(If Not, Maybe You Should!)
by Kathi Macias
My first novel had scarcely been out for a year when I was asked to teach a class non fiction writing at a Christian writers’ conference in 1989. It wasn’t that my novel was selling so well, but my women’s devotional that released at almost the same time was selling beyond our wildest expectations and being reprinted as fast as they could keep the presses rolling, so my name was hot at the moment. Unfortunately they didn’t need anyone to teach a class on devotional writing, but Christian fiction? No one wanted to touch it! After all, as I heard more times than I could count, “Why would you want to write fiction? As Christians, we should write something more serious.”
Now for all you fairly new-to-CBA writers, that sort of attitude is hard to fathom. Everyone wants to write fiction now, Christian or otherwise. But in those days, a lot of people had issues with Christian fiction, and they certainly weren’t positive ones!
However, I accepted the challenge and ended up with exactly two people in my class. Discouraging? Absolutely! With my own passion to write fiction flickering in the
winds of criticism and disapproval, I wondered if the trend would ever change. Needless to say, it has, and though I haven’t ruled out writing more nonfiction books in the future,right now my focus is almost entirely on fiction. But does the Christian reading world’s current romance with novels mean that writers—even good ones—are assured of success? Not by a long shot!
Good writing is a given, and great writing should be our goal. But even that isn’t do well at that genre. Historical novels run in cycles—in one day, out the next. Chick-lit
or fantasy may be the order of the day when you begin your novel, yet completely passé by the time you’re done. And though we all love those sweet stories of the Amish, how long can “bonnet fiction” survive before it too is replaced with a newer and more popular trend?
If I’ve learned anything through venturing out into writing fiction based on controversial issues, it’s to forget about the current trends and overloaded bandwagons, and ask God to help identify and pursue the passion He’s put in our heart. After all, there’s room in Christian fiction for lots of issues, and when they’re God-driven, they will fulfill the purpose He has intended.