My guest today is Bonnie Winters. Bonnie shared with me how she started writing Bible fiction.
“I didn’t choose the Bible fiction genre – it chose me. LOL! I was hurting and needed a Bible mentor so I went looking for a female character who had experienced abuse similar to my own and had come through it victoriously. When the Lord first challenged me to look at Ruth, I thought that was crazy because her story didn’t have anything like abuse in it. But as I began to dig into her family history and look at her interactions with others in her story, what I found amazed me and I felt compelled to tell her story.”
Bonnie: The Bible is filled with these “family” stories. Our spiritual ancestors suffered fear, persecution, abuse, grief and loss of relationships. Peel away the cultural differences and we find their stories were very much like ours; stories which God uses to teach us how to deal with our every-day problems or crisis situations and lead us into deeper relationships with him.
Here are some tips to tell God’s family stories in a way to make them believable, relatable, and powerful for your readers through the genre of Bible fiction.
- Choose a Bible character that has ministered to you and make their story personal.
- What do you have in common with your chosen character? What circumstances or events were going on in your life when you chose this character?
- What emotions does the character feel in this story? How do those feelings/emotions mirror your own?
- What specific life lessons does your character learn? How do those lessons apply to you?
- If you are writing about a Bible time period with fictional characters, what makes this time period meaningful to you?
By understanding your personal relationship to a particular Biblical character, story or time period, you can write with more conviction, passion and purpose which will bring your character to life for your readers as well.
- Research the story or character extensively for insight into their lives and personalities.
- Look for other Bible passages which mention your character.
- Examine their family tree for insights into their personalities.
- Research the cultural context of the story for ideas about what motivated them.
- Explore reliable historical sources for family stories, traditions, or myths that were handed down outside the Scriptural accounts –like the Midrash, Josephus’s history or Fox’s Book of Martyrs.
- Pray asking the Lord for insights into parts of the character’s story which are not defined in the Scriptures.
- To write convincing interactions between your character and God, use your own experiences as a pattern.
- Create a timeline or map of how the Lord worked out a difficult life situation for you. Include things like: How did the Lord speak to you? How did the Lord use circumstances, events and people to orchestrate change in your life?
- Explore the emotions you felt as you worked through that situation – chances are your character will have experienced similar emotions.
- Incorporate your personal insights and emotional reactions to help your character come alive on the page.
- Determine to stay true to the Biblical account.
- Always use the Scriptures as the main structure for your story.
- Ask for wisdom and nurture a prayerful imagination as you explore the “what ifs” of fiction for your plot twists, lesser characters and dialog.
God shares his “family stories” with us for our discipline, correction, guidance and growth. Our goal in writing Bible fiction should always be to point our readers to Him and let His spirit do the rest. Who knows what lives will be touched and drawn into His kingdom as we tell those old, old stories from a fresh, prayerful perspective?
Tips to write authentic and gripping Bible fiction. Click to tweet.
Bonnie Winters is a pastor’s wife with over 40 years of experience ministering to women and children. She is a 1973 graduate of Northpoint Bible College in Haverhill, MA. She returned to college in 1996, earning a bachelor’s degree in adult learning and mentoring at Empire State College in Binghamton, NY.
She began writing seriously when she and her husband moved to northern NY to pastor a small town church. She worked as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in their community, and later became the news editor. When they moved back to PA, she began writing Bible fiction after being challenged to delve deeper into the lives of Bible women and to share their stories with the many hurting women she saw around her.
Her first novel, Daughter of Lot which depicts the life of Ruth, was written to encourage and empower hurting women in today’s world to overcome their deeply hurts with God’s help. In response to the plight of women victims of human sex trafficking, Bonnie wrote Daughter of Scarlet, dedicating a portion of the profits to organizations which aide these victims. Her third novel, Daughter of Captivity, is the first of a trilogy depicting the struggles and deliverance of the Hebrew women while enslaved in Egypt.
Bonnie’s books are available in print and e-book form at:
To connect with Bonnie, visit her website at
or e-mail her at
Bonnie! What a joy to find you on Zoe’s blog! I truly loved Daughter of Lot and Daughter of Scarlet. Daughter of Captivity took me by surprise – I didn’t know about it, but I will be getting my copy right away. Excellent post, and I’m convinced there’s no one better to offer advice about biblical fiction. Have a blessed day!
Hi Delia, A little slow today. Just got back from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. I too loved Daughter of Lot. I think Bonnie writes great Bible fiction.
Hi Zoe and thank you! I hope you had a great time at the conference! I don’t have internet access right now, but will try to check in at least one time each day when I can get to the free WiFi. . Camp is great and we’re having a wonderful time.. LOL!
Thank you so much Delia! Good to see you here too! I love the Bible fiction genre – it has been a mighty healing and inspirational force in my life. I appreciate the commet!
Great info Bonnie and of course I loved Daughter of Lot so much, need to get my hands on the other too because without a doubt, your are a writer with a knowing on how to capture the readers attention, to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down and I didn’t want to story to end. Love you Bonnie, thanks for sharing your wisdom so wide and far xoxo
Cheryl, thank you for expressing your encouragement to Bonnie. I agree wholeheartedly!
Thank you Cheryl! I appreciate the encouragement. Keep writing!
Bonnie, What an honor! I have all 3 books and love them. PTL!
Lauren, what a treat to see you here! I am so glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for the encouragement!
Fabulous post, Bonnie – with great advice! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Joanne! I look forward to your post soon too!