What Christian YA Fiction Could Improve On (By Someone Who Has No Clue What On Earth She’s Talking About)

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Some random golf course, taken from an open widow. Man, it was foggy.

Hello world. It’s 11:24 PM, and I should be asleep. But I’m not. Ha!

Rejoice, I’m not smothering you with more of The Ugly Duckling. Though I’d like to. ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately though, there’s something called life. And there’s also something called homework. I stayed up til 12 trying to finish it. Let’s just say I’m still muttering the associative property of addition.

I’ve also been reading a lot, which is a little different from the random scrolling on Pinterest I’m used to. And a lot of the reading was mostly Christian YA fiction. Which was great! Just… well..

I just think we could do a little better.

So… uh… oh man, what am I doing? I don’t mean to offend anyone, especially cause we have amazing Christian writers! Please don’t kill me, kay? *breathes in* Well, here goes.

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What we could make better in Christian YA fiction

Don’t assume that because you’re under the label of Christian, what ever you produce is gonna be good.

And this isn’t just books. This is movies (I’m glaring at you, God’s Not Dead 3) and music, and yeah, media in general. If we really are doing everything to the glory of God, we shouldn’t be sloppy with what we write. (Uhh, heh, I’m one to talk, I know..) Poor character arcs, bad plots, and themes that are underemphasized and overemphasized in different places of the story make a bad story. Come on, people you has potential! You can be a whole lot better than this! You better, at least.

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Stop being preachy. Just stop.ย 

*sighs* I know I opened a can of worms. And I know that this sounds so wrong coming from a pastor’s kid. Well, I’m saying it because this really bugs me in stories. Am I saying you shouldn’t mention faith in a novel? No! That’s just wrong. What I am saying is, don’t have your main character deliver a perfect outline of salvation to some hardened bad guy, reciting Bible verses off the top of their heads, in the King James no less. Unless your MC is a preacher or a evangelist- just, put it where it makes sense for cryin’ out loud! And for goodness’ sake, you can tell if a character’s speech was copied after a tract. You can present the gospel through a charrie’s dialogue without making him so… forced, professional, robotic-y. It just makes the story less interesting.

You want a good example of the gospel wonderfully presented in a way that doesn’t choke?ย In Search Of Honor, by Donnalyn Hess is so amazing. That’s how you do it!

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Christians make so many mistakes and have so many character flaws. Don’t shape them out to be all perfect and saintly. Even the saints themselves were sinners.

In one book I read, it seemed that almost everyone could recite Bible verses off the top of their heads and talked so eloquently, and had such wonderful Christian fellowship with each other. And that’s nice, that truly is, but so far, nothing has ever made me feel so disconnected reading it. Even if your book’s set in 1860, having people say, “I am receiving an attitude of humbleness gradually and do ask of you-” is the fastest way to making me put the book down. We are sinners saved by grace! We’re proud, we bicker, we do things for us and us along at times! We’re not always so self sacrificing and so up there.

Show me some big character flaws. Show me a Christian who’s struggling with bitterness and has a hard time coming to terms with it. Show me someone who’s having a hard time believing God’s good. Show me an elder of the church having anger problems and desperately trying to curb it. And then show me how God helps them. Because that’s how life is.

Man, that was long.

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Be wary when writing about spiritual topics. Or reading, for that matter.ย 

By this I mean angels, spirits, the angel devil fight thing going on. As awesome as it is, just be careful? A great deal of that is educated speculation. Especially writing it in dystopian/futuristic novels, that’s a lot of speculation. I don’t mean avoid it entirely. I mean, Chuck Black’s written some awesome books with angels as characters, Adventures In Odyssey’s touched on it with Malachi, and let’s see.. there’s been others. But there have been others that have, well, messed with it. Maybe more than they should have. And I’m saying this from a reader’s perspective, I have no clue how one could make sure the writing of angels is in line with the Bible, but if you could, that would be really nice.

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Huh. That was longer than I thought it would be. I’m sorry it was long and incoherent.

Guys, I don’t mean to be down on Christian YA writers. We guys can praise God through fiction and write amazing stuff. I’ve seen it. But we can be better. I know it. So, uh, if you’re not offended by me yet.. and you’re a writer..

There’s a generation of young Christian readers that need some good books. We’re counting on you.

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32 thoughts on “What Christian YA Fiction Could Improve On (By Someone Who Has No Clue What On Earth She’s Talking About)

  1. I didn’t know God’s Not Dead 3 is out, so I looked it up. I was very disappointed. Come on, guys! YOU CAN DO BETTER! Show Grace meeting the kid from the first movie at that coffee shop. Show him and his girl getting back together, coming to terms with what’s going on.
    The other two movies have been about problems.
    Maybe the third should be about solutions.
    LET ME WRITE THE SCRIPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. *Rewrites script*
        Here! Take us seriously! We’re bloggers from the interwebs who think we can do it better then you!
        We should come up with a better query letter first, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, we will write them a letter.
        To whom it may concern,
        We, the bloggers, dislike God’s Not Dead 3. Please retract it from the offical canon of God’s Not Dead and let us help you rewrite the script. Why not do it about solutions rather then problems?
        Sincerely,
        The Blogsphere

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As a non Christian (this isnโ€™t meant to offend – I believe in a God, but donโ€™t find myself in any particular religion. Please tell me if I am disrespectful in any way) and non- professional writer, these were great points! Very engaging post Jo!
    Rhi xo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. GIRLLL I completely agree ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ More people need to think like this! It has always frustrated me how hard it is to find a well-written Christian book, or a well-made Christian movie. Usually, itโ€™s because the books are preachy and the moviesโ€™ actors are so bad ๐Ÿ˜‚ I really wish it wasnโ€™t like that.
    And I agree about being careful with spiritual topics… whether youโ€™re writing a nonfic book or youโ€™re lacing your fiction with spiritual โ€˜truthsโ€™ and speculations, people are far too quick to cement ideas into our minds. They need to leave us space to make decisions and form beliefs for ourselves.
    Also, last thing – that last paragraph you wrote hit me hard. I think the Lord used that to get me thinking about writing Christian fiction. ๐Ÿ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Thank you! Thatโ€™s why I groan at Pureflixโ€™s stuff, cause, *whispers* they arenโ€™t very thought out.
      *nodnod* Like in some books Iโ€™ve read, the author immediately sets out a whole world full of angels and whatnot. Itโ€™s a little strange.
      It.. did? Huh. Iโ€™m glad it got you thinking, cause your writing is awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AGREED AGREED AGREED AGREED AGREED AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another awesome post, Jo!! Wowwww those are good points. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ
    (And God’s Not Dead 3 was bad?? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I haven’t seen it yet!! Why was it lame?)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh wow yes I agree with you so much ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Also why is every Christian book trying to convert the main character??? Not that it’s bad but it could really come off wrong to other people … In that wow I’m only worth something if I CONVERT or that wow saying a sinner’s prayer is ENOUGH. Where are the Christian books about Christiand trying to LIVE LIFE + STRUGGLE + DO GOOD THE WORLD.

    And lol on the eloquently quoted verses ๐Ÿ˜‚ And about PERFECT CHRISTIAN CHARACTERS YES. In all the books the Christians all are so close and have this community and are such good friends and are so friendly with the unbelieving main character and it’s just unrealistic. I mean yes THAT DOES HAPPEN AND THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE BUT ummm I know many Christians who aren’t at home with fellow Christians/church because … they just are not being that family ๐Ÿ˜œ

    Someone should write a book about that!!

    Okay wow monster comment. I’m so sorry!

    GREAT POST!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAY! THANK YOU!! I was having this talk with my mom (who didnโ€™t read the topics) and she was so confused why I thought it was so… arghhh! But thank you for understanding!! And yes, somebody should! ๐Ÿ˜€
      Hey, I love monster comments. They make my day! Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. YES, THANK YOU JO. SO true. *sighs* Oh my goodness, I know from my own personal experience that Christians aren’t perfect and definitely struggle. It’s the effects of the fall, people! Also whenever a verse comes to mind I always get the words mixed up and the reference wrong, unfortunately. What are some really good YA Christian fiction books you’d recommend? Have you read Kiera by Kate Willis?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s frustrating because you know you’ll never be like that, no matter how hard you try.
      Oooh, okay, that is another story! Frank Perreti, Andrew Peterson, I will die reading those, they’re so good.
      Kiera! Kiera! Did you say Kiera?? ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ I love it… and yet I haven’t read it yet. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ No money. Have you?

      Like

      1. Ha ha, I know, right?
        Okay, many thanks! I’ll look them up.
        Yes I certainly did! Well I’ve read it and I LOVE IT AHHH. It was so good. I got the Kindle version when it was on sale for $0.99.

        Liked by 1 person

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