Author Archive | Dave Parks

Action Beats

Getting Dialogue Right: How to Use Dialogue Tags and Action Beats An Easy Way to Immediately Improve Your Character’s Action Beats Do You Use Too Many Generic Action Tags?

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“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone;the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” Ancient Israelite House [sic]”If one were to walk through the front door they might see a child lying in a hammock wrapped in swaddling clothes, and a woman seated at her […]

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why so young? Why short names? Why modern English? 1. Why so young? He had a lot to do. Elijah saw three kings whose reigns totaled thirty-six years. King Ahab, 874-853 = 22 years King Ahaziah, 853-852 = 2 years King Joram, 852-841 = 12 years In the 9th Century, BC, most people died before their fiftieth […]

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Short Names

These stories are fiction, not Bible, not history. Modern historians use full names: George, Thomas, Abraham. Fiction may mix in short names: Georgie, Tom, or Abe. Ancient historians used full names: Elijah, Nathan, Shelemiah. This fiction mixes in Lijah, Nate, and Shel. Yes, short names do make them sound undignified at times. And they’re okay with that.

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Obadiah Outline

The Need 09 Jar of Fish – Abdel is killed 10 The Beginning – Obadiah discovers the murder 11 Bubblers – Jezebel’s men target bubblers The Solution 17 Bubblers Prep – Mrs. O goes to market 18 Bubblers Send – Shelemiah sends 17 to Megiddo 19 Bubblers Shop – Mrs. O sets up shopping system […]

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The grandfather of the local raven family flew into Jabesh and perched high in the city’s tallest tree while his flock hid among the leaves. The smell of fresh bread drifted up. He called and pointed his beak toward an open window. A young bird with a pink mouth swooped in, picked up a pita […]

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Why so young?

Why so young?

The Bible makes no mention of Elijah’s years. Some artists paint him with a white beard, but he started with pink cheeks. Elijah did not drop into the scene stooped over a cane. Like the rest of us, he crawled before he walked. Elijah saw three kings whose reigns totaled thirty-six years. King Ahab, 874-853 = […]

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Pam on Joshabiah’s POV

I read about a page and a half, puzzling about the feeling that this was the same scene I’d just read, told differently. Then I realized you were telling it from Joshabiah’s POV. Although it’s very common to alternate POVs in a story, I wasn’t expecting it, so I was confused. Will you be using […]

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A Checklist for Vivid Writing

ENVIRONMENT What is the weather/temperature/climate What kind of lighting is present What time of day is it What time of year is it SETS Indoors : What is the type and size of the room/enclosure she is occupying? How is it furnished? Outdoors: What is the terrain (hilly, marshy, rocky, lush, dusty, etc)? What plants, […]

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Now what?

What should Elijah do? Up on the ridge, Elijah hid in the bushes with Nathan beside him. In the village below, two men in black tunics came out of the tiny Tishbe bakery munching on fresh bread. Their left shoulders bore the pink insignia of the Kronos idol spitting flames. The Tishbe potter headed toward […]

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Crested_Lark copy


I searched for songbirds in Israel and found this delightful blog. So I emailed, “Can you please tell me what bird songs might have been heard near Jabesh of Gilead in the time of Elijah?” 20 minutes later: Hello Dave, It’s quite hard to be sure of the local avian population, especially without giving a […]

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What are you doing here?

Elijah barely got into the desert when he forgot his promise to come back for Nathan. “Just let me die, okay, Lord? Maybe that way Jezebel will leave my mother alone.” He curled up in the shade of a broom bush and went to sleep. Three hours later an angel touched his arm. “Have a […]

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Scales 1683266-milleniumscale


Coins — small, flat, (usually) round pieces of metal used to buy and sell, came into the Middle East a few centuries after Elijah. confirms that there were no coins as early as 870, just chunks or ingots. This one is much more superficial, but with some useful information. Keep in mind that references in […]

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Moloch מלכ

The first author in the Bible who condemned child sacrifice wrote in Leviticus 18:21. Many others followed. Assuming Jezebel from Sidon influenced Ahab’s worship of Baal, Ahab’s method of child sacrifice could have followed this 4th Century BC description from Sidon . There stands in their midst a bronze statue of Kronos, its hands extended […]

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Ahab vs. Obadiah

Obadiah, the king’s chief of staff, came in and stood before King Ahab. “You sent for me?” “Just have a seat and watch.” Two guards came in with Artsa1, the accountant, between them. “You sent for me?” Ahab pointed to a stack of financial accounts. “Several entries don’t add up.” Artsa gulped. Obadiah touched his […]

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Kronos Cleitarchus = Clitarchus = Kleitarchos (ca. 310-300 BC) This writer was one of the popular biographers of Alexander, and wrote ca. 310-300 BC. His words are found in the Scholia to Plato’s Republic, I, 337A (ed. Bekker, vol. 9, p.68): Κλείταρχος δέ φησι τοὺς Φοίνικας, καὶ μάλιστα Καρχηδονίους, τὸν Κρόνον τιμῶντας, ἐπάν τινος μεγάλου κατατυχεῖν σπεύδωσιν, εὔχεσθαι […]

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Well of Harod ein-harod-A


Judges 7:1 …Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod…. Have you seen the Well of Harod? Please tell us about it. Nathan waited for Elijah at the Well of Harod. The Well of Harod How does Harod look today? Send a picture.

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Yom Teruah יְוֹם תְּרוּעָה “day of shouting or blasting.” “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” Leviticus 23:24, 25  

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Modern language

Please let me know if words don’t fit the period. I know better than to ask Elijah to discuss helicopters or syringes. But “munchies” and “certifiable” did slip into early drafts. My friend, Ava, says I jolt her with “literary whiplash.” So, I try to avoid words that do not fit the era. Partly to keep from […]

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By the rivers of Babylon – Psalm 137:1-6

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall […]

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אחימעץ  Ah-hee-MAH-ahz A swift runner First to bring David news of the defeat of Absalom But when asked for details, replied, “I saw great confusion … but I don’t know what it was.” 2 Samuel 18:19-33

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Jair, buried in Kamon

On their way out of Gilead, at sundown, Elijah and Nathan, stopped in a grove outside Kamon, where the judge, Jair, was buried. “… Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. When Jair died, he was buried […]

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  Shibboleth – pronounced shibboleth (שִׁבֹּלֶת) east of the river, but pronounced sibboleth (סִבֹּלֶת) west of the river. Read the story in the book of Judges, Chapters 11-12 It happened in 1097 BC, about 223 years before Elijah first talked with King Ahab, about 874 BC    

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Tishbe - Elijah the Tishbite from Tishbe lived in the region of Gilead, home of the two Israeli tribes Gad and Manasseh.

Jabbock River

Here Elijah’s ancestor Jacob met Esau and struggled with the angel. He crossed the Jabbok on his way from Haran into Canaan. The Jabbok flows west into the Sukkot Valley across from Shechem. The biblical cities of Zaretan and Adam lie at the mouth of this valley. This river separated the territory of Reuben and […]

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Jabesh City Jabesh (YAH-besh יבש) was a town on the east bank of the Jordan River, overlooking the Yarmuk River from the top of one of the many green hills of Gilead. People in Jabesh could look across the Jordan River and see the city of Beth-shan on the west bank. Jabesh-Gilead Wiki King Saul in 1 […]

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What exodus?

One hole I remember — what kind of archeological trail should such an event have left I don’t recall the exact language off the top of my head, but Exodus states that about 600K Israelite men set out on the march out of Egypt.  Double that for wives, children and camp followers and you have […]

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The black-and-yellow-spotted Yellowhammer (Emberiza Citrinella) inspired several poems, including “The Yellowhammer’s Nest” by John Clare. The melody of its song influenced the compositions of Beethoven.

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King’s Highway

The King’s Highway was a trade route from Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula to Aqaba, north to Damascus and the Euphrates River. The modern highways 35 and 15 follow this route across Jordan from Aqaba to Irbid.

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What did Elijah wear under that moth-eaten old goatskin? In 871 BC, the closest thing to a modern shirt was the tunic or כֻּתֹּנֶת koo-TOE-net. Most hung from neck to ankles and tied at the throat. Anat Harrel gave me a heads up. “The proper pronunciation of tunic in Hebrew is koo-toe-net — koo as […]

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Wineskin 1 resting


The skin of a mature goat holds 30 to 40 liters. A liter of wine weighs 1 kilogram, about 2.2 lbs. So Elijah and Nathan lifted wineskins which weighed 30-40 kilos, or 66-88 lbs. The normal donkey load of two full goatskins weighed 60-80 kilos, or 132-198 lb. This modern rack and modern wineskin both […]

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How long would it take Obadiah to go from Jezreel City up to Samaria City? I emailed Anat Harrel. “Let me try to answer that. There is no Jezreel City today. Do you mean Tel Jezreel? The archaeological site where Ahab’s city stood? Today you can barely see any ruins, not much left. “It is […]

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Say what?

Typos hide from me. They think it’s a game. Implausible plot twists sneak in during the night. Please reveal them to me. And if you would be so kind as to do a serious critique of a chapter, ask and ye shall receive it in MS Word format. Dave

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In a world where not everything that glitters is gold, who can we trust to help children? We trust the people of In Better Hands because Walt and Wanda Schulz go to help them in person and send them money. I grew up with Wanda (nee Brugger) Schulcz in Spring Arbor, Michigan, and Vickie lived across the street from Walt […]

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Yul Brynner as Pharoah 2

Thutmose Who?

Elijah’s father told the camel puller they left the Nile when “Thutmose was pharaoh.” In 1883 Alfred Edersheim noted these facts about Thutmose II: a brief, prosperous reign as pharaoh a sudden collapse no son to succeed him So, he nominated Thutmose II as the pharaoh of the Exodus. Dr. Joel Klenck, president of the Paleontological Research Corporation, seems […]

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My dad sat at the kitchen table with me after supper and listened to the Lone Ranger. We didn’t have TV for a few years after it came in because good Free Methodists didn’t go to movies, and TV looked like a movie. Instead we listened to the radio and made movies with our imaginations. […]

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