Here are some of the ladies of the Closeburn Guild who invited me to tell them how I write my books. Since the Guild is affiliated to the church I tried to pitch my talk in that direction.
My own novels are character driven, rather than developed from careful plotting but most writers agree that there are seven main plots with many angles and variations on each one. Some refer to the “Seven Deadly Sins” but for the Guild ladies I used the ten commandments since these provide the guidelines for most people who lead a decent life whether or not they follow any religion. As fiction writers we can have the good characters follow these “guidelines for life” but giving a character an occasional slip makes them believable and reminds the reader they are human beings with the usual failings and frailties and hopefully arouse the reader’s sympathy or tenderness. The bad characters provide a contrast and the writer can make them jealous or devious, obsessed with work or ambition, or even murderers, especially if you are a crime writer.
There is an illustration of every kind of plot in the bible so it was fairly easy to illustrate this for the audience. However nasty I make my characters I usually read about someone equally bad in the newspapers, but in the bible there can’t be anyone much worse for cruelty than King Herod ordering all the baby boys to be slain, or the crowd hanging a man on a cross until he died. Then there is deception which we often get in novels. Illustrating this point I used Jacob who deceived his blind father because he wanted his brother’s inheritance. There is temptation as represented in the story of Eve and Adam, or the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Temptation, deception and jealousy are frequently used in fiction, or we might have the smaller or weaker person triumphing over the more powerful as in David and Goliath. As writers we often need subplots too but even these can be found with Noah and the floods. In various novels I have used floods, fire, storms as subplots, as well as road, rail and air crashes.
There are many more illustrations but this is not the place to present a lecture on bible stories, even supposing I considered myself sufficiently knowledgeable.