Saturday, April 30, 2005

When Good Plotlines come from Crazy News

If you've been keeping up with my writing process, you probably know that I have been playing around with a few storylines. As a reviewer, I read many books with weak plots and predictable or weaker endings. I didn't want to make the same mistake. So I decided to do like Frank Peretti and take a year to plot a solid story. My year is almost halway up.

Well...a story came along this week that maybe too good to be true, because it is was real. It was news. It was crazy. And it was the perfect trigger for my story about this woman searching for a missing bride to be(now you know the newstory I'm speaking on:))

My bride had been kidnapped(actually she was pretending to be kidnapped to thwart a killer.) And I have reworked this plot to the point where it has lost all good sense. I needed a simpler motive for her disappearance. I needed to take my book out of horror into a suspense. And I needed to make the theme of the novel coherent with the tone of the book. Up until today the two were out of whack. But now my whacky Runaway Bride has given it some teeth.

But I'm not sure. Law & Order SVU does it all the time--that is, take news and turn it into a teleplay. But can I get away with it. Can I take a news story, make it a premise, use its climax as my storyline without getting sued.

I don't know, so I'm asking you. Do fiction authors take news and tweak it into fiction? Is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it creative non-fiction gone bad?

What gets me is that I had been working on a story line so similar to this story and now I fear it might get to see the light of day, because someone actually did it? Aargh!! Help me...

Writing to see what the end' gon' be,

Publisher Blog: Zondervan

This blog has been around since 2004. It is more of a marketing piece for the company, but you can see the list of Zondervan author blog links. And you can see what new awards Zondervan has won. What you cannot do is get a better understanding of Zondervan: its mission, what it's looking for, why it exists?

If you find a better Zondervan blog, hit me up.

Click on the title to direct you to Zondervan.

Writing to see what the end gon' be.


CBA's Fiction Top Ten for May 2005

I thought that on Saturday's I would keep us informed about the CBA Market and which books are selling the most.

Ranking Title Author/Publisher
1 (4) The Rising Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale,c
2 (7) Breaker's Reef Terri Blackstock, Zondervan,p
3 (9) Moonlight On the Millpond Lori Wick, Harvest House,p
4 (39) Beyond Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan,p
5 (49) Obsessed Ted Dekker, WestBow (Nelson),c
6 The Warrior Francine Rivers, Tyndale,p
7 Redeeming Love Francine Rivers, Multnomah,p
8 Glorious Appearing Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale,c&p
9 Whence Came a Prince Liz Curtis Higgs, WaterBrook,p
10 The Hope Within Tracie Peterson, Bethany House,p
11 River's Edge Terri Blackstock, Zondervan,p
12 One Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan,p
13 Black Ted Dekker, WestBow (Nelson),c&p
14 Oceans Apart Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan,p
15 The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan, Barbour,p

Reunion Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley, Tyndale,p
17 The Storekeeper's Daughter Wanda Brunstetter, Barbour,p
18 Hadassah Tommy Tenney & Mark Andrew Olsen, Bethany House,c&
19 Tie The Prodigal Beverly Lewis, Bethany House,p
19 Tie The Scarlet Thread Francine Rivers, Tyndale,p

Numbers in ( ) denote Top 50 placement. / p designates paper; c, cloth

This list is based on actual sales in Christian retail stores in the United States and Canada during March, using STATS as the source for data collection. All rights reserved. Distribution and copyright ©2004 CBA and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Plenty Good Talk, Writer's Edge & Cheri Paris Edwards

Plenty Good Room Posted by Hello

This month I selected Cheri Paris Edwards' Plenty Good Room as my book of the month. Edwards spoke with me about this book, her writing process, and how Writer’s Edge helped her get her book deal. This interview is a three part series with a review of Plenty Good Room as well. You can get to Part One of the Interview by clicking the above title.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Too many Premises, Too Little Time

Ok, so I haven't written anything profound on this blog this week. I've been living my very own Tyler Perry play(Yes we had a funeral, family reunion, a wedding, and an unrequited flame all in the same week.) I had to pass on an interview with Donna Richardson Joyner that put me in a blue funk, because I needed some spiritual fitness tips. But talking to Judge Glenda Hatchett and Chris Well gave me enough sunshine to make it through the week. But out of desperation for a solid story line I almost plotted this past weeks events into a fudged up/fictional account to write--a marketable story idea. But I will save this for Book Nine. And Yes. I have that many premises clogging up my brain.

It will take prayer and at least an OC & The Apprentice Fast to get myself back on track.

You see. I must confess. I suffer from impatience. It is a vice that keeps me in the book of Galatians and Ephesians on a weekly basis. I honestly, don't want to wait for my novel's ending, middle or beginnning. (My friends can tell you I read tv spoilers, because I can't wait for season finales.) Somewhere in my sick head I want this thing to morph from my brain to my PC. I have become my main character or is she haunting me?

Last year I interviewed Olympia Vernon, an author who keeps me in awe with her work. Her words transport me to this spiritual, scary, real place and I love her for it. Well she told me that her writing process wasn't a process, but it was these characters demanding to speak through her. Spirits if you're in to that thing(I am.) I thought she was a bit loopy for saying that, but now I'm in her Amen corner. Feltus Morgan, Peaches, Deacon and SomeDudeAverageJoe won't let me go. They are impatient. They won't let me complete my book reviews, drive Selah to preschool or decide on a proper wedding dress.

But I have my 8 point plot together thanks to J. Mark Bertand. And now my characters are creeping into my plot. The Lord is talking to me again(that's a story for another day)So what's next, Chapter one?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

The Heart of the Father, Vol. 2 Submissions Open

After May 31, 2005 — Bethany House Publishers: The Heart of the Father, Volume 2

* Submissions should be true stories about earthly fathers who have done something that reflects the image of the heavenly father.
* 500 to 2000 words.
* Subjects for each chapter might include the following: Wisdom, Love, Discipline, Teaching, Forgiveness, Perspective, Provision, Comfort, and Fellowship.
* Stories can be humorous, inspiring, eye-opening, or thoughtful, but must have a strong application without being preachy.
* Write from your heart, show how this story affected you in a positive way.
* You are welcome to submit more than one story.
* If your story is published you will receive a $75 honorarium and a free copy of the book when it is released.
* You retain the rights to your story.
* Reprints are considered.
* Contributors may purchase additional copies at 50% off the listed price plus shipping and handling charges. (Price is undetermined at this point but will probably be about $15.)
* Your bio will be included with your story.
* Stories will be accepted until May 31.
* Send e-mail submissions (no hard copies). Word document sent as an attachment is preferred. You may also paste your story into the body of an e- mail.

Faith in Fiction Tea

A Rare Affair presents

Faith in Fiction Tea on Saturday May 21,2005 . The event will take
place at the St. James Episcopal Church Hall 1020 W. Lafayette Ave,
Baltimore MD from 1 pm to 5 pm. It will be an afternoon of literary
elegance as we celebrate African -American Christian Fiction.

Join us as we celebrate the new releases of Jacquelin Thomas ,
Victoria Christopher Murray and Kendra Norman Bellamy. Joining them
will Tia McCollars, Pat ( Sister Betty) Walker, Brenda Joyce
Nichols , Vanessa Miller and Deborah Smith.

Books will be available for sale along with Fine Hats and Women's
Accessories, Pooka Pure And Simple Products and gift items from TCJ

So get out your nice hat or let us know your book club is in house
with a pretty corsage and join us at the Faith in Fiction tea on
Saturday May 21, 2005. Tickets are $ 25 .

For more information , email Robilyn Heath or call me at (410) 258-
7526 .You can mail a check to:
A Rare Affair
2111 Westwood Ave
Baltimore, Maryland 21217

Peace and Blessings

Robilyn Heath
A Rare Affair
an event planning company specializing in unique literary

The L Magazine "Literary Upstart, The Search for Pocket Fiction" Competition

Following the growing success of The L Magazine's new fiction and
reading competition, "Literary Upstart, The Search for Pocket
Fiction," we are now accepting submissions for the third and final
open round. This contest is growing each round, and was recently
listed in The New Yorker, and discussed on NPR. Four selected writers
will read their short-short stories (1000 words or less) at The
Baggot Inn on May 12th, at 8pm, before a packed crowd of literati.
Our distinguished judges' offer commentary and pick a winner who will
advance for a chance to win cash and publication in The L Magazine.
Check out past semi-finalists at

Ben Greenman, editor for The New Yorker, and author of Superbad and
Coates Bateman, senior editor for Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Kendra Harpster, associate editor for Doubleday
Rebecca Shuman, The L Magazine's own fabulous columnist

Guidelines: Never before published fiction of 1000 words or less.
DEADLINE: May 2nd. Submit to, or by mail
with SASE to Fiction Editor, The L Magazine, 20 Jay Street, Suite
207, Brooklyn NY 11201.

Click on the title to learn more.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Charles Martin Blogs

Jon Livingston of Livingston & Partners Web Design Firm alerted me today that Charles Martin, my March author of the month, has a new website and blog. I checked it out. Livingston & Partners created a cool space for Charles to play. He gets my recommendation. You can check out Charles Martin's Blogs by clicking on the title above.


The Reaper's Back

OK. I'm back and behind schedule. This week I will be reworking my plot, reading some manuscripts to critique, looking for a manuscript to edit, revamping Third Sundays for the summer and pondering this notion of what is edgy christian fiction

I also need to give you an April book of the month before April is over. Cheri can I do a quick interview with you like by Thursday?

Chris keep toggling my switch in F*i*F.

Chris Well, I'm working on those questions for CCM tonight.

Kendra let's talk about Crossing Jhordan for May.

Everyone else--Claudia, Mary, Tia, LaMonica, you, and you, too--hit me up, let me know what's going on. What are you writing? Why aren't you writing? What can The Reaper do for you? And can I get a hot totty for my soar throat?

Click on the title to see what news has been sent my way via The Gospel Diva.

Writing to see what the end' gon' be,

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Hi, guys. I may or may not be posting to the blog this week, because of death in family and family reunion...sounds like a Tyler Perry play.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Deirdre Knight Blogs

Deidre Knight, founder of the Knight Agency started the Knight Agency Blog this month.

Established in 1996, The Knight Agency has sold more than four hundred books for its sixty-plus clients. Though it specializes in romance and women's fiction, the agency also represents literary fiction of the highest caliber, along with a diverse list of African American, religious, financial, self-help, and health nonfiction.

Highlights from the Blog that would interest christian fiction authors:

Jacquelin Thomas' Saved in the City set to release in May.

According to Deirdre Knight:

"In other agency “action” this week, I signed African American inspirational author Jacquelin Thomas to headline a women’s fiction trade paperback anthology at Pocket (with Selena James editing."

Nephele Tempest is our newest agent, and she is the one who is reading most voraciously these days. She’s seeking quality fiction in the areas of women’s fiction, romance, literary fiction, and commercial fiction. No nonfiction. All queries, however, should be directed to, and we will determine which project best suits each agent. Plus, she’s cool and a great person to

Click on the title to learn more about the Knight Agency.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Poets & Writers 2005 Writers Exchange Contest Winners

Writers Exchange Contest - 2005 Contest Winners

The Winners of the 2005 Writers Exchange Contest, open to Georgia writers, are:
Forest Park, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia

The 2005 Writers Exchange judges were:

Poets & Writers extends its congratulations to Writers Exchange winners Delisa Mulkey and Lauren Watel. We also thank all the Georgia writers who participated in the contest and wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Each year writers from one state are chosen to participate in the Writers Exchange. Winners are flown to New York City in October for an all-expense paid trip to meet with agents, editors, publishers and other members of the New York literary community.

Poets & Writers is grateful to Neltje for a major gift which makes this program possible.

Please visit our Website in August for information on the 2006 Writers Exchange competition.

Chris Well's Frank Peretti Interview

On days like this(I'm working/writing) I like to link you to what others are doing in the Christian blogosphere.

CCM Magazine's Chris Well(who also authored Forgiving Solomon Long) talks to Christian fiction bestselling great Frank Peretti about his new smash, Monster, his writing process and future writing.

Click on the title and it will take you to the interview.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Third Sundays...Launch/Seeking Speaking Writers

Starting June I will host Third Sundays, a House Reading Series at my duplex.

House Readings are gathering places for slam poets, spoken word artists, creative non-fiction essayist, flash fiction writers, novelists, and playwrights to gather and share their work with their community, eat, drink and network. And to hear an occasional psalmist/musicisian/singer/holy hip hopper in the house.

Third Sundays is obviously a gathering place for Christian Creative Writers, so its main objective is to edify and listen to God's voice speaking through us.

It is potluck style with BYOBC(Bring Your Own Bible& Chair/Sitting Pillow) I will begin sending invitations to the events this month, but for now I am seeking artists to read their work and to perform.

There is no admission charge to Third Sundays, and thus, no artist payment. It is a grassroots movement to celebrate the Lord through Literature in an environment condusive for the spirit to move. Plans in the future are to build a lit journal or anthology via some of the participating artists, create a concert series, and much, much more.

Third Sundays events will be on every third Sunday at 6:30 pm.

If you would like to particiapte, please contact me at If you would like to join the Third Sunday mailing list for events calendar and artist spotlight, please respond to this email. If you are not a christian artist, but know someone who would love the free publicity, please have them contact me and forward this message onto other artists that might be interested. If you are out of the Atlanta area, but plan to come through this year. We would love to have you come out and listen to God speaking through you. Let me know, so that I can include you on the calendar. If this interests you, but you're not the creative type, but might like the fellowship or need to add your prayers to our Third Sunday prayer list, please come or email. It's a free event.

Will Keep You Posted on Further Developments


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Content Syndication Available

I'm Syndicated Posted by Hello

I've added content syndication to my blog!

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Good Morning Wake Up Call

Judge Glenda Hatchett Posted by Hello

Selah would not go to sleep last night until 4am. So I got a few winks. I remember praying to God to get me together because I had an important day ahead. I had an interview with Judge Hatchett at eleven and I needed to sound like the consumate women mag journalist(whatever that means.)

So I sleep in--usually I'm up at six. I set my Hello Kitty clock to nine and catch up on some zzzzs. Then at nine she calls. I'm asleep, but I slide the phone to my ear and drawl, Hello(more like Haylo.)

Judge Hatchetts responds to me like sunshine after a rainy day for a sprite five year old. I sit up. Rub my eyes and smile. Hot dog! She's early. Needless to say the interview was swell. I love her for real now. She's so sweet. And she's so committed to her calling as a mother and an advocate for children everywhere.

But what in the world does this have to do with my writing?

She told me that she didn't plan to become the telejudge that she has become. In fact, she came into this thing kicking and screaming. And if she would have known more about Atlanta Fulton County Courthouse she never would have taken the job. But She had to take herself and her wants out of the equation and do what God wanted her to do.

And that revelation sat in my chest this morning.

Let me tell you. I've been struggling with this writing fiction thing. I love to read it. Love to edit it. Review it. Write it. But I know so much more than what I expected for this thing to be, and I want to throw in the towel. I don't feel like competing with people who write like crap, but can spin a drama faster than I can pop my bubble yum gum. Last year I did the forty days of purpose from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life and when I completed my life statement, without a doubt writing was God's plan for me. Will it be fiction? I don't know. But whatever it is has to take me out of the equation and put God first. And to be honest, that's hard to do when you're broke. So we'll see. On to chapter one, finally...

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sugar Cane Poles, Snapping Turtles and Little House

I try very hard not to make my blog entries too personal. But there are times when I have a moment and I need to put it somewhere to remind me later of the Holy Spirit moving through me and Christ reaching out to me.
Now is such a time...
There is a bubbling joy and heartache going in me.
I'm watching Disney's version of Little House on the Prairie, one of my favorite book series and one of the few television shows my mother allowed my twin brother, David and I to watch when we were children.
And I feel so much something special by watching it. Maybe it's the Native Americans that have drifted through the prairie or its my longing for my great grandmother, Rosa, a petite South Carolinian Cherokee speaking Indian with a hint of Geechee in her voice, who kept an old familiar hymn--"A Charge to Keep I Have"--forever mumbling on her lips. She taught me how to fish with a sugar cane pole, dig up earthworms with a snuff bucket, gut a fish, and shoot with rifle. But more important how to be a woman of Spirit. I miss her right now. And I...I know...I believe she sees me or she speaks to me.
Too full for words or typing.
I stop for now.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

I'm Still Holding On. Malachi 3:6

One April 8th two Fridays ago Jamila, a closed friend to my little sister and a member of our young adult choir passed from Lupus. She was twenty-three years old.
My sister believed that the disease beat her down.
But I believe she had fought the good fight. She was ready to go home.
And I don't want to get on my soapbox about what physical suffering does to the mind and the spirit. You see--I'm still in awe of the Pope and how he became the face of longsuffering for many.
So I'm still thankful that I'm still holding on. I know what lies ahead of us all and that is a big comfort.
My great grandma, Rosa, used to say that she was waiting for her change to come.
Now I believe that what she meant was holding on until her spirit matured into a place where her spirit never felt defeated even unto death.
This weekend I am reading Scott McKnight's The Jesus Creed. In his prologue he talks about why he thinks that this book is important and timely. I'm reading this book to edify my soul and to also bring some clarity to my calling as a writer. Sometimes I get carried away and want to write something, anything that will stop people from asking me about the progress of my book. I mean I can write something real thoughtless and hip in one good minute. But I'm still waiting for my change to come.
You see. I've stood at death's door twice and I know what I know. I know God exists. I know that we continue after our hearts stop and I'm still holding on.
Up until last week I thought I existed just to be my daughter's mother, as if God only created me to bring her here and raise her. But in order for me to accomplish that task, I need to move on up in the Spirit. I need a change to come.
So I'm still holding on.
God still has me here. Getting better, feeling better, thinking better, and far more thankful than I've ever been.
This year will try me. I have prescription costs that exceed my monthly rent. I have an old soul as a daughter entering kindergarten. I have a fiancee fighting to obtain his Masters. And I have a unction to write a novel that explores some of these truths that I know for sure.
God never changes(Malachi 3:6.) My health might, but God never changes. The Pope fulfilled his mission and Jamila fulfilled hers.
Be Thankful this week. Be blessed. And Keep Holding on to God's Unchanging Hand.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Friday, April 08, 2005

What's up with Blogger

I think I may need to find a new home for my Christian Fiction Blog. I created two posts yesterday and they didn't post. Any cheap,but great recommendations?


Thursday, April 07, 2005

April Writing Conference to Watch:The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is in its 6th year.
Writers have the opportunity "to interact with editors, agents, professional writers and readers."

Some notables slated to be there:
Allen Arnold, Publisher, WestBow Press, Deborah Raney,Author, Christy finalist, A Vow to Cherish book & movie and Matt Tullos,Editor, LifeWay Publications. Just to name a few.

Interesting topics like:

•What Writer’s Ought To Know About Christian Publishing
•Why You’re Not Getting Published and What to Do About It
•How to Make an Editor Beg for More?

To learn more click on the title


From Where WestBow Press Sits

A new blog I've been browsing about. WestBow Press Publisher & COO, Michael Hyatt's Blog From Where I Sit: Musings on the World of Publishing. Nice designed blog. Getting a lot of information from.
Click on title to direct you to the blog.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Confessions of a Mother's Day Hating Mama

Excerpt from "Confessions of a Mother's...

The Saturday before Mother's Day for most married moms is a spring version of Valentine's Day. Wonderful hubbies adorn the mothers of their children with lovelies from the local jewelers. They treat these same mothers to candelit dinners for two at the most exclusive and hottest Italian restaurants in town...I sit at home trying to decide between attending Mother's Day Sunday service tomorrow or my pink fuzzy slippers, a cup of decaf, and the gazillionth reading of T.D. Jakes, Women Thou Art Loosed, while waiting for my envy and self-pity shackles to finally break free."

On Precious Times Magazine racks at your neighorhood Books-A-Million Bookstores nationwide now. Click on title to link to Precious Times Mag online.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Monday, April 04, 2005

Gilead wins 2005 Pulitzer

An excerpt fro Gilead...

I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old. And you put your hand in my hand and you said, You aren't very old, as if that settled it. I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and from the life you've had with me and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to live a good life.

Today the 2005 Pullitzer Prize Winners were announced. Marilynne Robinson won the Pen/ Hemingway Award for her first novel twenty-three years ago. Gilead is her second.

Robinson's work and writing life is a testament in itself. To have written only two novels, both acclaimed. It's simple, yet awesome. Good for her.

Click on title to read Robinson's discussion on poetry and theology at PBS' "Religion and Ethics."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul Tribute 1920-2005

Pope John Paul Tribute Posted by Hello

Washington Post has a great tribute on Pope John Paul's life and legacy.
Click on the title it will take you there.

You can also check out his writings at Encycliclas, Writings of John Paull II.

Saddened that I missed my chance to meet him here on Earth. But am thankful that he is no longer in pain. And he embodied so much faith and peace. A true hero.


Do Christian Fiction Writer's Write Boring Stories:Cheri Paris Edwards Responds

The other day I posted a question about Christian Fiction:Do Christian Fiction Writer's Write Boring Stories.
This morning I received a response to this question from Walk Worthy Press novelist, Cheri Paris Edwards, who's book Plenty Good Room is this month's April Book of the Month. (We will talk about this book and talk to Cheri about the book later.)
I wanted to post her response, because she states some things that I haven't thought about. And she speaks on African American Christian Fiction Writing--a subject that I explore on this blog. What separates are writing from the others or more so is their a justification behind the separation?

Hi Dee,

Thanks for the chance to reflect on this subject. In my viewpoint, Christian fiction is in a process of metamorphosis. I think the writing will begin to encompass controversial subjects with greater regularity as the authors become more diverse in their writing styles and in the life experiences they bring to the table.

As a Christian, while writing, the portion of the book that speaks about God was most important to me; but it is my hope that the characters entertain and hold the readers interest first. I don’t think any author need apologize for creating ‘happy endings’ as these exist in all genres of fiction. Though, many novels end predictably, it doesn’t stop folks from reading and enjoying the trip to the end. An upbeat ending doesn’t mean every problem is solved in the character’s lives, it just means at the point the novel ends life is okay. Additionally, I don’t find a ‘fairy-tale’ ending awful either as these type stories provide an escape for some readers. Stories, even movies, with ‘fairy-tale’ endings are plentiful, and do quite well in society and I see nothing wrong with having our share in African-American Christian fiction as well.

Having said that, I think as the genre (especially African-American Christian fiction) expands it will reflect greater differences in writing styles, wider ranges in the depth of the character studies, stories and endings that are more bittersweet…there will be more diversity in everything. Young writers like yourself may play a crucial part in ‘raising the stakes’ through your own creative interpretations of Christian life. Our walk with God is personal and for many of us the greatest struggle we have is in our own mind; I’m with you totally on that one! The issue becomes how we write about that Spiritual struggle in a credible manner.

In my own case, I wrote a story from my heart based on my own questions about love and loving. God was part of the story, because He’s been the greatest and most constant part of my own life. I’m so grateful that in all my imperfections and struggles I still feel His love for me. I can’t write without including God in the story because He’s such an essential part of my own story. I think that’s why Christian fiction exists….because we who write the stories truly believe in God and believe He’s made a difference in our own lives. Our writing is our testimony to His existence.

I am grateful for all Christian authors before me because it is they who proved an audience for the writing exists, enabling an opportunity for my voice to be heard. I think African-American Christian fiction is in a wonderful place and truly believe that as time goes on and more voices become part of the mix, the genre will begin to reflect greater diversity in its voice and attract more readers in the process.

Now, it’s time for me to shut-up, because I’m supposed to be working on something else, as usual!!

Anyway, this is just my two cents and a dime!

;-) Cheri

Thanks, Cheri.

What say you?

Post your comments no matter how long they are.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Friday, April 01, 2005

Coming Clean: Do Christian Fiction Writer's Write Boring Stories

At Faith in Fiction I posed a question after reading Dave's thoughts on creating meaningul moments in writing.

And boy have I gotten a wealth of responses. One that stands out and is still being discussed even now is this idea that Christian Fiction is ultimately boring. Regardless of the plot, readers know that God will win in the end. So why bother reading it?
I remember talking to an author, who doesn't understand why the Christian Fiction genre exists at all. She felt that christian novels were propaganda pieces created to push Christ down everybody's throat.

And to be honest she has point.

J. Mark Bertrand, a member of the The Master Artist and the Faith in Fiction Communities, who has really enlightened me in the past two weeks replied to my discussion with an interesting thought.

He says:

The Christian writer -- particularly the evangelical one -- faces both an aesthetic and a theological struggle. In fact, I would almost go so far as to say that Christian fiction ought to be defined as "fiction that results from aesthetic and theological struggle," because it's when the story lacks evidence of (a) aesthetic effort, (b) theological effort, and (c) struggle, that it seems to fall short. A lot of what passes for Christian fiction works from a settled, pat theology, just as it operates within a settled, pat aesthetic. The only struggle is the actual, physical composition: the naming of characters, the arrangement of episodes, the minutiae of plot. When a writer abandons these dishonest certainties and plunges into the struggle, at whatever level, the nature of his work begins to change.

Wow! And to be honest I sort of agree.
As a book reviewer, sometimes I don't want to read the end of a book, especially Christian Fiction. Becase by the time I get to midpoint I already know how it is goig to end: conversion scene, or big ephiphany, something big revelation that ties everything up just as sweet as an episode of Seventh Heaven. (OT: The best episodes are the ones with Mary and Simon cutting up)

But seriously. My comment to the faith*in*fiction discussion:

"I like the idea of creating situations where the character has to struggle with her notion of who or what she thinks God is.
That is very real.
I receive emails from...people going through things that have shaken their faith and they still live without an answer that they thought they would have received from God.
I struggle right now with my daughter's health. I have to wait until next Wednesday to find out if she has a normal heart murmur or worse. This fear is big for me, since I live with congestive heart failure.
Yet, where is my faith?
Shouldn't I carry on, joking and clowning as if this event will not shake my resolve.
I can't.
And regardless of the outcome I am more disturbed that I can't just let God handle it instead of my constant surfing webmd and Scottish Rite for answers.
I can't rest in a faithful peace and I would love to read about that.
I would love to write about that.
But I'm so scared of my own outcome. I'm scared of what if I write something for me and someone reads it, thinks that this will be the only outcome and send me a scathing email later abouth an opposite outcome. Or worse someone shirks Christianity because of it.
I agree, J. Mark. We need to raise the stakes in our writing. And that is going to eat me up. I'm coming clean."

What say you?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Infuze Magazine seeks Short FIction

"We've got a real drought in our Short Stories department, so if you've been waiting for your shot, this is it! (Remember, we're not interested in "preachy" stories.) And please pass this along to your creative friends -- we're always looking for new talent. Click here for our complete Contributor's Guidelines.

And while you're at it, we can always use lots more Poems, Artwork, & Short Films!"

Robin Parrish
Editor, Infuze Magazine


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