is the inclusion of multiple primary characters. But it is rare for both to appear in the same scene at the same time. If such a situation presents itself, however, only one should be the primary at that time.

Application

Advantages of Multiple POV

  1. Greater flexibility within story
  2. Greater or wider view of story
  3. More information available to reader

Disadvantages of Multiple POV

  1. Requires a great deal more diligence
  2. Requires more work
  3. Can confuse reader if not done right

Multiple Person Viewpoint is in my opinion the most flexible (and hardest) viewpoint for the author to use. That flexibility is a valuable asset for the author. So don’t shy away from it.

Try it out. Buy books on viewpoint and learn what works for you.

To learn more about multiple Points of View and other writing needs TR Writing Services is currently giving away – that’s right, it’s FREE! – our TR Guide to Writing. Simply contact us and request a copy (PDF or docx) and we’ll send it to you. While at it, why not request the TR Writing Service booklet? This booklet will tell you about our different plans and prices. (The current plan discounts expire June 30th.)

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Art of Writing Viewpoints

FeaturedArt of Writing Viewpoints

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Viewpoints.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Viewpoint or Point of View is extremely critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s view of the world. The POV often determines whether a story is successful or not.

Before looking at the viewpoints let me give you another related principle: Make sure your reader knows when the character is thinking and when he is speaking. And try to avoid ‘he thought’ or ‘she thought’. While occasionally using such phrases is fine, too much of it can create a stilting effect. At the same time you want to keep the identity of the speaker before the reader. This can be done by occasionally having one speaker identify the other, such as ‘James, that’s wrong’. The reader knows it is not James talking.

We are going to take a look at two POV (Point of View). These are 1st Person and 3rd Person.

First Person

This is essentially the personal pronouns “I”, “Me”, “Mine”. The POV is from the speaker. He/she tells the story from his/her perspective. Personally, I don’t like this POV but I have read some excellent books using that technique.

There are a few advantages to this viewpoint, such as:

  1. Instant involvement: Because the reader is inside the character’s head all thoughts and actions are immediately known. There is no delay.
  2. Language: Because the reader is inside the head and knows the thoughts of the character the reader is able to instantly know the education, and class of the character.
  3. Range: How the character thinks. The reader learns a great deal about the character because every facet of his/her thinking is open to the reader.

But there are also disadvantages; such as:

  1. It requires the presence of the character in all scenes. This can cause difficulty in overall structure and the story itself. But it can be done as witnessed by successful writers.
  2. The character can’t keep secrets from the reader. If the character knows something, we do also, which leaves off any mystery you may want.
  3. You cannot include any information that the character doesn’t know. In other words, you know only what the character knows. No more and no less.
  4. The “I” becomes both you and the character. This can be troubling.
  5. Limited view. Since you only know what the character knows there is a whole world of unknowns.

First Person, in my opinion, is harder to write and to pull off. Some authors do and succeed quite well. But it can be unwieldy. Therefore, unless you have a great deal of experience in writing, I would recommend you stay away from it.

Third Person

Third Person, in my opinion, is the preferred method to use. It is the personal pronoun “he”, “she” or “it” viewpoint.

The advantages of this POV are:

  1. An outside view of the person
  2. You, the narrator, can talk about other facts, events and people.
  3. You can have additional characters in third person
  4. You can have other POV characters.
  5. Unlimited worldview: In the first person you were restricted by the author’s or character’s thoughts and opinions.
  6. But in third person the narrator and reader have access to other information – thus expanding the scene.
  7. Greater objectivity – in first person you only have the character’s opinion of self, but in third Person you see much more and can make better judgments.
  8. Hidden information – In the third person the author can keep some of the facts about the character secret until later in the story. Then as the story unfolds the author can divulge pertinent and new information about the character.

But there are disadvantages. These include:

  1. separated involvement.
  2. With first person you had instant involvement, but here there exists separation or distance between the character and the reader.
  3. language.
  4. It is more difficult to identify the class and education of the character.
  5. range.
  6. Awkward. The thinking, etc, is not as visible as it is with first person.

Tip#1: Choose your POV carefully. 1st person identifies with character; 3rd person identifies with multiple characters.

Tip#2: When conveying a character’s thoughts put it in italics. Not a hard rule but I recommend it.

Example

  1. First Person: I thought to myself, What a wonderful day!
  2. Third Person: He looked about, smiling. What a wonderful day!

Application

Be careful with your POV. It is very easy to forget which POV you are using. The result can be disastrous.

I do not recommend First Person, although many authors have done so successfully. It takes a lot of hard work and skill. And in my opinion it is too limiting. But if you choose this POV then pay close attention, follow the rules carefully, and stick with it. You just might be one of those successful writers!

Be aware that there are many variations of first and third person viewpoints. I recommend you buy a good reference book on the subject. There are many resources, including Writers Digest.

To learn more about writing viewpoints or POVs TR Writing Services is currently giving away – that’s right, it’s FREE! – our TR Guide to Writing. Simply contact us and request a copy (PDF or docx) and we’ll send it to you. While at it, why not request the TR Writing Service booklet? This booklet will tell you about our different plans and prices. (The current discounted plans expire June 30th.)

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Writing Good Grammar

FeaturedWriting Good Grammar

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Good Grammar.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Your grammar must be perfect!

Right?

Actually that depends on who you talk to and the specifics involved. Here is my take:

Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. For example, let’s say one of your characters only has a ninth grade education.

You would not want that character talking like a professor. For that matter, you really don’t want any of your characters to talk that way unless they actually are professors.

Now I don’t recommend that you try to imitate slang and accents, but just be cautious. Maybe allow a character to have a favorite saying. In Perished: The World That Was I had Methuselah with a favorite saying, “So God has said, so shall it be.”

Which brings up a related principle: Be consistent. If I later had someone else using that same phrase it could have been a jolt. Be consistent.

So here’s the principle: When you are dealing with conversation (or even thoughts) you can and should be less than perfect but consistent. Everything else should be perfect.

Aside from speaking, there is the matter of punctuation and spelling. With the tools available this should never be a problem, but it does occur. It is therefore necessary to check your spelling and punctuation as often as possible.

Tip: Be consistent. If Bob is talking like a country boy on page 2 and a professor on page 132, you better have shown a transformation. Your reader will spot inconsistencies!

Example

The boys is clothed alike. [This is poor grammar.]

The boys are clothed alike. [Much better.]

“You guys look the same.” [OK.]

“The boys is clothed alike,” Martha said. [Ok, if this is consistent with Martha’s education and you’re emphasizing it.]

Tip #1: A rule of thumb is that grammar rules don’t have to be followed rigidly when verbal conversation is taking place or when someone is thinking.

While there are some purists who’d disagree with that tip it is true. Don’t believe me. Listen to people as they talk to one another. They simply don’t talk like some cutaway from your most recent English language book. Nor do they think that way. In fact their speech often denotes who they are.

Some authors go all out and embed a character’s speech with all sorts of idioms. That is fine but to carry it throughout the book might prove to be a heavy task. I suggest a more practical way.

In my novel Perished: The World That Was I peppered Methuselah’s conversations with ‘So God has said, so shall it be’. That was a major departure from anyone else. For the most part his speech was pretty common, easily understood. But phrases like that and the manner in which he talked spoke of his wealth and authority. In other words I let the character’s personality dominate and come through his speech.

As for thinking, I suggest that you italicize the words. This immediately tells the reader that this is different than verbalizing. It should also reduce the need to add ‘she thought’ or ‘he thought’.

Tip#2: Don’t use slang or social media in your language. Slang is both geographical and time restricted. You use a slang word in New York and it may mean something altogether different in Michigan or Florida. Of course, if your character is a New Yorker you might be able to get away with it. But then you have another problem. Slang is not constant. So what you knew as slang ten, twenty years ago may no longer be in use. Your use, therefore, of old slang in a modern setting can confuse your reader.

Best to stay away from slang altogether.

Application

Both my wife and I try to watch our grammar usage. One of the tools we use is Microsoft Word’s grammar checker. It’s not perfect, but it helps. Also, we use the spell check, but it is not always up-to-date. So we make use of the ‘Add to Dictionary’ tool.

Other resources are grammar books (especially older versions that really emphasized good grammar), and the internet (not the way people talk on the internet like FaceBook, but information about grammar).

Make use of as many resources as needed. And pay attention to grammar and punctuation when editing.

To learn more about grammar and other aspects of writing TR Writing Services is currently giving away – that’s right, it’s FREE! – our TR Guide to Writing. Simply contact us and request a copy (PDF) and we’ll send it to you. While at it why not request the TR Writing Service booklet? This booklet will tell you about our different plans and prices. (The current plan discounts expire June 30th.)

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How to Start Writing Career

FeaturedHow to Start Writing Career

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at How to start writing career.

To learn more about writing contact TR Writing Services at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

You’ve got an idea for a book, be it non-fiction or fiction. All you need to do is sit down write the book and you’re done. Right? Wrong.

What Should I do to start a career as a writer?

Well, you could try just writing your book starting right now. But while it seems easy, that method would probably prove very exhaustive and tiring. Here are some tips.

First, ask yourself why you want to write. Is it because there’s money to be made? Well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money. Is it because your idea is the best idea ever? Well, that’s dubious. Is it because you have a real desire to write? Now you’re talking, but that raises other questions.

Assuming you have a desire to write, what experience or skill do you have?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to start out with experience or skill, but it certainly helps. Can you handle basic grammar and spelling needs? There are books on grammar and dictionaries for spelling that should help you with that.

In fact, I would suggest you invest in a simple dictionary at first and later get a combination dictionary/thesaurus. Both of those should be considered essential tools. Books on grammar, spelling, and even on novel writing are excellent helps.

What I’m saying is that you need to have writing aids available to you. You might think you don’t need them, but you do no matter your education or experience.

Then I can start writing?

Sure you can, but you might want to set up a space in your house, apartment, or condo that is meant for you to write. You should consider a desk, writing table, or even a lap table. Having your own private space is conducive to good writing. Also having your files, resource books, etc. nearby can be a good help.

Now I can write?

There’s nothing stopping you, but there are other things you should consider before you begin. One thing that many writers suggest is that you check out on the internet and see if the book you plan on writing has already been written and check out what genre you are in. There’s truth in that. For example, the title itself may already have been used. You might want to have a new or fresh title.

It’s possible someone else has already written a book with the plot you’re thinking of. That doesn’t mean you can’t write the story you have in mind, but it might mean that you need a fresh twist on the plot so that it is different.

Surely now I can write?

Like I said, there’s nothing stopping you. However, you might want to set yourself up as a businessperson. The moment you commit yourself to writing a book you are a businessman or businesswoman. You need to set yourself up so that you not only have a concept of making money, but have a plan for receiving it, tracking it, and making use of it. And don’t forget that eventually you’ll need to market your book

Wow! I don’t have a clue how to start!

That’s fine. There are a lot of businesses out there willing to help you. Unfortunately most are not cheap. Some are expensive and misleading. They promise you a best seller within weeks! It sounds great, but in this day and age unlikely.

My wife and I recently started a new service that is offered by our business T&R Independent Books. It is called TR Writing Services. And it is designed to help the beginning or even the established writer get their book written and published. This service is available at very reasonable prices. Want more information, contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and we’ll send a free booklet on our different plans and a free copy of our TR Writing Guide.

You’ll guide me?

Yes, to an extent. I will be honest with you and do my best to steer you in the right direction. But we don’t believe that you have to do things our way. In the end you are the boss. But we will certainly keep you informed about what we know or think is right. We’ll also help you set up a KDP account if you don’t have one. If you’re going with KDP then we’ll be right with you through the publication process. We are unable to offer that concerning other publishing platforms, but we are experienced with KDP.

I am currently developing a FREE Writing Course that will cover the business of writing, writing itself, websites, and publishing. Hope to have it available in near future. If you’re interested in the course just write me at my email address (below) and I’ll send a link once the course is ready.

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 we’ll send you a PDF of the book.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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 Writing Game

FeaturedThe Writing Game

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at The Writing Game.

To learn more about writing contact TR Writing Services at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

When considering what to write about I came up with the title before I actually knew about the content. That’s completely different from my usual practice, but it is what it is.

So What Is the Writing Game?

Well for starters it is everything you find in the Guide to Writing. So I can’t give you an excerpt because that would entail 101 pages if you include the book cover, front pages, and back pages. So this blog is going to look at the subject a little differently than you may expect.

To me the Writing Game begins early in life. Reflect back on your childhood memories. For starters did you like to read? Did you like to write?

Those are fairly common questions, but I want you to look deeper. Are there stories buried in your past, in your childhood (or adulthood for that matter) that are bursting to be told? As I sit here typing I’m also reflecting on my childhood. Now in my case I had epilepsy and was on heavy medication until after my first stint in the ninth grade (I flunked it and then was taken off medications and I did much better afterward).

So much of my childhood is a mystery to me. But the later years (teens and twenties) are much more open to me. So I have memories. There are some good and some bad memories. Are they bursting to be told? Bursting, no. But I am intrigued by the possibilities and may someday write novels based on individual events.

Actually, when I am writing a novel, whether it’s Bible based or Speculative Fiction, I draw from life experiences throughout my life. Perhaps I draw from my feelings, my experiences, my hopes, or my fears. This is my opening point: Your life experiences are a natural resource.

It is this opening point that is the basis for the idea that everyone has a story in them. Everyone therefore has the potential to become a writer.

But what about skills?

As a Christian I believe there are basically two times that we are equipped to become what God wants us to become. The first time is at birth. Everyone is born with certain qualities and innate tendencies. For example, someone who becomes an artist may have been born with an innate skill or interest in drawing. It may also show up in childhood.

In my case, because I was on heavy medication I didn’t play much in sports. I did play in Little League Baseball, but I had no real talent and I wasn’t pushed because I might have blacked out or something. But I did have a lively imagination!

Imagination is not really considered a skill, but it is a necessary ingredient for anyone desiring to be a writer. I spent much of my childhood living in imaginary worlds. Now you might say that is normal for children, and it is. However, in my case it was probably more pronounced than in other children.

Many of my childhood dreams centered on Flash Gordon, Roy Rogers, and other TV heroes. There was also a Navy Officer that entered my daydreams. I not only enjoyed their adventures on television but I made up stories where I was the hero acting out stories that involved villains and others from their shows. But while the characters were well known the story lines became my own. By the time I was in my mid-teens I was desiring to be a writer.

I didn’t start acquiring actual writing skills until I was in my twenties. I subscribed for a while to a writing course and began learning the fundamentals of writing. This lasted until I was unable to afford the service anymore. But I continued to attempt to write. Although all ended in failure I learned how to better write.

Failures are good?

 Yes. In the game of writing failure is a key ingredient. Failure, when combined with a strong desire to succeed, teaches you first of all not to quit. I don’t know how many stories I attempted and failed at, but I never gave up on the goal to be a writer. Instead I doubled down and learned from my mistakes, which were many.

It is this stage of life that led my wife and I to start TR Writing Service. Through this service I can use my failures and successes to help both new and struggling writers with their careers.

The Second Birth changed my life.

In 1973 I asked Jesus into my heart and He gloriously saved me. Now I had eternal life. But there was something else impacted. With the Holy Spirit indwelling me and the Holy Bible available to me I began wanting to glorify God in my writing. And it immediately showed!

I continued to fail, learn, and retry until in the year 2000 God opened my eyes to an opportunity for writing. I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Flood. I realized that here was a story to be told. Thus I began writing the ‘story behind the story‘ that was eventually published as Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles. That story would later feed into my novel Perished: The World That Was, which in turn launched the series The World That Was and my writing career.

In short, God re-equipped me!

By that I mean I was originally equipped to write by being born with a desire to write and some raw writing skills. Now God equipped me with new skills that took 27 years to develop and another 3 years to bear fruit. Thus it took 30 years of Christian living to undo the first 30 years of Christ-less living!

From the first publication to now (2019) it’s been 16 years of learning, failing, and learning. I have published 11 novels (6 Bible based & 4 Speculative Fiction, and 1 American History) plus I am currently working on 3 new novels (1 Bible based and 2 Speculative Fiction). Actually 1 Speculative Fiction novel (Rise of I.C.E.S.) is being published now with availability within days.

So we now have Life Experiences and Talent, what else do we need?

In one word: Determination! There are thousands of men and women who want to write and actually attempt it yet quit! Why? They didn’t get the sales they wanted, someone gave them a negative review, a relative discouraged them, and so forth. What they need to do is get back up, learn from the bad things said and even the good things said. Determination is the fuel that will cause you to grow.

Finally, there is Opportunity.

Some of you are saying but I never get the opportunity. But I’m here to say that’s no excuse. Whether you use TR Writing Services or some other program you have the opportunity. In this day and age you can write, publish, and market your own book.

In the game of writing you control the game. You have little control over sales, but you have great control over the writing and publishing of your book. And there are ways and means of marketing your book available. If you have all the talent in the world and all the skills but never seize the opportunity you are guaranteeing failure. Permanent failure. On the other hand you have unlimited opportunity available to you every day!

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews. Please note that the Rise of I.C.E.S. is being published now and should be available in a few days.

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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Writing Scenes Part 2

FeaturedWriting Scenes Part 2

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Scenes – part 2.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

The middle of your scene is primarily where the bulk of the story occurs. The opening of the scene prepared the reader for what was about to occur and now it is happening. And the closing scene will bring it to either an end or a continuing.

While it is true that the middle of the scene usually falls into the middle of the scene (duh), sometimes writers actually begin their scene in the middle. And that is an important thing to remember.

Don’t be stuck in your approach to scenes; experiment with moving the parts around. See what works best. Opening the scene with the middle sometimes works, while at other times it won’t.

That said, it is usually best to have the middle actually take place in the middle. Let the opening set it up.

It is in the middle of the scene where you will see and, hopefully, feel the character’s response to the opening. What is the character going to do in response? Is their further action?

Tip: A middle scene is usually the bulk of the scene’s story. It is also usually the longest. It is where the response to the opening unfolds.

Example

&&&

Adam awoke. Something caused me to wake up. What was it? Wait – Eden River. That is it!  I must have been dreaming about Eden River.

Gently disengaging himself from Woman, he got up. Being as quiet as possible, he headed for the river where he found a comfortable knoll.  From this position, he had a good view of the river. It must be about a half-mile across! I never realized that. Tomorrow, I will take Woman and we will follow the river to its beginning.

In silence, he continued watching the river, estimating its size.  The question was its length.  A glitter caught his eye.  He smiled as he realized that the moon’s light seemed to dance on the river’s surface.

After awhile, he returned to Woman where he lay down and was soon fast asleep.

&&&

This is the same example I used for showing the opening of the scene earlier in the book. This time I want you to take note of the middle scene. Notice that beginning at ‘Gently disengaging’ and ending at ‘on the river’s surface’ Adam is responding to his dream and goes to observe the river. During this time he views the river, mulls over the river’s width, and makes plans for the future.

All of this occurs in a single scene.

Application

You shouldn’t put too much thought into this in your first draft. Write your story (a chapter or two or the entire book) then go back and examine the individual scenes. And don’t try to be perfect, you’ll need to do another edit later anyhow.

Keep in mind that each scene plays an integral part in your story and the middle is very important.

The above was a short scene depicted in the book. Scenes can be short (like above) or longer. It all depends on your story. One thing I hope you’ve caught is that the scene does not have to be a fireball. I chose a mundane scene because often your scenes will be mundane. At some point these mundane scenes will culminate in an action scene.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.

Writing Scenes Part 1

FeaturedWriting Scenes Part 1

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Scenes – part 1.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Scenes are like the pieces of a crossword puzzle. Individually they may be interesting but when placed in the proper place then they form an integral part of the puzzle. Before they had little meaning but now a complete picture is shown.

Each scene, in a sense, is a miniature story. While by itself it can’t stand, it does have something to contribute. Basically each scene should have four parts: Plot, Character, Theme, and Suspense.

How long should a scene be?

The answer to this is in the context. For example, Plot, technical information, and scenic descriptions should all be short scenes. On the other hand, conversation, emotion, and suspense often require longer scenes. Don’t over think it. If you are a reader as well as a writer you will likely know what works best for your scenes and ultimately what works best for you.

There are many ways to start a scene. Books have been written on crafting and you should build a library on writing. But a good start is to consider using these techniques:

  1. begin with action
  2. begin with conversation
  3. begin in the middle
  4. begin with a promise or anticipation
  5. begin with a problem
  6. begin with the setting itself
  7. begin with the time of day

These are just seven techniques.

Tip #1: Before and after writing a scene consider the four parts (Plot, Character, Theme, and Suspense).

Tip #2: No matter how you write your scenes you need to clearly separate them. I use the ampersand (&) or the asterisk (*), some use (xxx), and others use other markers. But don’t use blanks!

Example

&&&

Adam awoke.  Something caused me to wake upWhat was it?  Wait – Eden River.  That is it!  I must have been dreaming about Eden River.

Gently disengaging himself from Woman, he got up.  Being as quiet as possible, he headed for the river where he found a comfortable knoll.  From this position, he had a good view of the river.  It must be about a half-mile across!  I never realized that.  Tomorrow, I will take Woman and we will follow the river to its beginning.

In silence, he continued watching the river, estimating its size.  The question was its length.  A glitter caught his eye.  He smiled as he realized that the moon’s light seemed to dance on the river’s surface.

After awhile, he returned to Woman where he lay down and was soon fast asleep.

&&&

The above scene is taken from Perished: The World That Was which takes place in the Garden of Eden. Notice that it is a brief scene (scenes can vary in length), it relates to the Plot, concerns Adam, and sets up the reader for the following event (exploring the river). More importantly the scene is separated from the following scene which may or may not be related.

Did you notice how the scene started? It began with ‘Adam awoke’. While not the most exciting beginning it does denote sudden action. It attracts the reader’s attention with an implied ‘something is about to happen’. In other words, it opened with action, although mild. This is acceptable, but if you can liven it up do so.

The sooner you get to action in your scene the better. But beware that the action is appropriate to your character(s).

And I used separators before and after!

Application

When writing a scene you want this mini-story to excite, intrigue or provide necessary information to your readers. In the example above the scene prepared the reader for Adam and Eve’s exploration of the Eden River plus it gave information about the river itself.

By itself it didn’t seem very important but it provided a solid intro to what became an interesting and exciting journey for the two of them. Not to mention the reader.

When you break your story up into scenes it becomes easier to edit, move, or even delete scenes as deemed necessary.

Note: in Tip #2 I said never use blanks. Some authors do and they are successful. My problem with blanks is that it is easy for the eye to pass over them and the reader doesn’t realize a change of scenes has taken place. That has happened to me. The result was that I had to go back to the beginning of the scene and clarify who and what is taking place.

Part 2 or the Middle Scene will be next as we study scenes.

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), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative 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.