By Lynn Hobbs
Recently, I attended a ladies luncheon from several churches in my area. One woman had an out of state friend visiting her, and we welcomed her to the group. Upon learning I was the author of a Christian fiction series she had read, she discussed the ending of the last book in the series.
She loved the series, but did not like the ending. She wanted the ending to be “happily ever after” for the main character.
I smiled and explained that life isn’t always like that. I write about modern issues facing my characters, and seldom is a problem solved like a neat and tidy bow wrapped around a Christmas present. Often, people face options and choices must be made.
In my writing, people are responsible for their actions.
She explained she enjoyed pleasant, predictable stories with happy endings.
I thanked her for the constructive criticism and realized she preferred cookie cutter books. That is fine. No author can please every reader.
Personally, I would be bored trying to read a cookie cutter book. It would be like feeding bland baby food to an adult chef. I write and read Christian novels. Anything Christian: fiction, romance, mysteries, suspense, inspirational, historical, etc.; can draw me into the story and hold my attention. Not if it’s the following format, though:
1. Girl meets boy, or vice versa.
2. Boy doesn’t like girl, or vice versa.
3. Conflict grows.
4. Conflict is resolved.
5. Boy and girl live happily ever after.
A fantasy or science fiction would not work for me, either, but do have a huge audience of readers.
As an author, I recommend staying with your genre and your voice– your style of writing. Give 100% of yourself in your writing and have your reader feel the emotion of your character.
Are you making a moral example of a character? Are you presenting a learning experience your reader could relate to?
Can you blend a scripture into a situation that flows with your story?
For me, writing with modern issues is a great opportunity to introduce Christian values to the non-Christian reader. I pray for direction and the story moves forward with purpose.
Have you ever been inspired by someone? Ever work with someone who survived a crisis? Could those situations possibly work in your characters life to relate to your readers? Yes, it could, but only if it has a believable resolution. Fiction has to be believable. Christian fiction is my calling, and I love sharing experiences of others that are encouraging. I want my readers uplifted by the actions and reasoning of my Christian characters towards life with both Christians and non-Christians.
A story can be written as soothing therapy to a stressed reader.
What do you want to convey?
When do you want to present key facts to the reader?
Are you writing to women, men, or both?
Can your targeted audience relate to your story?
Enjoy the options, and happy writing!
Lynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek, 1st place, Religious Fiction 2015, TAA.
Lillie, A Motherless Child, 1st place Biography 2016, TAA.
You can find Lynn on her website at http://www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com, Facebook and Twitter.