Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guest Blog Post by Lynn Donovan: Why I Restrict My Writing to Christian Fiction

Braditor's Note: Hi everybody! Today, we've got a guest blogger in Christian author Lynn Donovan, who's currently promoting her brand new book release, a " paranormal romance mystery" entitled Thorns of Betrayal. This is the followup to her popular "Christian Ghost Story" The Wishing Well Curseand if these stories interest you, as I post this, the Kindle version for Book One is free and the new book is on sale for only 99 cents! If you enjoy her post, you can follow Lynn at her website:  

Now I'll turn this post over to Lynn, interjecting only when necessary because I need to post a photo and a caption. Oh, and I think I've got a comment I need to make at the end too. We do need a reminder that this is my blog after all! Thanks, Lynn, and good luck with the new release!

Freedom. It's what America's all
about, after all!
I have been asked, “Why not write for a secular publisher and allow more freedom in the scenes?” Well, I
have my reasons. And this is why…

I write for God’s glory. I write for an audience of one, God. I write to please Him. He gave me this talent, and I want to do well with what He has given me. The only way to “do well” is to multiply the talent and give it back to Him.

That doesn’t mean I want to get all up in reader’s faces with a Christian message. When an idea for a book comes to me, and I start plotting out the storyline, I’m not out to create a “big sermon” that’s going to so heavily influence every single reader that their life will be forever changed for the better. No way!

Like one of my favorite quotes, "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." ~Saint Francis, it’s a matter of planting seeds. Seeds are small and not easily noticeable. Yet, when planted, they are given an opportunity to grow when conditions are right.

Plus, don't forget germination! Germination is important!
Seeds are planted when a person does something insignificant, yet thoughtful, like taking the time to help an elderly person across the street. It’s noticed by someone who might not have been inclined to do that. They observe that small act of kindness and, in turn, extend some act of kindness when an opportunity presents itself in their life. That’s a sprouted seed. That is being Christ-like.

Therefore, I write about real people with real problems and real shortcomings who deal with those problems as normal human beings deal with problems. I lace in spiritual awakening and awareness into the characters' lives because that’s how real people’s lives are. My purpose is to subtly show how a fictional person moves closer to God and received a blessing from Him as a result.

For example, in Thorns of Betrayal, my latest publication, Rose Bauer often turns to prayer but then is stifled with very little to say. She ends up speaking simply to God, sometimes just saying “Thank you,” which is sufficient. I want to show my readers, if they don’t already know, that we don’t have to be eloquent speakers with elaborate, well thought out prayers in order to seek God and receive answers.

"Why does my villain keep cussing?!
Doesn't he know this is a Christian
I enjoy writing under Christian Fiction guidelines because it forces me to keep my good characters moral,
limiting their angry words, and restricting their physical desires. As for the bad characters, I am forced to think outside of the box of the worldly norm and show their bad behavior without offending the reader with grossly elaborate descriptions.

I am a better writer because I have to explore and utilize creative prose to get the idea across to the reader as to what that bad character is doing, without pushing the envelope on PG-13 language and scenes.

I hope my stories plant seeds in hearts, and when the time is right, those seeds grow and then that person moves closer to God, which in turn will manifest a life changing event in his/her life. In the meantime, I hope to entertain the reader and leave them wanting more from me, all for God’s glory.

Brad's postscripting interjection: Boy. You can tell that someone else wrote this blog post since it's so much shorter than mine are!

I wanted to take a moment and speak, however, to the idea—because it's one I've heard batted about often enough—that writers who "utilize creative prose" to describe sinful actions and language are inherently "better writer[s]" than those who choose to be more explicit (and I do not mean sexually explicit here; the Bible says to "flee from sexual immorality" [1 Cor. 6:18] and I do not believe sexually graphic material has any place in any Christian's work because of that and similar admonitions). 

Then, of course, you get some artists who arbitrarily
decide not to use "sense" or "coherency."
While you will never hear me criticize an author's decision to avoid profanity and graphic depictions of sin in their books—and, indeed, my readers will be aware that I avoid such things myself, with the singular exception of the censored dirty words in The Savvy Demon's Guide to Godly Living—I strongly disagree with the idea that the artist who chooses to willingly limit him or herself has more creativity or talent than those who make full use of the available tools. A painter who arbitrarily refuses to touch blue and thus produces paintings full of red oceans is not an inherently better painter than the one who more accurately depicts reality through their willingness to use all the colors. Nor am I saying that the first painter is any less because of their decision to limit themselves. I simply do not think that this decision—whether the author who refuses certain words, the painter who refuses certain colors, or the musician who refuses the G sharp—speaks to quality, talent, or creativity. And, yeah, in case you can't tell, it bugs me when an artist on either side of the issue considers others to be inferior because they don't make the same decision. 

Yes, I realize that the paint analogy doesn't work perfectly since the author is likely limiting their vocabulary for moral purposes (although I think that certainly quite a few also do so to cater to a certain audience), and, again, I do not fault them for that. But, as God did not shy away from either offensive terminology nor graphic descriptions (such as comparing good deeds to used menstrual rags in Isaiah 64:6) in the writing of Scripture (despite the fact that many English translators have felt the need to sanitize the text), nor do I see entirely G-rated Christian fiction as a biblical mandate.
"Oh God, thank You so much for giving me secret
information that everybody ought to be living by!
It makes it so much more gratifying to feel superior!"
Ultimately, every believer will answer to God and I see no foundation to the notion that we will all follow Him in the same exact manner. In the meantime, I would love for charges of superiority and inferiority as the result of personal decisions for which the rules are not explicitly spelled out in Scripture—the moral expectation for the bad guys in works of art, for instance—to take a backseat to tolerance and unity. And that's my postscript! 

Thanks again to Lynn for writing the guest post today. Regular visitors will know that I fully believe we can disagree on some issues with civility and respect and still part friends, and I absolutely encourage you to check out Lynn's work and pick some of her books up if they strike your fancy. At these prices, you have very little to lose!


  1. Whoa! I am not claiming superiority to any one. I only compare my writing to my writing. I strive to improve and be the best writer I can be. I am simply saying by writing under the genre Christian Fiction I willingly force myself to take the narrow road and put more time into thinking about how to convey dialog or an action. I think the reason these phrases are batted around so often is because as a Christian we strive to please Him. Our goal is the same and therefore we tend to say the same things.
    Anyway, Brad, thank you for inviting me over today. I appreciate you helping me get the word out about my publications. May God bless your work abundantly.

    1. Thanks again for writing the post and good luck with the new book. I didn't even know you used to write "edgier" books. Your story might be interesting!