Ron’s Lit Tip First Person

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 First Person.

I am not a fan of First Person.

Having said that, I have read stories in the First Person and thoroughly enjoyed them. A contradiction?

Yes. I generally stay away from First Person books, but that attitude is not absolute. Sometimes a story will attract me, and I will read it despite being first person. My biggest objection to the writing not the reading is it a very difficult medium to work within, so I avoid it.

But if you can write an entertaining story in first person, give it a shot. Chances are I might come across it, decide to read it and enjoy it.

What is First Person?

The dictionary gives us the following descriptions: The speaker (First Person), the person being talked to (Second Person), and the person being talked about (Third Person). Another way to look at it is the following: I, me, (First Person); you, (Second Person), and he, him, (Third Person).

Most authors use the third person.

One reason I enjoy Third Person is its flexibility. First Person is rigid, in my opinion, and the author only knows what the person knows. In Third Person the author knows more than the main character and has more control. Another reason I don’t like First Person is it can come across too prideful. It takes skill to make it work.

Maybe you have the skill to make it work for you. Then give it a try.

Lit Tip: If you have the skill then try using First Person.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

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 The Trouble with Narration

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at The Trouble with Narration.

When I began writing I loved narrating a story. And if I’m allowed to say so I was pretty good at it. My prose could wax eloquent as I described trees, flowers, buildings, or even people.

But then I learned the trouble with narration. It could detract from a story. I learned to allow the story to be told by the character. When I did this my stories came alive!

But narration still has a place. For me I try to balance out who is telling the story. If there is a formula it would be I, the narrator, tell the surrounding story while the character(s) flesh out the real story.

For example:

A week later, Methuselah watched as a caravan came to a stop in front of his house. A mob of homosexuals following the caravan quickly dispersed when they saw him. Although 869 years old, he stood strong, muscular, and tall, thus creating an imposing picture.

He recognized his grandson Iram and Bocheru, but not the young lad with them.

“So, this must be young Jareb,” he boomed, as he wrapped his arms around the boy.

Methuselah stepped back and eyed Jareb. “Aptly named young Jareb. For thou shall indeed be a great avenger.”

I mixed narration with character speech and achieved a scene that brought the reader instant curiosity.

Tip of the Day : Mix narration and character speech to achieve the end result.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells 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 for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our 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 best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. 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.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Successful Writing is not a Hobby

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Successful Writing is not a Hobby.

Being an author is both a journey and an adventure. Plus, it is always a challenge.

When reviewing your taxes the IRS views your business as a hobby if it doesn’t make a profit within 3 years. That strict rule should be regarded as simply wrong!

Writing is a business whether you profit or not. I’m going to look at 3 very important attributes of a successful writer. These are Writing is a Journey, Writing is an Adventure, and Writing is a Challenge.

Writing is a Journey.

When I first started writing I was a teenager. Nobody in my family or elsewhere knew of my secret desire to be a writer. I was afraid they would mock me. But that is when my journey began.

I knew nothing about writing other than I wanted to write books, novels in particular. My first step in my journey actually took place as a child. I liked to daydream and I had a good imagination. I would adopt characters from television and I would become that character, then I would fight the bad guys. I was a hero both on Earth and in outer space. But transitioning to a teenager I started writing my stories. The problem was that to continue as a hero, I had to write First Person. But that made me uncomfortable, so I changed to Third Person. This was the second step of my journey. This was an important step that has influence me ever since.

Over the years my writing was interrupted by service in the Navy, but I resumed after I got out. It was as a young man that I came across an ad for the Famous Writers School. I applied and was accepted (the school accepted just about anyone). I then paid for the course which I believe was a three-year course. I’ve sense learned that there was much dishonesty on the school’s part and that their fee was excessive. But I didn’t know that and started taking the course.

In any case, I did well in the course and was getting more confident. Then in 1974 I was laid off from work. I ended up dropping out and after resuming work I never reapplied. But my journey continued. Whether my grades were honest or not, I believed them to be and I pressed forward. This was my third step.

In 1973 I’d asked Jesus to forgive me my sins and come into my heart. Over time this proved not only life changing, but much of the trash (sin) in my life was not only forgiven but purged from my life. This was my fourth step in my journey as a writer, but more importantly it was an eternal step in my life. The influence of this new life would become far greater than a mere step!

 From 1973 to 2001 I pressed forward trying to write. After dropping out of the Famous Writers School I continued trying to write without any guidance. Time after time I would start writing. Sometimes I managed to write several chapters, but inevitably I would run into a wall. That would stop me cold!

Writing is an Adventure.

My journey continues to this day, but becoming a Christian turned it into an adventure. At first, I tried writing poems. I had one notable success with that in that in won my future wife’s heart. But writing poems was not my desire and I eventually stopped.

I then took up computer programming. I taught myself how to write Visual Basic programming and was able to write short programs for work and for myself. But as the computer programming got progressively more complicated and expensive. Being self-trained I couldn’t make the transition to the more complicated codes coming on scene. Thus, ended my brief career as a computer programmer. That had been an adventure, but I was soon to begin what I consider the adventure of a lifetime!

In 2001 I had been a Christian for 28 years. By this time I developed a morning devotions routine that included morning prayer and Bible study. One morning I was reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Noah and the Ark. Unlike the myth of Gilgamesh which was written after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the Bible story is a firsthand account probably written by Shem, the son of Noah, about 100 years or more before Gilgamesh . While often treated as a myth it is not.

As I read the account it suddenly came to me that here is a skeletal account of the events. God wasn’t interested in entertaining us but  explain history in such a way as to point to the coming of Jesus. But I, being interested in writing a novel and a lover of history, realized that here was a plot filled with characters and that I had the opportunity to clothe the facts with fictionalized skin to bring the people and events alive! It changed my writing career.

The next phase of my adventure involved research. Outside of the Bible there is no evidence telling us how people lived before the Flood. But both the Bible and secular history tells us a lot about after the Flood.

Using the Bible as the primary source of information (it’s the only reliable source) I began digging. It didn’t take long to realize that evolutionary theory has so corrupted our understanding of history that secular history varies, is often contradictory, and confusing. But when I focused on the 100 to 300 years after the Flood, I began noticing facts, such as the fact that a highly developed civilization existed shortly after the Flood. How do you explain that?

Doing the research proved to be hard, tiring, and eventually rewarding. It was an adventure. Researching for your story is not always so rewarding, but it is always necessary.

Writing is a Challenge.

The story of my researching the pre-Flood and post-Flood history could easily be placed here. Research is a challenge. But my focus here is on getting published.

In 2003 I submitted my first novel to AuthorHouse. As I recall it cost me about $400. AuthorHouse belongs in the category of a self-publisher. As I have blogged in the past there are three distinct types of publishers; Traditional, Self, and Indie.

At the time I was unaware of Indie publishing (I believe it came along later). The term Self-publishers suggests that you the author have control. You don’t. What it means is you pay upfront for the publishing of your book. Basically, that is the ‘self’ part. They control almost all of the power levers. Fortunately, I did know this and opted out of their Editing resource. I used quotations from the King James Version and feared they would opt for the unreliable newer versions. Aside from that I had very little control over the publishing process. Still my first novel got published and I was able to celebrate my becoming an author!

In the summer of 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I founded T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers! This was the beginning of a new adventure and a lot of new challenges. Since then I’ve republished all of my previous books and published newer books. Soon we hope to start publishing Teresa’s books (under the name Tess).

Now, we are embarking on another venture under the T&R Independent Books business. This year we have opened our new service called TR Writing Services. I have discussed this in my last Tuesday Tip: Indie Publishing. In short, we guide any writer who wants our service through the various steps of getting published. This involves editing spelling and grammar, proofing, setting up their account with KDP, and getting the book published.

We are also thinking about providing their own web page on our website. It would include their photo, bio, book cover, and description with a link to their Amazon page. This would provide them a first step in their marketing.

What is a Successful Writer?

There are many answers to that question. The most common one is that a successful writer is one who makes money. The IRS would certainly agree with that idea, but is that really what success is all about?

That, in my opinion, is a short-sighted idea. Rather than money being the determinant factor why not the reading pleasure your book(s) bring to people who read your books?

A hobby suggests something you do in your spare time and maybe only a couple of hours a week. But a serious writer does far more than that!

No, I believe a successful writer is an author who works the craft of writing virtually every day. He/she invests time, energy, and money into their craft. And they write compelling stories. Money is a desirable byproduct or outcome, not the sole determinant of success.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  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.

Art 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

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.

Dealing with Multiple Characters

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Dealing with Multiple Characters.
When writing my novels I frequently deal with multiple characters. This is common to most writers. But in my case, I like to let the reader into a character’s mind instead of just telling the reader what the character is thinking.
This immediately presents a situation where the character could take over more than his or her part of the story. I must always remember who the primary character is in the book. In my Bible based series The World That Was this is not a major problem because the Bible has already told me who the primary characters are and their role. But in the series Christland I have a great deal more freedom which also means I face different problems.
Multiple characters can be a distraction.
Especially if the character has a limited role. For example, in Death Ship to the Stars there was Ralph Abernathy. He had a brief but important role early in the story, albeit a limited role, while people he connected with had more enduring roles. Keeping him in his proper place yet allowing the reader to get to know him kept me busy. But I believe I accomplished the task.
On the other hand Agent X was constantly being revealed through his thinking.
How Did You Do It?
Basically, I only allowed the reader into Ralph’s mind when he was alone or for only a brief time. Agent X’s identity was secret. For awhile the reader may have included Ralph as the true identity of Agent X. In fact, several people in the novel were possibilities so I limited the amount of time they were given for us to see their thinking. I restricted these moments to only those that were important for the reader to see.
I also kept to the Primary Character rule.
What’s the Primary Character Rule?
That’s my name for keeping the primary character up front even if not in view at the time. In the case of Ralph most of his interactions were with Sarah, so she was always treated as the Primary Character when in his presence. Of course, she actually was one of two primary characters.
On the other hand there was Miss M. Since she was something of a mystery woman (not revealed until Book 3) I kept her thoughts restricted. She did think and the reader listened in, but I also kept her true identity secret while dropping a clue once in a while. But she was also a primary character that was viewed through the eyes of Colonel Michaels and General Smith. So there was a balancing act between revealing her and hiding her identity.
Should a Writer Always have Multiple Characters?
Actually that is up to the author. Multiple characters can get messy. You must try to keep them consistent and in their proper roles. In my Bible based novel Perished The World That Was I had multiple characters imposed by the Bible itself. Some of the characters had the same name. (I would not recommend having multiple characters with the same name, but dealing with the Bible required them.)
When the book was reviewed a man purporting to be a Christian reviewed it. But instead of reading it honestly he skipped through the book. You guessed it. By skipping he ran into characters with the same name but didn’t know they were actually different people. So it resulted in a poor review. (By the way I have kept the review because even a poor review can be a good review. Most people reading his review will spot the problem.) Don’t let that scare you most reviewers are honest in their approach.
Multiple characters can be problematic, but the larger your story the more likely you’ll have them. The key is to keep them consistent or develop them over a period of time. And keep their relationship with the primary character consistent.
What About Only the Primary’s Thoughts Being Revealed?
That is a legitimate solution. In fact, that is what most writers do and I believe I’ve read experts advise such. In my opinion, if you can handle multiple characters thinking go ahead and try it. I believe when you can let the reader truly get to know the characters it can be worthwhile but just remember it also requires hard work on yourself.
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.

Rules or No Rules

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Rules or No Rules.
You’ve heard all: Rules are made to be broken; You must never do this or that; and Absolutely not! Rules tend to govern our lives, some being good, some not so good. But the rules of writing, must we follow them? Or can we just do whatever?
One thought before digging in here, the purpose of rules are to provide a guide for you, the writer, to follow. Rules are meant for your good.
What are the Rules of Writing?
Actually there are a ton of rules, but I’m only going to look at a few. It’s not so much the rule that is at stake here but a point that I’m trying to make. In doing research on this subject I came across a book in my library that had a section on Kurt Vonnegut, who was a giant in the industry. He had some opinions about rules worthy of taking a look at.
Here are a couple of quotes: “Can I get away with this? No. The trick is getting the reader to buy it.” Another quote is, “whatever works, works.”
Now let’s take a look at a few rules:

  1. Always identify who is talking – Unless, of course, the context makes it obvious.
  2. Use italics when a person is thinking – Unless, of course, you prefer using another method.
  3. Separate speech from the action – Unless, of course, you decide to combine them.
  4. Only have one primary character – Unless, of course, you can get away with having more.
  5. Give readers as much information as soon as you can.
  6. Weave historical data, if any, into fictional content.

Those last two weren’t really rules, but rather suggestions from Vonnegut. But you might consider them as rules you should follow.
Now look back at the rules, you’ll notice I followed the first four rules with an “Unless” which indicated you could break the rule. Now take a sheet of paper and make two columns. On the left side the column will list rules, and on the right side you’ll put the word “Unless” at the beginning of the column.
Now, using the left column, make a list of the writing rules you know about. Just the ones that might affect you. Now go back to the top and read the rule on the left and then consider whether there are times you break the rule and why. If it’s a valid why, place the why in the right column. Theoretically that will provide a scenario where you have possible points where you can violate the rule. I said theoretically because you might be wrong.
To find out whether you’re right or wrong you might try searching on Google or some other search engine. A lot of times you’ll find the answer. another resource is to look at what famous and successful authors have done.
Neither of those methods can be considered absolutely correct, but there’s a good chance they are. In the end, you must decided the right or wrong.
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 to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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

Why Me, Lord?

When you got saved your life changed. You started living different; you committed yourself to God; and you have tried to be faithful in all things. Yet devastating sickness comes or financial reversals occur or you lose a loved one.

And you cry out, “Why me, Lord?”

Over the years I have experienced setbacks such as the loss of both my parents, loss of an aunt and uncle, loss of a grandmother, a heart attack, financial setbacks, and now my wife undergoing cancer treatments. Like you I sometimes wonder why, and the answer can be varied. Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I am guilty of sin, and sometimes I simply don’t know the reason.

So what do I or you do?

Well, again the answer to that question depends on the answer to the previous question. If the answer was a simple mistake, then you can go to God and seek His wisdom and guidance. Since He wants you to succeed He will answer you and provide guidance.

If the answer was sin in your life, then you need to go to God as often as you sin and claim 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confessing sin is much deeper than this blog will address, but basically we acknowledge that what He says about us is true and then seek His forgiveness and cleansing.

Depending on how deep the sin is in your life you may have to do this more often than you like. 1 John 1:9 is not a magic word or phrase. Simply saying it doesn’t automatically right the ship. Sometimes we have to cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Ro. 7:24-25).

Then there are times we simply don’t know the cause. In those times, it is always right to go to God in prayer seeking His wisdom. Job suffered greatly at the hands of Satan and didn’t know why until the end of the book. While there are different takes from that book of the Bible one thing cannot be denied, Job came out of it a better, stronger believer than he was at first. God had purged him and then lifted him up.

I think the key in all these scenarios is found in: Have faith.

Trust God. He knows what you’re going through and wants you to overcome whatever it is. He didn’t promise us that living for Him would be easy, but He did promise to always be with us.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem (Book Three), but Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), and World of Abraham (Book Four). 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).

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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.

Multiple Third Person

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (yours or the character’s) view of the world. Last Monday we looked at Third Person viewpoint. Today we take a look at Multiple Third Person.

 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 to limit to two or three characters. And only with the primary character do I have constant contact.

If you have more than one character with a POV you need to transition from one to another. Here’s the problem: Your reader is in the head of one of the characters and suddenly you switch to another character’s POV.

This can be very disruptive to the reader. You must transition from one character to another to keep the reader engaged.

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 Tip #1 – Generally, multiple characters with observable viewpoints should be introduced early. However, in books spanning many years it is possible to distant them (as in Perished: The World That Was).

 Tip #2 – Unless you are truly great with prose keep your primary character as your primary POV. In books like Perished you can change the primary character but make sure the transition is smooth.

 Tip #3 – You must transition between POV’s. You will lose the reader if you don’t.

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 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.

 In each case there was a transition (either death or simply a “changing of the guard” (so to speak)).

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

 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

 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.

 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.

Third Person POV

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (yours or the character’s) view of the world. Last Monday we looked at First Person viewpoint. Today we take a look at Third Person.

This is a lesson we teach in Authors Academy and much of the material comes from there.

 Third Person, in my opinion, is the preferred method to use. It is the “he”, “she” or “it” viewpoint. This is the POV that I consistently use when writing my books. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of this viewpoint.

 The advantages of this POV are:

  •  an outside view of the person

You, the narrator, can talk about other facts, events and people.

  • you can have additional characters in third person

you can have other POV characters.

  • unlimited worldview
  • In the first person you were restricted by the author’s or character’s thoughts and opinions.
  • But in third person the narrator and reader have access to other information – thus expanding the scene.
  • 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.
  • hidden information – In third person the author can keep some facts about the character secret until later in the story.

 The above advantages simply overwhelm the disadvantages below. While I have read and enjoyed First Person viewpoints, for the most part I have enjoyed Third Person much more.

 But there are disadvantages. These include:

  •  separated involvement

With first person you had instant involvement, but here there exists separation or distance between the character and the reader.

  • language

It is more difficult to identify the class and education of the character.

  • range

Awkward. The thinking, etc, is not as visible as it is with first person.

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 Tip #1 – Choose your POV carefully. First person identifies more closely with the character, while third person more distant. Also, third person is better, perhaps necessary, when dealing with multiple characters.

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

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 Example

 First Person: I thought to myself, What a wonderful day!

 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 is too limiting.

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

 That said, I indicated earlier that I write in Third Person. Actually I practice something a little different: Multiple Third Person. It is the most difficult of all to master. But if you do, it is worth it. We will discuss it next Monday.

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.