Karen Ball is continuing her series on Christian fiction and what it is. As she mentions and as your comments from last week reinforce, this is a hot topic. I remember the discussions she refers to — um, I think I helped instigate the one at ACFW with my check the box conversion scene comment while moderating the editor panels. I am such a troublemaker! Karen’s latest post included the editors thoughts. Insightful stuff. And the comments on that post are detailed. People really care about this topic!
Here’s my response again. But I also want to know what you think…so leave comments:
Frankly, writing stories that address the hard, real-life issues is excruciating. The last novel I turned in dealt with miscarriage — the first book in my Ohio World War Two series. Colleen calls it my historical, married romance, women’s fiction. I knew it was a thread I had to write, my editor embraced it, and it is real life. The gritty, ask God hard questions, kind of life. But it’s painful as a writer to go there. In my case go back there, and dig up the emotions, the pain, the questions…but that’s what leads to the answers and piece of truth God has revealed to me.
The content edit is also pretty substantive — pushing me to go even deeper with the characters and their motivations. Talk about a gift as a writer, but I know it will pull even more out of me.
Sharon Hinck talks about the pain that came in writing scenes of the Restorer’s Journey (3rd book). It’s bleak, dark, harrowing stuff, but the truth and light of God shines through. And it’s in those pages that I was challenged in my own faith.
As a reader, I seek those kind of experiences. As a writer, I have to be willing to dig deep, peel back the layers, be transparent (though the reader shouldn’t sense me in those places — just the truth as experienced by the characters).
And the hard part is that each book requires that laying it out, risking, and being vulnerable.
So what do you think?