Hey, young people! Have you ever been looking for something good to read and googled ‘Christian teen fiction’? Well, don’t–it’s discouraging. You have about 5 to choose from (and a couple of those may or may not be actually written by Christian authors). Okay, I’m being pessimistic. But what really bugs me is when I search ‘Christian teen fiction’ on Christian Book Distributors. One of the top books is one I’ve read–and had to mark out countless swear words and rip out several pages of graphic sex and abuse.
That’s what Christian teens have to choose from? Seriously?
Okay, you know me, ever since I’ve been a teen I’ve been writing for teens. And this week I was thinking about it. Why do I write anyway? What are my goals, and how do I want my books to be different from what’s already out there?
Fiction for teens, creatively written from a Christian worldview.
- Why Fiction? Stories are messengers of truth. Jesus told short stories–parables. The idea was that the crowds were entertained and (most importantly) those who were actually wanting truth would get a glimpse of it and ask more questions. So fiction has two purposes–to reveal truth, and to entertain. Good fiction does both at the same time in a beautiful, natural way.
- Why Teens? I believe kids are incredibly smart, but of course they don’t know everything. Their brains are soaking up information–what they perceive to be truth about the world they live in. During the teen years especially, they’re asking questions. Forming beliefs about big issues like life, death, religion, politics, and eternity. Often, these beliefs will influence the decisions they make for the rest of their lives.
- Why Christian? So fiction reveals truth and teens are right now determining what truth is. What is the world doing about that? Walk through the teen section of any library or bookstore and you’ll see how the world is bombarding teens with their ‘truth’ (which more often than not, turns out to be lies). Lies like…
-Love is all about sex and intimacy
-Homosexuality is okay
-You can be whatever gender you decide
-Christians are narrow-minded and intolerant
And the one I hate more than all the rest…
-Follow your heart!
(I know, it sounds so good! But Proverbs 28:26 says the person who trusts in their own heart is a fool. Whoops, guess the world got that one wrong…again.)
All these lies and a million more are subtly sold to teens in the name of entertainment, and to me that’s just downright scary. Not to mention the high quantity of graphic violence, sex (or suggestive) scenes, foul language, and disrespect for God’s name often found in books for teens.
- Why Creative? Okay, this one is big for me. When I was 16 or 17, I picked up a YA book by a popular Christian author. The setting, plot, and characters were so-so, but the writing was awful. Not grammar and punctuation, okay, but just boring writing. If you read Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me or Michale Byrne’s Lottery Boy and then you pick up a Christian book that’s like, “Joe went into the store. He didn’t have any money. He wondered if…” Um, you’re going to do what I did and say, scrap Christian fiction, I’m going to go over the shelves with a fine-toothed comb looking for something clean not Christian.It’s really sad if you think about it. Because I soon discovered it wasn’t just me–Christian fiction is kind of known for being poor-quality. Maybe it’s preachy, or doesn’t tackle tough issues, or just downright bad writing because the publisher accepted it. Either way, I want my writing to be different. God is the Creator of creativity, and we are his children. We have the Spirit of God inside us. We have access to the wisdom of the Wisest. We are here on this earth to glorify him! Why aren’t we buckling down to the hard work of writing and writing well? Why aren’t Christians known as the most brilliant authors out there?
Okay, I’ve said my piece. 😀 I’ve given you 4 reasons why I write. A sort of mission statement. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have a vision. It’s something I’m working toward.
What about you? Are you dissatisfied with the fiction the world has to offer? Have you read any well-written Christian fiction lately? What are your thoughts on this topic? Let me know!
Until next time,