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Ron’s Tip of the Day Dictionaries

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Dictionaries.

Seems like such a simple subject. You need a dictionary. End of story.

Not so fast.

Dictionaries change. Sometimes they change for the better, but all to often the changes are only reflective of modern opinion.

I use older dictionaries for historical novels.

The society we live in changes the meaning of words because of politics or social change rather than the actual meaning. For example, the word gay used to mean a happy person, but today it is in reference to a lifestyle. If you want the words to reflect historically accurate then you need a historically accurate dictionary.

On the other hand, I want a modern dictionary for my Speculative books. Try finding anything to do with spaceships in an older dictionary.

Why do Dictionaries change?

Because of profits. They compete with one another. Also, new words and terms are always appearing, so they want to be up to date. I believe newer dictionaries are influenced by political correctness. That last item is a good reason to use an older dictionary.

Also, word meanings do naturally change over time. This is important to recognize. Some dictionaries will show the newest meaning and the older or archaic meaning.

What Should an Author do?

I think you need both an older dictionary and a modern dictionary. Wouldn’t it be funny if someone wrote a time-travel novel in which the time-traveler uses words with modern meanings when speaking to someone back in the 19th century or before. That could be hilarious.

Tip of the Day: Get both older and modern dictionaries as resources.

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

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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 His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Authors Resource Part 2

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 the Author’s Resources.
This is part 2 of the series. Next Thursday and possibly others will cover this topic in greater degree.
Last Week I Asked Why Use Resources?
There was a time when an author only had his own imagination, his experience, and, if so blessed, a dictionary as resources. But the world has changed since those olden days. Back then few resources were available, but today there is a whole world of information available at the touch of a key. A computer key, that is.
Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We will take a look at each, thus requiring several days of study. So let’s get busy.
Basic Resources that you need:
“I don’t need a dictionary!”
Think again. A good dictionary is vital to every writer. Your word processing program’s built in dictionary is good, but not perfect. You need a real dictionary; preferably one that contains thousands of words. In fact, a dictionary with a thesaurus would be a major plus.
Why? Because you want to avoid, if possible, the repetitious use of a word.  Somewhere during your editing you will discover a word keeps reappearing. A thesaurus would help you find another word, maybe a better word, to convey the same meaning. This helps keep your story fresh.
Dictionary, Bible
If you are writing a story that is based on the Bible you need a good Bible dictionary. Even better, a pictorial Bible dictionary.
When I use a pictorial Bible dictionary it not only tells me about a certain item, say a tool, but provides an image as well. This is an aid in visualizing the tool and its uses.
Again, don’t depend on your word processor. They are not always accurate. You need a good resource such as a grammar book or a reliable online resource (in which case you bookmark it).
I often use the Internet to look up word usage and proper grammar. It helps reduce the confusion and makes the whole writing experience easier.
There are newsletter available on the Internet that deal with writing. Chances are there’s one that fits your needs. Check it out.
You don’t want to be guilty of using the same word over and over. You need a resource for synonyms and antonyms. You need a Thesaurus. I commented above on the value of a dictionary with a thesaurus. If you can’t get both the dictionary and thesaurus in a single book, then invest the money in a thesaurus.
Actually, while I favor a two in one approach a standalone thesaurus may be bigger, with more words and uses.
These days a computer is virtually a must! That’s true even if you only use it as a word processor. Here are some uses of the computer:

  • Research
    • Basic research may include looking up words, facts regarding people and events, and places. Deeper research can take you as deep as you want.
  • Social Media
    • A Social presence can be gained through a variety of Social Media outlets.
    • Some popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads
    • New ones seem to be appearing on an increasing basis. Check them out.
  • Purchasing
    • Self-Help books. You can find books on almost any subject. They can be immensely helpful for a writer.
    • Subject books. By that I mean books written about subjects you are interested in. Perhaps your story is taking place in Australia. You can find books about Australia.
    • Tools. New tools are constantly being invented. Some may not be worth your time let alone your dime, but you might just discover a gold mine.


Next week we’ll look at websites.
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 (Book One), and Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at 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 You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.