Thursday, August 9, 2018

Weaving Spiritual Themes Into Your Story by Gayla K. Hiss

Gayle K. Hiss
One of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of Daniel. Not only was the prophet Daniel gifted with the ability to interpret dreams, he was given a number of amazing prophecies concerning the future. He also had three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (aka Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), who refused to worship the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, which landed them in the fiery furnace to die. As I wrote WILDFIRE, the third book in my Peril in the Park series, the tale of these three brave young men repeatedly came to mind until I saw its connection to the story I was writing. By weaving this theme of the fiery furnace into my story, it added spiritual and emotional depth to the plight of my characters as they experienced their own fiery furnace. It also helped me hone in on the underlying message of my story—that Jesus Christ is with us in the fire.

Perhaps you have a passage, parable, or prophecy of specific interest in the Bible. There are several ways you can incorporate it into your story: You could make the theme an explicit part of the plot, with a storyline built around it, but the characters and situation fictionalized. Shakespeare was a master at taking historical events and adapting them for plays. The same principle could be applied for adapting a Biblical theme to a fictional novel, for example, a prodigal son story set in contemporary or futuristic times.

Another method for incorporating a spiritual theme is more subtle. You could make the characters and story very different from the theme, but what is going on emotionally with the characters is connected to it somehow. This is similar to what I did in my story. When my characters are faced with their own fiery furnace, on an emotional level they are relating back to the story from the book of Daniel. Of course, the theme needs to be hinted at throughout the story to reveal its underlying message, allowing the reader to make the connection.

An even subtler approach is to hint at the theme at the beginning of the story, for instance, a character could quote a proverb in passing. The theme isn’t mentioned again until near the end, at which point the reader realizes that the adage at the beginning had been illustrated by the story.

I’ve only touched on a few ways to weave a spiritual theme into your story. Choosing a theme can simply be a matter of focusing on a Biblical subject that interests you and has relevance to your characters or plot. Sometimes the Biblical theme will suddenly jump off the pages as you write your story. When that happens, it’s a gift—so go with it. A spiritual theme skillfully woven into a story can profoundly impact your readers, and the most inspirational stories are those that are truly “inspired”. 

About the Author

About Gayla K. Hiss

Gayla’s writing journey began with her hobby painting landscapes. In her imagination, characters and scenes came to life as she painted beautiful natural settings. Her inspiring novels combine her love for the great outdoors with romance, suspense, and mystery. Gayla and her husband often tour the country in their RV, visiting many state and national parks. She enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling, and lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s excited to announce the August release of WILDFIRE, book 3 in her Peril in the Park series, which can be purchased on Amazon at Visit to learn more, and connect with her on FacebookAmazon, and Goodreads


Will Rachael and Dylan escape the fire’s fury, or perish in the flames?
Wildfire by Gayla K. Hiss

Sparks fly when wildfire researcher Rachael Woodston clashes with firefighter Dylan Veracruz in Rocky Mountain National Park. The June fire season has just begun, yet a long-standing drought has already turned the national park into a tinderbox. Rachael’s computer data indicates the fire Dylan’s crew is fighting is about to accelerate, but he doesn’t believe her—until the fire suddenly gets out of control and they have to evacuate.

Suspecting arson, Rachael and Dylan join forces in search of answers and soon discover that chasing fires isn’t all they have in common—they’re both survivors who’ve tragically lost loved ones. However, their difference of opinion about faith keeps them at arm’s length, despite a growing attraction. As the danger escalates, Rachael and Dylan soon find themselves in a firestorm they cannot escape. All seems lost until Rachael has a profound encounter that restores her faith and gives her hope. The close call also fuels her determination to stop the fiend behind the flames.
But can she and Dylan solve the mystery and extinguish their enemy before disaster strikes again?