Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Explicit vs. Implicit

There are several people/organizations who’ve had a tremendous influence on me. My crit partners, the wonderful people involved in ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers), Brandilyn Collins, and Dave Long, one of the acquisition editors for Bethany House, who blogs at Faith in Fiction. I began to read him in February and, to put it mildly, he’s helped broaden my horizons.

Something he said not too long ago really stuck with me. He’s discussed many aspects of being a Christian writer from exactly what that means to the kind of writing we should be doing. In this particular blog, he talks about being explicit vs. implicit in our writing. We’re not talking sex here, but whether we imbue our writing with Christian talk in a very explicit, not-to-be-missed way, or do we talk about great and small things that everyone relates to without getting specifically Christian.

As a writer who started out in the strictly-CBA camp, writing a tightly controlled (by me) evangelical Christian worldview in order to be considered by CBA publishers, this idea was a revelation. It’s been coming on ever since my third novel was roundly rejected by some of the CBA publishers for being too controversial. By secular standards, it didn’t rate a blip on the radar screen, but by CBA standards, it was off the charts. Why? I had an unmarried man and woman living together, not as lovers, but as roommates who hoped to become lovers. There was no sex in the story. It was about as tame as it could be, with the two people getting into lots of trouble as they pursued their lustful goals. In the end, they separated. Which was the point since I wrote the story about co-habitation and why it’s not such a good thing. It received great marks on the writing and "voice," but the content--no, no, no! It was too hot to handle and it set me off in search of Christian writers who wrote in the ABA (American Booksellers Association). That’s when I found Dave’s blog.

Here's the article Dave wrote. See what you think. And, if you have any interest in Christian literature, bookmark Dave's site. He's always educational and sometimes quite funny!