How I Wrote Perished Part II

How I Wrote Perished Part II

Back in July I wrote Part I about writing Perished. I had intended to write Part II before now but got a little sidetracked by other projects. I did write about Noah, but Part II is actually about the research involved in writing the novel.

Research is almost a dirty word, but it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:

  • To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark).
  • To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).

But how did I get the facts?

There are a number of ways.

  • Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible).
  • Read history books.
  • Do a deep internet search.
  • Use logic based on historical facts.

If you are writing about the Bible it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That required a great deal of time and effort.

The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.

The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources. But a word of caution. While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.

But it is the fourth item I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Saviour and that Christ is that Saviour. So it only relates the historical facts needed.

When writing Perished I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.

So I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.

So how did I resolve this issue?

Let me give you a challenge: Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:

  • Government.
  • Arts.
  • Industry.
  • Warfare.
  • and more.

I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know was the Flood. So we arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?

We are speaking of a 300 to 500 year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world then everything falls into place!

And that opens up a window into the past!

It occurred to me that if I looked closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood I had a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.

So when studying the ancient past prior to the Flood we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And thereby I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.

Which is what research is all about. Now most of the time research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate, true, and with some detail.

When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – reading history, deep internet research, and logic.

Is it worth it?

My answer is as follows: By far most of the readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was that I brought the story alive. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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The Consequences of Research

The Consequences of Research

That’s an interesting title to this blog, but I think you’ll understand better when I am finished.

From the day I began writing I have believed that a good author should support his work with diligent research. Since most of my writing deals with Biblical history it meant really digging into the Bible.

However, it also required me to dig into secular history. This is much harder because not all countries keep accurate historical records. For example, Egypt is a country with a rich history, but its records are confusing, at best.

When writing about Shem (The Rise of Shem) I quickly learned this fact. So what did I do. First, I looked for other secular sources that might provide accurate information. In a few instances I went only with the Biblical record.

This was true when dealing with time frames. Egyptian chronology is a mess. The consequence of this meant I had to reconstruct history as best I could by comparing Biblical chronology and Egyptian chronology. This was necessary to bring a semblance of reliability.

Why was this so important?

The story ranged from the Mountains of Ararat to Egypt and to Libya. As a storyteller I wanted the story to be as accurate as possible although it is a novel.

Another example of consequences was the writing of Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles and Perished: The World That Was. Both of these books dealt with the pre-Flood world.

Unfortunately there is precious little evidence of that world in secular writings.

The consequence of this fact was that I had to dig deeper and widen my net. I not only looked at the Biblical record, I also took a look at myths. While obviously myths they did provide hints at what ancient people believed about their past.

But while studying this issue I made a discovery.

Both in Biblical and secular history there was a sudden explosion of societal growth. Nations were founded, knowledge increased tremendously, and both economic and military growth were demonstrated. In the Bible this phenomenon occurred right after the Flood, while in secular history it simply occurs with no apparent reason.

But when I made the assumption that the Bible was correct and that it happened right after the Flood I discovered what I regard as a truth: The only way society could have advanced so far so fast was if they already had the fundamentals!

Using that truism I narrowed my study to the first 500 years after the Flood. It is simply amazing how advanced the society became in that short period of time. That realization led me to this conclusion: Those 500 years afford us a peek into the past; a peek into the world existing before the Flood.

That opened the past up for me and enabled me to write a reasonable description of what that world was like. Reasonable and probable. It made my novel work!

An author should never be afraid of the consequences of research. Sure, you may discover things that contradict your presuppositions, but you may also learn something powerful and transforming that will take your book to the next level.

Now you may have noticed that I made some assumptions along the way. This is true of all writers, no matter what their views are. My assumptions were that the Bible is always correct (a proven fact) and that secular history is often influenced by other factors other than a search for truth. I also made assumptions about the 500 years. These assumptions had the consequence of opening up my story and bringing it alive!

Your research may not take you where mine took me, but good solid researching will uncover facts that you can incorporate into your novel. The more facts you have, the more believable your story.

Perhaps you have been researching a particular subject. Has it changed your views or heightened them?

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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.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

The World That Was: Noah

I have been writing about how I wrote Perished: The World That Was. Today I write about Noah.

What was Noah like?

If you believe the movie ‘Noah’ he was not very nice. In fact, he was something of a mental case. Further he didn’t think humans were worthy of redemption.

All in all the movie ‘Noah’ is fiction with extremely little ties to the facts.

When writing the book Perished, I strove to make him exactly like he is portrayed in the Bible: a man saved by the Grace of God and commissioned to build an Ark to the saving of mankind.

Both in the church and outside the church you hear statements such as:

1.     The Ark was the first ship (heard preached)

2.     The Ark was unseaworthy (popular belief)

3.     Noah was crazy (popular belief and taught in movie)

4.     Noah was a drunk (he did get drunk once, but no indication he was a drunkard)

All of these are false. Nowhere in the Bible is the Ark ever described as the only ship built before the Flood. The truth is that the ‘blue print’ given Noah by God presupposes some knowledge of ship building.

Noah was a farmer, who grew grapes, and was not a shipbuilder. In olden days farmers often did some carpentry, but nothing like building a ship.

Scientists have determined the Ark to be very seaworthy. And the Bible shows a man who loved God and was very godly in character.

These were just some of the issues I had to deal with before I could create an accurate picture of Noah.

Some people claim the entire story is a story taken from the Epic of Gilgamesh. But the Bible account is a first hand eyewitness account of the events. Gilgamesh was written after the Flood, indeed after the Confusion of Tongues!

So my job was to portray Noah as a highly intelligent, godly man. Fortunately I had the Bible as a ready reference. There are a lot of facts about him if you look. Secondly, we know from science and archaeology what the world may have been like.

So once I had all the facts gathered I was able to weave a story about him and his family that not only was believable, but probably very close to the truth.

All of this teaches a very important truth: When using a historical person do your research. You want your character as believable as possible.

 By the way, I am in the final stages of rewriting Perished: The World That Was. It should be coming out soon, so watch for it.

Your comments are welcome. Just make a comment below.

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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.

The World That Was: Rodinia

Last issue we looked at the Resources I used. Today we are going to take a scientific look at how I came up with Pangaea, plus new discoveries.

First of all I am a fervent believer that an author has the responsibility to make his novels as realistic as possible. I am not referring to language or graphics, but rather to the underlining facts the novel is based on.

When I wrote Perished: The World That Was I used the latest information that I could find. That was 2010. Since then there has been increased details coming forth.

In fact, up until 2014 it was believed that a supercontinent called Pangaea was the world wherein the events of Perished would have taken place. Now we know that there was another previous supercontinent.

According to scientists the original supercontinent was Rodinia (Russian for “Mother Earth.”). While much is known about Pangaea they are still debating on the structure of Rodinia.

We do know that the Appalachians (located in Eastern U.S), Caledonians (located in the UK and Scandinavia), were not in existence at that time. Nor were many other modern mountain ranges.

When the Flood occurred Rodinia broke up and pieces of it formed Pangaea, which was underwater. They suggest that Pangaea lasted only a few weeks until our modern continents were formed.

This blog is not meant to be a scientific resource, but you can see how the dynamics of telling the story has changed. In fact, I am currently doing a rewrite of my very first book Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles as a Special Edition with a new title. This book will reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the subject of the Flood and, for that matter, the Ark.

Which brings me to the point I want to make: When writing a novel based in history always use resources that cover geography, climate, flora, fauna, manners, customs, and whatever else you can find.

For example, by including the latest facts in the novel the story will resonate with the readers, especially any who might know a thing or two about that historical period.

Some day I may rewrite Perished. If I do I will certainly include new information, thus enriching the reading experience.

For a list of resources I refer you to my recent blog on resources. You should find that a good starting place.

If you want to comment on this or any blog posts, please feel free to post your comments at RFrederickRiddlesWorld on Facebook.

 

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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.

The World That Was: Resources

The World That Was: Resources

Last issue we looked at the Historical Perspective. Today we are going to take a look at the Resources or Tools that I used.

 In the issue on Historical Perspective I was actually using several tools. There were a host of resources (tools) I used. Biblical Research is more than a tool – it is a system of tools I use. Each one of us have a system. So I am not promoting a particular system. Rather I am trying to get you to be as prepared as possible. Use your system as full as possible.

 Let’s look at some of the tools you have available. Some of these are aimed directly at Biblical information, but others are more recent.

  1.  Answers in Genesis (online Biblical resource)

  2. American History (Google this)

  3. Books on the Manners and Customs of the Bible (Library or Google)

  4. Books on the Manners and Customs of differing countries (Library or Google)

  5. Civil War books (Library or Google)

  6. Google search (almost any subject can be found here)

  7. History books (especially older ones predating the evolutionist influence)

  8. Institute for Creation Research (online Biblical resource)

  9. Revolutionary War (Library or Google)

  10. The Holy Bible (It is loaded with history)

  11. World History books (Library or Google)

 And the list goes on. These are the kind of tools I might use since I write on ancient history (especially Biblical history) and American History. The point is that there is a great deal of information at your fingertips for whatever subject you are interested in writing about.

 The computer and Internet has revolutionized how and what we can research. Use it!

Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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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.

 

The World That Was: Historical Perspective

The World That Was: Historical Perspective

Last Wednesday I blogged about an Introduction to The World That Was. Today is the second in the series of blogs devoted to this subject. Last time I discussed how I got the title and subtitle of the first book of the series.

 Today I want to discuss the historical perspective.

 When the idea came to write my first novel, Refuge: The Genesis Record, it came as a result of a Bible study I was doing. And some of the facts recorded in the book came directly from the Bible. But since the Bible was written to instruct us about man’s relationship to God there were only some basic facts given, such as the blue print God gave Noah of the Ark.

 I was immediately faced with a problem. This world we live in now isn’t really interested in the Flood or pre-Flood history. Go backwards a couple hundred years and the interest would have been much higher allowing for a writer to easily discover facts and theories pertaining to the pre-Flood world.

 So I had a problem: How do I discover a factual basis, in addition to the Bible, to lay a strong foundation for a book? You might wonder why that would be necessary given I was writing fiction. My response is easy: I believe that the more facts the writer can discover, the richer his/her novel will be.

 The Pre-Flood World

 I love history. Period! So it is not surprising that I looked to history for the answers. And I discovered an amazing fact. A sophisticated society grew up within 500 years after the Ark landed on Mt. Ararat! While 500 years sounds like a lot of time in our personal worlds, from a historical point of view it is a very brief time.

 So I had discovered a perplexing situation. Although historical records of the pre-Flood era were gone except for the Biblical record, this 500 year miraculous rising of a sophisticated society demanded my attention. I quickly realized that the only way for such rapid development was if the people had carried over the flood a library, if you will, of knowledge.

 With that perspective in mind, the pre-Flood world was suddenly opened up. I could study the post-Flood world, combine it with the Biblical record, and arrive at a plausible, perhaps accurate, view of life before the Flood.

 Another factor that influenced me was the genius factor. As I read the Bible it was quite apparent that Adam and Eve were very intelligent. Scientists say we only use maybe 10% of our brain power. But if God created them perfect in all their ways (certainly implied in chapters one and two of Genesis) then they probably used a much higher percent of their brain power. We would probably call them geniuses if they were alive today.

 So I now that a perspective on Adam and Eve as two highly intelligent individuals who produced children and descendents who were also intelligent. I also had a window into their world to see what they had accomplished in 1656 years. And I had a Biblical account that highlighted some of the achievements.

 Now it only took a few minutes for me to describe the process involved, but it took days, weeks, and months of research to put it all together. You may never face the problem I first faced, but whatever genre you write in it will be necessary to do research. Some times it will be easy and at other times you may need to really dig for that nugget of information.

 The process for me was very rewarding. I learned more than I could ever include in my book. In addition, I was able to create a vibrant world that was believable and consistent with the Biblical record. Plus the characters were not merely one dimensional but were well rounded with strengths and weaknesses.

 So what am I saying? Basically this: Be willing to do the hard research. You may run into a wall, but don’t let that stop you. If the obvious research isn’t productive, think outside the box. What other ways can you discover the information?

 Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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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.

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

The idea for this blog came as my wife and I have been planning a vacation. Usually when we think of vacation it is fun and relaxation, but when we think of researching a book it is hard work.

 While on the face of it the two are not compatible, they can actually work together. One of the things most vacationers like to do is take pictures, both still and video. And one of the tools used for research is pictures. And there you have the connection.

Almost any genre can be researched when on a vacation. Here in the south there are many vacation spots where we could research geography, history or simply the local flavor of a town. Come to think about it, that’s not just the south, it is anywhere.

 For example, one of our favorite vacations was St. Augustine, Florida. This city is loaded with history and geography. The city claims to be the oldest city in America, has a 17th century fort, founded by Ponce De Leon, and so much more history. Plus lots of geography.

 When visiting a place like that you want to take a lot of pictures. Not to be filed away in a closet, but as potential story lines or at least background material. And you do this while having a good time!

 I don’t know if one of us will some day write a story that takes place in St. Augustine, but we could.

 Another source is brochures. These are usually packed with information that can tickle your imagination. Plus, there is the experience itself of walking the streets, visiting the various historical buildings, and seeing the city.

 All of these take place on a vacation and are potential research material for future stories.

 But, you say, I’m not planning t write on the place we’re going to vacation at. Doesn’t matter. You might change your mind, in which case if you took the pictures and picked up the brochures you have a gold mine of information.

 Or you might use the material for some other real or imaginary place!

 The simplicity is amazing! You actually do research while enjoying yourself. Instead of hours on the computer you see, feel, and smell the facts that may be just the nugget that fires up your imagination!

 So use your vacation as a research tool.


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