Today we get write to the point with Caryl McAdoo. She has been on here a few times before. You can click here to see her other posts and find links to connect with her. Today she is sharing about writing Biblical Fiction. Enjoy!
Biblical Fiction – Truth & Imagination Merge
I’ve always had a love hate with Biblical fiction. My first exposure was as a child with such classic as Ten Commandments, Exodus, and Ben Hur, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Daddy took me and a girlfriend to El Chico and to see the The Greatest Story Ever Told for my fifteenth birthday! My introduction to reading the genre came much later, but I fell in love with the way fictional stories brought the familiar characters to life.
The first book I wrote for publication was in the ’80s IN THE BEGINNING, a 380 page hand-written manuscript I paid to be transcribed so I could submit it to New York publishers. (Now think of that ’64 Terry Stafford song ‘Suspicion’, to that tune:) Rejection! Woe filled my mailbox! Rejection! Kept us apart! Rejection! Why don’t you leave me alone! Sorry, everything reminds me of a song. Point is, no one brought sacks of money to my door.
The Lord led me to a writers’ workshop where I learned right off I’d made every conceivable mistake a new writer could, so I studied, read, and paid close attention to my mentors and learned my craft.
I loved writing Christian fiction for my historical Texas Romance and contemporary Red River Romance series, but didn’t get back to Biblical fiction until 2014 when I went back to rework A Little Lower Than the Angels written roughly off the first 80 pages of that original handwritten, multi-rejected manuscript.
During the ’90s and ’00s (my 40s and 50s), I came to know God’s Word much more intimately. I suddenly realized every little wrong jot and tittle in the movies. I’d anticipated all the new Bible-based movies. But I HATE it when the writers, producers, and/or directors change God’s story! If they want to create Biblical fiction, do they really think mortal man can improve what The Creator wrote?
A reviewer gave Then the Deluge Comes a one-star rating because ‘the author [I] totally left out how Noah preached to the multitudes while they mocked him…and the people clamoring trying to get into the ark.’ But that isn’t scriptural, it’s Hollywood. And she’s taken it as “Truth” not because she read it, but because she saw it. It’s so important for movies to be accurate.
By its genre’s very name, The Generations series is presented as untrue, not real—the definition of fiction is a story concocted purely from a writer’s imagination. On the other hand, Biblical—from the Bible—indicates Truth and nothing but the Truth! Every Word in the Bible is true. So no question about that; absolutely set in stone far as I’m concerned.
Jesus is the Truth. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.
Jesus is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1; and again, And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13.
So Biblical Fiction is an untrue, imagined story based on absolute truth. We could assume a writer of Christian Fiction is a Christ follower, so why don’t they all adhere perfectly to the facts? I mean facts are the facts, after all.
Personally, I get very frustrated with writers of Biblical Fiction who stray from the truth of the Word. Fiction gives them the right through imagination to flesh out the story, bring characters we know so well to life, but why do they need to rewrite the story? Change truth, you only have a lie.
I present The Generations series labeled Biblical Fiction, praying imagination enhances the Word’s stories and searching for clues to flesh-out the facts. I include a section called ‘Search the Scriptures’ in every book to show where I got some of my clues. I purposely examine the Word to find a new perspective.
In Mark, 7th chapter, in red letters: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! …Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down…” I now consider all those Sunday School stories taught as a child to be suspect. They are nothing more than traditions of men. Some may be spot on, others—like three wise men traveling to the manger—are not true according to the Word, yet we believe them.
I invite you, should you perceive by the Word that any part of any of my stories are contrary to God’s Holy Book, to let me know where and how. I stand ready to alter my opinion any time it is shown not to line up to the Word.
- Volume One A Little Lower Than the Angels follows Adam and Eve in Adam’s Valley, Cain after he kills his brother and flees to Nod, and Abel in Paradise with a wise old cherub as a teacher and companion.
5-Star Review: “Well done, good and faithful servant of God, Caryl McAdoo: my first thought after reading A Little Lower Than The Angels. This Biblical Fiction fleshes out the creation stories we all know so well and brings God’s beloved first couple and their sons to life. A Little Lower than the Angels does not take away from the truth of the Scripture, or add to them (as it is Biblical Fiction), yet it fills in blanks with what could be a possibility.
Like Caryl’s other works, A little Lower than the Angels is very well written. What this book did for me: Revelations of what could be stirred my soul. My heart soared from its reminders of how the Father loves us, and I raised my heart in praise to The Creator. It refreshes my knowledge and love of Scripture and of angels, too. The only other book that has done that for me on such a level is the Holy Bible, and like the Holy Bible, this small book is one that you will want to pick up again and again. I especially appreciated the end of the book, Search the Scriptures, where Caryl lists a few of the Biblical clues (from the King James Version) that guided her work of fiction. –Holly Michael, Author of Crooked Lines and others, Kansas City, Missouri
- Volume Two Then the Deluge Comes begins with Adam and Eve’s deaths and the first couple’s reunion in Paradise with Abel. It continues through to the 8th Generation of Noah and his sons, ending the day it starts raining for the first time on earth.
5-Star Review: Then The Deluge Comes by Caryl McAdoo is beautifully written. This novel concentrates on the story of Noah, leading up to the flood. She takes nothing away from the biblical story, but enhances it. The characters are fully developed, becoming more three dimensional than in the Bible.
As with book one, not only does the reader see the earthly version of the story, but there are glimpses of the heavenly one too. This helps to remind the reader that all of life is a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness. One must always be ready and wearing the full armour of God.
Then The Deluge Comes can actually help to understand the original Bible story. Parts of the Old Testament that can be confusing, are made much clearer. There is so much beauty in Caryl McAdoo’s retelling of the traditional story that the reader just revels in the language. It will leave you feeling calm and peaceful, and you will be glad that you picked it up. –Julia Wilson, teacher and reader, United Kingdom
- Volume Three Replenish the Earth opens right where Volume Two leaves off. God closes the door and the eight souls are lifted from the surface of the earth by the fountains of the deep and forty days and nights of rain. Spend the year aboard the ark with them, working alongside them as they tackle daily chores. Feel their elation when it’s finally time to leave the ark.
5-Star Review: Caryl McAdoo has retold the familiar Genesis flood account with clarity and sensitivity. While remaining faithful to the King James Version, the human story beneath the print page comes alive drawing the reader into the pathos and joys of real breathing people faced with the most devastating natural disaster ever known in human history, one which survives in the mythology of every culture and race, but which is most fully and literally told in the pages of the Bible. This reviewer loved this segment of The Generations Series and heartily recommends the whole work.
–Cass Wessel, multi-published author of devotionals
Thanks so much for sharing with us again, Caryl. Can’t to see what you are to next month 🙂