So, the novel project is finally here (NPO = Novel Project Outline). Gulp. It only took me forever to come up with something I thought I actually kinda sorta liked. I feel kind of bad since everyone else in class seemed to know exactly what they wanted…. Well, almost everybody else (I think there were a few other stragglers.) Anyways. This is what I came up with in the end. And I think it’s starting to grow on me….
So here we go. Readers, meet Only. Only, readers.
Author: Rachel Elizabeth Kimzey
Genre: Historical Fiction
List the characters in the story and give a thorough description of each one (3-4 sentences). Consider physical, emotional, relational, social status, and occupational characteristics.
Jairus – The ruler of the synagogue at Capernaum, Jairus is a cautious and orderly Jewish potter who obeys the law and strives to live a quiet, respectable life. He and his wife Keturah have only one child, their daughter Abihail. His graying hair and beard are always neatly trimmed.
Keturah – Jairus’ wife, she has graying-brown hair and quiet brown eyes. She is a gentle woman who keeps her home running and organized. She devotedly loves her husband and only daughter.
Abihail – Twelve-year-old Abihail is the only daughter of Jairus and Keturah. She is loyal and sweet with brown eyes and a black-brown braid that hangs over her shoulder. Abbi can often be found working in the garden or by her father’s side.
Mordecai – Passionately Jewish, Mordecai is a lean sandal maker with black eyes that burn with spite against Caesar’s existence. He is Keturah’s older brother, the same age as his brother-in-law, Jairus.
Romans – Since Rome conquered Judea, her soldiers have been stationed there to keep order and to remind the Jews who is in charge. Their position of power gives many of them a swagger of superiority over the Israelites. Though there is not a large garrison at Capernaum, there are enough of them to embitter and enrage the children of God.
Jesus – As far as Jairus is aware, Jesus is only a traveling, Nazarene preacher, another of those figures riding a wave of popularity and trying to put a new-fangled twist the Law of Moses. But it is said He has miraculous healing powers and words that crowds hang on. In the end, Jairus discovers that only He can control a world.
Point of View
This story will be told in third person, centering on the character of Jairus.
Capernaum in Israel, c. 29 A.D.
Write a paragraph synopsis of the story (6-8 sentences). Include a summary of the characters, setting, conflict, and theme. This should read like a blurb on the back of a book.
Jairus is the respected synagogue ruler in Capernaum whose house and business are well-kept and orderly. While Roman occupation makes life harder, Jairus strives to keep the peace and get along with his people’s oppressors. His wife’s brother, Mordecai the sandal maker, however, hates every sign of Caesar’s tyranny and has no hesitations about making his sentiments obvious. When Mordecai’s brashness results in a fray and an arrest, Jairus gets caught up in his brother-in-law’s conflict. Worse than that, the struggle strikes his own home when his only daughter, twelve-year-old Abihail gets cut on the leg in the skirmish and the wound becomes fatally infected. With his entire, ordered world shattering like one of the clay pots he spins six days a week, Jairus’ desperation drives him to abandon all thoughts of his public reputation and fling himself at the feet of the traveling Teacher Who is said to be able to miraculously heal. But just as he has finally secured the help of this Jesus of Nazareth, word comes that Jairus’ worst fear has become reality. What does this Teacher mean, “Don’t be afraid; only believe”?
What type of conflict do you see in the story? Give specific examples. Distinguish between major and minor conflicts.
man vs. man – Israel in the days of Roman occupation constantly simmers with conflict. In Only, Jairus’ brother-in-law, Mordecai, hates these symbols of Jewish oppression and has no qualms about making his sentiments obvious.
man vs. environment – Jairus gets caught up in others’ conflicts despite his attempts to live a quiet, righteous life. Abihail battles infection in her leg.
man vs. himself – Jairus wrestles with his own desire to do right and to be dignified and his fear of messing up or offending someone by taking a stand.
State the main theme(s) or message of the story in universal terms that apply to everyone, regardless of age, race, or gender (1 complete sentence). Look for at least two themes.
“Don’t be afraid; only believe.”
When your world falls apart (which, living in a sinful world, it inevitably will), there is only One place to turn.
Courage and caution must be balanced.
List at least three different examples of literary devices used in the story.
Foil— Jairus is a quiet, cautious man who would never take a loud stand for his opinion. Mordecai, his brother-in-law, is his opposite, an outspoken man and a passionate hater of Roman occupation.
Symbolism— Jairus’ carefully ordered world is falling apart, despite his efforts to prevent it. As his mental anguish at this reaches a sub-climax when the physician pronounces his daughter’s case hopeless, Jairus drops the clay vase he has made, and it shatters on the floor.
Oxymoron— Abihail means ‘father is strength’. As she lies dying and her father is helpless to save her, this meaning becomes ironic.
Honestly, I had a very hard time coming up with a novel idea that I felt like I could run with. This story is the closest I have gotten to that. Because so much of the conflict I have set up and is not actually against human, but antagonistic ideas and fears, I think it will take very careful word crafting to create the plot and create it well. Despite these qualms, I think I am getting excited about actually writing something of this scale and caliber….
And I shall have to add pictures later. *sigh*