Ron’s Lit Tip Characterization

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Ron’s Tip of the Day is now Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at characterization.

What is characterization?

Basically, it is giving your character depth. There are many ways to do this and we will examine a few.

Education

This is one of the ways you can define a character. A person’s education is revealed in how that person talks, acts, and dresses. I’ll talk about speech later, but right now we’ll talk about how persons act. Some writers will let you see the character’s timidity, boorishness, and rudeness. It lets the reader know some important facts. But it requires consistency.

Same is true with how the character dresses. As a general rule, you don’t want a character to be dressed like a tramp one moment and a professor the next, unless that is part of the story. Again, you want consistency.

Physique

This is the character’s build, hair, eyes, skin color, and more. It is the physical part. It may or may not be a major part of the story, but that word consistency applies again. Unless you are dealing in miracles, it is not good to have a weak looking character performing feats of great strength. You also want believability.

Speech

Here is a place where you can differentiate. You can just have normal speech with no distinguishing details, or you can go into great detail, including language. I don’t favor ethnicity. I make no attempt to make my characters sound Spanish, French, or German. However, I can see scenes where a character cannot speak English. Then language would have to be shown. However, I have used a lisp (Serpent in Perished) and a specific saying associated with a character as in Methuselah. Again, consistency is a must.

It might be a good idea to keep a record of the character’s traits so that you will remain consistent and believable.

Lit Tip: Consistency is necessary in characterization.

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AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Want to Write Novels?

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Want to Write Novels?

Yesterday I wrote about Biblical novels, what about any historical novel. Very similar.

  • Never assume history books are correct

The recording and telling of secular history are often problematic. Unfortunately, the bias of the writer can influence what the ‘facts’ are. Look for multiple sources that are reliable. Most of reliable history is found in previous generations. (For example, most modern history books leave out important facts simply because they don’t agree with modern thinking. Look for histories that reveal what a particular time period was like, not what people of today think it was like.

  • Do Your Diligent Research

History is rich with facts, but if you don’t dig you won’t find the truth. Dig deep. As mentioned above, true history can be difficult to find. It requires hard work.

  • Keep Relevant to the Times

Part of research is to make sure that the clothing, speech, etc. match the era. This is part of diligent research. It will pay off in your stories.

  • Try using fictional characters as primary

This is not always best, but it gives you more flexibility in your story.

  • Try avoiding conflicting characters

Avoid using characters with the same name. Real people with the same or similar names might get in. That’s unavoidable.

  • Have balance between prose and dialog

This is true for all fictional writing. Sometimes allowing the pen to flow is needed; often describing things through dialogue draws the reader in more.

  • Work in historical events

Some of the most interesting and enjoyable novels I’ve read involved historical events, people, and places. When a book brings the times, events, and people alive, the author has done his or her job.

Tip of the Day: Use above guidelines.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. 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.

Friday News : Use Your Life Experiences

Welcome to Friday News. Every Friday I share news with you; primarily about writing and sometimes about life in general. This week it is about:Use Your Life Experiences.

Have you ever heard the statement, Everyone has a book within them? Generally speaking that statement refers to the fact that we all have experiences of one sort or another. We are the expert on those experiences and thereby can write about them with authority!

Let’s Take It Another Step

Why stop at writing a single book. I don’t know you but I will say this with some confidence: You have a plethora of experiences! (How’d you like that big word plethora. It simply means ‘a lot’.)

When writing a book of any type (fiction or nonfiction) you often bring your own experiences to bear, sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously. What I am talking about today is to intentionally and consciously use your experiences.

I write speculative fiction which involves space travel, planets, and plenty of scientific marvels. Yet I’ve never been on a spaceship, nor been to another planet, nor have a science degree. So how can that be using my experiences?

Because I’m writing about human beings.

One thing about humans is that our experiences can take place within a great number of circumstances. Our experience may be in dealing with a difficult problem, with difficult people, or dealing with success.

When I write I try to become the character I am writing about. But I still retain my own identity and experiences. And I sometimes add those experiences to the character’s experience. Having done that, I now have a shared experience although in different situations. This enables me to not only connect with the character but to influence the character’s reaction to the experience.

I also write Bible based novels, historical novels. Again, my experiences are not exactly like the historical figure’s experience, but I can add my experience or at least dive into that character’s experience. Again, this enables me to bring out the character’s response in a more meaningful way.

It gives me a chance to explore the character deeper, developing his or her attitudes, personalities, and much more. And it gives the reader a chance to relate more to the character.

That sounds hard.

At first it is hard. But it is as they say, practice makes perfect. The more you involve yourself into your story the more natural it will be. The key is that when writing, especially writing fiction, don’t be afraid of involving yourself.

Another way of understanding this is to ‘become the character’. Immerse yourself into him or her. And it doesn’t have to be one character. In the beginning, you will probably focus only on the primary character. But as your confidence grows you might consider expanding to other supporting characters.

Just remember that the primary character should be the one that you develop to the highest degree. That’s the one who should dominate and, therefore, the one you identify with the most.

Here’s an experiment.

Take one of your favorite books and read it again. Then take your favorite character in the book and write down the things you know about him or her. Chances are you will see a lot of things about that character or the experiences that character lives through that you identify with. That is not an accident. I believe the author either intentionally or unintentionally lent his or her own experiences to the character thereby creating a character you could relate too.

For information on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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 Absolutely Use Breakthrough and Sensational Writing

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at How to Absolutely Use Breakthrough and Sensational Writing.

That’s a long title but it conveys what all of us writers, and I definitely include myself, need to learn to do better. To put the subject in a more explicit form: Learn to use emotion when writing.

I believe that every reader comes to our books with a tool available for us to use. It’s called their imagination. Think about it. Even if you are only eighteen you have had experiences, learned knowledge, and gotten acquainted with others. All of this impacts your imagination. So our job as authors is to tap into that imagination wherever possible and however we are able.

I am not going to cover every possible way to do this. So, up front, I’m already tapping into your imagination. In this case, to imagine ways to use your reader’s imagination.

Emotional Words

Emotional words are powerful words and are encourage in writing headlines. But you also want emotional words within your story. Now I’ve come across an outfit called CoSchedule. CoSchedule offers many things but one thing they offer I think we can all use and it’s FREE! That’s called How To Write Headlines and I use it to assist me in writing good blog headlines. But again I believe you want to write stories that accomplish the goal of triggering the reader’s mind and imagination.

So the use of emotional words is recommended. And the tool referenced above provides a list of words.

Emotional Scenes

This is not always easy to write. One reason is you have to get into the character and possibly experience the anger, the frustration, and the pain. One trick I use is to be that character, whether it’s a man or woman, a good guy or a bad guy, or whatever. I immerse myself into the character so that I think and experience things as he or she does. It usually works.

Often times I have to write, rewrite, and rewrite again to get the right feel for a particular scene. This is drudgery sometimes but it is also a necessary part of writing.

Colorful Scenes

By color I’m talking descriptive. Think of writing as if you were a painter (remember the old saying, A painting is worth a thousand words). Part of my rewriting involves me adding color to the scene. Instead of writing, ‘He stopped beside a try and sat down,’ I could write, “Stopping beside a fully grown Oak tree in full bloom, he sat down.’ Not perfect, but it adds a dimension to the story. If the reader is familiar with Oak trees, then the picture might form of the protagonist leaning against an Oak tree that he or she envisions.

You can also add color by describing the tree in more detail. Or maybe he’s sitting beside a stream. How big is it? Is it blue? Is it moving fast or slow? These are all questions you may want to answer.

I can’t tell you how many times I rewrite scenes. Sometimes I rewrite the entire scene, but most often I rewrite a word here and a phrase there. I keep doing this until I have a scene that empowers my imagination and I can visualize the scene for myself.

If you have the ability to step back and read your novel as a reader and not the author I recommend you do that often. And not just scenes involving your primary character but every scene and every character should benefit from such an approach. If you make this a practice it will eventually become second nature to you and will improve your writing.

Sensationalize Your Writing

Now you have to be careful here. This often involves being somewhat graphic. If you’ve read my blogs in the past then you know I’m opposed to being excessively graphic. But having graphic details in your book is not necessarily bad.

For example, in one book I wrote about a man being beheaded. You, the reader knew it, but I didn’t describe the actual beheading. In another scene I wrote about a woman being raped. I wrote about events leading up to it and leading away from it, but not the rape itself. Still another scene showed a sword fight in which one man lost his hand. All of these were somewhat graphic, but I let the reader fill in the missing parts.

Every writer has to find his/her own level of what amount of graphics to include. I would, however, suggest the following rule: Always leave room for the readers to use their imagination as that is your most valuable tool.

Be Willing to Experiment

This is more than emotion, more than graphics. It is being willing to think outside the box. Not only about words but about ideas, things, etc. For instance, when I decided to start writing novels in the Speculative Fiction genre I knew upfront that I wasn’t going to be using any alien beings. My characters would all be human (or robots), but no little green men.

That created a problem. How do I make my story believable? So I was faced with the dilemma of devising a story line that would be interesting, that could hold attention, and that could be entertaining. The result was Death Ship to the Stars. Was I successful? That’s up to my readers to determine. Personally speaking, I like what I wrote.

Conclusion

Writing is a challenge. If you love writing as I do, then you embrace that challenge. You are always open to new ideas, new methods, and even new genres. You actively keep your mind on the task of being a better writer.

I never sit down and ask myself what kind of books sell. I read advice that you should check the market out first before writing. From a marketing standpoint this makes sense, especially for nonfiction. You don’t want to waste your time.

However as a fiction writer I want to write what interests me. That is my first question, What do I want to write? It is never a waste of time for me because whether the book sells or not is not my primary concern. I have a story to tell and I want to tell it.

So I decide to writen and then all the remaining questions relate to how to write an entertaining book. Translated that means the following: When I, the author, have completed the novel is it a book that I, the reader, would read?

I don’t ever want to put a book out there that I wouldn’t enjoy. Then, after that, I want a book that others will enjoy.

So the conclusion of the matter is to be yourself, but also keep learning and doing. Write what you want to write. But also be willing to spice up your writing with emotional words and scenes, sensational scenes, and more.

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

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

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

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.

Announcing World of Abraham

This special announcement comes to you my readers, fans, etc. first. I have published my latest book of the World That Was series. It is called World of Abraham.

I haven’t even placed it on my website yet, but that will be soon. But for now you are the first to see this newest novel.

Where can I get it?

Use this compressed url: https://amzn.to/2GVr3H6 for the print version. Or use this: https://amzn.to/2JKgWXp for the eBook edition.

The World of Abraham is Book 4 of the World That Was series. It follows the journey of Abraham, Sarah, and Lot as they leave Haran and begin following God’s call. It is a journey of faith that transforms Abraham into the father of the Jewish nation. It is also a journey that shows this great man of God to be very human with human strengths and weaknesses.

Throughout this book you see Abraham growing. And alongside him you see his wife Sarah who has her own personal journey of faith. Many of the problems that exist today can be traced back to their sins and failings, but the greatest gifts of all are also found: The Jewish people and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In writing this novel I learned a great deal about Abraham. That is what is so great about being a writer. The author becomes acquainted with his characters before the readers do. It enables me to write a story that fleshes out the bones and marrow of the characters so that the reader also meets and understands what these Biblical characters were really like.

And because this book has just been published you have the opportunity to be among the very first reviewers. Don’t let that scare you, embrace it. If you took the time to read the book then you have the right to do a review. Read the book, Review the book, and Post the review on Amazon.com. For further information read the following paragraph.

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), or World of Abraham (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 World of Abraham.’ 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 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.

Show, Don’t Tell!

SHOW DON’T TELL!

When I first began writing I received the advice: Show, don’t tell. But what does that mean and is it good advice?

It pretty much means what it says. When writing a scene, it is often better if your character or characters describe or act out what you want the reader to see. This might mean the character’s thoughts reveal what he is seeing. Or possibly, the conversation reveals a picture of the setting. Or the action. In any case the author is unobserved and the characters are doing the telling.

Sometimes when I want the reader to see the landscape that the characters find themselves in, I reveal it through their eyes, speech, and/or action. Most of the time such an approach enhances the scene.

For example, maybe a character is approaching a house. Instead of simply describing the house, I might have the character silently admiring it. Like this, What a beautiful house! I’ve always liked homes with white picket fences. And look at the those flowers lining the sidewalk! It’s so beautiful and relaxing.

I made that up on the spur of the moment, but you get the idea. The reader’s imagination is triggered and pictures the scene. Sometimes a character can show the scene better than you can tell it.

But not always!

While that advice revolutionized my writing, I am glad that I haven’t followed it to the extreme. The simple truth is that sometimes it is warranted that the narrator (you) gets involved.

For example, in Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles I described the Majestic Mountains at least in part in a narrative form. While I did use ‘show’ from a character’s viewpoint it would have been almost impossible to describe the mountain without straining the character. In the end I did both. I described in broad, colorful terms the overall view, while later on characters were able to expand or even expound on that view.

In Perished, I described a scene introducing the death of Adam. It went like this:

‘Word spread quickly in whispers, shaking heads, and tears. Visitors walked softly. Outside the news spread house to house, to the shops and soon ships were sailing forth with the news.’

 Could I have done that through the characters? Of course I could. But it would have taken longer to get it out. This was only to set the stage for the events that followed. By opting for this approach I created a sense of action that quickly set the stage and prepared the reader – all in one paragraph.

To answer the question Is it good advice, I answer yes, with moderation. As the author you have ultimate control. A general rule of thumb would be to show not tell, but be aware that sometimes telling can be more effective.

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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.