Writing Goals for 2014Posted: January 2, 2014
Since it’s a new year, it’s time for me to set out my writing goals.
2013 was unproductive for me. Most of it was dominated with whether or not I should write Christian speculative fiction. I originally planned to write secular kids lit, and to interact with the Christian scene as a fan only. Of course, being a writer means its hard to only be a fan. You always have ideas of your own. I had some serious ideas, too. I posted some of Welcome to Dead City here, and I also had about 30k words into a Christian cosmic horror story if you can believe it.
I have decided to go back to my original idea though, and plan this year to write secular kid’s fic. I have two series of chapter books that I’m sketching out even now, and I’d like to both redo Triune and get to the next books in that series.
The decision wasn’t an easy one. Part of it is because I don’t see Christian spec fic succeeding as a genre. There’s really no interest in it as opposed to Christian baptizing of secular geekdom. Yeah, certain types of it occasionally sell, like Anne Elizabeth Stengl’s books, or Ted Dekker, but it’s not contributing to a widening of the genre. It’s odd. Compared to thirty years ago, which is when I started reading Christian spec fic, we’ve seen an explosion in the acceptance of geek culture even by Christians. Yet it hasn’t translated to any organic Christian geekery. It seems all the Christian geeks do is criticize and consume secular works.
I don’t think this is bad in itself. I’d be a hypocrite if I did. But when the readers who are most likely to be the audience for Christian spec fic refuse to embrace it, I think it sends a message that you can’t ignore any more. It seems like the majority of geeky Christians are okay with secular culture and prefer it over Christian culture.
When you combine this with the needs of the small audience that does buy Christian spec fic, I think it makes for something I can’t do. They want Stengl and Donita Paul and Dekker and maybe a little Christian Twilight on the side. I can’t write that. I think Christian spec fic needs more than this; we need true hard SF, true fantasy of all kinds, and books that simply aren’t “girl in dress or armor” books. But what I think it needs and what the audience wants are two different things, and the scale tips on the side of the latter when it comes to making a book.
I think the recent sale of Marcher Lord Press was the final straw. I’m hoping it won’t change for the worse, but if the new owner’s cutting Hinterlands and Amish Vampires in Space loose, I’m doubting he’s going to be kind to even the minor risks ML used to take. It didn’t change my mind as opposed to confirm the path I was going to take already.
So I’ll be getting back to work. Time to roll up the sleeves and publish!