Those of you who follow me are aware I write Bible-based novels . Perhaps you are interested in doing the same.
Writing Bible-based novels is how I became an author. I had struggled for years trying to write a novel. Usually they were secular in nature, but one thing they all had in common was that I would get so far into the story and then writer’s block. I was stopped and eventually set the story aside.
But in the year 2000 I was reading the Bible account of Noah and the Flood. And suddenly God opened my eyes. The Biblical account didn’t give a lot of detail. Instead, God provided just enough detail to acquaint the reader with the fact that man had become corrupted and He was going to destroy the world and begin again with Noah. To know our sinfulness and our need for a Savior, these facts were more than enough.
But I saw the possibility of a novel that would still bring that truth out and yet entertain. Thus began my writing career.
Writing a novel based on the Bible can be very successful or it can be very risky. All sorts of people have their own ideas about the Bible. You are not going to please everyone. But if the follow some simple guidelines you should be able to appeal to a fairly large audience. With that in mind here are a few guidelines.
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Now back to the article.
So, what are the guidelines?
- Always assume the Bible is correct
You can really get messed up if you accept the popular myth that modern science knows better. Modern science can shed light upon the Bible but it can never contradict the Bible.
- Do Your Diligent Research
This is a must.
The best method I have found is to use the Bible as a filter or better yet as a spotlight. Whenever you find a new ‘fact’ shine the Bible spotlight upon it. This will keep you from going astray. And look for little known facts. For example, in my series The World That Perished I studied the clothing, foods, industries, and weapons used in that era. Research should be paramount.
- Work the Biblical Text into the Story
In other words, sometimes you take a direct quote of one or more verses and make them part of the story. If you use the KJV Bible, you will want your characters to use KJV language. I mixed the Old English and modern English together so that the characters could speak using both interchangeably.
- Use Bible Characters
This is unavoidable but is also good. If your reader is familiar with the Bible, then there will be a common connection between your novel and the Bible.
- If you can avoid conflicting characters do so
But you may run into more than one character with the same name. This creates a difficulty especially for readers who skip (I had a reviewer who skipped and thereby claimed I was inconsistent with my characters).
- Use only one Bible version
You can use other versions to increase your own understanding, but only use one in the book. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing your reader. I use only KJV, because I believe it is the only accurate version. However, the choice is yours.
- Don’t Be Preachy
That doesn’t mean not including the gospel nor does it mean not having sermons or other Christian statements. It means not being overbearing. It means the gospel, sermons, etc, should all fit within your story seamlessly!
As of this date, I have only had one reviewer pan one of my novels. I referred to him above. He skipped his way through the book, which is a major no/no for reviewers. Generally, I have received four-and-five star reviews. Why? Because I followed the above rules. And I made a conscious effort to pull the reader into the story.
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T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a change and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.