Monday, June 7, 2010

A Declaration Of Genre


I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I know, I know, it's a dangerous thing, but I couldn't help myself. I've really been pondering this fence I've been sitting on lately - the fence of what niche and/or genre my writing falls into.

For a very long while, I had the great idea that I would market my work as science fiction/fantasy, even though my writing has Christian themes in it. I figured I would skip trying to market in the Christian fiction category because it seems so small, so rare - aside of course from big names like Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee.

Well, lately I've felt led to the thought process that maybe that plan isn't really God's will for my career. I recently joined a group called the Lost Genre Guild - a group of authors who specialize in the genres that my writing falls into. And seeing this group of people made me realize that there is a dire need for great Christian fiction. And I'm not really talking about regular Christian fiction either. I'm really referring to edgy Christian fiction - edgy, in my opinion, being more than just your regular PG or PG-13 rated novel.

Most of my work as of late could be classified under the R rating. Mixed in with a heaping of science fiction and fantasy are themes of redemption in the midst of real characters who deal with death, demons, rape, time travel and apocalyptic plots. My own mother has voiced her disappointment in my writing, but that's not saying much considering she raised me to believe that Stephen King was evil. I am nowadays a huge fan of his and am thoroughly enjoying his Dark Tower series.

I don't write about questionable topics to shock, I write to be real, to bring to life characters that everyone can relate to in some shape or form, and to bring to light the evil that we are all facing everyday - the seen and the unseen. I do respect the Christian authors who write science fiction and fantasy and can keep their subject matter appropriate for all ages, but I am definitely not led down that same path. And I think that's a great thing, because everyone has different preferences.

I write what I would like to read - edgy Christian fiction. Not every other line in my manuscripts have a sermon to preach, but the overall themes I try to convey in my fiction is redemption, and good overcoming evil. Pure and simple. I mix in some horror (because writing about demons wouldn't be the same if they weren't tearing things to shreds or scaring the heck out of humans) and add a dash of romance to finish things off. All in all, those who read my work get a healthy dose of something I believe has taken me years to compile and create - something that isn't seen a lot of out there.

And that's where my work comes in. A lost genre? Maybe. Probably just one that has fallen through the cracks and needs to be pointed out to a world that is searching for answers, a world that wants something to relate to. For the longest time I hid my work in the general sci fi/fantasy genre because I only really wanted non-Christians to pick it up. But I've come to realize that it isn't just non-Christians who need to hear stories of hope in a dark world. Everyone needs to hear of hope. And I as a Christian have always kept an eye out for edgy Christian novels. Ted Dekker comes to mind as the closest example I can think of. I love Tosca Lee's unique approach to stories as well.

So from here on out I'm an edgy Christian fiction author. Edgy in the strictest sense of the word. And I will help to bring focus to this beautiful genre because I think it is one that can benefit so many people - both with entertainment value and with themes of the straight and narrow path.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Okay this is something I can DEFINITELY relate to. My work is so edgy you know like you said PG-13 and beyond. I mean I love to write about War and Nazi Germany, the more I read about that, the more I wonder if my book would even fit into the Christian market. Mainly because of it's edginess. Another edgy author for me who I consider one of my faves is Jack Cavanaugh. Melody Carlson writes some edgy things too.

Oh and I subscribed. :)

David N Alderman said...

Very nice. I'm glad you and I have our fiction in common (at least the rating). It's hard to find other Christians who write edgy enough stuff to be considered 'adult' because some people I know think Christian fiction should be rated G and no further. That's okay, because I know there's a market for that, but I like the edgier stuff and I know there are those out there that have interest in what you and I both publish. :D

Oh, and thanks for subscribing!