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Keith A. Robinson had no plans to be an author. But the love of reading finally caught up with this music teacher from Wisconsin. He wanted to honor God by using his imagination to write a science fiction story about what life would be like on a world where evolution had really taken place. That idea became his first novel, Logic’s End.
But he wanted to do more than simply produce another exciting story—he wanted to infuse it with biblical truth. Realizing the power of fiction to reach a wide audience, Keith decided to use creative storytelling to show that the Bible can be trusted. It’s a marriage he calls apologetics fiction. “Non-Christians don’t want to read a book that they know is going to preach to them. Therefore, we are trying to repackage the information from the nonfiction [apologetics] books into exciting stories that entertain while they educate . . . making the books effective witnessing tools.”
For Christians, Keith says that tying Bible-defending material into a memorable plot helps believers remember the key issues— much like Jesus’s parables. Not only do the plot elements move the story along, but they also act as guideposts when readers later discuss the issues with friends and family.
The goal is not to present a thesis in the middle of a novel but rather to whet the appetite of the reader.
The uniqueness of this burgeoning genre has also captivated other writers. Along with authors Tim Chaffey, Julie Cave, and Nick Daniels, Keith maintains a website that promotes his books and encourages future writers in this genre.
For aspiring novelists hoping to follow in his footsteps, Keith explains that you shouldn’t focus on giving all the answers in your book. “I believe it is imperative that the apologetics arguments not get in the way of the flow of the storytelling. . . . The goal is not to present a thesis on a topic in the middle of a novel, but rather to whet the appetite of the reader.”
You can find out more about Christian apologetics fiction by Keith Robinson and others at www.apologeticsfiction.com
You have to know what apologetics arguments you want to include in the novel. As I do the research, I take notes so I can later footnote my novels. This is important because it lets the reader know what is fact and what is pure storytelling.
No matter how good your arguments are, no one will read the book if the story isn’t exciting.
Get the general plot mapped out in your head, and then figure out the most effective way to present the apologetics arguments. Would some part of the plot be a great object lesson or help demonstrate a truth memorably?
Write down which apologetics arguments will appear in each chapter (if any).
Bring the characters to life by developing backgrounds for them, but keep in mind how each personality might affect both the story and the apologetics arguments.
All of that preliminary work should be done before you write the first sentence. But the great news is that once everything is in place, the story basically writes itself.