Writing Tips for Christian Fiction Writers

Writing Tips for Christian Fiction Writers
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Christian Writers market Guide


Breaking into the Christian Fiction Market 
by Teresa Slack

As the Christian market continues to explode in size, publishers still find it difficult to discover new talent. One of the reasons for this is many hopeful writers believe the Christian market is easier to break into than the mainstream market. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are aspiring to write for the Christian market, not only must you write gripping, compelling prose that keeps a reader turning pages, you also must write within the parameters of the Christian Booksellers Association. Certain rules and dictates apply. Christian readers want the same subject matter as non-Christian readers, only without a bombardment of ill language, gratuitous violence, and adult situations.

A Christian mother does not want to bring a book into her home that would cause an awkward situation should her child open it up. Writing to suit a certain market isn’t difficult when you understand the mindset of people buying these books. Ask yourself what you like to read. Would the book appeal to your mother or best friend? If your character or situation would offend a reader of inspirational fiction, you can assume it will also offend a CBA publisher.

That is not to say Christian publishers are not interested in formerly taboo subjects such as spousal abuse, divorce, abortion, and alternative lifestyles. What the Christian publisher does want is a Christian overview on how these topics are addressed. Publishers are getting more savvy every year in providing what the Christian reading public wants to read. Suspense, thrillers, sci-fi, sassy heroines, and flawed heroes are immensely popular. This says nothing of romance, which is the leading seller across the board. If you can write a contemporary romance that endorses chastity and purity in a believable way, your battle is nearly won.

As a writer for the Christian market, nearly any subject is open to you. It is how you handle the subject that matters. Are your characters real? Can your reader identify with them and their problems? Would the reader handle the situation the same way, or can they at least empathize with the character’s choices? If your character acts in an unethical manner, regardless of the circumstances, the reader will not identify, thus is not likely to finish your book. Not only is that the last thing you want as a writer, many times you have lost that reader for any future work you produce. When you offend the readers you are trying hardest to reach, you have dug yourself into a pit you may never climb out of. It is a necessary component in Christian fiction that your characters learn something through the course of the book.

Not everyone must be born again within your pages, but they must have had an epiphany of some kind, a growing experience. In my book Streams of Mercy, the heroine needed to find out if her father was responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of an old girlfriend. Jamie, the seventeen-year-old heroine had plenty of reasons to suspect him. In order to move on with her life, she needed to forgive her dad for the rotten way he treated her mom. In mainstream fiction, Jamie may have exacted revenge on her father or learned to accept the fact that a relationship with him would never be possible. Not so in Christian fiction. Christianity is based on love and forgiveness.

Jamie needed to forgive her father, whether he ever admitted any wrongdoing or not. Finally, and I cannot emphasize this enough, do not preach to your audience. Readers of Christian literature want to be entertained, taught, and inspired as much as any other reader. But no one appreciates having a writer’s philosophies and doctrines rammed down his or her throat. Lectures are not an effective means of touching hearts and changing lives. Stories are.

Copyright Teresa Slack. All Rights Reserved

Evidence of Grace, Teresa Slack’s third book in her award winning Jenna’s Creek series is due for release in June, 2007. She loves speaking to aspiring writers and encouraging them to hone their craft to stand out in a highly competitive field. More information about Teresa and her books can be found at
To learn more about writing for the inspirational market, visit Teresa's blog Joy in the Journey at


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