Creative Writing Plot Ideas: Dealing With Manipulative People

Posted at 18:11pm on 11th June 2010

Whether you’re looking for new creative writing plot ideas, characters for your novel, or how to deal with negative personality traits in real life, there’s plenty of material to be found in this old story about Samson and Delilah. Tom Jones song must, surely, have made her one of the best known bad girls of the Bible. But the song lyrics are wrong, because it wasn’t Samson who stabbed Delilah with a knife, but she who brought about his downfall.


The structure of a novel depends as much upon understanding human behaviour as it does learning creative writing techniques. So the better equipped you are in recognising and dealing with manipulative people in real life, the stronger your writing will become. No matter whether you have a faith or not, the Bible, as one of the world’s oldest books, is a rich source of plot ideas (as author, Jeffrey Archer, knows) and, since the definition of a novel is the unfolding of a fictional prose through the thoughts, words and deeds of its characters, where better to find them?


Before we look at the relationship between Samson and Delilah, here’s a little back-story about the man, himself. As you read it, try to think of modern day equivalents. Yes, I know that miracle births and announcements by celestial beings are thin on the ground, but there are always Churchills, Mandelas and Mother Theresas who are ‘saviours’ and ‘deliverers’.

  • Samson’s mother was barren, so his birth was miraculous.
  • Like Ishmael, Isaac, John the Baptist and Jesus, it was announced by an angel.
  • He was ‘set aside’ for God; and, like Moses before him and Jesus after him was to be a ‘saviour’: to deliver God’s people – in this case, from the Philistines.
  • As God’s man – a Nazarite - he had boundaries set on his way of life: notably, no fruit of the vine, alcohol, or cutting of his hair.
  • He was blessed with gifts of mind and body, particularly his superhuman strength.
  • Unfortunately, he also had several flaws which involved flouting some of those boundaries, and exploiting his gifts.


Samson’s history reads like a badly written melodrama. First, he married the enemy - a Philistine woman! Then he indulged in mind games and set his Philistine wedding guests a riddle – for which he offered a prize - based on one of his exploits when he killed a lion with his bare hands.

When his wife tricked him into giving her the answer so that she could betray him to their guests, he promptly killed them. Naturally, he then had to run away and hide!

So his father in law gave his bride to his best man. That really enraged him! He went on another killing spree, tying the tails of 300 foxes together and setting them on fire in the midst of the Philistines.

What did they do? They killed his wife and all her family, and determined to kill him too.


Can you see how this story has evolved? The plot ideas begin with privilege, talent, celebrity, power, status and – supremely - responsibility. Responsibility to deliver God’s people from the very people he’s about to marry into. The Theme of the story to date might, therefore, be summed up in one word: Irony!

It continues with utter irresponsibility: self-indulgence (in making the wrong choices of wife); self-glorification (in playing mind games centred on his daring-do); and revenge (killing his guests).

The structure of a novel depends upon cause and effect (or consequences). The causes of Samson’s actions were the flaws in his character: his negative personality traits. The consequences were a downward spiral of anger and revenge, bordering on the absurd. The story, at this stage, might be written either as a Greek tragedy or a Brian Rix farce.


We’ll take a look at Delilah’s life and character.
Developing Plot Ideas To Show Characterisation

Related articles:

Creative Writing Techniques
The Drama Triangle & The Games People Play
Personality Test

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