Writing about Solomon and Ecclesiastes a week ago reminded me of what great inspiration Solomon can provide in developing a fictional character based on his life.
I don’t mean as a character in historical novels where an author fleshes out a Biblical story. Solomon works well as a characters in any time period, even ours.
We know more about Solomon than most people we read about in the Bible:
- The history of his parents David and Bathsheba.
- The stories of the tragic lives of his half-siblings Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom
- Solomon’s own clash over the throne with another half-brother Adonijah.
- Solomon’s personality and character become evident. How his humble desire to serve God as king gives way to his own desires for pleasing his wives which comes to mean more than pleasing God.
If I used Solomon for a contemporary character, I might cast him as the CEO of an innovative tech company, founded by his far-seeing father. This modern Solomon takes the company to new heights of greatness. Instead of being wise, I could say he is brilliant in business, but the pursuit of some personal indulgence, not necessarily women, make him appear stupid even to his friends.
In the end, the company is broken up, and his son, or daughter, only inherits a fraction of it.
This story arc will work with just about any occupation:
- a dazzling politician
- a successful actor
- a stunningly skilled surgeon
It will work in any genre too:
- a king in a fantasy world
- politician in a crime novel
- a powerful British duke in a historical romance
Because I am using Solomon as just inspiration, I can change his story to suit my narrative needs. Instead of the fictional Solomon ending his days with most of his power gone, at odds with God, I could have him repent, learn from his mistakes, and die a happy man.
What possibilities do you see for using the story of Solomon as inspiration for a character?