Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fiction as Fiction

A dear & faithful friend turned me on to this article. Run, do not walk, to see what this Brit author has to say about why we write, how we write, and why mediocre is just not good enough.

Since I can't seem to get the tag to work, google The Book of Morden. He gave a talk in 2005 about this very topic.

He makes the point quite concisely, that if we accept artificial limts on what Christian fiction can address, we might be doomed to fail before typing "Chapter One." Must we also preach the Gospel? Should we? And how does the agenda limit our ability to tell the story?

I can identify with what he says. I have been told "can't" in CBA fiction far more often than I've been told "can."

There is a huge presumption in CBA, which I am attempting to test, that readers go into bookstores and complain about being offended by this book or that book. Who does this? How often? Over what books? If this paradigm exists, those who cite it should be called to account. Where are the stats?

Being told we "can't" write about certain people, in certain ways, strikes me as wrong-headed and short-sighted. Does not Jesus know there is still a vast unredeemed world out there? Is He blind to their ways and habits? Yet our fiction must show our unsaved characters acting exactly like the Christians. What, then, is the point of writing of their redemption?

The article has helped me firm up my ideas for SEASONS IN THE MIST. I have decided to take my own advice and just tell the story. If it's "not Christian enough," whatever that means, too bad. If it doesn't preach the Gospel, too bad. I have a story to tell that will examine some basics in how worldviews change and hopefully improve over time, and how they stay the same, try as we might to climb some cosmic progressive ladder. Oh, sure, there's not slavery anymore, and we don't tie peasants to the land, but human nature doesn't change much in seven centuries. We're still sinful, still stubborn and hard-nosed and wrong-headed.

Even in the CBA when it attempts to limit a Christian's ability to examine anything and everything in fiction.

That's my take at this time, anyway.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Building Something

Two items on the radar scope this day: I've received a release date of 11/9 for my construction manager book, MY SILENT HEART. This is a lot better news than it sounds, so I'll explain.

The book is in many ways the book of my heart. It sat at a Large NY Christian publisher for about a year, including time to do their requested edits, before being declined. Man, was I bummed! but got over it quickly enough. MSH was actually the book I thought would sell first, not fifth. It was my best output to date (this was written before ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN) so I thought if it surpassed the stuff that had already get the drift.

Yes, before Janny leaps up and bops me with her ever-lovin' nerf bat, I sold it to a small press. But it will see daylight, and for now that's sufficient for me. Whether it should be sufficient is a debate for another day.

Second thing on the agenda is that I can't go to Dallas this year for the ACFW conference. Sad but already gotten over as well. My husband and I crunched the numbers 'til they screamed for mercy, but with a kid in college, the numbers would not crunch.

Did we despair? No, we did not! Instead, Janny and I are going on a two-woman writer's retreat the same weekend. While everyone at ACFW is schmoozing, pitching, singing, praying, and (hopefully) selling, we will be working on our writing, swimming, eating, singing, praying...

I'm really looking forward to it, particularly since she mentioned chocolate.