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Puddle Jumper
04-20-2005, 08:05 AM
What kinds of fears or hinderances or reservations do you have in writing a novel in this genre "Christian Fiction?"

Me, I tend to feel uneasy trying to write a novel that reflects some of my biggest heartaches and struggles in life. Essentially trying to create a character that reflects me.

zizban
04-20-2005, 05:04 PM
Trying to do something that hasn't been done a bazillion times before. Really wanting to write something that may or may not offend someone but none the less, comes straight from the heart.

Ralyks
04-20-2005, 10:37 PM
Not fitting into the "Christian" market niche because it is too literary or too "secular" in some ways--and not fitting into the secular market because it is too "Christian."

Calla Lily
04-21-2005, 02:54 AM
Ditto, skylar!

I find that much Christian fiction falls into the "heartwarming" category -- and I write horror! But I doubt any non-Christian agent/publisher would look at my book because I *gasp* quote the Bible and talk about the search for God. :Ssh:

(Attended a one-day writers' conf in Stoneboro PA last Sat. and everything that wone a prize was 100% heartwarming. After the first bunch I gave up on hearing my name called and just sat back, applauded, and enjoyed the readings.)

-the Lily

zizban
04-21-2005, 05:48 PM
I hear you on that one. The book I wrote is a fictional retelling of the New Testament but set in a kind of alternative ancient Israel. You could read the book as straight fantasy, I guess, but it is deeply rooted in the bible so it falls in that middle ground between secular and religious.

DrRita
04-21-2005, 06:38 PM
I think I have to echo Skylar's comment. I desire to write for the secular market sharing Christian values. Hmmmm. Sounds like a conundrum or an oxymoron when you stop and think about it. Anyway, I guess I hope to write well enough to get my foot in the door and fear I never will.:Headbang:

Puddle Jumper
04-23-2005, 04:33 AM
Ditto, skylar!

I find that much Christian fiction falls into the "heartwarming" category -- and I write horror! But I doubt any non-Christian agent/publisher would look at my book because I *gasp* quote the Bible and talk about the search for God. :Ssh:

(Attended a one-day writers' conf in Stoneboro PA last Sat. and everything that wone a prize was 100% heartwarming. After the first bunch I gave up on hearing my name called and just sat back, applauded, and enjoyed the readings.)

-the Lily
If you care about winning prizes, then that's probably not the area of writing you want to go into, unless you're the one to break the mold. :p There are books out there that I would classify as Christian Horror. When I was in High School I read a book called "Dead Air" which I would put into that category. I'm not sure exactly what elements are needed for a book to become horror. I myself like having suspense in a story but I wouldn't classify it as horror even though it can be a scary situation. For example, Dee Henderson's O'Malley series has suspense in them which can make them scary at times.

I don't typically think about genre when I write. The hard thing is that my favorite genre really doesn't seem to fit in with Christian fiction. I like fantasy adventure stories. Movie wise, I like movies like Indiana Jones where you have some of everything, action, adventure, suspense, romance, fantasy, etc...

As for heartwarming, couldn't a horror novel have something heartwarming about it? Kind of like, even in the darkest of times there is still hope. Even when all the world has turned to evil, some good still exists somewhere.

rosewood
05-04-2005, 05:39 AM
Ditto, skylar!

I find that much Christian fiction falls into the "heartwarming" category -- and I write horror! But I doubt any non-Christian agent/publisher would look at my book because I *gasp* quote the Bible and talk about the search for God. :Ssh:

(Attended a one-day writers' conf in Stoneboro PA last Sat. and everything that wone a prize was 100% heartwarming. After the first bunch I gave up on hearing my name called and just sat back, applauded, and enjoyed the readings.)

-the Lily


Wait, what about Frank E. Peretti? He currently has out a book called, "Monster." I haven't read it, but it sounds like a horror/Christian type.

zizban
05-04-2005, 05:55 AM
I'd love to do a story about Abraham, one of my heroes. After current in WIP I may try.

Puddle Jumper
05-10-2005, 08:08 AM
Not so much a fear as a reservation. Writing about the problems with church leadership. The political structure, those quick to pass judgment and slow to spend time waiting on God to give His answer.

zizban
05-10-2005, 05:11 PM
Not so much a fear as a reservation. Writing about the problems with church leadership. The political structure, those quick to pass judgment and slow to spend time waiting on God to give His answer.

While that story may not find a home at Christian publisher, there are many theological presses that publish books of that nature, so I say, go for it.

Calla Lily
05-16-2005, 03:04 PM
[been off the boards for awhile -- kids' soccer is the giant black hole of my life] :rolleyes:

Yes, there is Christian horror -- but it's an incredibly small market. And I'm a complete unkinwn! A high hill to climb. But the June writers' conference is coming up, and I am turning on every speck of talent and charm I have to wow an agent.

the Lily

Betty W01
05-17-2005, 10:42 PM
Good luck, Lily! (And enjoy your soccer mom days while you can - my youngest is now 19, and I really miss those days.)

Homesar Runner
06-01-2005, 08:52 PM
I'm wandering around these threads in this area looking for guidelines. I'm not all that happy about what I'm turning up.

C. S. Lewis (somewhere in God in the Dock, I think) once discoursed on what it means to be "Christian" in any except the overty religious sense (i.e. when at worship services). Specifically, he had in mind the "witness" which Christians give to non-Christians around them.

He derided the notion that to witness or to live as a Christian meant saying more prayers in public, or composing more little pamphlets to pass out to friends and strangers alike. Instead, he argued for going boldly into whatever human endeavor one would ordinarily find oneself, and then to earn the reputation of doing that endeavor at the absolute peak of achievement. The kind of thing he had in mind was something like this -- in the field of engineering, if the very best text or resource were written by a Christian (even better, by Christians), then this would be the best witness possible (leaving aside a straightforward gospel presentation). The idea is that a gospel presentation has little or no credibility apart from the integrity of the person presenting it.

In the past I knew a man whose text on human pathology was the standard text in medical schools around the world. He was a solidly orthodox Christian. That's the thing Lewis was urging on his hearers.

Take this idea to fiction and what do you get?

Well, there are a number of Christian authors in the sense Lewis was talking about. He was one himself, an internationally recognized authority on literary criticism and certain segments of English literature. Tolkien had his own niches carved out -- niches of sheer intellectual bravado and quality -- which made his creative efforts (The Ring Trilogy, the Hobbit) good works which adorn the gospel. So also with other Inklings members (Sayers, for example).

Question: when thinking of "Christian fiction," do Lewis, Tolkien, or Sayers leap to one's mind? How about Chesterton (Father Brown myteries), or Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael mysteries), or P. D. James (murder mysteries). In other threads I've discovered that even Jan Karon's Mitford books do NOT come to mind when one thinks of Christian fiction. This makes me very uneasy.

Why not Christian horror? Are there not things in this world that are fairly dripping with horror, which are rightly perceived in a Christian worldview?

Why not Christian murder mysteries? What more immediate application of Ephesians 5:13 than a well-told tale of murder most foul and its discovery and exposure by faithfully dogged pursuers of the truth? Jane Marple murder mysteries are, in this view, quite Christian and Miss Marple doesn't have to be quoting a Bible verse every other paragraph for this to be true.

As mentioned already, Lewis, and Tolkien, and MacDonald, and Chesterton have already hinted at the possibilities of Christian fantasy.

Christian bodice-rippers? okay, that's over the line in more ways than one.

Christian westerns? Why not?

Christian sci-fi? Some are trying this, but the results are problematic so far (for much the same reason that Lewis' "science fiction trilogy" was problematic as far as the sci-fi genre is concerned).

The biggest anxiety to me is what is meant by readers and publishers by the word "Christian" in the lable "Christian fiction." You see this in the debate that rages among some evangelicals over the Harry Potter books. Some damn them as heinous and insidious incursions of witchcraft into the church. Others hail them as some of the most innovative and original exposition of the Christian worldview since Tolkien (though no one argues that the sheer craftsmanship of Tolkien has been rivaled by Rowling).

Does Christian fiction require a bible verse every so many paragraphs? Are the characters necessarily overt Christians? Are the plot conflicts free of "not nice things?" Is the point to be "heart-warming," to the exlusion of any other purpose? Jonathan Edwards made history by preaching about hell. Why should a Christian novel which inspired the same fear be deemed sub-Christian (I'm guessing that it would be so deemed).

These are the kinds of things that disturb me about Christian fiction.

Homesar

Doyle
06-09-2005, 06:30 AM
I like your post very much, you sound like someone I would enjoy meeting and discussing the directions we have taken as believers. Continue what you are doing, I will be looking for more posts from you.

As to the theme of the thread, Homesar really adresses it best. The question one should ask, if one is a believer, is "Lord, do you want me to be a writer? And Lord, what would you like me to write?" Fear is the opposite of faith, so if fear is a concern, then there is a lack of faith. Hindrances are the stepping stones that enrich our relationship with our Father, and reservations are the many rationalizations we create to justify what we do or don't want to do.

Just a quick thought on the subject at hand -- ^-^.

ldumont999
06-10-2005, 09:18 PM
izban wrote:
Trying to do something that hasn't been done a bazillion times before. Really wanting to write something that may or may not offend someone but none the less, comes straight from the heart.

REPLY
There is an old writing adage that tells us we can say something old using a fresh approach or we can say something new using tried and true techniques. Either of these works well. The key is NOT to jump on the current bandwagon but to look to the future and anticipate the trends to come.