At a recent conference, someone posed this question: Am I a Christian author who writes fiction? OR, Am I an author who writes Christian fiction?
I’ve talked with authors who want to write Christian fiction to reach the lost, not realizing that the lost may be the group of readers least interested in Christian anything, let alone fiction.
As authors, we perceive the need to reach the lost.
But what if the lost don’t feel the need to be reached.
If you didn’t know you needed water, would you stop to get a drink?
If you don’t know you need Jesus, why would you go looking for him?
When I began writing Christian fiction, I asked myself these questions.
The more I worked on my first novel, the more I realized it wasn’t for the lost. At least not in the way of telling them they needed Jesus.
I was writing to Christians to show them there is a path to reconciliation, restoration, and redemption.
Would such a story appeal to the lost? Absolutely. But it was unlikely to reach them because I was with a Christian publisher and, no matter the sales platform, my books would be categorized with other Christian novels.
Has my focused changed?
Not really. My Christian fiction is still for those who need my three R’s.
But, when I write for the non-Christian market, I can still stress the three R’s. I do it through characters who exhibit Jesus-like traits and who strive to live by his moral code. A code based on Christ even though the story may never mention him. My characters face the same challenges and struggles the readers face, but with different inner tools.
My goal is for my stories to inspire the reader, to show, through my characters, that they too can overcome obstacles. And my characters make choices based on their Christian code. I pray my readers draw hope and strength from experiencing the character’s stories and seeing how the lessons apply to their own life.
Let’s use story to entertain and, through that entertaining, plant seeds. As Paul said, one plants, one waters, one harvests. It doesn’t matter who does what because we all share in the rewards of someone coming to Jesus through our efforts.
Who are you writing for