Writing Stories of Faith…Mingled With Murder And Mayhem

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Christian fiction and murder mysteries? Really?

On the surface the two don’t seem to go together. After all, how can a book where murders, mayhem, and bad guys abound promote Christian values? Can a writer of suspense novels make a difference in a life? Surely not, you say. It might be good entertainment but that’s where it ends. Not so, I say.

Jesus used stories to teach a point—He called them parables. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly message! Don’t you just love that definition? I do! Because that means I write parables–how cool is that?

People love stories. Stories can touch our hearts, stir our imagination, and teach us. Stories allow us to see the truth without the actual experience. Stories give us the opportunity to learn, change, and grow without all the growing pains. Didn’t GONE WITH THE WIND teach us that being selfish and self-centered can ruin our life? Didn’t THE FIRM teach us that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is?

As a writer of Christian fiction, I have two goals with every story I write.

The first and most important goal of any novelist should be to create an entertaining story that readers will love. Writers aren’t there to pontificate their own point of view, to preach, teach or nag. A novelist’s job is to entertain. It’s as simple as that!

The second goal is more subtle but just as important as the first. It is to further God’s Kingdom in some way. In other words an earthly story with a heavenly message!

How this happens varies from book to book depending on the specific story. It may be as simple as portraying Christian characters in a positive light in a world where so much of popular culture denigrates Christianity. Other  times my Christian characters increase their own failth because of the circumstances in the book. Other times I show characters living out their faith in the face of difficult situations. And since I write suspense and mysteries, my characters face a lot of those.

Christian fiction has undergone a revolution.

It’s not your mother’s Christian fiction!

Christian fiction has grown up over the past decade. No longer is it sweet simple stories, but rather Christian fiction has become an umbrella term for many different genres. There’s a book out there for almost any taste you have–romance, suspense, mystery, horror, supernatural, science-fiction, or fantasy.  You name it, and there’s probably a Christian writer out there writing it. If not, you might be the one to write the next big thing!

Not sure how to find the type of books you love to read? ACFW’s Fiction Finder is a great place to start and it’s FREE! Visit  http://www.fictionfinder.com/

No matter what you love to read, you should give Christian fiction a chance.

If stories were good enough for Jesus, then they’re good enough for me!

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If it was good enough for Jesus–It’s good enough for me.

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When people learn I’m a writer, I get lots of different reactions. Some are excited and want to learn more. Those are the ones I like. Then there are some who look like I started talking in another language, nod, and walk away. I don’t like those quite as well. And then, there are the others….

You know the type—super intellectuals. They look down their nose and say. “Oh, I don’t read fiction, I only read non-fiction.” As if reading fiction is a bad thing. As if it’s somehow demeaning to read fiction, let alone write it.

I used to let these people bother me—but no more!

Now, I say—if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.

I recently learned this definition for a parable. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly message. Wow! Isn’t that exactly what writers of Christian Fiction do? We write funny,wonderful, exciting, fascinating stories that have a heavenly message.

In my last book, PURSUED, I had two main heavenly messages. The first was God loves each and every one of us. The second was believers should spread God’s love to others—even it’s in inconvenient and/or dangerous! And in my books, it’s always dangerous!

At times, we might be tempted to say (and believe) that what we do (writing Christian fiction) isn’t all that important in the big scheme of things but…

Where would our Christian faith be without the parable of The Prodigal Son? No other story I know illustrates the depth of God’s love or the fact HE will never turn us away when we come back to him—no matter the circumstances.

Where would our Christian faith be without the parable of The God Samaritan? This story teaches us that God wants us to love one another in a true and meaningful way, not just with words.

Jesus used stories to entertain. Jesus used stories to teach. Jesus used stories to connect with others. Jesus used stories to illustrate a concept. Jesus used stories to elicit emotions from his listeners.

And we as Christian writers should do no less.

And that is why I’m proud to say I am a writer of parables. If it was good enough for Jesus—it’s good enough for me.

If you are a writer, what heavenly message do you put in your books?
If you are a reader, do you enjoy books with a heavenly message or just get on with the story?

To learn more about Lillian Duncan and her writing go to:    www.lillianduncan.net