How to Write a Frum Novel

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This was a post I wrote in my teens, while I was still very much religious. As you can see, I was still very bothered by the absolutely abysmal quality of literate in the Jewish community.

BS”D

By C. Yackobovitch

Writing Frum novels can be an exciting, creative and rewarding experience. Not to mention the loads of money you can make; it is rumored that A.M. Amitz makes over one thousand dollars a month. This guide is here to help you on the road to success while keeping in accordance with Jewish ruach and values which are so dear to us, and with the hamlatza and hadracha of top rabbonim.  

The purpose of this guide is merely to serve as a guide to point you in the right direction; it is not meant to come in place of good old fashioned imagination and creativity. Feel free to adapt your story which ever way you like within the general guidelines of this guidebook. I wish you much hatzlacha in your derech.

The first thing you must do is find a good pseudonym. It must have two initials for the first names, and a noun for the last. For example: N.B. Shemesh or S.T. HaYechidi.

Now it is time to select a topic: you can choose between threat of annihilation from Russia or threat of annihilation from terrorists.

It could be either through the use of a dirty bomb, a nuclear bomb, or through a computer hacker bringing the entire world to its knees through shrewd (if obscurely explained) computer manipulation. You may also use a recently publicized threat that has been either used or thwarted in the recent past.

Original examples of this include flying planes into buildings, sending anthrax in the mail, or bringing explosives onto a plane disguised as a bottle of vodka or arak, depending on whether its terrorists or Russians.

Also, there should be another personal plot of equal importance woven amongst the story. It could be a threat to the name of a prominent Bnei Brak family, the threat of financial ruin to a prominent Jerusalem family; or the threat of not finding a Shidduch for the hero of the story.

The plot must include either direct or indirect involvement of CIA or FBI (sometimes also spelled IBF for international bitachon federation.) agents. The specific agents’ names can be either Jack, Robert, or David. (See appendix A: writing the name David.)

If you choose the make the Russians the bad guys, then obviously it will involve the KGB. The agents’ names can be either Alex, Sasha, or Boris. If you choose the terrorist option, it gets a little more complicated: the terrorist leader will be identified by his last name only, i.e. Abu so-and-so. For example: “…the most dreaded terrorist leader of all time, whose name struck fear in the heart of all who heard it, Abu Musrarah…”, while the terrorists in the field may be called either Muhamad, Yusuf or Ibrahim.

Some plot twists you may add to the story:

  • The second to highest bad guy is actually a CIA agent!
  • The silent Russian janitor with the dark sunglasses who cleans the toilets in the Mossed headquarters is really a KGB agent!
  • The CIA agent (who should be named David, thus adding flexibility. On writing David, see appendix A) is so impressed by the actions of the Frum hero, that he reveals that he is actually Jewish and wants to become religious!

How to make your novel a kosher novel

According to halachic decree, the hero must pray no less then every 4.6 pages and before embarking on a major mission. He must also appreciate the A-mighty’s continual supervision and assistance on a constant basis. There is a disagreement amongst the rabbonim as to whether he may eat at a kosher restaurant or not, so it is better to keep the hero away from such places, especially if he is not married.

Also, if he is not married, the entire plot must take place during bein hazman. This can actually add an interesting element to the plot line, as you can include a ‘ticking clock’ feeling to the story. (Will Elazar manage to reveal the true identity of the Russian collaborators, find and diffuse the nuclear bomb, locate his missing Teffilin and save the name of his fathers’ seminary, in only three weeks?…)

Halacha prohibits any other type of book other then mystery stories. There cannot be any comedy, horror, Sci-fi, action, history (with the exception of biographies of rabbonim. IY”H I will be writing a guide on the subject soon), or drama.

It is important to have the hero speak only proper language, no slang, jargon, or other street talk may be used. Nor can there be any reference from the street which would R”L corrupt the minds of our young, L”A.

For example, all the characters must speak like this (modify as necessary for Hebrew.): “Boris! It is thou, ye! Thou hast deceived us! Shame be upon thou! Know yea, if thou shall not release us from our bondage, the United States of the Americas shall impose swift retribution upon thou and thy nation! Swift will be your downfall as you are consumed in the fires of the bombs of the Atom! Hark ye, you have been warned.”

That is all the information you need to write a first-rate absorbing novel; just use this information as a base, and let you imagination run wild.

Appendix A: writing David. It is essential to convey to your readers that this David is an American David, probably a goy. (Unless you choose the ‘CIA agent is really Jewish’ plot twist, see above.) To do this it is essential that the name be spelled right. It should be spelled Dayveed, to convey the optimum American Goyish impression that is so essential for your America Goyish CIA agent.

Appendix B:

The back cover: the key to success.

The back cover can be the decisive factor in a person’s decision to buy a book, so proper wording is key.

Studies have shown that most Yidden are intrigued by questions, so the more questions that are asked on the back cover, the more the odds are that a person will buy the book to read the answers. To write compelling and captivating questions, it is recommended to stick to the five W’s: who what where will and why. I shall bring an example for each.

  • Who is the mysterious man in the fedora who is hanging around the Bermans’ home in the middle of the night?
  • What is the cause of the mysterious disappearances of the Israeli nuclear scientists while on tour in Iran?
  • Where could the mysterious messages that Elimelech is receiving over his long range radio be coming from?
  • Will Yerucham ever see his family again?
  • Why won’t the Arab worker who works on Elyakim Shababs’ plantation tell him where he lives?
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