Saturday, November 28, 2009

Writing Christian Fiction is harder . . .

...than secular.

(At least the way I define it.)

The supposed common knowledge is that making it in Christian music is easier than secular. I doubt if that is true. Struggling secular bands may see less talented musicians "making it" in Christian music and come to that conclusion. I think what they are missing is that's it's a different dynamic (or skill set). The audience will see through a pretender. You still have to deliver a product that meets or exceeds audience expectation.

I think the same is true with Christian fiction. In fact, given the deeper survey of thought afforded by a novel, it would be exponentially harder to pass one's self off as a the read deal just to, as the misconception goes, travel down an easier road to publication.

I had assumed that the writers I'd meet who don't write Christian fiction, would assume the same thing: That it is probably easier, and therefore look down upon me.

So it was a pleasant surprise to hear the response of the first novel writer who asked me the question: So what do you write?

After hearing my response, he said, and I paraphrase: "That must be really difficult. I just write, but you have to keep theme in mind from the beginning." I think he even said something about admiring me for even trying. I was like "Wow. He gets it."

I have several novel ideas that would never be published by a Christian publisher. Those ideas definitely seem easier to plot out and roll with.

Right now I'm struggling with developing the Christian novel ideas I have. I say it's harder. What do you think?


Kay Day said...

I don't know.
I would have agreed with you before
But I just finished Nanowrimo. I set out just to get 50,000 words down. I didn't care whether they were any good and it doesn't have a sound story structure, but I ended up with a theme. A Christian theme.
I think that it will flow naturally from us. Maybe we don't have to try so hard. I'm not sure.
I bet if you ran with those ideas that you think are secular, you would find Christian themes showing up. It's in our blood.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Thanks, Kay,

I hope you're right. I'll just go with it and see what happens.

** Just in case anyone was thinking it: Obviously, the trick is not to force theme.

David A. Bedford said...

Writing what is really in your heart, what you feel deeply, rather than what publishers are looking for can be disheartening. I have just released a novel, Angela 1: Starting Over, which I did not write as Christian fiction per se, but which comes from a rich store of Christian values. It took me four years to find a publisher. It is a difficult road to follow and I feel very fortunate to have made it this far. If you want to learn more about the book, just click on my name and follow the link to my website. Also, please read my blog at Thanks!

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