by Christa Kinde
When I joined the ACFW, I figured I’d encounter people with similar gifts, interests, and goals. Hey, it’s all there in the name–American Christian Fiction Writers. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder where to put the emphasis.
Was this a group for writers of Christian fiction?
Many of our stories sell through the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) because we landed contracts with either a Christian publishing company or a publisher with a Christian imprint. Our readers want stories that reflect our beliefs, respect moral boundaries, and resonate with truth.
So far, so good. I’m technically “in” because my fiction debut was a Christian middlegrade series. But I was also writing stories for the general market.
Or had I joined an association of fiction writers who are Christians?
Early on, I figured out that I’m happiest when I write the kinds of stories I love to read. At the same time Zonderkidz released The Blue Door, I was writing Galleries of Stone, the story of a magical master sculptor and his servant. The characters aren’t Christians, but many of the themes ring true. They recognize right and wrong, they treasure the bonds of friendship, they appreciate beauty, they show mercy, they keep their promises, and they fight for what’s precious.
Our books lay bare an author’s soul, and readers will see where our heart lies. Even if the story’s not Christian, it can become abundantly clear that its author is.
So what about writers of Christian non-fiction?
Having read so many of your blog posts, I know I’m not the only ACFW member writing non-fiction. Memoirs, devotionals, Bible studies, parenting or marriage advice, and encouragement for the world-weary. We write not simply to be heard, but to help. Maybe God can use our story–our struggle–to touch another soul.
Non-fiction is where I got my start, and my vitae includes a lengthy title list of Bible studies and workbooks, curriculum kits, devotionals, and Bible projects.
And while we’re at it, aren’t there Christian writers of non-fiction?
Christians–we’re everywhere! And we produce everything from sports biographies to magazine articles, newspaper columns, and web content. How-to books, cookbooks, textbooks, guidebooks, and life hacks are easily part of our repertoire.
Incidentally, I fit in here, too, since my publisher asks for odds-and-ends material like classroom guides, activity books, and research articles.
The ACFW is as diverse as its membership.
Hey, we’re even flexible about the “American” part, since we’re an international community. No matter where you toss in the italics, we know two things for sure–we’re Christians, and we write.
As believers, the ACFW becomes another kind of congregation. We gather at the annual conference to be equipped and encouraged for the work set before us. We find support in chapter meetings with other people who totally get us. We share a similar journey, yet each path is unique; and each story reverberates with its own God-given purpose.
Be yourself! (And be writing!)
Christa Kinde writes studies, stories, and devotionals that bring truth into focus and give faith a practical spin. Her Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] is complete in four volumes. And she leads a dual existence as C.J. Milbrandt, author of family-friendly fantasy like the Galleries of Stone trilogy and the award-winning Byways books.