Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing Edgy Christian Fiction

Lots of discussion on requirements and taboos in Christian fiction. Different houses allowing different things according to what their particular audience expects and loves.

My funloving heroine has a problem and for answers, she dabbles in voodoo.

Now, I have blogged before about my worry about Christians dabbling in powers not from God a la Deuteronomy 18:9-14.... I'm concerned because God calls these detestable along with the people who participate. Whoa. Please scroll down to October 19  and see "Twilight" of Loyalty
Yet, there she goes. Why? Her husband even tells her, "Get into a playpen with serpents, sooner or later, you get bitten."

I'm inserting voodoo into my story--which is about many other things besides voodoo--because I want to show the problems and consequences.

The challenge is to make it somewhat realistic but not so attractive that the reader decides to go into it. And not so gorey that it haunts her.

Because all the while, I consider three passages from our Ultimate Editor.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
It would seem God wants us to fill our minds with lovely things. I guess it's fine to read the bad news out there, and be aware and wise to the bad realities of life, but not wallow in them for amusement. Be innocent but not ignorant.

I don't know how else to take it. I'm open to suggestions. I have to consider that, too, as my heroine explores sources of power not from God.

Then there's James 3:1
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Even though we may not desire to write a didactic, teaching story, our stories do teach, or at least, influence people's thinking.

Joseph Gold's Read for Your Life/Literature as a Life Support System was
recommended by an instructor in a Christian counseling course I took.

Gold says that experiencing other people's life situations in fiction causes real reactions in our minds and bodies, as we wll know.

He also points out that Dr. Zhivago was so powerful it was banned in Russia.

The third scripture is pretty strong:

Matthew 18:6,76
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

Wow. Of course, we want to entertain without being stumbling blocks.

These are what guide me, before I put my work in black and white for all the world to see. God included.

And everyone must do what's right in their own mind, as they are led.

I love this from St. Augustine, I think: "Love the Lord and do what you please."


Suzanne said...

Interesting, Margo. This really made me think. You seem to be going about this the right way though, with the right spirit. Done well, I think this approach will go a long way towards showing people that God's way and turning to Him is better than any other out there.

Margo Carmichael said...

Oh, thanks, Suzanne, for the encouragement for us all.

Michelle Sutton said...

You are speaking my language now...

Margo Carmichael said...

LOL Hi, Michelle! Thanks for stopping by.