Last May I wrote about some of the ways I’m doing this author blog thing wrong. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the whole author thing wrong. Why? Because I’d like to read more books like mine, and I rarely find any. When you spend years and years painting mountains and everyone around you is painting other things, you have to wonder if mountains are wrong. Here are a few reasons I think I might be painting mountains.
My Christian fiction is Catholic. I’ve read enough to know that Christian
fiction should be completely nondenominational (unless it’s Amish). Characters discuss the faith in broad strokes
(Go Jesus!) without delving into specific doctrines. But they do this with the vocabulary and general
understanding that all Christians are Protestants. I’m not trying to break rules or break into apologetics
when my characters mention Mass or Confession.
I have to write what I know. That
is also a rule.
My Catholic characters act Catholic. It’s possible I’ve had terrible luck. It seems that every time I manage to find a
Catholic story, I’m disappointed by dubious content. One book that recently sounded promising was taken
off my list by a review that praised it for having a main character who “says
bad words! Just like a real person.” The
only reason I seek out Christian/Catholic books is to avoid the things I can find
in almost every other book. I think people
who live by a moral code are more fun to be around, in both real and made-up
My light entertainment does not grapple with anything. Too often in Christian fiction, characters
who are truly living their faith still have heavy regrets in their past. Readers are forced to watch as they deal with
consequences or painful memories. We
might even read about someone struggling to escape abuse. Serious issues do not make good
entertainment. I prefer not to torture
My definition of “inspirational” includes more than
tragedy. Christian fiction likes to
explore the ways God comforts and aids us through the most trying times. I get that, and I respect it. But tear-jerkers are not my cup of tea. I dipped my toes into that water with They
See a Family. I think that book did
stretch my writing muscles. But it still
makes me feel as though I need to apologize to anyone it might have made cry. I have no plans to read or write anything
else that includes the words tragedy or heartbreak in the blurb. My soul is inspired by joy.
My fluffy romances do not illuminate the human condition
or other such nonsense. I am turned
off by fiction that promises to be meaningful and/or make people think really
hard. Spiritual growth is awesome. Rest is awesome. I believe they are best achieved in separate spheres. I hope that reading my books will make people
smile, maybe even laugh. I have no
aspirations to change anyone’s life with my stories.
My characters aren’t stupid. Yes, I need to admit quite a bit of bias and
subjectivity here. When I do find light
stories, I quickly lose patience with authors who try to draw comedy from people
acting unbelievably dense. Oh, no! My credit card is rejected because I keep
buying stuff I don’t need. Oh, no! I’m trying to do something without admitting
I have no idea how to do it. Oh, no! I’m hiking muddy terrain in spikey heels so I’m
about to fall on my face. Oh, no! This
misunderstanding is going on forever because I keep talking over you when you
try to explain. Oh, no! I had to close
the book that wasn’t funny.
My fiction is not nonfiction. Because I feel I’m being particularly hard on
other Catholic authors, I want to point out without naming names that there are
several whose works I love. They even
include powerful messages. But they all
write nonfiction, which is where life-changing words belong. Sometimes I wish those authors would pen some
fiction for when I’m in the mood for simple entertainment. I cannot ask that without asking why I don’t
write nonfiction. Please keep doing what
I’ll keep doing what I love, too, even if it’s wrong. Because in the end, I’m the only one who has
to look at the mountains I’m painting.