I would like to send a big 'Novel Matters' welcome to our newest friends and hope that you will feel free to comment on anything which catches your interest in our posts.
Remember our "Audience With an Agent" contest which will result in six lucky writers having their manuscripts read by agent extraordinaire, Wendy Lawton of Books and Such Literary Agency. See our "Promotions" section for guidelines. The contest closes July 31, 2009, but we encourage you to submit your entries as early as you possibly can without compromising the integrity of your submission.
I recently received an email from a wonderful reader who apologetically confessed to viewing Christian fiction with a critical eye. She wanted to value Christian fiction, but was afraid that it might alienate non-Christians, or that the writing would not be as strong. She dreaded reading about 'supernatural conversions' that seemed unrealistic. But most of all, she was concerned about "preaching at people who need to see stories of hope and grace played out in a way that is more tangible and understandable to them than direct Scripture." I wondered how many other readers felt the same way.
I greatly appreciated her comments, especially in light of last week's topic about edgy fiction, or 'addressing the tough issues with honesty while upholding the Christian standard.' Christian fiction has certainly evolved and expanded since its conception. Today, there are many different genres and sub-genres, and they are often in a state of flux. For an industry that began modestly, the Christy Awards now recognizes anywhere from six to nine different categories of fiction each year. As the demand for genre variety continues to be met, the challenge is to reciprocally raise the bar in demand for quality.
My question to readers is, what do you like about Christian fiction and what suggestions do you have for authors? For authors, what impact, if any, might this reader's comments have on your writing?