What are the challenges you face as a writer in your genre?
by Angela Joseph
As a Christian, I love writing in the Christian genre, but there are many challenges that writers in this genre face, most of which have to do with restrictions imposed by the publishers and the Christian Booksellers’ Association (CBA). Fortunately, this book, Women For All Seasons, is a non-fiction book and adheres very strictly to the stories in the Bible, so I don’t have a problem with this one. However, I foresee some difficulty with my romance novel, which I hope to begin pitching to agents soon.
Visit any bookstore and browse the Christian fiction section and you will see many books by the same author. The titles and book covers are almost all the same, featuring Amish-type characters and settings. There are few titles that reflect a “normal” way of life. Now, remember, I am a Christian and I have no problems with the Christian life. However, characters come with faults and weaknesses and make mistakes just as regular Christians do. Should we then bypass these issues and portray only characters that are so squeaky clean their feet never touch the ground?
In the novel I am now working on, three of my characters were sexually abused by their fathers and this has impacted their lives in different ways. One has convinced herself to remain single forever, another drinks alcohol and the youngest is wild about boys. All these subjects are taboo as far as the CBA is concerned. So, how do you reconcile all this with a Christian worldview? How do you get your protag to enter into a healthy romantic relationship when she is yet unable to face the skeletons of her past? How does a young girl give up alcohol which has become her cushion from all the psychological trauma she is still carrying? And how do you get the teenager to forget boys and focus on her education?
I have no desire to compromise God’s word in my writing, but I think that Christian authors should have the freedom to explore topics that normal people face as long as they do it in a tasteful manner and in a way that elevates the Christian worldview. In my novel, my protag does fall in love, although she encounters many conflicts, the young girl gives up the bottle and the teenager settles down to her books. They accomplish this by establishing a solid relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’m sure every genre brings with it some challenges which the author has to be able to overcome. In my writing, I try to adhere to the publishers’ guidelines as far as possible, but not to the point where it stifles my creativity. If authors are restricted in what they are able to pen, then these issues will never be addressed and Christians and non-Christians will be deprived of valuable resources that can help them in their daily lives.
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A WOMAN FOR ALL SEASON
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Genre - Christian Non-Fiction
Rating - G
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