Whether you are writing Christian novels, YA fiction or picture books, it goes without saying that the bible is a rich source of material for your ideas. Of course, if you’re writing Christian non-fiction, you will be continually exploring themes and issues from the bible which, according to the 1995 Guinness book of records, is the biggest selling book of all time, with more than five billion copies sold and distributed throughout the world.
As you pore over all the incredible biblical stories in both the Old and the New Testaments, you, as an author, can’t fail to be inspired by the rich tapestry of events, or to marvel at the courage and tenacity of numerous biblical characters, the weakness, insipidity or sheer evil of others, and the strong thread that is linking all the stories together until the final climax.
When you write Christian fiction, are you re-telling biblical stories or are you inventing your own plots? Are you basing your characters on one of the established biblical characters or are you creating your own? Are you using biblical settings in your fiction or are you inventing your own worlds? Do you use the names of biblical characters or do you invent your own names? Whichever approach you take, one thing’s for certain: you will be incorporating biblical themes into your Christian fiction. The epic battle between good and evil. The choice between the right path or the wrong one. The way of the world or the way of the cross. And in some way or other, you will be answering one of the most crucial questions mankind has ever asked: “What is the purpose of my life?”
The bible is always the starting point for my own explorations into Christian fiction. If I’m writing a picture book, an idea pops out at me as I’m reading an action-packed account from of old; if I’m writing a YA Christian novel, whether it be fantasy or non-fantasy, I’m struck by some important theme that I want to communicate to my readers, like choosing the wide path that leads to temptation and death, or the narrow path that leads to hardships, but which guarantees life; if I’m writing an adult novel, I want my story to be theme-driven so that I give my readers something really important to think about.
None of these explorations of mine would be possible without the rich storehouse of stories, characters and themes in the bible. In addition, my fiction is always peppered with biblical quotes, for what words are more powerful in communicating the ideas I want to express than the God-breathed words of the bible itself.
It’s a challenge writing biblical fiction, and sometimes I’m conscious of the great weight of responsibility it brings. But from the very beginning of my explorations into this genre, my motives have been quite simply this – to sow some good seeds in the world and hope that some of them, at least, will take root.
That said, I am aware that I can’t grow in my Christian faith without frequently reading the great book itself.