How I Wrote Perished is not just about my writing, but I have included ideas that you might emulate. It all started with inspiration.
My history prior to the writing of Perished: The World That Was takes you all the way back to my childhood. Looking back, I have always had a lively imagination. As a child I would daydream of heroic stories in which I played the hero. These were typical childhood fantasies, but I guess I never grew up. It is a fact that to this day my imagination works overtime.
As a teen, I realized I wanted to write stories and as a young adult I actually signed up for a writing course which I eventually dropped for lack of money. But I had the bug and never quite quit writing.
I also loved reading books, so I read a lot of books. I occasionally tried to write a novel but even if I got to the point of developing a plot and working on a novel it eventually ended. I would hit the proverbial wall which I didn’t know how to get around. So, the novel was stopped and eventually ended in the trash. This was not necessarily a bad thing since these attempts can best be described as terrible.
At the age of 30, I received Christ as my Savior. In an instant I went from a man destined for Hell and became a child of God. Some people mistakenly say that all are children of God, but what they really should say is that all are created by God. When I received Christ, my destiny was changed and I became a child of God, a member of the family of God.
But asking Christ to save me didn’t just change my eternal welfare. The Bible teaches that many other things took place then as well. I already had the desire to write, but I believe that God also changed my approach to writing and gifted me. But I was unaware of that. At the time I still couldn’t put together an entire story. I would get so far and then hit that wall. But God was working on me.
From that time onward God worked in my life changing me. My worldview was brought into agreement with the Bible. As I studied the Bible, I began growing spiritually. I not only attended church but began having daily devotions.
But in 2000 everything changed!
Up to that time, I had written poetry (it won my wife) and computer programs (amateur) that helped my employer. None of these completely satisfied, but they kept my fires burning. I even dabbled in the hobby of building a model train with a village that became the center of another novel. But it also came to an end.
Then on one day in the year 2000, I was doing my morning devotions. My habit was to read a chapter a day until I’ve read the Bible through. It usually took a couple of years, then I started over. (I still try reading a chapter a day, but now my wife and I do devotions together, which has taken first place.) On this particular day, I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Ark. And the inspiration hit!
I thought, This only covers the basics! There’s a story untold and I can tell it.
From that moment of inspiration, I knew what I wanted to write. But there was something else. I took this in prayer to the Lord and I was given a certainty about writing that I had never experienced before. I could never prove it, but I now knew it was God’s calling on my life.
As a side note, let me say that such a realization changes your life and your approach to whatever you were called to do. Other changes will take time, but the call to write was instantaneous!
Soon, I was busy writing my first book, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles (no longer available). The book was published by AuthorHouse, and it was good enough that the president of a Christian university read it, complimented me, and encouraged me to continue writing. Such commendation was better than a published review because it undergirded my belief that God had both called and equipped me to write.
And it changed my life!
I not only continued writing but I eventually wrote the novel Perished which became the foundation for the series The World That Was which includes Perished, World of Noah and the Ark, World of Shem, World of Abraham, World of Jacob, and World of Joseph.
More on the other side of this break.
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Now back to the article.
I didn’t just start writing as soon as I was inspired. Instead, I began what some authors might consider a dirty word: Research.
But it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:
To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark). To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).
But how did I get the facts?
There are a number of ways.
Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible). Read history books. Do a deep internet search. Use logic based on historical facts.
If you are writing about the Bible, it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished, I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis, but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That requires a great deal of time and effort.
The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.
The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search, I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources.
But a word of caution.
While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some sites are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So, you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.
But it is the fourth item, I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate, it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Savior and that Christ is that Savior. So, it only relates the historical facts needed to convict us of our need for salvation and spiritual growth.
When writing Perished, I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together, try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.
So, I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.
So how did I resolve this issue?
Let me give you a challenge. Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:
Government, Arts, Industry, Warfare, and more.
I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead, there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know as the Flood. We arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?
We are speaking of a 300-to-500-year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world, then everything falls into place!
And that opens up a window into the past!
It occurred to me that if I look closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood, I have a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.
When studying the ancient past prior to the Flood, we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And, thereby, I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.
Which is what research is all about. Most of the time, research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel, they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate and true.
When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812 and was centered on the brother of an ancestor, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada, I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – history, deep internet research, and logic.
Is it worth it?
By far most readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was the inclusion of facts which brought the story alive. I include such things as the clothing worn, the preparation of food, the food itself, and much more. All of which helps enliven the story. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!
Research is just one aspect of writing, but yes, it is worth it. If you are in the ministry as a pastor, Sunday School teacher, or similar ministry, then you already know how to research. And you probably know that you learn more about the subject than you can ever relate. I learned that as a Sunday School teacher and that has helped me as a writer.
I have covered inspiration and research. But writing also includes learning the rules of grammar, editing, and so much more. These are topics I plan to cover in future blogs. But here are a few hints.
If you self-edit your book, then that requires multiple edits. You have to overcome the fact that you know what you wrote or intended to write, and your brain will tend to gloss over errors. That means intensifying your reading! Please, don’t think it must be perfect. No book, other than the Bible, has ever attained that level. Every writer is a human, and we make mistakes. And if you do make mistakes, I can show you how to easily correct them.
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