Writing Christian Fiction — 7 Comments

  1. I a wonderful post. I too have been turned off by novels that seem to have the Christian element just spread over the top without really being a part of the story, Continue to encourage authors to meld the Christian element into the story making it inseparable yet interesting from the beginning to the end.

  2. There are so many examples out there now. Here are SOME of my favorites.
    For longer works: Irene Hannon’s Heroes of Quantico series, Stephen James’ The Pawn, Vicki Hinze’s Forget Me Not, Lynette Eason’s Women of Justice series, Kathleen Y’Barbo’s THe Inconvient Marriage of Charlotte Beck, Janice Thompson’s Hello Hollywood, Janice Thompson’s Fools Rush In, Anne Mateer’s Wings of a Dream, DeAnna Julie Dodson’s In Honor Bound, Janelle Mowery’s When Two Hearts Meet, Margaret Brownley’s Rocky Creek series, Judith Miller’s In the Company of Secrets, Tracie Peterson’s The Coming Storm,
    Candace Calvert’s Mercy Hospital series, Elizabeth White’s Fair Game, Colleen Coble’s Mercy Falls seres, Terri Blackstock’s Newpoint 911 series, and Colleen Coble’s Aloha Reef series.
    For shorter works: Janet Transtad’s Dry Creek series by Love Inspired. Brenda Minton’s Love Inspired books, Cheryl Wyatt’s Refuge series by Love Inspired, Irene Hannon’s Lighthouse Lane series by Love Inspired, Debra Clopton’s Mule Hollow series by Love Inspired, Debbie Guisti’s medical series by Love Inspired and Linda Ford’s historicals by Love Inspired.
    Hopefully you will find something you like in my list.

  3. I’m not a big fan of the “I have a message to preach” style novels. They always come off as belittling, it’s like the author is trying to convert me to something I already believe in, and thus don’t need converting to. Whenever I see books like that I feel that the author was not writing for fellow Christian readers, but rather writing in hopes of converting non-Christians, which seems kind of silly and pointless because I really don’t think there are very many non-Christians who pick up Christian novels to read, and if they did I think they’d be turned off by being preached to.

    I think what I look for in Christian reading is: Are the characters living up to moral standards? I’ve actually read “Christian” novels that included supposedly “Christian” characters who smoked, drank coffee, had sex before marriage, and a common theme I see in several “Christian romance novels” is adultery (a married woman leaving her husband to marry a preacher; how the heck is that Christian romance, just because the guy she left her husband for is a preacher? He’s not a very moral preacher if he’s stealing another man’s wife!)

    This whole theme of “wife cheats on husband with the new preacher in town” has been a wildfire in Christian Romance the past 2 or 3 years. I find it really annoying and am displeased to these have become so popular that there are more than a dozen of them out every year! I don’t know how these authors/publishers pass them off as Christian Romance. Sad.

    And why is EVERY female of EVERY recently published Christian Romance novel (even the ones set in the 1800s) recently divorced? Do these authors have any idea how hard it was to get a divorce prior to the 1950s? Or the huge social stigma these women lived with afterwards? Talk about lack of historical accuracy!

    Another recent trend in Christian Romance that annoys me, is the idea that “no female character is a virgin any more” (it actually says this on the publisher’s website in their guidelines for writers. It says: “the modern woman loses her virginity as a teenager and has had several partners before she marries, this is the woman who reads romance; she wants to read about characters who she can identify with and find believable; we no longer accept manuscripts featuring virginal heroines; your heroine should have experience with other men before meeting the hero, but that doesn’t effect her Christian values”. …. I read that and went — WHAT! Seriously? How does that not effect her Christian values? The publisher than goes on to say that since “most readers are divorced they feel a stronger connection to heroins who are recently divorced or widowed. Your story should start out at this point in her life and show the reader she can move on and find a hero through the grace of God.”

    I was like – WOW – with these kind of guidelines it’s no wonder Christian Romance went down the drain the past couple of years.

    I want to read characters actually living Christian lifestyles. What ever happened to good Christian couples, living good Christian lives, and overcoming struggles? It’s shameful what passes off as a “Christian novel” these days.

    • Oh my. I had no idea “Christian” publishers’ guidelines had sunk so low. (Another reason to continue self-publishing, I think!) And here I was disliking (most) Christian fiction for the poor quality of writing, lack of polish, and cheesy plots and characters.

      I’m so encouraged to read your position on the moral content of Christian fiction. I think you’ll like another recent article I wrote. I hope you’ll re-post some of your above comments there!

      • A Christian writer friend of mine recently recounted an experience he had with his publisher. They had a disagreement about how the blurb for promoting the book. Finally, the publisher told him, “I don’t care what the message of your book is or even that it has one. I care about selling your book.” Wow.

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