By Sandy Kirby Quandt
What do you look for in a story? A fantastic setting that whisks you away? A scene so real you can smell the air around it? Characters you easily relate to? A plot with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing? A hero or heroine so incredibly wonderful you can’t help but fall in love with them? A villain so vile you can’t wait for him to be destroyed?
Writers invent settings, scenes, characters and plots that, hopefully, will entrance readers and have them turning pages until The End. It’s our job. It’s what we do. Sometimes we do it more successfully than at other times. But weaving words together in a pleasing way is the ultimate goal. We want to tell a good story with a satisfying ending.
Before I begin to craft my historical fiction worlds and characters, I do a lot of research. I plunge deep into resources to make sure I get the facts correct. My favorite type of resource is called primary. Those eyewitness records are not second-hand stories. They are not made up. They are true.
I read primary sources to get a feel for the experiences of those who lived in years past. I read diaries, letters, and first person accounts. I read old recipes and marvel at the cookware used. I visit historical museums. I walk battlefields that ran red. I look at photographs. I study mannequins’ clothing…
My goal in doing all of this is to experience the truth, the reality of what it was like to live in whatever time period I happen to be working on, so I can recreate that reality in my fiction.
The writers of the Bible were primary sources. They were eyewitnesses to the events that unfolded before them. Through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, they were given the characters. The plot. The scenes. The twists and turns. The heroes and villains.
In the years following Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven to sit on his throne at God’s right hand, his followers were under attack. Many people accused them of inventing a clever story. Their testimony of a risen Lord was too fantastic. Too amazing. Too hard to believe. But it was the truth. It was real.
Instead of accepting the Apostles’ eyewitness testimony, people accused them of being deluded. They didn’t trust the primary source.
If we can visit museums, walk battlefields, and read diaries written by people who lived centuries ago and believe the words on the page to be true, shouldn’t we believe and trust the words that are written in God’s Holy Word by eyewitnesses, when so much more depends on it ?
It isn’t a made up fairy tale, you know.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.
We were not following a cleverly written-up story when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ—we actually saw his majesty with our own eyes. He received honour and glory from God the Father himself when that voice said to him, out of the sublime glory of Heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’. 2 Peter 1:16-17 (Phillips)
I wish you well.
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