Following the Writing Rules

As a writer, I study my craft as much as possible. I read and read and read. What makes this book so popular? What makes this author so famous? What can I glean from the knowledge of these who have come before me? It's a constant learning process. Thankfully, I love to learn.

One of the things I've learned is that I (the author) need to make my story easy for the readers to follow. That doesn't mean I should talk down to them, but rather that I should write for the proper age range and not throw in too much extraneous or confusing material. This seems easy, but let me tell you, it's not as easy as it sounds.

One thing that often confuses me when reading a book is when several of the characters have similar sounding names. For example, a book that I'm currently reading has three characters whose names all start with a "B" and sound/look very similar. Although the book is interesting and otherwise well-written, I find myself having to stop to make sure I'm thinking of the right character. Similarly, I once listened to an audio book with my husband about a man and his two adult children. The problem was that the man and the son had the same name. I was confused all the way through that story because I could never figure out which character the author was referring to.

But neither of these books can compare to the Bible. Do you have any idea how many Marys are in the New Testament? There are so many that it sometimes simply says, "the other Mary." And what about the kings listed in Kings and Chronicles? I recently read through those books, and I had a very difficult time keeping track of the "J" names and the "A" names. Jehoahaz. Jehoash. Jehoiakim. Jehoiachin. Joram. Jehoram. Seriously, it's confusing, and the "A" names aren't much better. Ahaziah. Amaziah. Athaliah. Azariah. Who can keep all that straight?

That's one of the ways I know the Bible is truly inspired of God. It it were written by men, they would have chosen names that weren't so similar. "No, we already have two names ending in iah, let's call this one Bob." It sounds funny, but it makes sense. Another writer, whether they've studied the craft or not would not have made up names that so closely resembled one another or included so many Marys. But since the Bible is a real account of real people, there are bound to be some similar or repeated names. It's just another way God proves to us that His Word is true. (Also, it keeps us alert during our Bible reading time!)