Writing Tip — King Solomon as a Fictional Character

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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:

  1. The history of his parents David and Bathsheba.
  2. The stories of the tragic lives of his half-siblings Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom
  3. Solomon’s own clash over the throne with another half-brother Adonijah.
  4. 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?

Writing Tip

lily-960387_1280Easter as Inspiration

As a writer of Christian fiction, I can find endless themes in the Easter story: renewal, sacrifice, forgiveness, love, rebirth, and resurrection are just a few.  So many different people are involved in the story, each with his or her own backstory, I have myriad sources from which to create characters.

Since I can’t address all these in a single blog post, I’ll just focus on one: the Easter story as a story arc, mimicking the themes of Maundy Thursday to Easter.

Maundy Thursday – Story starts with some kind of celebration with all the main characters.  One character is sad for some reason.bible-2167783_1280

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 four days.  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.

I wouldn’t even have to mention within the story I was following the pattern of Easter.  J.R.R. Tolkien used many Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings, but because his characters live in Europe before the introduction of Christianity, they can’t say Aragorn’s return to the throne is like the Jews waiting for the Messiah.  But readers can make the connection.

I would love to try my hand at writing a story as I have outlined.  Maybe I will get more inspiration.  Does Easter inspire any ideas for you?  Let me know!

 

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