been asking around, trying to figure out what real
people want from fiction. Following are a few of my questions and the
eye-opening replies I got from folks who are die-hard fans of Christian
1. What is your least
favorite thing about fictional characters?
I’m so tired of characters who are always the same.
Give characters bad habits. Let ’em have strange hobbies.
Let a character have a goofy pet, like a ferret or a mole!
2. What is your opinion
Give me a cop who isn’t a “hot dog.”
Show me a politician who isn’t a crook.
Let’s see a good-looking computer geek!
3. How do you feel
about descriptions of mechanical stuff?
Do readers really need to know how many feet of rope it takes to hoist
I don’t care which button a pilot pushes or which lever a mechanic
Can’t a gun just be a gun? Don’t tell me what color it is or how much
it weighs . . . just shoot it!
4. What’s your take on
the guys in books “starring” gals?
I think it’s dumb that they are always such jerks.
It’d be nice if, once in a while, the dude is smart, brave, and
Can we maybe have a guy who hasn’t been emotionally abused by every
woman in his past? Please?
5. Where do you stand
on characters’ “past suffering”?
Does every female have to be a rape or incest victim?
Why are there so many recovering druggies and alcoholics?
And amnesia? Ack!
6. And how ’bout
I know how I feel about things, so don’t try to change my mind in a
If you’re going to try to change my mind, make sure the story
can support it!
7. Do you like plot
twists and subplots?
Love ’em both . . . if they’re believable.
Hate ’em when they happen without so much as a hint they’re coming.
’em when they don’t make sense. If a character’s going to do
something, it had better be explained to me so I can believe
What about crime solvers who aren’t cops?
You can keep the old ladies who put their crocheting aside to figure
You can keep the ex-cop-turned-private-eye, too.
And cops who work “off the clock” with angry, abrasive attitudes toward
the department and other cops? Boring.
9. Any opinions on sex
If they remind me of a Valentine’s Day card, they make me gag.
Sex scenes that describe “the act” with no emotional components are
I wish authors would recall their own experiences
with sex and write about that.
10. And violence?
I fell off a step stool the other day and hit my head, hard. I was
dizzy for hours. So how come characters in books can “take it on the
chin” and carry on as if they’d merely stubbed their toes?
I crashed my car a while back. Didn’t total it, but it was too messed
up to drive until the mechanics got hold of it. So what’s with these
chase scenes where a car flies in the air and impacts the road at 65
mph . . . .and keeps on going?
I got into a fistfight in my youth. Nearly broke every bone in my hand.
No way I could have clocked a guy in one minute then used the same hand
to grab him by the scruff of the neck in the next.
Hmm . . . maybe Christian fiction readers should be
writing the book review columns!