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Biblical Historical Fiction

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Biblical Historical Fiction

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  • #90848
    Kay
    @kay

    Hello guys so I came up with a historical fiction story that would take place in the gospel of Luke and as I was working the story out in my head I was wondering how delicate I should be when writing around the Bible? I was wondering if it’s important as a writer to be really cautious when creating a fictional story and characters around something so important to Christians and believers? I haven’t done a lot of historical fictions works but should I be treating this project differently then I would say a World War II piece?

    I’d appreciate any and all thought and comments!! =D

    Keep looking up because hope belongs in Him.

    #90922
    Rochellaine
    @rochellaine

    @kay

    That’s a great question, and one I’m working out myself right now, as my current WIP is set in the middle of Acts. 🙂

    The most important things I can think of are that yes, more than WWII characters, if you’re using real Biblical characters probably try to keep them as exactly in line with scripture as you can.  For this reason, I haven’t yet decided if I’ll have any of the apostles make an appearance in my book, or if they’ll just be mentioned.  If they do make an appearance I think I’ll probably just have them “quote themselves”.  If that makes sense.  Just because I want to not take the chance on doing it wrong.

    But even more important than the apostles is Jesus.  I’d be very careful if you want to portray Him as doing something more or different than what is specifically listed in scripture.  There are people who have done so, and sometimes it turns out very badly, (meaning blasphemous,) and sometimes not so badly.  It’s a dangerous area to work in, since He is God.  I’m not sure how I feel people portraying Him in fiction, but I know a lot of people are really set against it, so that would be something to consider about the focus of your audience.

    Since I don’t have any context for your story except that it’s set in Luke, I guess there isn’t any more specific advice I can give you.  I hope this helps, though. 😉

    Nonsense makes the heart grow fonder ~ Carolyn Wells

    #90944
    Ariel Ashira
    @ashira

    @kay Ooh, such a good question!  I have done a lot of thinking on this because I have a WIP about Onesimus which also has Paul and Peter and other real people in it, and I have plans for a story surrounding the life of Jesus.  I agree with what Rochellaine said, and I think it is trickier than even writing about other historical characters, especially when you are talking about the Son of God.  I think you need to do a ton of research to begin with, and when you think you are done, research even more. 😛 Like seriously understand the world and people you are gonna write about as much as you can.  Too many people write stupid his-fic!  As for having Jesus or a apostle or somebody like that saying something, I either like to directly quote them or what I usually do is make sure that what I have them saying lines up with what the Bible records and doesn’t disagree.  Does that help or make sense?

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    #90956
    PenSword
    @pensword

    @kay

    As others have already said, researching the time period, culture, and everything surrounding the events is going to be vital. But honestly, that’s the case in my opinion with any historical fiction. The main difference between writing a story set during the Bible, and one set in say WWII, would likely be the appearance of real historical figures within the Bible, and presumably your story, and the importance of staying theologically sound. If you are going to have people like the Apostles, and Jesus appear in your story, it would be important to stay within the bounds of what already happens in the Bible. It would be okay to add period correct dialogue and actions, but I would warn against having them going on some sort of journey or creating any event that isn’t at least mentioned in any of the Gospels. I would also warn strongly against Jesus making any sort of theological or religious statement that He doesn’t already make within the Bible. This can easily tip into territory that has the potential to be heretical or blasphemous.

    There are some books I’ve read that I think handle these risks well, and do a good job of portraying both the historical setting, and are careful with how they handle having Jesus in the story. If you’re interested in any books like that I would recommend Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, Titus, a Comrade of the Cross by Florence Kingsley, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare, and The Day I Met Jesus by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth.

    #90970
    Ariel Ashira
    @ashira

    @pensword RIGHT ON!  Ooh, I love The Bronze Bow and Ben-Hur!

    I like your profile picture too.

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    #90972
    PenSword
    @pensword

    @ashira Thanks!

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