How appropriate that we are
gatherin’ just preliminary to the Thanksgivin’ holiday. Ah know y’all
are most thankful for the extensive admonishment you are receivin’ in
the Sacred Laws of Fiction Etiquette from very your own Ms. Flanders—as
well you should be. And to fortify myself for your profuse expressions
of gratitude, Ah have brought along a libation of my sainted Aunt
Beulah’s cherry cordial—completely nonalcoholic, of course, sweetheart,
in case you were wonderin.’ Though you should certainly know better,
Hic—Oh, do pardon me! It appears
this batch of the cordial has been, shall we say, maturin’ down in mah
wine cel—ah, basement a mite longer than usual. But never you mind. Age
has its prerogatives, as we all know.
With no further ado, let us turn
our attention to today’s reader question. The envelope, if you will,
baby doll. Bless your heart.
Dear Ms. Flanders,
As an aspiring fiction author, I’m wondering why romance novels
dominate the Christian market. I assumed Christian readers would be
attracted to stories that address more profound themes than whether the
girl ends up with the boy—all within God’s will for both their lives,
of course. So I was thoroughly disillusioned to discover that none of
the established publishing houses would publish The Shack, even though
this story addresses profound themes about God and life. The author had
to create his own publishing house to publish the book, and it has
generated astounding sales and considerable excitement even among
Admittedly, romances are perennially strong sellers in the secular
market, but shouldn’t Christian publishers seek stories that offer
answers and hope for our deepest concerns, which the world can’t
supply? What gives? Is the Christian fiction market shallow, or is it
just my imagination?
Bothered and Confused
Allow me a moment to catch mah
breath. Where is mah cordial? Mah dear, Ah believe Ah shall sink into
the vapors if you continue to go on like this.
Sweetheart, Ah fear you are
laboring under a severe misapprehension. Chaste, unsullied romances
that give no quarter to the base emotions so as not to lead readers
into temptation by thought, word, or deed are the most upliftin’
readin’ you will
ever find. Readers are all the
better for such noble
expressions of man’s highest ideal. The editors at all the leadin’
publishin’ houses who continue to buy romances in spite of the
occasional anomaly like this shack story know this full well, honey
chile, and you would do well to trust your betters’ wisdom and follow
their guidance without question.
While we are on the subject, Ah
cannot emphasize enough that this current trend toward what some of you
young’uns have the temerity to call “edgy” romance is far beneath the
supremely cultured and refined author who deserves to be revered by his
or her peers. Do not allow your thoughts to stray in that direction if
you have any hope of gainin’ that elusive publishin’ contract! Keep
your eyes on the narrow path, and you will someday receive the
reward—the honor—of writin’ a best-sellin’ romance. A fiction writer
has no higher goal.
Ah don’t know about you, but Ah
am havin’ just too much fun! However, it’s time for me to bid y’all adieu.
Just remember, if you should neglect to return next month for another
dose of admonishment on the Sacred Laws of Fiction Etiquette, Santa may
just have to leave a lump of coal in your stockin’ on Christmas
December: Why does so little Christian fiction generate the
kind of reader excitement and sales that the Harry Potter
January: What’s wrong
with sprinkling adjectives, adverbs, and exclamation points throughout
your manuscript, anyway? Weren’t they invented to be used?