Over the past months, I have begun speculating either that my perception is limited or magnified, or that Christian-speculative-fiction blogs are overly focused on writers.
If you’re in this “circle” of Christian speculative writers who blog about such issues, you might recognize this. If you’re outside that circle, that’s partly why I’m wondering this: because an (apparent?) near-exclusive focus on writers may not be what you seek.
Yes, like many I’m an aspiring author myself. (Long ago, I used to think this was a rare aspiration.) But first, I’m a reader. I love stories — speculative, Christian stories.
And I begin to wonder if some of the Christian-spec-focused blogs out there are for me.
I frequently visit many of these blogs, and I read their columns and features about The Industry. I read about how to develop characters, how to lower/increase your word count, how to get a literary agent, how not to scare your agent away, how to plot, how to make a book promo video, how to write a proposal, how to stay awake at a conference.
It’s mainly shop-talk. “Inside baseball.” Evaluating the machinery.
This has exceptions. A blog host, whether a published or aspiring author, may write book reviews or other material specific to readers. But those do seem to be exceptions.
Shouldn’t the ratios of writers’ and readers’ material be reversed?
Isn’t is true that every writer is a reader, while not every reader is a writer?
Will a glut of writer-specific blogs and columns keep generating an impression that too few Christian spec stories are available, and so everyone should be writing one?
Naturally we do include some writer-specific material on Speculative Faith. Yet our focus seems to be more unique, and not something that should be unique: we want to focus on readers. Maybe material specific to writers should instead be the exception.
Otherwise, I doubt this genre will grow much beyond a small cabal of aspiring writers.
Otherwise, we may accidentally reinforce a kind of “hipster” market for these stories.
Otherwise, as a reader, at best I feel a bit left out. But even as an aspiring writer myself, I begin to feel an odd sense, perhaps even an appeal to my baser desires, that is hard to describe: I only exist to write stories for others. The stories I do enjoy, I mainly enjoy because I’m using them to become a better writer. It’s all about climbing a pyramid.
Speculative Faith can address this. That’s why, come this summer, we hope to make the Library even better. To showcase the book reviews and encourage others. To publish new features from authors outside the Christian spec-author “fold” on why we love, or should love, these kinds of stories. To publish features specifically targeted to parents and others who either don’t get why we “need” stories, or want to explore them.
Yet I doubt this site should stand alone as the only source on the internet of reader-directed resources about Christian speculative fiction.
Well. That’s the exposition. Now for suggested applications.
- Blog hosts: consider writing for specific “demographics” beyond Christian speculative writers/agents/editors. What about parents who want good books for their children? Pastors who don’t “get” fiction? General readers?
- Writers: hey, I know we need the shop talk! But consider folks, even if it’s only me, who gets tired at writing conferences of all the shop talk. I likely want to head back to my hotel room and put it all into practice now, and stop talking about it. Or I simply wish to relax and be carried away into the wonder of story.
- Published authors: I’m sure we’re not all reading your books because we want to dethrone you, or at least join you on the Grand Fiction Vizier platform. Maybe you could make your blog columns about writing and The Industry the exception among reader-centered columns. I’d thank you, anyway.
And a few questions for more discussion.
- Does anyone reading this now enjoy Christian speculative stories but not also try to write it? If so, may I shake your virtual hand, and plead with you to share with us what you hope to see among Christian SF blogs? Or do you think everything is fine and that I’m overreacting?
- If you host a blog, how much do you write about writing, as opposed to reading?
- If you’re a writer, do you discuss with friends or family why you love to read books, humbly “giving yourself over” to the storyteller? Or do you fall into what I’m tempted to do — salvage books, especially good ones, for spare parts for your own manuscripts?
- How do you share with others, perhaps at your church, how your love for God leads to love for good stories, and vice-versa?