Fiction is powerful—in good ways and bad. This is the main reason why I don’t read many secular YA novels. Lots of the recent contemporary YA novels are filled with lots of trash, and I'd rather not open myself up to that kind of influence. This is also why I love Christian fiction. Because these stories can help people see the consequences of their actions and reach people right where they are in life. Christian fiction can show people that God offers love, forgiveness, mercy, grace.
When Jesus was on earth, he was aware that stories were powerful. That’s why he told parables—because he knew there were those who needed the illustration. He knew that some people would need to be told the truth through a story in order to fully grasp the message he was trying to deliver.
Luke 8:10 (MSG) says~
“You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But there are others who need stories…”
Recently I’ve been going through the round of edits for my first YACF novel, Purple Moon. And I’ll be honest—there have been times recently when I've had doubts. Times when I start thinking “My writing is not strong enough. Why did I write this? No one's going to like it.” And sometimes, when I read bad reviews on other books, I imagine all the horrible things people might say about Purple Moon.
But every time this happens, God reminds that I’m not writing to glorify myself. I'm writing to bring glory to Him. I have to remember that this is the story God has laid on my heart. My purpose in writing Christian fiction isn’t so people can give me praise—if it was, I probably would’ve given up already. When doubts are flooding my mind, I try to remember: not everyone is going to love my book. But I’m not writing for those people. I’m writing it for the girls who will be able to connect with my main character. For the girls who might be going through similar situations as she is in the story and could really be ministered to by reading Purple Moon.
Yes, there are people out there who might be needing to read your book. As you write, God already knows what guy or girl is going to be touched by your writing, perhaps even feel as if they’re reading the story of their life. And yes, it is possible that a non-believer can become saved through Christian fiction. It’s happened many times before. One of my best friends is proof. She asked God into her heart a few years ago while reading the Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn.
It isn’t easy, the process to publication. And there will be times when you want to give up. But please, for the sake of your future readers, don’t quit. Especially if you really feel as if your story could minister to people. Keep going, because there are people out there who may need to read the book you’re tempted to throw away right now. Go back to the reason you first fell in love with your story. Robin Jones Gunn—the author of the Christy Miller Series I mentioned above—was rejected ten times before the first book in the series was published. She now receives letters from readers all over the world, thanking her for the book series and telling her what an impact they've made on their life.
Ever since I was a kid, I've always been very ambitious. But what's the number one dream I have that basically sums all of them up? To reach people. That through the gifts God has given me, He will shine through me and touch lives. That people might come to experience His love through the fiction I write, through a part I may play in a film, or through the words I may write in an article/devotion. And of course, through my every day life.
This should be every Christian fiction author's purpose behind writing too, as well as his/her motivation to keep going. No, not so they can bring glory to themselves. But to reach people. Even if it’s just one life that will be touched by your story, I'm sure it'll be worth it.
~~~Why do you write Christian fiction? Have you ever had doubts along your journey to publication or become tempted to give up also? What helps motivate you to keep writing?