When crafting biblically accurate stories, the rule of thumb is to let the crafters pick which details to include. If it's not my culture, I don't know what details will resonate, so the choice shouldn't be mine. What clicks for me might be a yawn for them, and vice versa.
The classic example of this is from my idol (idol in a nice role modely way, not in a creepy stalkery way) Jo Shetler's book. Here's how I remember the story going, my copy of the book is in mmmBELLYmay land, so I can't look it up.
Jo had been in the Philippines for a while, but one of her friends village was never really interested in hearing about this guy Jesus. She kept on translating away, even the boring part at the beginning of the book by Matthew. Have I blasphemed by saying that there's a part that's boring to me? Come on, this is just not gripping reading to me.
But when her friend saw the boring part, Jesus' family tree, it totally gripped him. He could list his ancestors back for generations, that was huge in their culture. Seeing Jesus' lineage was proof for him that Jesus was who he said he was. They copied the genealogy onto big pieces of paper and he went around showing it to people. People were so fascinated by it that they wore the paper out, and had to recopy it over and over again.
Last week I helped with a storying group of American junior high students. The episode that week was the first time people disobeyed God. The storyteller and I talked about leaving this part out: "And God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife." It just kind of hangs there toward the end of the story, not connected to anything else. I had a lovely theological reason to leave it in, but I told the storyteller that I knew the kids wouldn't make that connection.
We left it in anyway.
In the discussion, one of the students said, "God does nice things for us even when we're bad. He made clothes for them even though they didn't listen to him."
I've blogged about the power of this detail in mmmBELLYmay land here, my most read post. I really didn't expect a similar response in the States, though. Huh. Goes to show how much I know.