Part I: What IS a Christian fiction book or story?
I am a Christian writer. That lifestyle, that point of reference for life informs what I write and how I write. So, does that mean I write only "Christian" manuscripts?
What, exactly, makes my writing “Christian” anyway? Do my manuscripts
always talk about God, or Jesus, or church? Are all of my main characters
Christians? Does every story have a Christian theme?
And, how do I make sure
that an editor, an agent or an everyday reader knows that my manuscript is a Christian
While searching the Internet for blog posts about my question
I found on ehow.com a series
of short videos by a film maker, Nathan Boehme. I couldn’t find anything about
his credentials, but his definition of a Christian fiction book captured my
He says: “The basic
premise for writing a Christian book is having characters question their faith
as a central part of the story.”You can watch the three-minute
video clip (and others) here.
I’ve decided that I
agree. Regardless of the stylistic preferences of various Christian publishing
houses, I suspect they would also agree with Boehme’s distilled definition.
In my opinion every
great story has three great elements: sympathetic characters who face conflict
and struggles which result in the characters’ change or growth. This scenario
is tailor-made for "Christian"stories as defined above.
every story of redemption follow this formula? A character faces conflict and
struggles in life, which lead to questions, relationships and events that push
that character toward Christ. The character’s new relationship to Christ
changes him or her and results in positive personal growth. This scenario
definitely fits Boehme’s definition.
What about characters
who start out (in the story) as Christians? Their stories feature Christian
characters that face conflicts or struggles which lead them to a crisis of
belief. Their responses to, and choices in that crisis change them and their
relationship to Christ for better or for worse. They are forced to make a decision that alters their lives. This also fits Boehme’s definition beautifully.
However, is that all
there is to a fiction manuscript being “Christian?” Should my definition be altered?
What do you think?
Please leave a comment and let us know what’s in that fertile brain of yours.
I’ll share my thoughts
in my next Monday blog post.