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How To Deal With Sensitive Subjects (in Christian Spec Fiction)

Contemporary fantasy is swamped by material that runs completely adverse to traditional family values. This is a huge concern for parents and teachers. Young readers, especially, are impressionable to strange philosophies because they have not learned discernment.
| Nov 28, 2014 | 8 comments |

Latest fantasy release by Scott Appleton

Latest fantasy release by Scott Appleton

While writing my short pdf book on writing, The Writer’s Scrapbook, to give away on my website, I was energized by reminders of why it is great to be a Christian author of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Contemporary fantasy is swamped by material that runs completely adverse to traditional family values. This is a huge concern for parents and teachers. Young readers, especially, are impressionable to strange philosophies because they have not learned discernment.

Some of these “sensitive” subjects include: violence, magic, atheism, and sexuality. All of which can be complicated to approach in Christian literature.

Family-friendly literature does not need to shy away from these subjects. I think of how the Bible contains stories of everything from slashing open a guy’s belly to God’s judgment on homosexuality. These topics need to be dealt with, but they must not be glorified.

Readers must be shown sin and its consequences. They must live rejection so that they are willing to stand alone for what they know to be true. They must watch a character fall so that they can learn the consequence of living in sin. They must watch the actions of the characters so that they can see the ultimate rewards and penalties.

Do not shy from sensitive subjects. Simply show them in the light of holiness so that the reader aspires to a higher standard. As Christian writers we have a stronger foundation to contrast good and evil in fiction. We don’t just know what a character should and should not do. We know the reason they should and should not do it. We know the why because we know the ultimate Authority behind the why.

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Scott Appleton is a multi-published fantasy author with AMG Publishing (The Sword of the Dragon series) and now a freelance fiction writer whose works focus on reaching family-focused readers. He and his wife Kelley have three wonderfully creative children and they love to travel for his book signing events. Connect with Scott on Facebook and Twitter. Follow his writing journey and download his free ebook, The Writer’s Scrapbook, on his website.

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Kirsty
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Readers must be shown sin and its consequences … They must watch a character fall so that they can learn the consequence of living in sin.

The problem is that, in real life, the consequences of sin are not necessarily obvious. Yes, there are consequences – but in some cases they may only be in eternity. If we give the impression that it is otherwise, it could give kids a wrong view of reality. Because, in real life, nice people live happy, fulfilling, successful lives, while rejecting God and his ways.

Kessie Carroll
Member

Seems like half an article here!

 

So, Scott, I’m curious. How do you handle delicate subjects in your books? 🙂

Kessie Carroll
Member

The moral delimmas in my books are pretty straightforward. In book 1, my hero has to face the bad guy alone despite his own terror. In book 2, the guy wants to just run away and let somebody else handle things–but if he does, everyone will die. Third book, my heroine finds that her magical gift comes with a price tag, which may result in the death of the man she loves.

I can’t do deep and subtle. Big and obvious, that’s my thing. Sex sins don’t interest me, and that’s all Christians ever want to write about. I relate better to cowardice and laziness, personally. They’re just as crippling to a hero.

D. M. Dutcher
Member

I disagree somewhat. It doesn’t help to do this unless you can get the complexity of the sensitive subject right. There’s a lot of Christian fiction that will deal with a sensitive subject in a simplistic manner, and really destroy their witness for people who know of the subject. It can descend into platitudes and caricatures too easily.

I think it would be better to handle less serious subjects if you have a full knowledge of it. Like instead of abortion, something like loneliness. Or video game addiction. Or divorce. Something where it’s harder to fall into the trap of making things too simplistic.