Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the essence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
The Substance Hoped For is my novel of Christian Fiction, based on the verse from Hebrews above. It comes in at a bit over 400 pages. I first wrote the story as a screenplay, and I was fortunate to have had it read by Dolly Parton’s Sandollar Productions. They declined on it, but getting read is a big deal. I’m proud of that, even if I still have to pony up the $5 for a decent latte’!
The inspiration came from a Christmas album that struck me as a movie soundtrack, even though it wasn’t. The album was simply a fantastic piece of arrangements and styles I’d never experienced before. Once I had a story fleshed out in my mind, I started clacking away on the ol’ keyboard. Even though I’d written a master’s thesis in graduate school, this was the first time I’d tried something of any appreciable length; 120 pages for a full-length movie, the rule of thumb being 1 minute per page.
After Sandollar reading and declining, I tried several other studios with no luck at all. I started thinking that, due to the material being set in mostly in biblical times, the inherent production costs and the fact that it’s unabashedly Christian, my chances were not very good of ever seeing it produced.
That’s when I decided to re-write it as a novel. Production costs for period pieces are the same as current day, sci-fi, or anything else: ink and paper. Plus the fact that you don’t have the time constraints of a 2 hour movie. You can say everything you want to in a novel. As long as it’s quality material, people generally prefer longer novels to get their money’s worth! Look at Steven King’s works, especially The Stand! And I wanted it to keep going when I reached the end. Tom Clancy? There’s no such thing as a short Clancy thriller. Thankfully!!
So The Substance Hoped For was redone as a novel, where I was able to expand and really tell the entire story the way it should be. I was able to add characters and plot lines that made it all the more compelling.
The next five posts will be about how The Substance Hoped For was written, from inspiration to execution. Think of these next installments as the literary equivalent of a DVD extra: The Making of The Substance Hoped For! I’ll write about general writing principles I use and how I applied them. No spoilers – I promise!!
In the meantime, you can check it out at Authorhouse. There’s a synopsis and a sample page available for you to look at. Give it a look!
The Substance Hoped For by Jeffrey H. King
Available on line at Authorhouse in hard and soft cover. Look for the orange cover.