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Crafting Realistic Christian Fic > Gritty Christian Crime Fiction Is Counter Culture by Nike Chillemi

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message 1: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Diana Lesire Brandmeyer's blog Home in My Heart featured my article "Gritty Christian Crime Fiction is Counter Culture."

This article looks at what crime fiction is and how Christian crime fiction must get a little gritty to challenge the main culture.

http://www.pencildancer.com/2012/02/g...


message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) Pretty nice, and murder/mystery books are one of my favorite kinds of books to read. I agree about the need to not sanitize the details and go against the media grain of desensitizing how it affects those who look into the details.
In fact, one of my favorite authors, Steven James, has become really well-known for his Patrick Bowers Files thrillers. From the get-go in the first one (The Pawn), Patrick Bowers reveals that, no matter how long he works with the FBI, the grittiness of each crime unsettles him deeply because the victim was a living human being with their own life and story. What makes it worse is the taker of that life is also human, not WAS, but IS. People question Patrick about how he can see the perps as human and he's a realist on the nature of humanity, as I would say, "To be the proverbial monster is to be the literal human."
Essentially, Steven James explores the dichotomous/contradictive nature of humanity.
In his latest book, The Queen, a victim is revealed to be a four-year-old girl. With a name. And a dead mother. Had a life. Little details that tv shows don't focus on become heart-breaking tragedies, and you can feel it through the pages.
Aside from the murders, even the subplots of his works get under the skin, such as double-standards in society, issues with adoption, familial problems. There's nothing light nor timid about this Christian authors works, and he doesn't write the books so the main audience will be traditional Christians, but anyone who likes/loves really dark murder thrillers with dark realism.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments Good article, Nike.

I think that readers will see right through an author who isn't authentic, and that goes for Christian authors as well.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) Very much agreed. It's too bad much of society sees Christian crime fiction as too conservative on the grit and too overt on prosletyzing. And it's too bad some Christian authors have that actual style.


message 5: by Bill (last edited Mar 12, 2012 12:46PM) (new)

Bill | 7 comments I'm on the same page as everyone thus far. I saw "Contraband" this weekend, which is a very gritty crime drama. I loved it for its realism. Part of the action takes place aboard a container ship based out of New Orleans. The movie storyline did get the feel of ship crew dynamics. Generally the crooks were portrayed as flawed humans whose major issues seemed to be a "I can get out of this jam by myself" attitude. It did make some of the bad guys seem all the more tragic. As a Mark Wahlberg movie, it is violent with many f-bombs, but it did inspire me to try to flesh our my characters more in my own stories.


message 6: by Werner (new)

Werner Good blog post, Nike! (I just finished reading it; I don't have as much time online as I'd like, so I tend to be waaay behind.)


message 7: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "Pretty nice, and murder/mystery books are one of my favorite kinds of books to read. I agree about the need to not sanitize the details and go against the media grain of desensitizing how it affect..."

I also like Steven James a great deal. I've read quite a few of the Patrick Bowers series.

I also like J. Mark Bertrand's Roland March series.


message 8: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "I'm on the same page as everyone thus far. I saw "Contraband" this weekend, which is a very gritty crime drama. I loved it for its realism. Part of the action takes place aboard a container ship..."

Hubby and I have been watching a few HOB series. The acting is very good in all of them, but I'm getting tired of the F-bombs and also HBO doesn't seem to be able to do anything w/o nudity. Yet, the storyline and the acting is superior to much of what's out there.

As to "Contraband," I'd say the F-bomb is quite normal usage on the docks.


message 9: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Werner wrote: "Good blog post, Nike! (I just finished reading it; I don't have as much time online as I'd like, so I tend to be waaay behind.)"

Hope things are going well in your world. :)


message 10: by Bill (new)

Bill | 7 comments Nike wrote: "Bill wrote: "I'm on the same page as everyone thus far. I saw "Contraband" this weekend, which is a very gritty crime drama. I loved it for its realism. Part of the action takes place aboard a c..."

LOL. Having worked on a couple of ships, I can say the F-bomb is indeed part of every conversation.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner Nike, thanks for the good wishes! Yes, things are going as well as can be (not perfect, but for the present we live in a flawed world that will have its stresses and challenges). We had a blessed Easter here, and hope everyone in the group did also!


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments Werner, we had a lovely Resurrection Sunday. Thanks for the well wishes!


message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill | 7 comments Werner, We had a lovely family day together. A bit non-tradtional since we did a backyard landscaping project and then had Easter dinner at 8:30 in the evening.


message 14: by Werner (new)

Werner Glad to hear that, Danielle and Bill!


message 15: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Werner wrote: "Nike, thanks for the good wishes! Yes, things are going as well as can be (not perfect, but for the present we live in a flawed world that will have its stresses and challenges). We had a blessed..."

Werner, We've been very stressed of late. Medical problems not in our immediate family, but close enough that we're involved. That means we get to do the running around and get to feel exhausted. LOL

But Good Friday service was awesome!!!

We drove to my older daughter's house for Easter, but went out to eat. Everyone was too tired to cook. We had a really good time at dinner and then hung out in DD #1's house.


message 16: by Werner (new)

Werner Nike, I can relate to running around and feeling exhausted. :-) Hang in there! Glad you and your family had a good Easter.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 52 comments Nike, I hope the health crisis resolves soon.


message 18: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Hope things improve for your family Nike


message 19: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Thx everyone for your prayers and good wishes.


message 20: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Nike wrote: "Diana Lesire Brandmeyer's blog Home in My Heart featured my article "Gritty Christian Crime Fiction is Counter Culture."

This article looks at what crime fiction is and how Christian crime fictio..."


Hi, Nike!

Thank you for sharing.:) This sounds interesting.


message 21: by Vondraya (new)

Vondraya | 6 comments Red Sky Warning  by Wendy L. Young

I'm reading Red Sky Warming by Wendy Young. Has some gritty elements, but is actually a murder mystery with a lot of deep relationships between the characters.


message 22: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Perilous Shadows by Nike Chillemi

I just had to withdraw my novel Perilous Shadows from a competition between titles. It gets a lot of attention because authors get their family, friends, etc. to vote. There are five titles competeing and they put up an elevator pitch type blurb about your novel.

They ask you to sign a statement that your novel in no way defames Christianity. Good so far. Or takes the Lord's name in vain. Still good. Has no sex. Still good. Then it says there can't be any foul language such as h**l, d**n, *ss. At that point I had to withdraw my novel as one of my bad guys uses "hell" twice as profanity. And another character refers to a particular behavior and says "That's like following the devil into the pit of hell."

So, there you have it. And I write pretty tame whodunits w/romance. But they're realistic in tone and substance.


message 23: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) No wonder so many Christians have given up on Christian fiction and are reading secular fiction instead.


message 24: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Janelle wrote: "No wonder so many Christians have given up on Christian fiction and are reading secular fiction instead."

Pretty sad.


message 25: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
To counter all the contests and Christian review sites that reject our work...I propose we do a Pre-Christmas Blog Tour.

I'm going to start working out the details on how to set this up.


message 26: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) I was shocked to a degree when I read Eric Wilson's debut novel, Dark to Mortal Eyes, because a character says "That was funny as hell!" Yet I decided to continue reading, he's currenly one my top favorite authors. Something to consider- we are raised a certain way by the chruch, to believe certain things. Growing up, I was raised to believe that "whore" was a cussword, then I found right before graduating high school that it belongs to another group of words alogether, minced oaths. Like "ass", which the KJV Bible (still the most renowned and revered) says Jesus rode on into Jerusalem (oh, wait, it also has "whore" and "bastard", I've read both words in there in college). So, why do we get all into fits about "swearing" and what words are swearwords when the most sought after version of the last few hundred years has some of the very words we dread and teach others to never use?


message 27: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I was shocked to a degree when I read Eric Wilson's debut novel, Dark to Mortal Eyes, because a character says "That was funny as hell!" Yet I decided to continue reading, he's currenly one my top ..."

Jason, Eric Wilson is also one of my fav people. I love his transparency. If you look at his blog he's the most down to earth, honest human being. He walks the walk.

You taught me something. I didn't even know what a "minced oath" is. Can you give a definition. I think this is something as authors that we need to know.

As for me, if the word is in the Bible, I can use it. And there are plenty of general market authors who are great writers who don't go beyond the words in the KJV.

Pisseth (as in urinate) is also in the KJV. Goodness gracious. Who wrote that thing anyhow? Oh, God did.


message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 28, 2012 06:07AM) (new)

I haven't read Eric Wilson. The cuss words you speak of are mild IMO. I think the content of a book can be what is offensive such as illicit sex or extreme violence. I think if a good story is being told some minor cuss words are o.k. It's the message that's important. I think there are offensive words that should not be used. I sure won't list them here! However, I think some of the common words such as whore, or bastard are acceptable as these people exist in the world.


message 29: by Nike (last edited Aug 31, 2012 10:54AM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Jewelie wrote: "I haven't read Eric Wilson. The cuss words you speak of are mild IMO. I think the content of a book can be what is offensive such as illicit sex or extreme violence. I think if a good story is bein..."

Jewelie,

But then does that mean there are some things a Christian fiction author can't write about because it might get too violent or have illicit sex? Then Christians can't write novels exposing terrorism, sexual slavery, world wide torture practices in despotic nations, and so much more. We might not be able to write about the drug traffic that's destroying the youth of America. Or at least we can't write about any of these thing realistically. If we can't write about them, how can we shed light on them? If we don't shed light on them, how can we stop them? If we sanitize the subjects then we're doing just what the enemy wants...make if "seem" bearable, less then it is.


message 30: by Nike (last edited Sep 01, 2012 06:24AM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Jewelie wrote: "Nike, Those are excellent points. I agree that it can be necessary to write about unpleasant things with an unpleasant subject to show readers the truth. I was referring to unnecessary porn or viol..."

Jewlie, I don't know of a single Chrisitan writer, not one, who has added porn to a story. Of course I don't know of any Christian writers who have written about the porn industry...so I don't know how that would work out.

As to sex and violence, I don't know of a single Christian writer who has added any sexual content or violence they didn't think was absolutely necessary to the story. Not one. And yet, in spite of that, some of the powers that be want to censor, it seems.

And some readers don't want to have any sex or violence at all. I've read excellent ABA novels thought to be low in sex and violence and they tend to be a bit more than the most graphic Christian novels. So, there's a huge disconnect between ABA and CBA.

That's a problem Christian authors have who try to cross over. The ABA reader thinks the storyline is pablum in Christian writing. In the area of reality, milk not meat.

Are we charged as writers not to be offensive? I'm not sure. I think writers should sometimes offend. If the subject matter is offensive, the writer should depict it as such. Sexual slavery is offensive, child porn is offensive. It shouldn't be watered down. Christian readers perhaps should grow up. Or bettet yet, read the back blurb. Readers can tell what the book will be like from the back blurb. Don't buy books that will offend. Readers have a responsiblity too. The cover will tell what the book is going to be like. A noir thriller's cover will not look like a cozy mystery's cover. But the very conservative Christian should not be censoring what other Christians write and/or read.

I've read three of Eric Wilson's novels. None of his novels that I read had any language. Frankly I think Eric Wilson is tame, very tame. If anyone is offended by Eric Wilson, I don't want to read anything on their reading list.


message 31: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Nike wrote: "Jason wrote: "I was shocked to a degree when I read Eric Wilson's debut novel, Dark to Mortal Eyes, because a character says "That was funny as hell!" Yet I decided to continue reading, he's curren..."

Sorry, I do know what a minced oath is. I just didn't know it was called a minced oath.

For those who don't know, or like me don't realize they know...a minced oath is euphemistic expression formed by altering a profane or taboo term to reduce the original term's objectionable characteristics.


God - gosh, golly, gad, gor, gar

Jesus - gee, geez, geesh

Christ - crikey or cripes

Jesus Christ (two words) - Jiminy Cricket, Judas Priest

Hell - Heck

damn - darn, dang

goddamn - doggone

damnation - tarnation

what the Hell - what the heck, what in the World

The f-bomb - flipping, freaking, fricking, frigging, fudging, effing, fracking, funky, frilling,fecking

"Fecking" is widely used in Ireland.

shit - shoot, sugar, shucks, sometimes substitited with crap

crap - snap (as an interjection), crud, crumb

bitch - beach, beyotch, witch

SOB - son of a gun


message 32: by Jason (new)

Jason (jokers_knight_out) Pretty much. And in this legalistic culture, a Christian book with even one minced oath tends to get looked down upon by those of influence, who may get more attention than those who want a ground-based Christian book. Then again, like I've said before, there are words some denominations teach are cusswords yet are not. Hence why it took me a while to get over the use of them (especially in including any of them in my book).


message 33: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "Pretty much. And in this legalistic culture, a Christian book with even one minced oath tends to get looked down upon by those of influence, who may get more attention than those who want a ground-..."

Jason, My problem is that some Christian authors are called by God to seriously address extreme evil and not to mince anything, but to show it.

If we keep taking the hard edges off evil, those who are not saved can't see it. So novels attempting to reach out to them that mince on the evil may fail to reach them.


message 34: by Sarah (last edited Sep 06, 2012 08:32PM) (new)

Sarah Foster (sarahjae) Wow, I'm so blessed to have come across this group! I've been a lover of gritty, raw and real fiction for a long time! I am also a christian and NOT legalistic. I can tell you that I got to a place where I was starving for christian fiction that could actually (gasp) talk about real issues going on in today's world.

I am writing a historical fiction at the moment and the word whore (it's about ex-prostitutes) is used several times. Why? Because that's what they said back then! I spent a lot of time editing out the word and "softening" it, but in the end, I've entered it back in. I'm very nervous about how it will be received, but it's what I would want to read so gosh darn it ;o) that's what I am going to take a risk on and put out there.

All of this to say, very nice to see some like-minded people on here who can relate and perhaps even recommend some great books. I love the Lord, I wouldn't want to do anything to dishonor Him, and I haven't felt like I was compromising in writing what I am so I'm going to do it! :o)


message 35: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Sarah Jae wrote: "Wow, I'm so blessed to have come across this group! I've been a lover of gritty, raw and real fiction for a long time! I am also a christian and NOT legalistic. I can tell you that I got to a place..."

Sarah,

I'm so glad you put the word back in. How on earth can any one write about prostitution w/o using that word?

Did you use the slang term "pro" at all?

BTW, whore is in the Bible. God used it.

Oh and welcome to the group.


message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Foster (sarahjae) Haha Nike - good point about it being in the Bible and thanks for the welcome! I'm still feeling my way around Goodreads, but having fun while I'm at it.


message 37: by Nike (last edited Sep 18, 2012 06:01AM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 482 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Haha Nike - good point about it being in the Bible and thanks for the welcome! I'm still feeling my way around Goodreads, but having fun while I'm at it."

Sarah,

I lost everything and considered it dogs’ dung so that I may gain Christ - Philippians 3:8

What is dog's dung? It's shit, merde, excerment. Paul used it. And I wonder what word in the Greek he actually used. I'll bet it was strong.

And they may eat their own dung. 2 Kings 18:27 and Isaiah 36:12

They shall be as dung upon the earth. -- several places in the Old Testament


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