In previous posts, I’ve talked about how bittersweet it is to have your novel go “out of print.” Chila Woychik, owner of Port Yonder Press, made the decision to discontinue Give the Lady a Ride–a valid business decision, especially since she has decided to eliminate Christian fiction from her line of books. She has other goals for her fine press, and I’m rooting for her.
If you’ve ever followed her PYP Facebook page, you know that Chila has been at the forefront in requiring those of us who write Christian Fiction to do it better. She wants excellent books that will appeal to both secular and Christian markets–cross-over books.
I don’t always agree with her on some of her points, but one thing we both agree on is the quality of book new authors submit to these smaller presses. We’ve both seen our share of books in which the writer smacks the reader over the head with a Christian message. While we disagree as to the amount of Christian content to include in a novel, we certainly agree that the message shouldn’t be used as a weapon. And face it, sometimes we do use God’s Word as a gavel in judgment against unsuspecting readers.
In Writing in Obedience, I discuss the different audiences Christian authors write to and the best theme and format for presenting the message for each audience–all of which include a gentle presentation of the message. As Terry said, the best way is to have a “spiritual adviser” character who addresses the main character, not the reader directly.
All authors need to learn to write better, sharpen their tools, enhance their craft, no matter where they are on their career path, but authors of Christian fiction should especially. Whether we’ve been called to write or write as our offering to Him, our work is intended to glorify Him. Because of this we should give to Him our very best, and sometimes that “best” requires outside editing and rewriting. Sometimes it requires scrapping the entire first manuscript and writing a different, better one.
Look at it like this: Let’s say you’ve been called by the Lord to bake an Easter cake. Let’s say He’s specific about the type of cake, what the ingredients should be, how to decorate it. You know all about Easter, but nothing about baking. If you’re thinking, “Well, He provided the ingredients, just throw them all together,” then you’ll be in for a surprise when you pull your flop out of the oven. God will appreciate your loving attempt, but Easter celebrants aren’t likely to favor it over a cake baked by someone who took the time to learn. The cake God called you to bake will go untouched.
So, in this one point at least, Chila and I are in total agreement. We can and should do better.
Several of us from Pelican Book Group are involved in a blog hop today called 10 Commandments of Writing. My post won’t show up until tomorrow, but you can see the rest of them here:
Paula Mowery on Creative Christian Writers Crank Up
Delia Latham on Write Right!
Clare Revell on The World Can Wait
Jayna Morrow on JaynaMorrow.com
Brooksie on Groovie Brooksie
Lilly Maytree at http://www.lillymaytree.blogspot.com
Julia M. Toto on JuliaMToto.com