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Writing Biblical Fiction

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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swfdoc1
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Re: Writing Biblical Fiction

Postby swfdoc1 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:20 pm

I see some folks have a bit of “fear and trembling” about some of Jan’s 7 categories. Maybe people have just had that in the past and will now try out those categories with Jan’s encouragement. Not sure. Obviously, if you write a story in which Jesus is not really God, just a man whose disciples create tales to ascribe deity to him, you’ve crossed the line. But the kinds of things that Jan mentioned are all OK in my opinion, and I don’t know of any Christian publishers that refuse to publish such stories/books.

But I thought I’d mention a couple of writers who do this really well or with interesting wrinkles.

1. Agatha Christie. Yes, THAT Agatha Christie. She only ever did a few, but I love them. Here is a link to the “look inside” feature for her book Star Over Bethlehem (click on the image of the cover). You can use the forward arrow on the right side to move to the beginning of the short story of the same name and read the first 6 pages of it. The book has about three stories in this genre. My favorite is The Island.

2. Randy Singer. Randy is one of my pastors. If you don’t know about him or his writing awards—and to partially plagiarize—his first novel, Directed Verdict, won the Christy award for the best Christian suspense novel. He was also a finalist, along with John Grisham and Michael Connelly, for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

You can check out his biblical fiction novel here . To the right of the image of the cover, you’ll note the nomination and award for THIS particular book. Then scroll down the page to "Editorial Review[s]." Consider his extreme speculation and NOW remember the award and nomination. This should give you a sense of freedom with biblical fiction.

Now scroll back up to use the “look inside” feature. (As last time, click on the image of the cover. Once inside the book, you can use the right arrow to read the first 4 chapters. HOWEVER, also note the interesting thing Randy does right after the table of contents (where he uses symbols to distinguish between historical characters, fictional characters, and “hybrid” characters. I think that Challengeteers could do something similar in their author’s notes if they otherwise felt uncomfortable with some of Jan’s categories.
Steve
nlf.net
________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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glorybee
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Re: Writing Biblical Fiction

Postby glorybee » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:30 pm

Deb and Steve, thanks for coming to my rescue. As usual, you've said beautifully what I was clumsily trying to say. And now, I think, I'll just let it rest.
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Deb Porter
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Re: Writing Biblical Fiction

Postby Deb Porter » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:31 am

Wow ... Steve. I learn something every day. I hadn't realised that about Agatha Christie. Must read that book.

Also, I "discovered" Randy Singer a year or so ago. Great storytelling, but I hadn't a clue about his biblical fiction. Making a bee-line to that one on Kindle now.

Jan, you were not clumsy in what you were saying at all. You are full of grace--always.
Deb
FaithWriters' Writing Challenge Co-ordinator
Breath of Fresh Air Press

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Deb Porter
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Re: Writing Biblical Fiction

Postby Deb Porter » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:39 am

By the way, for anyone who has never read The Robe, you must do so. (Deb has ordained it.)

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

I know I am not the only person to come to Christ after reading this. It was 1982, and I vividly remember sitting on the train as it pulled into Westmead Station as I turned the last page. I had tears in my eyes and joy in my heart as I stepped onto the platform to head down to work that day. I remember thinking that the light had never seemed so bright or the colours so vivid. It was a complete transformation of my life.

I had been brought up in the church and fallen away (my whole family did after my parents divorced), but after years of gently calling me back, the Lord got my attention with that one book. I fell completely in love with Jesus. I think I need to read it again, myself. Never discount the power of biblical fiction done well and with sensitivity to scripture.
Deb
FaithWriters' Writing Challenge Co-ordinator
Breath of Fresh Air Press

Breath of Fresh Air Press - a little publisher with a lot of heart

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swfdoc1
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Re: Writing Biblical Fiction

Postby swfdoc1 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:32 am

Deb,

There are multiple versions of the Star Over Bethlehem book with slightly different titles. The original version had 5 poems and 6 short stories. Now it usually comes bound together with all the poems that original appeared in her book Poems, which I think is the version I linked to.

Randy has at least one other biblical fiction book, the Cross Examination of Jesus Christ. As he was finishing The Advocate, he told me he didn't know whether he would ever write another book. He clearly sees this book as his magnum opus (although he did not use that term) and thought maybe he should end his writing career there. I'll have to ask him is he still feels that way.
Steve
nlf.net
________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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