After returning from my RWA chapter conference (Gulf Coast Chapter) on Sunday afternoon, I thought over what I'd learned and enjoyed the most. It was an exhilarating and exhausting weekend at Pensacola Beach, Florida. The conference, appropriately named Silken Sands, had all the ingredients necessary for a great experience--editors and agents, wonderful workshops given by knowledgeable speakers, good food, meeting old and new friends and a touch of magic--sugar-white sand and turquoise Gulf waters.
One of my favorite workshops was presented by Lenora Worth, a talented Steeple Hill writer. In "How to Write a Good Book based on the Good Book" she discussed how we can base our inspirational stories on the 10 Commandments or the fascinating stories in the Bible. They're all about flawed people and their relationships with God and with each other.
Like us, the 'characters' are real--not sugar coated--and damaged by their sins. They're all caught in the human condition just as we are--we're born, we live, we know our ultimate fate is death and then we face death itself. And then what? We have to ponder this reality, accept it and decide how to deal with it and how it effects our life. Of course with faith in God it's not as grim as it sounds. In fact, we have great hope. But still we're dealing with an unknown we have to grapple with and can't avoid.
How our characters respond to the human condition and their particular situation in life can be explored in depth in our stories. Our story people can be flawed by one of the 7 Deadly Sins: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Or they might have one or more of the 7 Heavenly Virtues: prudence, temperance, courage (fortitude), justice, love, hope and faith. Think of all the tales you could develop from just these attributes.
Stories can also revolve around the 7 Corporate Virtues: feeding the hungry, giving a drink to the thirsty, giving shelter to strangers, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, ministering to prisoners, burying the dead.
Trust, forgiveness and redemption are common themes in Christian stories. Other themes might include respect, integrity, honor and dishonor, good versus evil, corruption versus justice, doing the right thing in the face of difficulty and cherishing relationships over material things.
So our story ideas can come from the Bible, not just from newspapers and fairy tales. Can you adapt a Bible story to your own writing? Francine Rivers certainly can!