Back in July I wrote Part I about writing Perished. I had intended to write Part II before now but got a little sidetracked by other projects. I did write about Noah, but Part II is actually about the research involved in writing the novel.
Research is almost a dirty word, but it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:
- To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark).
- To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).
But how did I get the facts?
There are a number of ways.
- Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible).
- Read history books.
- Do a deep internet search.
- Use logic based on historical facts.
If you are writing about the Bible it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That required a great deal of time and effort.
The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.
The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources. But a word of caution. While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.
But it is the fourth item I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Saviour and that Christ is that Saviour. So it only relates the historical facts needed.
When writing Perished I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.
So I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.
So how did I resolve this issue?
Let me give you a challenge: Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:
- and more.
I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know was the Flood. So we arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?
We are speaking of a 300 to 500 year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world then everything falls into place!
And that opens up a window into the past!
It occurred to me that if I looked closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood I had a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.
So when studying the ancient past prior to the Flood we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And thereby I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.
Which is what research is all about. Now most of the time research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate, true, and with some detail.
When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – reading history, deep internet research, and logic.
Is it worth it?
My answer is as follows: By far most of the readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was that I brought the story alive. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.