Writing Tip — Writing in Time: Holy Week as Writing Inspiration

crossw-2902861_1280The drama of Holy Week can serve as writing inspiration for any kind of story, not just one directly dealing with Easter. It can guide you in developing a character’s arc or creating plot twists. Below are the basic elements of each day.

Palm Sunday — Story begins with a celebration, when the main characters feel safe or comfortable or triumphant.

Maundy Thursday — The characters gather again. One character is sad for some reason. He or she foreshadows a tragedy.

Good Friday – A tragedy occurs.

Holy Saturday – Charcters react to tragedy.

Easter – The tragedy is turned on its head somehow, becoming the opposite of what the characters thought it was.  Because of this, most of the characters are profoundly changed for the better.

I wouldn’t have to plot my story over a week.  I could have it unfold over years if I wanted to, but I would use the the four days as described as my anchors for the action. An example of using Easter themes without directly dealing with Christianity is The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien resurrects the wizard Gandalf, and Aragorn assumes the throne of Gondor as the long-awaited king. I think it’s brilliant how Mr. Tolkien takes different parts of Jesus’s life and doles it out to more than one character.

What kind of themes from Holy Week do you see that could inspire characters or plots?

3 thoughts on “Writing Tip — Writing in Time: Holy Week as Writing Inspiration

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  1. What a fascinating idea! Of course, C.S. Lewis is an obvious one who used these themes (hullo Aslan!) but I like your idea of using the drama of this time of year in a not-really-aligorical way, more like Tolkien.
    Hmmmm- what themes might I use… well, betrayal of a friend is a common enough theme that shows up in literature, but that’s just because it’s such a powerful one. If I ever get to that third novel (assuming I get past this second one…oh and the first one…) that theme looks likely to surface.

    1. I forgot about Narnia! But you’re right — C.S. Lewis used the Easter story more as an allegory. Even more powerful than betrayal of a friend, I think, is betrayal by a member of the family.

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