You don’t have to like what I write. I can’t make you like it. I can’t stop you from liking it. You are out of my control. That’s a good thing. Because control issues speak loudly in the writing community. And not in a positive way.
Sometimes as writers and readers we have to concede someone else knows what they’re doing even if we don’t like it.
I concede formulaic novels with pristine grammar and safe characters fulfill the reading desires for a number of - or perhaps the bulk of – Christian fiction readers. I applaud the ability to follow the rules and stick to the norm, to what’s expected, and to what has worked for many years in the overall genre.
But this rebel does not concede that I must do the same. “Good luck with that!” you say. Well, I don’t believe in luck, but I do agree with the exclaimed concept. A rebellious writer in CBA doesn’t fly.
“Why are you so rebellious?” you ask, perplexed. And I answer, “It’s because I need to like what I write. I need to write what feels real to me. I can’t dress it up to meet some standards I view as foolish or ridiculous. If that seems harsh,” I say, “then I apologize. Not for what I write, but for coming down hard on some literary choices which equal that of annoying ‘politically correct’ paragons designed to contain and restrain offenses.”
The truth is you can’t write anything without offending someone. “Someone” will decide you stink as a writer and assign you to the one-star reviews on Amazon. Someone else will chastise you for using adverbs profusely, head-hopping, dialogue tags, “and” or “but” to start sentences, or breaking any rule you can’t stand.
“So there should be no standards?” you gasp.
Of course there should be standards for fiction authored by Christians, but the ultimate standard is established between the Holy Spirit and the author. And those authors who dare to circumvent some of the restrictive measures put in place by some publishers must decide for themselves how and where to publish. Since rebellious writing in Christian circles most likely earns you a trip to e-publishing or a vanity press, you must choose what works for you.
Writing rebels don’t compromise well. Rebels can’t find an easy middle ground when they truly believe in what they’re writing. Rebels believe in common sense standards which uphold Christian principles, not Christian opinions.
We walk a lonely literary path in Christian publishing, but one aspect of this decision ignored by readers and writers who disagree with our choices: we walk our path with Jesus who goes before us to make it straight. He is who we follow. Not the disgruntled . . .
Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. You can visit her daily at her blog: hopeofglory.typepad.