Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Writer's Group Assignment

As I've mentioned before, I'm a part of a writer's group in my area comprised of Christain young people interested in writing and other areas of artistic creation. (Films, drawing, music, dancing, etc)

Last night we were given the assignment of writing a short story in which we set a Biblical story in another time period and genre.

I thought this was a pretty cool assignment, and also a good opportunity to talk a bit about how I go about writing a story, so I decided to blog about it. Plus, of course, I've been rather silent here lately since my energy has been focused on keeping the SOTB movie blog up to date.

For my story I have chosen the Book of Ruth. I've always loved that story and it has enough detail to give me a lot of jumping off points. Also the romantic aspect of it fits perfectly with my chosen era and genre. I'm retelling it in Jane Austen's England.

Since the story is set in England, the logical country to parallel Moab is France, since England and France were at war with each other quite often in this era. My Ruth is a young woman named Rachelle who is not only French, but also family to the revolutionaries themselves. Despite this, her husband was actually beheaded in the Reign of Terror and Rachelle's loyalty to his memory drove her to accompany her mother-in-law, Mary, to England.

This sets up proper conflict right at the beginning of the story and also gives me some cool historical tidbits to work in.

I had fun picking names for my parallel characters as well. Ruth became Rachelle because a) I love the name and b) they have similar feelings to them and c) it is plausibly and visually French.

Naomi was a bit trickier. Nicole would work if Naomi were French in origin, but she's not, she's English. So I wanted something that had a very anglo feel to it. Well in Ruth 1 Naomi asks to be called "Mara", which means bitter, because of the tragedies that have come upon her. In the New Testament we see the name Mara become Mary. So my Naomi easily fits into the name "Mary."

Ruth's husband is named Chilion, which becomes Charles in my story. And since Naomi's husband was called Elimelech, I gave my ladies the last name of Emmerson.

On to the little town of Bethlehem! "Beth Lehem" in Hebrew means house of bread, so I ran through the bread-related names in my head and choose to call the English town Little Wheaton.

Similarily Boaz, son of Salmon becomes Lord Robert Haddock.

And gleaning wheat at Boaz's harvest is about to turn into searching out a future at Lord Robert's Harvest Ball...


Rose said...

Sounds cool! I'll be looking foreward to hearing more about it, should you pan to share more with us!

Ella Ellessanderil said...

Very cool. :) I can't wait to read it!

I don't think I'll be changing my character's names........we'll see.

Bowman the Black said...

Color me intrigued. It's the start of a new series: the Bible Tale Novels!

Elenatintil said...

@ Rose - Yes, I hope to put the entire thing up here when it is done. :)

@ Ella - I can't wait to read yours!

@ Matt - believe it or not, it's not an original idea (although the guy who gave us the assignment didn't know that). Writer Liz Curtis Higgs has already set the story of Leah, Rachel and Jacob in 18th Century Scotland in her series that begins with "A Thorn in My Heart." Lovely books.