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.

4 comments:

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Deb,

I enjoyed meeting you last night in Chapter One and our 'im' chat as well. Thank you for the link to your blog. It leaves me with the impression that it is or could be a meeting place for writers of many diverse stripes.

Good luck with your books and hope you will visit me at: www.thebookofben.blogspot.com and www.writersstockintrade.blogspot.com.

I am,

Very Sincerely Yours,

Alan D. Busch

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Deb,

Amen to everything you said. IMHO the CBA puts way too many roadblocks in the path of authors who are trying to be faithful to the vision God has given them and reach those who need to hear the message. So what's new? God's chosen people didn't treat the prophets very kindly either. LOL!

But there's more than one way to skin a cat. Ultimately there's no obstacle that can keep God's word for his people from going to go out into the world and returning an abundant harvest. So keep on keeping on. You're on the right track.

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Deb, I've heard comments like these from many other authors in the CBA, and hopefully eventually, the CBA will listen. I'm reading a book by Marcia Laycock right now, in which the main character is a non-Christian from a rough background who smokes, drinks, swears... the whole shebang. And believe me, it's easy to identify with him, and I'm waiting to see where he gets to. :) Write real characters. Tell the story.

Donna Alice said...

I read this article awhile back and couldn't agree more. As someone who writes about Catholic characters, I'm getting tired of being told I need to Christianize my word so it's acceptable.