The creation, the fall of mankind, how evil came into the world, and what happened next – these events comprise Fallen. To bring this story to you, I investigated, consulted experts, pondered, wrote, and edited for twenty years!
I had to comprehend how these early events shaped humanity, and I had to let go of misconceptions, poor teaching, and stereotypes. Researching and writing this story became a journey toward a deeper understanding of God’s abundant love for humanity and for me personally.
As the Biblical facts and the living reality of God’s love gradually came to life in my imagination, I felt an inner tugging, an urging from the Lord, to write this story in fictional form.
bridges&balloons via Compfight
First, I created a skeletal plot outline. With Biblical fiction like Fallen and Refuge, most of the outline is immovable. Surrounding events – the white space between the written words – can flex only if they sync perfectly with the Scriptures.
Then I created the characters. Biblical fiction must be peopled by characters who could have done what the Biblical record reflects. The fictional characters must be true to the real people, so their creation must be completed thoughtfully and thoroughly.
Much of the character development in Fallen felt God directed. Sorting out Adam and Eve as human beings required insight into everything the Bible says about them, including Romans 5 and 1 Timothy 2. Even their small decisions had to be true to what God has told us. Once the characters of Fallen had been shaped in my imagination and described in my notes, I began writing. By then I’d fallen in love with them.
Drafting a novel takes me about four to six weeks. God inspires me day and night, plus my creativity doesn’t turn off on a schedule. Therefore, my writing times for Fallen were unpredictable. Often during church worship, in the middle of the night, or while on walks, I had to stop to scribble ideas and conversations.
I’m a verbal processor. As I drafted the story, I talked about it a lot! Sometimes I cried myself to sleep when I hit obstacles, begging God to help me with plot and character personality problems. He always showed me direction.
Originally I hadn’t planned to show the supernatural side of the story (angelic, demonic, and heavenly) or to devote several years to studying demonology so I could. But the Lord led in that direction, and I followed.
I now know that once I’ve finished a draft, it’s best for me to walk away from it for several months or longer. I can work more objectively when I do. Because Fallen was my first novel, I didn’t know this yet! So I began editing immediately.
My novels are not ready for public consumption until thoroughly revised. The first ten passes are really sloppy. I must comb through looking for specific editing details on each pass. (If you’re a writer, see below for helpful writing/editing tools.)
sj_sanders via Compfight
Then I must hone dialogue. This is best done by speaking every conversation out loud to determine if a real person could say it. Each must be in line with the speech cadences and capabilities of the character as he or she speaks in the Bible. Each story has its own challenges, especially Biblical fiction. All must be Biblically possible.
When I had Fallen ready for the first readings, I sent it to my select group who critiqued, criticized, and gave me their honest opinions. Once the story returned with their suggestions, I reworked the manuscript many more times.
After laboring over Fallen’s revisions for four years, I then left the story alone for three years to publish Refuge. When I returned to Fallen, I saw the story with fresh eyes. This taught me the effectiveness of taking a break from a manuscript.
Because God is in the process, even though I’m the author, there is spiritual and emotional depth that I didn’t even know I’d included. The final editing made this clear. It was then that I prepared the promotional material. When my publisher read my proposal, he was excited to help me bring Fallen to life!
I love my job! And I love this story!
I hope you are blessed by Fallen and my other stories, because I love bringing them to you, and I think of you the entire time I’m writing.
To find out more about the coming publication of Fallen, click HERE.
Helpful Editing/Writing Tools:
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
- Say What? The Fiction Writer’s Handy Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage by C.S. Lakin
- The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
- The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit by Elizabeth Lyon
- On Writing Well (great for all writing!) by William Zinsser
So good to hear about this process. It sure does take a long time doesn’t it? I’m very impressed by how you worked on this and am looking forward to reading your book. I hope you write blogs about the insights you found in your research too. Blessings on you.
Thank you, Katie! A good idea! I learned so much!
I loved being a part of the early part of Fallen, and I cannot wait to see the final edition as I know that it just kept getting better and better! It is fun to hear in more detail how God guided and all the research and work that went into the preparation of this Biblical fiction story of the Beginning! May God bless the process of getting Fallen published!