Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Athol Dickson at Infuze: CBA & Craft

Read the whole thing HERE, and a snippet below:

Many authors speak of the progress made within the CBA toward good writing and relevancy to the mainstream fiction market. How would you view this? Would you say this is true?

It is absolutely true. Anyone who denies the great progress in Christian fiction was not reading it fifteen years ago, when most of it was not good. I remember attending Christian writing seminars where editors felt they had to tell us spiritual themes must arise organically from the story, and must not be layered on the surface as an afterthought. If you think about it, the fact they felt they had to tell us that was shocking. I mean, they actually found it necessary to come right out and say, “Propaganda makes bad fiction.” That’s where we once were.

These days that is simply not discussed, at least not by the experienced Christian authors I know. The vast majority of those who wrote propaganda back then have been weeded out by market forces, leaving those who understand the art of fiction still here to carry on. There are some exceptions, people who somehow manage to sell books in spite of mediocrity, but isn’t that the case in any genre? Think of all the awful novels one finds in airport newsstands.

I believe Christian fiction in general is now at least as good as all the other genres. I think this is slowly becoming an accepted fact, even among publishers and critics outside the Christian world. In fact, it seems to me most of the opinions one still reads to the contrary are from Christian writers who have not managed to get published, and one suspects their motives, to say the least. I say this as an extremely demanding reader. I do not finish about half of the novels I start, because I cannot bear poor craftsmanship or boring stories, regardless of the message. I will not support a Christian artist simply because he is a Christian. That would demean Christianity itself. But these days I find myself abandoning non-Christian novels with about the same frequency as Christian ones, so yes indeed, we have come a long, long way

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

Interesting! Thanks.