Dave Meigs

David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington.

Life-Transforming Fiction

Genres That Change Lives, Part 1

What genres do you love to write?

The answer is likely the same as what you enjoy reading the most. For me, that would be historical novels that focus on the life and times of the pioneers who first came to our nation (USA), and those who later pushed on, ever westward. Of such tales, I would be content to spend the rest of my days clicking away on the keyboard. Ah, that would be the life.

Many years ago, I used to meet once a week for coffee with a pastor friend. Besides the usual updates on our families and issues revolving around our ministries, we especially enjoyed discussing the books we were reading at the time. My friend was a huge space opera fan, and I mostly talked about my Westerns. We often recommended our favorite titles to each other, but I don’t think either of us was ever able to finish even one of them, no matter how much the other person loved them. At the time, I never understood his love for space opera, and he never got my affection for historical novels.

I asked him one day what he enjoyed most about his space operas, and I will never forget his answer. His face lit up instantly, and for the next several minutes he explained how he loved the life-and-death struggles for survival these space pioneers endured, such as the need to filter the very air they breathed. He also loved the highly imaginative and strangely different cultures and futuristic technologies. I can honestly say that I had never seen him as animated when talking about anything else.

Over the years, my reading tastes have evolved so that I no longer have one favorite genre or author. I even enjoy the occasional space opera (my friend would be so proud). I have learned that each genre employs key elements that make them unique, which the readers have learned to expect. An example taken from the historical genre that was my first love would be the historical tidbits that I would pick up as I read. Next to it, I also enjoyed the rich cultural differences of those lands and times of the distant past.

Finding the voice that resonates.

I still remember that day, nearly three decades ago, when I sat down to pen my first novel. I had this epic story exploding within me, and I thought it would be easy to write. After all, all I had to do was to combine the most beloved elements used by my favorite authors in their novels. The book was set in the early fifteenth century, so naturally I did my best to use the vernacular of the day and loaded it down with as much historical trivia as I could muster. As you can guess, the result was laughable. I’ll never forget the strange looks I received by the poor friends who read the first chapter. In my clumsy attempt at replicating the tenor of Ivanhoe, I had succeeded in creating something no one could understand, let alone enjoy.

In the years since then, I have learned that the key to writing any genre is the narrative voice and storytelling ability of the author. The goal, after all, is to transport the readers to that distant land and entertain them. As long as the historical facts and setting are somewhat correct, and the narrative carries an authentic feel, the reader is free to enjoy the story. These might seem like fighting words to some who, understandably, rail at the use of modern morals or theology in stories set in the distant past. Trust me, I feel your pain. I really do. Nevertheless, I would suggest that with man and his stories, it has forever been this way.

More to come.

What genres do you enjoy? Romance, thriller, crime-drama, Western, action-adventure . . .? For the next several months, I thought it would be fun to hear from some of the masters of the numerous genres that represent inspirational fiction. If you would like to recommend a particular author or novel, please drop me a line at