In the last two entries posted here, I might have offered an opinion or two on what annoys me about Christian fiction (“I’m fine” and endless zings). Turns out a few other people are annoyed as well. Their comments here and on Facebook were interesting, funny, and pretty much spot on.
This is the last in the three-part series on the topic. Lest you think I hate all Christian fiction, my next couple of posts will be about what I like about the genre. There is plenty to like, and I’m naming names.
Read on for comments from readers about Christian fiction.
—I don’t like it when the author makes the good characters so good that they don’t make any wrong moves.
—The protagonist is almost always teeny tiny skinny and amazingly beautiful. Yes, there are skinny people out there but are they the only ones we can write about?
—All the zings simply get nauseating to the point I don’t want to know any more about the characters. Then reading time is done … SLAM!
—Zings, in real life, are rare and precious things! Twice a page makes them ordinary.
—I had to stop reading much Christian romance (especially shorter novels) because it annoyed me to no end that these people were always meeting, falling in love, and getting engaged in less than a week.
—It’s not only a “show, don’t tell” failure but also a lack of faith in the reader’s perception and imagination. We need not fill in all the blanks!
—As a single/never married, I would like to see a strong single not always get her man. I know that may not make for a good romance novel, but not everyone gets married. There should be a strong female character who wants to get married but who wants God’s best more!
—I hate books that publishers and writers try to pass off as having a strong female role and in the first five pages she meets a guy and the only thing we hear from her the rest of the book is how great he is. Are females only strong if they have a guy?
—I hate when a woman has great goals and dreams for her future, but none of them matter once she meets “the right one.” And really, do we believe (or even want to believe) there is only ever one right one?
—As an editor, the health of characters is something I pay attention to (food, rest, bodily functions, etc.). They don’t have to happen “on stage,” but there has to be time for them. I’ve been known to leave a note like, “btw, gangrene is setting in about now . . .”
—Why the heck does every character under stress forget to eat? Or simple forget to eat (fill in meal or meals here) when busy. Some of us eat more when stressed and we never go for a 10-mile run to relax. Can writers please find a different way to relieve stress besides running?
—Another pet peeve? How beautiful someone’s eyes are. Okay, so you want to keep it clean, but does every love interest have to have the deepest (insert eye color) we have ever seen?
—Am reading my second “Christian fiction” series and I wish they would leave all the beautiful women and handsome hunks of men out on the prairie. Of course it was the late 1800s and maybe they were all that back then.
—Sometimes the characters need to be more human and not super human.
There you have it. Editors, take note. Authors, take more notes.
FYI: Last week’s blogging was preempted by the Breathe Christian Writers Conference. I help plan this event held in Grand Rapids, Mich., and I couldn’t be prouder. We set a record for attendance; no crises occurred and attendees had lots of positive comments. Check us out at www.breatheconference.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Next year’s Breathe is Oct. 6-7, 2017, with keynote speaker Leslie Leyland Fields.