Every reader knows the kind of books they want to read. But not every author has a clear-cut idea of what they want to write. So, I thought it would be fun to share a few things I’d like to read in books and want to write.
A few things I want to Read and Write…
1. Clean fiction. Okay, that’s kinda vague…let me elaborate. When I say clean, I mean a book void of profanity and euphemisms. A book without romance. I mean, I don’t mind if there is a couple in the story, but I don’t like it when that’s the main focus of the story, with the exception of the Courtship Series (see below). Or if the times they are together are immature, carnal or just overall non-Christ honoring. If I know more about the opposite character’s physical attributes than their personality, something is wrong.
Examples of Clean Fiction: Tales of Faith Series by Amanda Tero; The Moody Family Series by Sarah Maxwell; The Courtship Series by Mr. and Mrs. Castleberry
How I plan to do this: Well, I won’t use language that I don’t believe pleases God. And if I write about characters that are in a relationship, write them in a manner that pleases God; keep the interaction mature and above reproach (no touching or kissing before marriage); Make sure that their relationship doesn’t become the focus of the story. Even if I someday write a story like the Castleberrys Courtship Series, I will try my best to make God the focus of the story, not feelings or emotions.
2. Engaging Text. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader than reading a book that isn’t a story at all. It’s a textbook. I don’t want to waste my time on a book that’s not interesting. Dry, dead, dull. I want the story to come alive. Make me see what is happening! Make me smell, hear and feel it. Drop me into the middle of your story!
Examples: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson; Sisters in Time by Various Authors; Iron Scout of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
How I plan to do this: Remove filter words; make my descriptions interesting as well as needful; Allow my readers to fill in unnecessary bits of information, but never leave them wondering where the story takes place or when it’s supposed to take place; Keep even the non-active parts of the story interesting with actions mixing with the dialogue and using colorful words and never writing something I would be tempted to skim.
3. Accurate Fiction. Nothing irritates me more than when writers add fictional members to real people’s families, change timelines or blatantly change history. It’s not right. You are lying to your audience. I don’t care how awesome it makes your story. It’s lying. I had an awesome storyline for a modern-day military story that included a Navy SEAL being captured by the enemy and his team rescuing him. The story was so neat, watching my main character side-step a lot of trouble, even as a POW, and watching how his buddies plan the most amazing rescue ever. And all culminating with a powerful Salvation scene.
But…in the History of the SEALs, not one has ever been a POW.
Who am I to write a story that might lead someone to believe that a Navy SEAL has been taken prisoner? It’s not my place to plant an idea in someone’s head that isn’t true. If a Navy SEAL ever becomes a POW, God forbid, then my story would work out. To be honest, I hope that story idea never gets written.
How I plan to do this: I want to make sure that in every book that I write, I am writing things that either did or could happen realistically. Could a young teen overhear a conversation that could save a group of soldiers? Yes, that is possible and has happened in history. Could a child win over a company and become their drummer? Yes. Think Johnny Clem, one of the youngest soldiers in the Union Army. There are many stories of boys who just wouldn’t leave the soldiers alone and becoming musicians. So, my storyline with Burdy in my Battle for Heritage Series is plausible.
See what I mean? Make historical fiction factual again! I will say one thing though. While I don’t completely agree with this, I do appreciate when an author is honest enough to make a note about what aspects they changed for their story’s sake. Like I said, I want it true, but I like knowing what wasn’t right in the story, straight from the author.
Another note here. I’m strictly talking about historical facts/situations. Some people would be quick to point out that I have done something in my series that isn’t 100% accurate. Dixie wasn’t a wide spread name for girls in the 1840s, which is when my character Dixianna Mason was born. In fact, it wasn’t a name for girls at all. Dixie was a nickname for boys named Richard. Why? I have no idea. But to make the name work (I was told by a historian not to change her name), I created a little history behind her name. You can read that here.
Believe me, I’m not saying every minute detail must be on par. But I am saying you should try your hardest to make your book as accurate as possible. I don’t mind a minor quirk here and there. I’m talking about changing history.
Ex. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy; Journey to Love by Amanda Tero (not a Romance)
Why I Write What I Write
One day after editing with my mom, she asked me why my stories were always so sad. I told her I wasn’t really sure, it’s just what came about. Then she found a poem that summed it up. I can’t find it now, but it mentioned how nice it is to read pretty stories. But sometimes, the author wanted to make her readers cry, to see and appreciate the hard things that lead to the good things.
That is true for me. Some people like to write about the sunshine. I like to show people the storm so you can appreciate the sunshine.
But all of this is nothing if you aren’t writing to please and honor God. Would you be embarrassed to have Him sit down and read your book? Would you have parts that you would want Him to skip? Cut. Them. Out. If you would be ashamed for Him to know what’s in your stories, they don’t belong there. Besides, He already knows. Let that sink in! Write to Honor God!
Something to Think about: Why do you write what you write? Would God be pleased with your stories?
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.