Is it possible to be a Christian author writing for the general market?
Yes, and I would say it’s incredibly necessary. The general market needs books that have a Christian worldview.
This isn’t a simple task. One needs to have thick skin, clear vision and plenty of time in prayer and reading God’s word. Also, it’s very important to hone your skills as both a writer and a storyteller.
Why is thick skin necessary? If you find you can’t flush away bad reviews, this may not be the market for you. If you cannot disentangle yourself and your identity from the story, offenses may build up too high as criticism starts pouring in.
In regards to vision, Habakkuk 2:2 says this, “And the LORD answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.’” If you feel called to write for the general market, you will need to make your vision plain. Write out what your calling is, what your goals are, etc. Bounce these ideas off of seasoned writers and be open to changing your mind. Do you feel called to evangelize through your writing? That may look very different than you originally think. Do you feel called to encourage? You may need to learn what is encouraging and what isn’t. During this process, your vision may alter slightly. I know mine did. That’s okay.
You will have to bathe yourself both in prayer and in God’s Word so that when you sit to write to a general audience, your worldview is untainted. This is such a delicate thin line to walk, writing for the general market from a Christian worldview. Time in prayer and in God’s Word can make that line thicker. You will have greater clarity when you read through stories of broken lives throughout scripture and the multiple ways God extends His grace and mercy. The Bible emphasizes forgiveness, but forgiveness isn’t present in a great deal of modern literature. This is an area into which a writer from a Christian worldview can speak volumes.
With regards to skill, it’s a futile effort to attempt to write for the general market if you don’t have great skill both as a storyteller and as a writer. What are the differences between these two? I will write more on that next month, but briefly, storytelling involves the plot and pacing while the term ‘writer’ here applies to the flow, cadence and engaging narrative/dialogue of the prose. If you’re a good storyteller but weak as a writer, practice skills such as similes, metaphors, writing dialogue, etc. If you’re like me, great at writing but unskilled at plot and pacing, practice how to plot and how to pace. Read books where this is done well. Map out the plots of your favorite books and movies. The more skilled you are all the way around, the more well received your book will be. As in no fruitless efforts.
You may want to have a pen name to distinguish these books from your Christian fiction. That’s what I’ve done. Anyone who’s interested in that pen name or those books can contact me privately. I keep both pen names very separate for multiple reasons.
Here’s to all the brave warriors and pioneers who feel called to this path! Let’s don our armor and forge on!
God bless you!
About the Author:
Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.