Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anxiety

Not mine. Well, not the way you think.

It's been a long time since I've read Christian books, or any books, for that matter, and I'm finding a strange thing happening.

I care more about worldview in a Christian book than I do in a secular book.

This should not surprise me, although it does. Like many people, I hold my beliefs quite dear. I get angry when they are disparaged, and nervous when they are flouted.

I've read several books now that broached subjects that made me nervous. I was surprised to find them in a Christian book, and I couldn't really relax until I knew what the author was going to do with them.

It's okay for a book to cause anxiety. Horror books wouldn't sell if they didn't. But this anxiety is the kind where I have to force myself to keep reading and hope I won't have to pray for the author's salvation when I'm done.

I think Jeff the Publisher brought this up a few times during the contest and in his writing tips. Some subjects will not appeal to the "wide, Christian market (my quotes, not his)." That's why many fiction books get rejected by Christian publishers. It's not that the subjects presented are doctrinally incorrect; it's that the average reader won't tolerate the kind of anxiety I'm describing long enough to read to the real point.

Some audiences have a tolerance, even a taste, for it. The Anomaly crowd, for example, showed no evidence of shying away from themes that struck me as doctrinally shaky.

As always, readers will decide for themselves what they can tolerate. I'm learning to suspend judgment as well as disbelief until I hear the whole argument. That's a good skill to have.

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