1. Stephen Smith says:

    A bit invective, but still an awesome article with good insight and great examples. I’ve always said I don’t want to read Christian fantasy stories, I want to read fantasy stories written by Christians. I think people want to abandon the former, but they still confuse the two.

  2. Lauren says:

    Great article! I think I’ve met a couple of these people . . .

    There’s definitely some trends in Christian fiction I think should have run their course by now, but you know . . . if Beverly Lewis stops writing Amish books, I don’t know what I’ll get my mom for Christmas! (She’s also a big “Jesus Calling” fan — I got her the color book for her bday.)

    That said, my local Christian bookstore closed over a decade ago, and it was more home decor and greeting cards than anything else, so . . .

    I don’t think Christian fiction needs to die, but if it wants to be more than gifts for moms and grandmas it needs some growing pains.

    I have enjoyed several authors who are published by the traditional houses —

    Stephen Lawhead (also traditionally published),

    Anne Elisabeth Stengl (went to own press, and now apparently traditionally published under another name??)

    Patrick Carr

    Ross Lawhead

    And probably others that I can’t think of at the moment.

  3. I wouldn’t like it if CBA disappeared, but it’s strange to act like Christian fiction will die if CBA dies. I mean, if that disappears, will that actually stop us from writing our own Christian fiction stories? It certainly won’t stop me, I write what I want to write and read. And we’ll all probably write more what the modern market wants anyway(not in a bad way), so more people might actually read ours, so our audience wouldn’t just be limited to amish fiction fans.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Yep. I agree with Autumn.
      (Though I could add more to the thought, like–hopefully the CBA will be able to adapt to changing circumstances. But the CBA does not equal all Christian fiction.)

      • Agreed. But many folks, upon hearing of the CBA’s supposed demise, respond as if hurrah, good riddance, and the fewer “Christian products,” the better.

      • I prefer Indie Christian writers for the most part. No gate keepers to demand horrible work.

        Must have a cheesy romance even if it’s irrelevant to the plot, must have a preachy moral, not just no sex but pretend the bad guys never have it or married people. No horrifying swears you call euphemisms–gee golly whillikers, holy smoke, or for crying out loud. (Pearl clutch!) Must lecture readers on the evils of smoking, playing cards, dancing, movies, and wearing lipstick.

        Yes, I date myself. But this stuff is pretty recent. And–aside from The Left Behind series (shudder) and Frank Peretti no spec fiction would go beyond the slush pile.

        • Another thing I’ve seen is that things like sex is sometimes addressed in mainstream Christian fiction, but kinda oddly or not well.

          There have been other mainstream Christian authors that have addressed lust a bit and did so reasonably ok. From what I remember, Bryan Davis has done that a couple times. Haven’t read all his books, so I can’t say if I agree with every depiction of mature topics he has, but he’s one of the authors that seems to have a reasonably ok balance.

          • notleia says:

            Makes you wonder, if the author can’t write interesting things about sex, does that mean they have a terrible sex life?

            I’m sure we could speculate irresponsibly and at length on this subject.

            • Yeah. I think part of the issue is them not having the practice with the actual writing part of it(just because people experience something doesn’t mean they can write it well). Also…when people try to dance around a subject then it tends to lead to weirdness and awkwardness.

              At least it kind of shows people how not to write that stuff, though, or at least it’s shown me some pitfalls to avoid. I don’t write sex scenes, but sometimes I’ll show some things leading up to one, or how sexual matters have affected some of the characters and their society. Kinda wish more authors were willing to do that in a realistic way.

  4. C.S. Lewis published his fiction with regular houses. But he wrote quality stuff. Ditto for Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, and Flannery O’Connor.

    Part of the reason the CBA developed wasn’t just that the darkness hated the light but people preferred quality fiction to frothy formula romances ground out by template. 95% of all novels in CBA bookstores I visited–when I visited them–were mindless, shallow romances.

    • With C S Lewis, part of me wonders if that was partly because religion was a bit less taboo at the time, so it was something even regular publishers may have been willing to publish? Now days there’s so much division between religious groups and secular groups that Christian fiction is now stuck in this little tiny faction where people feel like they have to cling to certain things even though those things may not be for the best.

      • Probably. But non Christians still enjoy some of his works today. (Not the fedora crowd! Lol.)

        Thank You God for the phenomenon of Indy publishing. I appreciate it as a reader and a writer.

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