Ron’s Tip of the Day DIY Grammar

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Today’s Issue: DIY Grammar

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

Experts tell us that an author should never do their own editing; to leave it to the professionals. And they have a lot of good reasons for saying that, chief among them is this: you, the author, know what you meant when you wrote the book. Your mind expects to see the words and meaning that you meant to put down; the professional does not. The professional looks at your work with an independent eye and more easily spots poor grammar, etc.

But you and I know we will do our own editing!

 The reason is pocketbook easy to understand. Professionals cost money! So, unless we can afford it, we are going to Do It Yourself (DIY).

Being a DIY editor requires time, effort, and honesty. It is that last part that is hard. We get married to phrases, descriptions, etc. and don’t want to change. It is hard, but sometimes necessary to divorce from them.

Some Tips to Help You.

  • Use Word’s ABC Word checker which checks for spelling, grammar, and more.
  • Don’t rely totally on it though. Sometimes it will want to make corrections that are bizarre! For example, a character may be speaking or thinking in poor grammar. In a novel that is perfectly OK, if it is part of the character’s personality or education.
  • Review your book more than once. You could, for example, use one reading to check for general errors, another reading for proper wording, checking sentences, and more.
  • Consider having a relative or friend review your book for plot, character development, grammar, and more.
  • Before publishing get a printed copy (Proof) and review it again.

Final Tip

After you’re done there will probably still be errors. But that is true with professionals also, though they may deny it. Even Classics have errors.

Tip of the Day: DIY requires time, effort, and honesty. But it’s worth it!

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 Rewrites

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Rewrites.

What are Rewrites?

Rewrites is simply a term meaning taking a previously written book and rewriting it. Your writing skills grow with you. What skills you had when you wrote your first book should have grown considerably since then. Perhaps it is time to take that book and rewrite it.

What Does That Involve?

At least the following: Reread the book, mark the misspellings, the grammatical mistakes, and even such things as the paging. Then go back to the beginning and start rewriting the book chapter by chapter, page by page.

That Sounds Hard?”

It might be. But you will be looking at the book with fresh eyes. Your imagination will come into play causing you to redo scenes and maybe add new scenes. Or remove scenes altogether.

I learned the value of this from one of my favorite writers, Jerry Jenkins. I have learned since then that rewriting can recharge my imagination and make my newest version better than the original.

 I have been doing this for the past few weeks and the entire process has been energizing. It is equivalent to seeing your first book being written and published. I have now entered the final stages of the rewrite and when ready I will let you know about it.

Tip of the Day: Consider reworking your previous novels.

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 Tip of the Day More on Spelling

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at More on Spelling.

In Word Usage I touched on Spelling. I thought it wise to expand on the subject. Here are some thoughts.

  • Spelling is critical
  • Reader will forgive bad grammar easier than poor spelling
  • Get a good dictionary
  • When in doubt choose dictionary over word processing dictionary
  • Spelling and context must match
  • Watch for different meanings of same word (there, their, etc.)
  • Don’t assume, make sure

Tip of the Day : Constantly check your spelling

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 Tip of the Day Word Usage

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at Word Usage.

Word usage is an important but probably overlooked ingredient of a successful story. Here are some thoughts.

  • Short words tend to speed up a story
  • Long words tend to slow down a story
  • Some words are more difficult to understand; use clear, concise words
  • Some words have different meanings in different contexts
  • Some words are more difficult to pronounce than others
  • Use verbs and adverbs wisely (check grammar book)
  • Don’t use long sentences unless necessary
  • Short sentences tend to speed up a story
  • Normally try to stay at or below 8 sentences in a paragraph
  • Check your spelling

Tip of the Day : Watch your word usage, including grammar and spelling.

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.

When is Good Grammar Correct?

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 Is Good Grammar Good Enough?

I have over time written a good deal about writing. I’ve covered numerous subjects including publishing and marketing. Having recently written TR Independent Books Guide to Writing I’ve decided to take one particular aspect of writing and focus on it. If you’d like a free copy of the book simply write me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com, request the book by name and whether you want the Word version or PDF version. I will promptly email you a copy. This book is not available at retail.

In today’s blog I’d like to take a look at grammar, so I’ve copied the chapter that deals with the subject in general (other chapters deal with certain aspects).

So let’s talk grammar. If you were writing for a college course or a college professor you might be expected to write perfect grammar. Less than perfect might have disastrous consequences. But when you are writing novels good grammar may be more desirable than perfect grammar.

Huh?

To understand what I mean you must understand what perfect grammar is. In perfect grammar you are not allowed mistakes. In addition, perfect grammar has rules that must be followed religiously. It requires a very rigid structure. But good grammar may at times be perfect (as when the storyteller is narrating) and other times less than perfect (as when characters are talking or thinking). That’s a simplistic explanation but it will do for now.

Let me put it another way; perfect grammar is usually stilted whereas imperfect grammar brings a certain aliveness to the story. In a story with multiple characters you don’t want all your characters to sound alike.

In my speculative fiction series Christland there are robots and androids. There are also humans. Humans tend to use contractions like ‘isn’t’, ‘don’t’, or ‘haven’t’. But androids use a more perfect grammar and say ‘is not’, ‘do not’, or ‘have not’. Same meanings but spoken differently. I constantly check to make sure that the androids never use contractions unless desired.

It’s the same thing with humans. In the series World That Was I had Methuselah use an expression, ‘So God has said, so shall it be’. This becomes a phrase he uses and is therefore identified with him. No other character uses it.

Is it good grammar?

It doesn’t matter. It is something he says.

And that is an important distinction. When someone is talking or thinking their grammar may or may not be good let alone perfect, but it must be consistent! The only acceptable reason for inconsistency would be a change in the character like having matured, gotten educated, or some such thing. There must be a reason that the reader sees and understands!

So here is a chapter from the book.

Watch Your Grammar

Principle

Your grammar must be perfect!

Right?

Actually that depends on who you talk to and the specifics involved. Here is my take:

Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. For example, let’s say one of your characters only has a ninth grade education.

You would not want that character talking like a professor. For that matter, you really don’t want any of your characters to talk that way unless they actually are professors.

Now I don’t recommend that you try to imitate slang and accents, but just be cautious. Maybe allow a character to have a favorite saying. In Perished: The World That Was I had Methuselah with a favorite saying, “So God has said, so shall it be.”

Which brings up a related principle: Be consistent. If I later had someone else using that same phrase it could have been a jolt. Be consistent.

So here’s the principle: When you are dealing with conversation (or even thoughts) you can and should be less than perfect but consistent. Everything else should be perfect.

Aside from speaking, there is the matter of punctuation and spelling. With the tools available this should never be a problem, but it does occur. It is therefore necessary to check your spelling and punctuation as often as possible.

Tip: Be consistent. If Bob is talking like a country boy on page 2 and a professor on page 132 then you better have shown a transformation. Because your reader will spot inconsistencies.

Example

The boys is clothed alike. [This is poor grammar.]

The boys are clothed alike. [Much better.]

“You guys look the same.” [OK.]

“The boys is clothed alike,” Martha said. [OK, if this is consistent with Martha’s education and you’re emphasizing it.]

A rule of thumb is that grammar rules don’t have to be followed rigidly when verbal conversation is taking place or when someone is thinking. (This is an argument for emphasizing thoughts with italics.)

Tip: A rule of thumb is that grammar rules don’t have to be followed rigidly when verbal conversation is taking place or when someone is thinking.

Application

Both my wife and I try to watch our grammar usage. One of the tools we use is Microsoft Word’s grammar checker. It’s not perfect, but it helps. Also, we use the spell check, but it is not always up-to-date. So we make use of the ‘Add to Dictionary’ tool.

Other resources are grammar books (especially older versions that really emphasized good grammar), and the internet.

Make use of as many resources as needed. And pay attention to grammar and punctuation when editing.

Tip #2: Don’t use slang or social media language. It might be good on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media but not in a book unless the language belongs to the character(s).

That was the chapter on Grammar, but actually the subject of grammar is more extensive than that, which is why other chapters deal with some particulars of grammar. For instance, you can include scenes within that subject. The book has chapters on the Starting Scene, the Middle Scene, and the Ending Scene. You could also include viewpoint (there are chapters on the different viewpoints). Grammar is broad and yet specific.

One of the various resources (yes, there’s a chapter on that also) an author needs a Grammar book that includes capitalization, sentence structure, and a whole lot more.

But a key principle that you should remember is what was stated earlier: Generally speaking you want your grammar usage as correct as possible, but there are exceptions. It is your job as an author to find those exceptions, such as conversation, and use them to enliven your story!

Conclusion.

So, is good grammar good enough? Yes, if you’re careful and consistent.

Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into grammar. In the future I will periodically visit a subject found in the writing guide. In the meantime don’t forget that the book is free, easy to read, and the entire book is only 101 pages. And if you’d like to know more about our Writing Services simply request a free copy of our booklet TR Writing Services and we will send you a copy absolutely free and with no obligations.

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), or Black Death (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 [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 Write the Perfect Novel Every Time

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 Write the Perfect Novel Every Time.
I’ll admit right up front that there is no such thing as a perfect novel. There are millions of readers out there and every one of them have their own idea of what constitutes a good or great novel.
So, perfect novel? No! Good, yes.
So what constitutes a good novel?
The answer to that also varies, but since I’m the one authoring this blog, let me give my take on the issue.
A good novel is a story that draws the reader into it, whose character(s) are interesting, the plot is believable, and where the writing makes it hard to put the book down.
Obviously there are other important aspects to a good novel. But as a general statement I think that covers it.
What about Grammar?
Good grammar is always needed. Not just good grammar, but good spelling as well. Bad grammar and spelling can hurt an otherwise good story. Spelling mistakes can be deadly as can grammar mistakes. You need to constantly work on your grammar and spelling.
But I would contend that good grammar and good spelling are included in the statement, “the writing makes it hard to put the book down.”
What about Character Development?
You want your characters to stand out whether they are good people or bad people. To do this requires you have characters that are strong or weak, but are consistently so. I once had a man critique a book of mine in which he claimed the character wasn’t consistent. The problem was that I was writing about two different and real people found in the Bible. They had the same exact name and lived in the same time. If he’d read the book through (he didn’t) he would have seen that. But he skipped around and concluded they were the same characters.
Although he was wrong in his conclusions, that is a legitimate concern. If your character is evil at the beginning you need the character to continue being evil unless there is a reason that causes that character to change. And the reader must see that reason!
But I would contend that Character Development is included in “characters are interesting.”
OK, I get it. But what about the story’s background?
When writing a novel it is crucial to have a strong background. Sometimes that background is easily found in research; sometimes the background requires deeper research. Background includes many things such as the setting, the customs, and much more. If writing about history then it needs to be historically accurate. If writing about the future, then it needs to be believable. My general statement includes two items that cover all of this: “draws the reader into it” and “is believable.”
For example, a story that takes place in ancient history may be a great story but collapses because a character may speak using modern slang or a character drinks from a glass when glass hadn’t been invented yet. This is a mistake that is jarring to the reader and immediately detracts from the story. In all likelihood the reader will put the book down.
Background is important and is in my statement.
OK, What about Sales?
We all want our novels to sell. The more book sales the better for us and our bank accounts. But sales tells very little about the book. For instance, there are great books out there that haven’t really sold well. Why? Because good sales need a good book but it also needs a good marketer!
There are also books out there that are of poor quality. Yet they get great reviews and their sales are out of this world. How can that be?
No matter how bad a book is written there are people who will enjoy them. That might account for some of the sales. In addition some great marketing may have been involved that created a buzz about the book. The result? The book goes viral.
Sales simply don’t tell you about the quality of the book.
Does Following Your Blog Help My Writing?
I try to write about writing once a week (usually Thursday). Some aspect of writing is covered in these blogs. So, yes, if you are reading this blog on a weekly basis you should be learning something you can use. I also write about publishing and marketing once a week. That’s usually on Fridays.
But I would recommend that you make use of multiple sources on the subject of writing. The more sources you have the more likelihood you’ll learn something new that will benefit you. I subscribe to several newsletters, blogs, etc. with that in mind.
Another thing you can and should do is keep writing. You’ve written your first book; it’s been published and now you are getting sales. Don’t stop there!
Keep writing. Start one or two more books and work on them. I believe that no matter what your sales are your writing will improve through the act of writing. Each book you finish should be better than the one before. And as you learn from others you would be incorporating that knowledge into your latest book.
Conclusion
You may never write the perfect novel. But if you study the art of writing, practice writing and publishing new books you should see a consistent growth and improvement in your writing. And if you’re like me the simple joy of writing grows with each novel you write!

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.