Today's Topic for Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays:
(Yes, I know this is Monday...)
Christian fiction is generally known for being clean and non-offensive, but lately there's been a lot of chatter about edgy Christian fiction and the need for Christian fiction to be more realistic. Christian fiction has certainly changed and contains a lot more edge than it used to. This makes some readers uncomfortable and I was wondering what you line is? What would push the envelope too far for a Christian fiction novel for you? Language? Sex? Violence? Main characters who never believe in Jesus? If you came across something that offended you in a Christian fiction book, how would you handle it?
I really like edgy Christian fiction. I like when a storyline feels real and deals with issues that real people could face. And real people face hard/tempting situations in this world; they're not sheltered just because they're Christians. The difference is in how they handle it. I love suspense and I love romance, and for a suspense novel to be good it has got to be edgy.
All that said, I do NOT care for foul language and sex scenes. That is what I avoid in general market books and a lot of why I like Christian fiction - I don't have to weed through that stuff. I have read some Christian fiction that had mild language and if it's sporadic that's ok, but I've read one book that had it heavily throughout the book and that was a little too much for me. But I don't like unrealistic comments from characters...something no one would really say in replacement of a curse word.
I also feel that the intimate scenes are plenty edgy in Christian fiction and do not need to get any more explicit. I like it when they are descriptive but tasteful; I don't like it when they are boring and prude. I don't mind some violence but not really graphic, gory violence.
As far as if the main character doesn't believe in Jesus, I don't really keep a "tally sheet" for that. I guess it just depends on the story and how it's done. It's not a deal breaker for me as long as the seed is there by the end of the book and it looks like it will grow. But then again I like general market books that are not "Christian" but are good, clean stories.
If I did come across something offensive in Christian fiction, I might dismiss it and just keep reading if it's minor. Or I would abandon the book all together if it's highly offensive. I also would have no problem posting it in my review on the blog as well. That is something I would want to know as a reader and would appreciate reading in a review.
Going the other extreme, I definitely do not like cheesy or preachy Christian fiction. It's as much of a turn-off as offensive language, strange as that sounds. And I have abandoned books for that reason, too. If I'm reading and all I can think is "gimme a break!" then I'm too distracted from the story to even enjoy it.
So this is a little late for the Saturday posting, but I'd love to hear what you have to say on this topic!