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The Business Side of Writing > The Future of Christianity in Media: We are the front line

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message 1: by Stu (new)

Stu | 24 comments When I started writing my first novel, Through the Fury to the Dawn, over six years ago, I set out to do something that I felt had not been done before - at least not to the degree that I wanted to take it. That thing was to write a story with strong Christian themes that was chock full of the grit and grime and general tragedy many of us have seen in life.

We are no longer in the compartmentalized 80's and 90's where Christianity in media was something that needed to mirror "Real" movies, books, and music. Christian musicians, for the first time, are really carving into new frontiers with their music instead of trying to be the "Christian version of" fill in the blank - and they are being respected by secular and Christian fans as the artists that they are.

Christians are calling out for media that they can connect with - not something that feels full of geared emotion and helps them sleep at night.

More and more the Christian community is wanting to know about the struggles of real people who identify with their faith - not perfect cardboard cutouts. They want to see true evil embodied in realistic villains - like the ones they see on the six o'clock news - not paper tigers. They want to be apart of a story that feels genuine like the secular stories do. Just look at the genre defying success of books like The Shack.

I'm tired of talking about "how far is too far" in terms of content. Life doesn't have boundaries for content and our writing should reflect that. I'm not saying the message of the Gospel should be altered or tainted or that we as Christians shouldn't uphold the pillars of what we believe - but we have to start showing life in our stories. Real life. Bad guys cuss, good guys have vices, and everybody is full of sin and in need of the saving blood of Christ.

They are calling for us - all of us who create - to step forward and take Christian media to the next level. We are the front line. Where we go from here is on us.

What are your thoughts?


message 2: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (last edited Feb 19, 2012 12:13PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments I think you said it very well as far as I believe, Stu and Naomi.

I think that the clean-cut so called Christian genre ideal helps to set up real Christians for feelings of failure to live up.

I grew up in a Christian household, praying and believing in God and going to church. I became a Christian for myself in my early teens (12 or 13). I have been a Christian most of my life, and there have been ups and downs. Being a Christian is not easy, which we all know. We don't always do right or follow the ideals of our faith. We struggle, we doubt, we worry, we falter. We deal with living in a world of people who don't understand what we believe and why at all, and have to balance out our beliefs with living in a world that is fallen, for lack of a better term. Showing the picket fence view of Christian life doesn't fit the bill. I agree that we need to be responsible for what we write, but that doesn't mean sugar-coating or self-censuring out of fear of offending some Christians. I think that each and every reader has a choice to read what they like or feel like is worth their time. If a writer's message is too gritty for them, then they can choose to put the book down. But for those of us who want to see a deeper, more realistic story, where can we go if there are no books out there like that?

I think for authors who are Christian, there are some tough choices to be made. Should you market only in the Christian publication companies, and miss out on a bigger audience, or should you go mainstream, and compromise those elements that you feel are necessary as a Christian writer? I hope that there will be opportunities for authors to not have to compromise either way.


message 3: by Stu (new)

Stu | 24 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I think you said it very well as far as I believe, Stu and Naomi.

I think that the clean-cut so called Christian genre ideal helps to set up real Christians for feelings of failure to live up.

..."

Exactly! Unfortunately, in the current climate, publishers don't seem to want to take the risk on an untested author with a subject matter that doesn't fit neatly into a certain genre.

It is my hope though that publishers will begin to publish more of these "crossover" books as the demand for them grows. I think there is a huge opportunity to reach out to Christians who want more from their fiction but without the compromise and also to reach non Christians who normally wouldn't pick up anything "Christian" by creating honest,engaging, well crafted stories that deal with real people and real faith.


message 4: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Stu wrote: "When I started writing my first novel, Through the Fury to the Dawn, over six years ago, I set out to do something that I felt had not been done before - at least not to the degree that I wanted t..."

Christians don't want cheesy stories any more. Not something to help them sleep.

I think there is no boundary for how far is too far. The Bible goes pretty far in describing some pretty horrid stuff. But the Bible never sensationalizes. It simply tells the story. When you get into accounts of entire villages being wiped out, horses being hamstrung, there's no sanitizing in the Bible nor is there moralizing. The account is simply given. The story is told. Humans really do know what is good and what is evil. We read these difficult Bible stories and we get it.

So will readers get it when we tell modern day versions of this type of story.


message 5: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I think you said it very well as far as I believe, Stu and Naomi.

I think that the clean-cut so called Christian genre ideal helps to set up real Christians for feelings of failure to live up.

..."

Lady Danielle, I've said it numerous times. That's what the cover and the back blurb are for...to let the reader know what type of novel it is. The reader should be able to tell by the cover art what genre it is and if it's edgy or not. The back blurb should nail it down. If the novel is edgy, the back blurb should reflect that.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments I agree. If I know what kind of book I'm investigating, and it doesn't look like my kind of read, then I put it down, unless something about the story compels me to dive in.


message 7: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I agree. If I know what kind of book I'm investigating, and it doesn't look like my kind of read, then I put it down, unless something about the story compels me to dive in."

I'm so glad for authors posting excerpts more these days and for the Amazon "read inside" feature. Too many times in the distant past somebody said "Oh you have to read this seat of the pants, go for a roller coaster ride Christian thriller. So, I'd get it and it didn't have correct police procedure and was thriller light. I'd have wasted my money and worse, be disappointed.

Now there's really no excuse for purchasing the wrong book. Seriously, the Christian reader has to put a little effort into selecting books.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments And with sites like Goodreads, you can find a good review that can give you a heads up on a book to see if you want to read it.


message 9: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
I agree, there are so many comments and reviews here that even if all the authors friends post 5 star reviews, you'll still get some that are more realistic.


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