How To Be A Writer Of Christian Fiction Books

Posted at 23:50pm on 24th June 2011

Are you an established writer or aspiring author who is also a Christian?  Is there a novel you want to write (or have written) for which you are unable to find a publisher?  Do you enjoy reading mainstream fiction but find that Christian fiction books leave you cold?  How does mainstream fiction differ from Christian novels?  Have you been feeling frustrated with the narrowness of the Christian fiction genre?  Do you have a passion to bridge the gap between Christian fiction and mainstream publishing?

If so, hope is at hand.

WRITING & PUBLISHING A BOOK

I've been talking with other Christian authors, recently, about these very issues.  Many feel that there is a market for "cross-over" Christian fiction books - that is, novels that are written by Christians for mainstream publishers, and readers of little or no faith.  The problem is that neither Christian publishers nor mainstream publishers seem to recognise this, though there are signs of change.

Note – and this is a crucial distinction – writing Christian fiction books is not an excuse for Bible thumping.  On the contrary. 

CHRISTIAN FICTION BOOKS

There are those of us who feel a vocational call to write stories which encompass all the ordinary and extraordinary functions of human life: sexual activity; bereavement; alcoholism; drug addiction – you name it.    Our aim is to show human life as it is, but with a gentle reminder that faith is a dimension that can transform – not necessarily the circumstances in which our protagonist finds him or herself, but the way in which he or she deals with it.

GOOD CREATIVE WRITING TAKES MORE THAN FAITH

It takes a great deal of skill and labour to achieve this.  All too often I've heard Christians say that "God has told them to write" – a poem, a song, a story – and, frankly, the results have been puerile.  I've heard all the arguments, and yes, Christ did take humble fishermen and turn them into dynamic evangelists.  But not overnight!  Under the guidance of the Rabbi, Jesus, they underwent an intensive and ongoing three year course of tuition.  That's equivalent to a degree course today.

NOVEL STRUCTURE, CONFLICT RESOLUTION & PLOT TWIST IDEAS

The same goes for Christian writers.  There's no magic wand that will open the doors to publication.  All writers and aspiring authors should be aiming for excellence.  Points to consider are: novel structure, plot twist ideas, writing styles, how to write good dialogue, and what does passive voice mean?  You need to know how to create fictional characters; conflict resolution; and the seven plot lines.

If you want to know more about how to be a writer of Christian fiction and improve your chances of publication, as well as how some of my writer friends are already going about it, watch out for the next post on this topic.

Buy A Painful Post Mortem by Mel Menzies for an example of Christian fiction written for mainstream publication.  It's a Prodigal Son (Voyage & Return) story told in a modern manner.  AND DO, PLEASE, LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.

Mel Menzies is the author of a number of books, one a Sunday Times No. 4 Bestseller.

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