I want to write a story about the crucifixion. I don’t really want to tell Jesus’ story (at least not directly). I will use his recorded words and speculate somewhat on his actions and appearance but I sense that writing much more than that would require a confidence (arrogance?) which I do not have.

If one is a Christian (which I am) and one believes that Jesus is God (which I do) then to write a story from Jesus’ perspective, one would need to have insight in to God’s thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, his assessment of individual people. I am not a skilled enough writer, thinker to have interest in taking on that task.

I will set my sights lower and focus on the thieves who hung next to him. This should be interesting. Their reaction to Jesus and his reaction to them has been theological and cultural fodder for a couple thousand years. They were first hand observers of one of the world’s most significant historical events. I have every reason to believe that they were complex people who had challenging stories and could have been connected to each other and Jesus before the crucifixion. They probably also swore a lot and were involved in antics which would require me to add tone, humor and humanness to properly tell their story.

Why were they on the cross? What was their crime? Were they there for a divine reason or could it have been any two criminals? They both started out by insulting Jesus, but why did one of them (and only one) choose to defend Jesus in the end? And why did Jesus give that one a “get out of jail free” card?

1. Because of my beliefs and the spiritual nature of the story, I feel pressure to write it with obvious conclusions which align nicely with my beliefs. Do I need to tell their story with a pre-ordained outline or can I just tell their story?

2. I don’t really have the time or interest to write “historical” fiction. It requires too much time to study the context and cultural details which I currently am either not aware of or don’t understand. Do I do the research anyway so I write an informed story? Do I not do the research since 99% of my potential readers won’t know anyway and since this is a story about people, not history? Do I write a story set in current times which is “inspired” by the events of the crucifixion?

3. Are these things which require my attention or should I just start writing and figure out as I go?