Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Let me preface this by saying I am offering a critique, not a sour grapes criticism. I realize that there are business realities to publishing that I know not of. I realize that as an unpublished novelist—articles and cartoons, yes. Novels, no—I do not have the experience in the industry to even know what I don’t know.

Don the Baptist’s Ninety-five—Give-or-Take—Theses on Christian Fiction

Though I see this slowly changing, it seems that many Christian publishing house’s criterion for the content of fiction is based on the same doctrinal soundness guidelines as their non-fiction materials.

Fiction is what-if stories about real life. Theology is not fiction.

I want to read and sell fiction that is godly in its basic nature without being made to feel like I am choking down a spoonful of caster oil that’s “good for me.”

Often times when I spend money on Christian Fiction, I feel like I’m “taking a hit for the team.” In other words, it’s not really worth the money, but by supporting my cause I’m being a loyal team player.

I hate to finish reading a work of Christian Fiction and think, “well, it was almost as good as a real novel.”

I think a book may be Christian because of the character of the writer, not the overt content.

I do not believe Christian Fiction has to be a sermon disguised—however creatively—as a novel.

I think Christian Fiction should show the outworking of Christian values and God’s providence in the midst of a harsh and fallen creation, warts and all.

I think CBA publishers are excluding men from their calculations of what sells. It is circular reasoning: men don’t read Christian Fiction, so don’t sell fiction that men will want to read.

As a guy and a Christian, I hunger to read things that interest me as a Christian guy. I don’t want to read watered down guy-stuff because that’s the only way women will read it.

Women and men have different interests and tastes; why not have the grace to bless both? I don’t want to exclude women’s fiction, I want to see an appreciation for men’s fiction.

I believe God has called and gifted me to produce works of “art” that give Him glory simply because they exist, not to concoct commercials and ditties that will help to market Jesus.

1 comment:

Eric said...

"OK, let's hear your book pitch"

"It's a 1300 page tomb on the Napoleon's conquest of Russia. The story is often interrupted by chapters on military strategy and God's sovereignty."

"Yawn! Boring! Mr. Tolstoy you need to chop out the war stuff, edit the text to under 400 pages and make the main character a woman. Who's next! What's your pitch?"

"It's about a guy who commits murder to see what it's like. Guilt eats at him and he's eventually caught. He is saved by hooking up with a prostitute who goes to live with him in Siberia while he serves his time."

"You've go to be joking, Mr. Dostoyevsky! That will never sell. How can you even call yourself a Christian and write trash like that."