Bind them continually upon thine heart

Bind them continually upon thine heart

“Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Prov. 6:21

This verse is referencing the Word of God as the Father’s commandments. Today I want to apply it specifically to authors.

Perhaps because I am an author I am slightly biased. Since we deal with communicating to people, albeit through fiction, I think we need God’s wisdom to a very high degree.

Thousands of books are published every week and tens of thousands every year. All authors are trying to sell their books to the widest audience possible. I am no exception. And we need God’s wisdom if we are to succeed.

I’ve talked before about the principles of God’s Word and I don’t want to be merely repeating myself. So instead of talking about marketing advice seen through the lens of the Bible, I want to talk about God’s wisdom and how it helps us write better.

Every book I’ve written has been bathed in prayer. It is not enough to merely follow principles, whether they are secular or spiritual. Writing is more than that. It involves the plot of the work, the characters involved, and the cohesiveness of the story. For that to happen requires a great deal of skill. But it also demands more.

People talk about inspiration being required. I’ve talked about being inspired, but it goes beyond simply being inspired to write. We need God’s guiding hand as we write every scene and develop every character.

It can be taxing, but when we have God in our corner it makes things much easier. Whether writing Perished, or World of Noah and the Ark, or even the current writing of World of Shem I have needed God’s guidance. I seek God’s guidance. I’m not talking about formal prayer, which I do, but of communicating to God throughout the process.

This involves talking to Him about every scene, indeed every word. I approach my writing in the spirit of open prayer. Sometimes it is unconscious praying and sometimes I actually ask Him directly. I ask questions like,

  • How do I write this scene?
  • Is this scene too suggestive?
  • Is this character believable?

Sometimes I have typed several words or entire sentences and upon further evaluation have erased them. We’ve all done this, but the question is was God involved in the process.

How do I involve God?

That’s not a hard question to answer. If you are a Christian, having received Christ as your Savior and you have been called to write, then you can expect His involvement. He doesn’t call and then abandon.

On the other hand, He doesn’t force His Will upon us. According to Psalm 32:8 He will guide us. That is a two-fold promise. On the one hand, God promises to guide us, but on the other hand we are responsible to listen to Him and obey.

What a great feeling it is when we have written a story and can say that God helped us all along the way! Whatever genre you write in you can count on His help as long as you are doing it His way. And that is a source of a huge sense of confidence and peace.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for 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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But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” Psalm 3:3

Today we live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. They mock us and, in some cases, try to harm us. But no matter what they do we have a God who is our shield. Nothing can be done to us without His knowledge and permission. So even if they kill us, God protects our soul and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.

But how do I apply this to my writing career?

As a Christian you have standards – Bible based standards. And when you take a stand on those standards the world attacks you. This can come in the form of writing ‘experts,’ editors, publishers, and marketeers, or just well-meaning friends.

When this happens remember that God is your shield. Look to Him for guidance and reassurance. If your stand is Biblical then He will “have your back.”

For example, let’s say that you been searching for an agent to help you get a publisher. You finally found one you like. When he reads your book he says, “Your book is too bland. You need to spice it up. Your characters need to be more realistic.” Usually a statement like that means you need to have more sex, violence, and vulgarity than what you’re conscience permits. That’s assuming of course that your characters are well developed.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex and violence are part of life. But as Christian writers we are not to exploit sex and violence. There is a big difference from inferring sex and actually describing it. As for violence we don’t need to be overly graphic. In both of these areas our understanding of Biblical standards governs what we write.

Back to the agent. The agent has given you his advice and has made it clear that unless you change things as he has described, he won’t represent you. Complicating the matter is the fact that you have not been able to find another agent. What do you do?

You stick with your Biblical principles. You need to remind yourself that God is your shield. And since God knows everything from before Creation, He already has prepared for you a safety net. That net could be the sudden appearance of an agent who will represent your work without compromises. Or God could lead you to go the self-publishing route. Or He may provide something altogether different.

The point is that if we trust God and do things His way He will work it out to be for our good (see Roman’s 8:28). And chances are you may even be surprised by how He does it!

One last comment: As a Christian writer you don’t measure success the same way the world does. The world uses sales, royalties, etc. as the measuring stick. While you certainly shouldn’t ignore such data, your real success must come from a Biblical perspective. Does God approve? Not that you’re going to hear a verbal “good job” from Him, but your Christian conscience will let you know and He may well give you a great sense of peace. And no matter the sales, God takes care of His own!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for 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.

HOW NOT TO WRITE

HOW NOT TO WRITE

Today’s blog delves into bad writing.

A few years ago I spoke at a meeting where we were discussing someone’s book (name intentionally withheld). The book was full of foul language and filthy sex. I had agreed to review the book not knowing the author’s tendencies. In fact, I started to back out because it offended me greatly, but I had agreed to read and so I read it, although it was a struggle. My conclusion, it was a terrible book. I would never recommend it to anyone.

But it was a best seller!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not true. I believed that writing should not contain profane language or excessively graphic scenes long before I ever accepted Christ as my Savior. In fact, I wasn’t even attending church. I’m not talking religion I am talking about what makes a great writer.

Sales doesn’t make a great writer.

There is a constant flow of pornographic books that sell. Mankind is attracted to such books. But they are not good books.

Before I got saved I read well written books of all types. I even read books that had great plots, fantastic characters, while also leaving little to the imagination. And the interesting thing is that these books were great even if the bad stuff was left out. In fact, I would contend they would have been better.

You read any of my novels and I leave out the excessive graphics. That doesn’t mean there’s no sex, violence, or anything like that. When I write a scene I leave the excess up to the reader. Which brings up an important maxim.

A writer’s job is to stimulate the reader’s imagination not replace it!

So I always have a stopping point. This is true whether it is sex or violence.

But what about language? Well, let’s take a look at that. Those defending the practice contend it is more realistic, that everyone swears. But that is a false statement. There are a lot of people who don’t swear. Hollywood and TV has created an image that says swearing is normal, but we all know people, a great many people, who don’t swear.

So, first of all, swearing is not as prevalent as advertised.

Secondly, even if it was prevalent, we need to ask why most people read. It is to escape the reality of their lives, to imagine, to relax, and to be uplifted. Sure some are drawn to the dark side (a little Star Wars there), but I doubt that is the majority.

So, how do you the author show passionate characters and/or events without crossing the line? Believe it or not there was a time when authors actually solved this dilemma. In the case of language they simply used symbols, such as !@#$%^&. The reader automatically knew they represented a swear word. Some readers probably substituted their favorite swear word if they liked to swear. But the key here is that the reader didn’t feel deprived, but simply read on.

In the case of violence or sex the authors highlighted the activities leading up to the event. For example, in Perished I wrote of a battle where a sword fight took place. Read it for yourself:

Akkub turned and saw Meremoth rushing at him. He blocked the initial strike although staggered by it. Meremoth used a two-handed grip to force Akkub back. Suddenly Akkub lost his footing and Meremoth’s sword came slicing downward unblocked.

Everything seemed to stop as the general looked at his severed hand still gripping the sword.

Here we have a sword fight that results in one man losing his hand. The amount of detail provided is not too graphic, but it is enough to stimulate the reader’s imagination. And different readers have different levels of imagination, so each reader may picture the fight differently. In any case, the scene is full of action yet not too graphic.

In the case of sex, my usual approach is to focus on the events leading up to the act and to the events leading away from the event. Again, I let the reader’s imagination fill in the gaps.

In truth, the reader’s imagination is a valuable tool available to every writer willing to make use of it.

It is a tool that needs to be sharpened. You do that by using it. Moreover, you experiment and see what works. As deeply as I believe in what I am saying I have had people who reviewed my rough drafts tell me that I needed to back off in this or that scene. So you need people you trust to review your rough draft before you submit it for publishing.

My final thought on this is: what is your ultimate goal? We all want are books to sell. That is a given. But what is your ultimate goal?

Is it to simply get rich? Then you’ll probably reject everything I’ve said.

Is it to simply write? Then you may or may not care about this blog or about sales.

Is it to write your very best book? Then I contend you want your writing to be above reproach. Fame and sales would be nice, but you want to be able to say to yourself, I did my best. And that brings a deep sense of satisfaction!

 

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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. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

My Favorite Character in Perished

It stands without controversy that my favorite character in my book Perished is God Himself. I could write page after page about Him.
However, the purpose of this blog is not to preach, but to teach writing. So my favorite human character is the subject.
It is not that easy to identify which one. So let me take a look at the top five characters.

  • ADAM
    • The very first human being. That alone makes him special. He is also the first to sin. But there is more to Adam than that. When you study him out using facts as well as one’s imagination he is a faithful man who truly regrets his act of sin. This dominates his thoughts and actions for the rest of his life.
  • ENOS
    • This is a man that the Bible says taught men to pray. Such a statement identifies him as someone very important. In Perished he teaches men how to approach God, how to properly worship Him, and to obey Him.
  • ENOCH
    • Aside from being a preacher of righteousness he is raptured. This makes him both an historical person and a revelation of the future rapture of all men and women who have been born again.
  • METHUSELAH
    • He lived longer than any man in history. We are not told much about him other than his age and that he died the same year as the Flood. God used him as a sort of landmark. To have lived that long it is possible he was very rich and very powerful. It is also possible (I think probable) he was a worshipper of God. Why would God preserve his life so long and tie his name to the Flood? Because he was used to help Noah?
  • NOAH
    • A farmer by trade he was called by God to preach and to build an Ark neither of which he was qualified (by human standards) to do. In Perished he realizes he needs help and goes to Methuselah. By faith he preaches to an unbelieving populace; by faith he builds an Ark; and by faith he and his family enter the Ark.

Everyone of these men could be my favorite character. Perhaps because I knew so little about him before I wrote the book and perhaps because of biblical hints I have chosen Methuselah. Exploring his character was exciting and challenging. And intriguing.
When you write, who is your favorite character? It doesn’t have to be the hero or heroine, it can be another character altogether. Your readers will have their favorites, so why not you?
This means personal involvement. As you mold the character you invest something of yourself in that character. Oh, and by the way, just because you are a man or woman does not mean your favorite character is the same sex. For instance, I could have added Naamah (Noah’s wife) and other women who were heroic in their own right.
Another way to look at this is to make every character your favorite. How? By investing your time and emotions in them. That character may be only part of the supporting cast as in a movie, but when you invest yourself in them they take on an importance far exceeding their actual role.
If you do this your readers will find the characters believable.

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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.

PC EDITING Part II

Last week I wrote about PC Editing, today is part II. First a quick review:

PC Editing (Proof Copy Editing) is a term I invented because an Indie author generally does the editing, copy editing, and proofreading themselves. PC Editing incorporates all of these responsibilities.

PCE is the practice of examining manuscripts from the earliest draft through the continuous copyediting until the final draft. Then proofing kicks in as the final draft is prepared for publication.

After posting the blog I received the following comment:

Instead of the things that you list, mine editing tips for indie authors would be stuff like:

As the author of the chapter, you’re already emotionally invested in the characters and events. Pretend that your only knowledge of these characters and events come from the words on the page. Do those words engage you? Or do they bore you to tears? Do they make you care about the characters? Or do they bore you to tears? Are you excited to know what happens next? Or are you bored to tears?

Okay, so not much of a list. Just don’t bore your readers, which is the main problem I find with writers new enough to find lists like yours useful.”

My response: Interesting comment. I don’t oppose what you say, but bringing your characters alive is more than editing. I teach this prior to editing. The process of creating great characters begins at the beginning and carries through the entire experience. My blog was dealing with the basics of editing which probably should have included your points. So thank you for pointing that out.

I thought the writer was going to write more on the subject that I could include. But I haven’t received anything.

But he is correct. The characters need to be believable. It doesn’t matter if they are historical or fictional. Thus it is important for you to create characters that draw the reader in.

It is well to consider that your characters are human and humans have desires and flaws. When creating a character make him/her as real as possible.

For example, mankind has a perpetual desire to return to the innocence of the Garden of Eden. Some people believe this and some don’t, but all have it. Some even envision an idyllic world where man is at peace with his surroundings, himself, and with God.

How does this impact a novel? The truth is that every novel ever written or to be written is impacted in some way. The degree of impact will depend on the author’s understanding of that desire and ability to put it to paper.

The exciting thing is that your fictional characters start out with nothing and you can build on that. Then again, your character may be a real person. In the book Perished: The World That Was many of the characters were real, lifted right off the pages of the Bible. Therefore some characteristics or traits were already known. Even so I was able to take those few facts and develop the characters further.

In the case of Adam there was a constant inner desire to return to the Garden where he walked with God. But that was impossible. So what did he do? He built a small garden within his home and called it Little Eden. It was a place for quiet meditation or important meetings. That yearning was never really addressed but it expressed itself several times within the story.

The Yearning Factor

Your character is going to have strong and weak desires. Those desires will shape his/her expectations, experiences, and decisions as the story moves forward. So your first duty is to identify the Yearning Factor.

Basically the Yearning Factor is the primary desire of your character. So ask yourself, What motivates my character? How deep does it go? What does the character believe about him/herself?

Since your character starts out with nothing, you can start molding it right away. You can either tell (narrate) certain facts that reveal the character to some extent or you can let the character demonstrate it. Often you can do this by exploring the character’s past. Have there been broken hearts? Perhaps your character has desired things in the past and failed to realized them. Or perhaps your character has flaws that has prevented those desires from being attained.

The key is to know your characters strengths, and weaknesses. A well-written character grows from the beginning of the book to the end with constant, if not obvious, progress toward that goal. The character’s reaction to events transpiring in the story will both reflect and develop the desire.

So during the editing process  take a closer look at your character(s). As the commentator said ask yourself some questions:

  1. Are you (as the reader) engaged?
  2. Do the characters bore you to tears?
  3. Do you care about the characters?
  4. Are you excited to know what happens next?

If you’re engaged, interested, caring, and excited then you probably have created characters that others will care about and get excited about.

Here’s a thought to consider: The end of the story represents the end of the quest. Your character never truly attains the goal or desire. In life we end up with a mixture of successes and failures. To be realistic let your character also experience success and a small degree of failure. Perhaps a victory doesn’t satisfy as much as the character anticipated.

If this character will be a part of another forthcoming novel let the character develop and expand in that future novel. You can even put little teasers in the first book that will be answered in the second.

Developing strong characters not only enhances your book but builds your voice.

What is voice? There are probably a dozen or more interpretations, but essentially your voice is:

An author’s unique style and way of saying things. You should be able to recognize an author’s written voice the way you recognize a person’s spoken voice. In creative writing, one goal is to develop your written voice.”

This covers more than characters, it covers your entire story. As people read your stories they will learn what makes you unique and interesting. So having strong, interesting characters builds your voice.

As stated in the first blog, PC Editing basically finds and removes the most objectionable errors. The more often your manuscript is reviewed, the more often you will streamline your book. So don’t fall in love with a character or a scene or anything. Be ready to edit it or even remove it!

PC Editing is a process that you want to master. Put your own spin on it. The primary goal is to make your manuscript as error proof as possible.

PC Editing is a needful practice for the Indie Author. It is your responsibility to create an entertaining, gripping novel. If you fail to do this you will likely fail as an author.

One final thought.

Don’t worry so much about what others think of your book. What do you think and feel? There are always critics. Some will delight in tearing down your book and you. But if you can honestly say you like your books plus the characters and events in the book, then it is likely others will agree.

At the same time, don’t be satisfied. As you begin a new novel determine to make improvements in your characters and story line. You should learn and grow as a writer after each book is published.

Feel free to comment on this blog. As you can see I read your comments and may include them in a future blog. But whether I do or don’t, you can be sure that I will read it!

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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: Methuselah

We have been looking at how I wrote The World That Was series. Today I will take a look at character development as it relates to Methuselah.

We know very little about Methuselah other than he was the grandfather of Noah and he was the oldest person who ever lived. After that our knowledge takes a nosedive.

While this creates a challenge it also opens wide an opportunity. Developing Methuselah was challenging, yes. But I was able to create his character almost from scratch.

Since I believe that God gave him long life for a reason and his life coincided with the building of the Ark, I imagined him as having a major role. In addition, I thought of him as a leader both in war and in ruling.

In those days there was no government as we know it. That didn’t happen until after the Flood. But man always seeks to rule others. So it was easy to see him as a general and, perhaps later, as a ruler. If a ruler he would have ruled by decree. There would have been no laws, no courts, and no prisons.

With these assumptions in mind I was able to create the character of Methuselah as a man who loved God, who rose to be a general and a great ruler. Because he loved God he became involved financially in support of the building of the Ark.

While much of his life is fictional in the book, it is also believable. And that is what we strive for: a character bigger than life who is believable. Such a character adds to the overall impact of the story.

This is another example of using imagination. Imagination is something we emphasize in Authors Academy. While having an imagination is something you have or don’t (and if you don’t you are in the wrong business), we can give you principles for employing 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: Enoch

We have been looking at how I wrote The World That Was series. Today I will take a look at character developmenPerished - the hardcovert as it relates to Enoch.

Let’s begin by taking a look at Scripture:

“And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

Aside from this passage in Genesis 5:18-24 you also have a passage in Jude:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Basically that is all you have in the Bible about this great man of God. I recently came across a site that contends that Enoch was a black man and that is the reason the Book of Enoch is not in the Bible. Pure garbage.

But was he black? We really don’t know. However, recent scientific discoveries and theories demonstrate that Adam and Eve probably had all the genes necessary for their descendants to have different coloring. In fact, Ham was probably black or near black and not because of any curse. He was born that way.

I won’t spend a lot of time on this subject but the idea of races and racism itself did not come along until the rise of evolution. The Bible speaks of one race, of one blood. Racism is not found in the Bible and has no place in Christendom. You do find national envy and hatred in the Bible, but not racism.

But who was Enoch?

According to the Scriptures he was a faithful man of God. According to Jude he was a preacher, perhaps a prophet. He was also a father and grandfather, so he had a family.

When writing about him in Perished: The World That Was I zeroed in on his faith. I could easily picture him traveling about and preaching to people. Although the Bible doesn’t say, I imagined him training others to also worship and serve God.

Here is a case of taking a little information and expanding upon it. I built an entire character on only a little bit of fact. But I did so without violating the Scriptures themselves. Sometimes a character like Enoch proves easy to develop partly from lack of information.

What principle can you take from this?

First, don’t let the absence of facts stop you. Secondly, take the few facts you have and place the character in situations where those facts might trigger your imagination.

Remember that I said in my article on Adam that I believe your imagination is the most valuable tool a writer possesses. If you can put yourself within your character and express the result to your readers, you have the beginning of a successful story.

Imagination is something we emphasize in Authors Academy. While having an imagination is something you have or don’t (and if you don’t you are in the wrong business), but we can give you principles for employing it.

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

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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.

What About Characters?

What About Characters?

Last week I discussed Genre. I thought about continuing that discussion with more in-depth information on the different types of genre. But I decided to move on to developing characters. This blog is not meant to be a training program. There is more involved than can be revealed in a blog. For actual training you might want to check out Authors Academy (and get a free book on Setting Up Your Business).

As I said, I will now talk on character development.

It is well to consider that your characters are human and humans have desires and flaws. When creating a character make him/her as real as possible.

For example, mankind has a perpetual desire to return to the innocence of the Garden of Eden. Some people believe this and some don’t, but all have it. Some even envision an idyllic world where man is at peace with his surroundings, himself, and with God.

How does this impact a novel? The truth is that every novel ever written or to be written is impacted in some way. The degree of impact will depend on the author’s understanding of that desire and ability to put it to paper.

The exciting thing is that your fictional characters start out with nothing and you can build on that. Then again, your character may be a real person. In the book Perished: The World That Was many of the characters were real, lifted right off the pages of the Bible.

Therefore some characteristics or traits were already known. Even so I was able to take those few facts and develop the characters further.

In the case of Adam there was a constant inner desire to return to the Garden where he walked with God. But that was impossible. So what did he do? In Perished he built a small garden within his home and called it Little Eden. It was a place for quiet meditation or important meetings. That yearning was never really addressed but it expressed itself several times within the story.

Principle

Build on what is known.

If the character is drawn from history, you should be able to discern some of his/her characteristics. But don’t stop there. Using what you know and your imagination try to put yourself in that character’s situation. How does he/she react to change? What is her/his temperament?

For example, in Perished: The World That Was I knew certain things about Adam and Eve. They were created perfect, they sinned, and were expelled from the garden. I also knew that both tried to blame someone else for their sin (and ultimately blamed God). Then of course I knew they became parents, suffered the tragedy of Abel’s murder by Cain, and had to start their family all over.

But these facts raised questions. Did they miss the garden? Where and how did they live? What was their reaction to Abel’s murder? And many more questions.

Answering those questions rounded out the lives of both Adam and Eve. Although no mention is made of it in history, I had Adam build a house with a small courtyard that he called Little Eden. Here he would go to meditate, pray, and have meetings with the VIPs of the day. All based on my stepping into his shoes and asking, Would I have missed Eden? The answer was a definite YES.

If your character is entirely fictional you can create whatever characteristics you want. Just be careful and review them. You don’t want to create a character that is unbelievable. Again, place the character in different situations and imagine how he/she would react. Basically it is the same as with a real person, except that here you have a clean slate.

If you are a beginning or established writer you already have one of the tools to do this – it’s called your imagination.

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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.