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DrRita
09-30-2005, 06:02 PM
I've been reading a book on screenwriting that has provoked a bit of thinking about Christians and writing. How honest are we as Christians about the conflicts we face in life? I know for myself, I want to portray Christ as victor, the Holy Spirit as the power of reason and strength and God as the final authority in my life, but do I misrepresent or gloss over my own conflicts (my setbacks and losses) to stack the deck, as it were, in God's favor? I know God doesn't always win because of our free will. As Christians, we more than all other humanity, should understand the struggles and conflict of this life. Do you think Christian writers (in a general sense) hold back and are less than honest when it comes to true conflict? Could that contribute to the weakness in Christian fiction? Just curious.

Edgarallenwannabe
10-01-2005, 03:01 AM
I'm a nobody in the writer's game...but I completely agree. Christians don't always make the right choices, evil wins in the short term, especially in these days...and life is far "messier" than many Christian novels make out. Even when a lot of them (stories) portray unsaved characters who get saved, the transformation is like a light switch. In many cases, in real life, it's not like that. There is true darkness in the world, and many Christians have spent their entire lives battling that darkness. "In this life, there will be many troubles..."

Plus...speaking strictly from a reader's point view...there are really no dastardly, BAD villians out there in Christian fiction, I think, because of the same thing: there is an innate desire to write Christ/Christians as ultimately victorious, and make the bad guys flop in the end, for fear of making evil look too good. Carpathia was a good example in the LB series...he was just a moron by the end of the series. I have to imagine the anti-christ will be a little more threatening than that. The Visitation, by Peretti, was better...but even then, the false prophet gets beaten 'cause he just loses it when the demons predictably bail on him. I understand and even agree with the underlying spiritual theme that demons lie and betray, corrupting people's lives....but the turnaround just seems too quick; too staged in order for it to be "acceptable" to certain standards.

Here's what missing from Christian fiction: unpredictability; suspension of disbelief for the sake of a good yarn; and that "chill" when you realize that evil has somehow managed to win, despite everyone's best intentions. The end of the Stand, by Stephen King, is perfect: the good guys win, at the horrible expense of several of the heroes lives....and we end with the realization that the "walkin' dude", Randall Flag, the epitome of evil, King's secular version of the anti-christ, has simply moved onto another country, to start all over.

Kevin Lucia
www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net/)

Edgarallenwannabe
10-01-2005, 04:34 AM
...although, in response to your post, I'd say WE lose/fail because of our free will, not God....

DrRita
10-01-2005, 08:15 AM
...although, in response to your post, I'd say WE lose/fail because of our free will, not God....


Yes, Kevin, that may be a better way of putting it. God doesn't lose, we do. Amen

Lyra Jean
10-01-2005, 09:28 AM
I stopped reading Christian fiction because it seemed so fake. If a person isn't saved and then gets saved all of a sudden he has no problems and everything is hunky dory they don't have problems anymore.

Even Paul the apostle had problems and he is the strongest christian I "know" living or dead. The whole genre just seems unrealistic.

So what can we do as writers to change this?

Edgarallenwannabe
10-01-2005, 02:42 PM
It's hard to say. I think a big problem probably lies with the publishers and the "image" they want to portray. Now, it's very likely that my work will never be published by a traditional publisher simply because it's either not good enough or too "long - winded", (I'm fairly self-aware of my own writing faults ;) ), but I also wonder if it will ever get published because it's drawn from a lot of my life; it's about Christians hurting, and stumbling around a lot -versus always making the right decision. It doesn't glorify sin, (I hope), but its got a harder edge to it than most Christian fiction. Again, maybe it won't ever get published simply because it's not good enough....but maybe it won't because it doesn't quite "fit in" with what Christian publishers are looking for...it's in a niche...too Godly for the secular publishers, not "squeaky clean, ultra-polished perfecto world" enough for Christian publishers.

www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net/) - Dark Waters

Gravity
10-02-2005, 07:42 AM
All I know is, RiverOak took a chance on my mystery/suspense series, and it seems to be paying off. The protagonist, Joe Box, is a newly-saved hardboiled PI trying to balance his gritty profession against this untried (for him) walk of faith. He fails and falls nearly as often as he succeeds, and my editor says it's precisely because of this dichotemy and "edginess" that the series got the go-ahead.

The first, Until the Last Dog Dies, came out last year and garnered some nice press. The next, When Skylarks Fall, is in the stores now. Its followup, To Skin a Cat, will be out next year. (It takes on the kiddie-porn industry, and consequently was very hard to write; the research involved was nightmarish, to say the least). Three more are in the works. So yeah, I think the CBA is changing...finally.

John

Edgarallenwannabe
10-02-2005, 02:58 PM
Do you have conact info for RiverOak? I tried to look them up on the 'net and couldn't find anything. Maybe I can send them my manuscript when its finished.

Robin Bayne
10-02-2005, 09:51 PM
I think this is something the CBA is trying to change-- to bring more reality to Christian fiction. This is often a hot topic of discussion on the author's lists I am on--how to get the editors to allow more "risky" or "edgy" situations in their stories--and it is being done, although it still has to be handled tastefully.

Edgarallenwannabe
10-02-2005, 10:08 PM
Never mind that contact info; I found their website (don't know why it didn't come up last time). Do they accept unsolicitated manuscripts, or would I need an agent?


www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net/)

Edgarallenwannabe
10-02-2005, 10:20 PM
ahhhh...I see I'll have to obtain an agent...

Cheryll
11-02-2005, 08:49 PM
Again, maybe it won't ever get published simply because it's not good enough....but maybe it won't because it doesn't quite "fit in" with what Christian publishers are looking for...it's in a niche...too Godly for the secular publishers, not "squeaky clean, ultra-polished perfecto world" enough for Christian publishers.

www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net/) - Dark Waters

I feel your pain. LOL I know exactly where you're coming from.

What to do... what to do...

Cheryll

Puddle Jumper
11-03-2005, 08:51 AM
I've been reading a book on screenwriting that has provoked a bit of thinking about Christians and writing. How honest are we as Christians about the conflicts we face in life? I know for myself, I want to portray Christ as victor, the Holy Spirit as the power of reason and strength and God as the final authority in my life, but do I misrepresent or gloss over my own conflicts (my setbacks and losses) to stack the deck, as it were, in God's favor? I know God doesn't always win because of our free will. As Christians, we more than all other humanity, should understand the struggles and conflict of this life. Do you think Christian writers (in a general sense) hold back and are less than honest when it comes to true conflict? Could that contribute to the weakness in Christian fiction? Just curious.
You're speaking my heart. The story I'm working out in my head is one that is very Christian and shows true humanity in Christians, or people who call themselves Christians. For a story to be believable, the characters have to be flawed and Christians are flawed because they are still human. And little things that I think a lot of Christians don't think of as sin. Things like telling a person who just doesn't seem to be fitting in at church to go to a certain group because they'll probably find people more like them that they can develop relationships with and yet they themselves won't take any time to try and develop a relationship (friendship I'm referring to) with you. For whatever reason. The more I've thought about things like that, the more I think, "Who am I to push someone away who seems desperate for my friendship? How do I know God hasn't put that person in my life for me to help build them up and maybe to teach me something along the way?" Yet people in church have their "clicks" or is it "cliques" and they don't want any new people in their group, especially if they don't seem to be like their other friends - they're just too different, too young, too old, too weird, too immature, too whatever. And that's just one example of so many I could use. It doesn't have to be big things we think of like stealing, sexaul immorality, things like that. It can be attitudes, actions, words, etc...



...although, in response to your post, I'd say WE lose/fail because of our free will, not God....

I disagree because God gave us free will so free will in itself does not make us fail. God has free will and He never fails. I say it's because of sin in this world and because mortal flesh is sinful and will be until the mortal body is dead. Thus as long as we live int his world we fail because of our sinful flesh which is a result of the devil's ways.


I stopped reading Christian fiction because it seemed so fake. If a person isn't saved and then gets saved all of a sudden he has no problems and everything is hunky dory they don't have problems anymore.
Hey rosemary, if I ever get published, you'll have to read my book because it won't be like that at all. :)

Lyra Jean
11-03-2005, 07:55 PM
yeah I'll have to keep my out. Anyone know some good christian science fiction?

DrRita
11-15-2005, 07:24 AM
I've been away NaNoing (NaNoWriMo) so I haven's visited in a while. Some great responses. I wanted to share a link to a site that I think is interesting. Dave Long is an editor at Bethany house and last month hosted a contest for the best "conversion" story. It was a good excercise to come up with an account of a conversion in a story that didn't sound hokey or contrived. http://faithinfiction.blogspot.com/ He posts some of his observations on his blog that I though worth the read.