Monday, October 22, 2012

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, October 22, 2012 9 comments
Today I'm over at Karen Akin's blog discussing a tough topic--writing across the secular/sacred genre divide in a post entitled "Edgy? Clean? Writing across genre divides." As Karen notes in her introduction, it will interest anyone who has ever struggled with the question of where faith can fit in fiction. 

This was honestly the toughest post to write for my blog ramble. I know good people who have made hard decisions and altered their work to make it more salable to one market or the other. I mean no disrespect to those who've done this. It's perfectly fair and reasonable to want a publisher's backing to get a book on the market. 

And yet, my decision to self-publish has everything to do with this particular problem--the polarization of the markets.  I know plenty of readers who are frustrated with the lack of reading material that takes faith seriously but doesn't sanitize real life problems. 

The issue is a tough one for many considering what publishing path to take.

What do you think? 




9 comments:

  1. We were talking about this yesterday in my critique group. Not necessarily faith but how far do you want to take your writing and we all agreed not far that's why we write MG and YA. Although I still struggle somewhat in those genres.

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    1. How far as in how edgy you mean? That's always a good thing to figure out for yourself early along in your career. Knowing what kind of writer you want to be is essential.

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  2. Hmm, well, I wasn't really coming at it from that angle when I wrote TTAF. I simply had this story in my head, and it involved a reverend's daughter. The rest flowed from there, and I tried to keep it as realistic as possible. But I do know individuals who intentionally write to a specific market. I guess they have to make decisions based on their goals, right? Great question, Laurel! :o) <3

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    1. I didn't really try to write to either market, but just tell a story of what this person raised in these circumstances felt and thought when her world was shattered. I had to grapple with market implications later.

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  3. I'm so glad you've tackled that topic. I think it's an issue that many of us struggle with in our writing. Is it too edgy? Or not enough?

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    1. I hope the post is helpful. I don't really prescribe, only describe my experiences.

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  4. This is the same problem I had. Secular agents said my first novel was too Christian for mainstream, and Christian agents said it wasn't enough - meaning, I think, that the character had too much doubt, was willing to overlook God for her daughter.

    It's hard when you fit best into a space somewhere in between. Both of us want faith to be part of what we write, inherent in the struggle and triumph of our characters, but neither of us wants to ignore the pressure and influence of the world either. I tend to think so much "Christian" fiction isn't very real, or the answers in them are too easy.

    I hope you find the success you need in self-publishing. There's really never been a better time to pave your own way!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. I knew you'd get it. I did consider the small press route, but I've seen some writer friends get burned when presses closed and that scared me off. I felt more confident going it alone because I have 20 years experience in other branches of publishing.

      Self publishing does make it easier to get work out, but the marketing IS tricky. I've begun to find pockets of the reading and writing community that are proudly "edgy Christian."

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  5. I have this same problem. I am a Christian, it is who I am, and I won't betray that for my writing, but at the same time my books are not Christian. For example there is some swearing in my books, nothing heavy but it's there, and some serious issues like drugs, rape, and suicide. Most Christian presses don't want to touch any of that.

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