When I was originally going to write this blog, I had a list of “tired” storylines, plots that have been used and re-used, but I realized in scanning it, that much of what was listed was simply my opinion. Opinion, by definition, is simply a personal view. Thinking of it positively, it isn’t necessarily right or wrong. If John prefers beets, but Mark hates them, neither John nor Mark are right or wrong about the flavor of beets.
Applying this thought to writing, take a genre like Amish fiction. We can argue the merits and faults of it all day long and come away as divided as when we began. I, personally, don’t care for it, but it’s intensely popular. It isn’t wrong for me to avoid it. It isn’t wrong that others love it. Both are the result of opinions.
What one reader enjoys, another dislikes. I have had both five-star and one-star reviews on the same story. One person loved it and thought it was unique, the next one found it boring. Thinking of this in reverse, I’ve read stories that have dozens of five-star reviews, unable to understand why anyone cared for it.
But … and here’s my point … all of that is the result of opinion.
Good opinions sell books. Forming good opinions is a result of far more than genre or even quality of writing, though. I think every author needs to study writing. I also think some people have no talent for writing and, like people who try out for dance or singing competitions without training or any sort of gift for it, should find another hobby. But what makes me buy books, what helps me sell books, is integrity.
As a Christian, integrity means treating others fairly, not gossiping, being generous – shutting off my opinion where it hurts others. It does NOT mean tolerating sin. Let me make that perfectly clear. But it does mean moderating my tone when I talk and my words when I write them. It’s being “me”, but a good, kind “me”.
In order to be a light in a very dark world, I cannot afford to douse the candles people are holding.
Some Christian fiction caters to Christians. Some of it stretches its hands to reach those on the fringe of the church. We need both types of books and cannot afford to take offense on either side of the bookshelf. We should, instead, focus our lives on godly living, on integrity and honor, no matter how strongly we love or hate someone’s personal style.
I can be me and write the stories that are laid on my heart, and you can be you and write what’s given to you. The only opinion that matters on either side is God’s.
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After long correspondence, Ona Privett accepts the marriage proposal of a man she’s never met, swept away by the beautiful words he’s written of their promising future. But when she arrives, far south at the edge of the Florida wilderness, she discovers the man she intended to marry died within weeks of their last communication.
His son, John Cole, knows nothing about their letters, any pending marriage, or why such a beautiful girl is so determined to stay. Nor does he want the responsibility of a wife, though that was his father’s wish. He likes his freedom, spending his days fending for himself, relying only on his horse and the inborne skill of his mother’s Native American ancestry.
Yet that ancestry mixes with his father’s Caucasian blood to form powerful prejudices in the townspeople. Poisonous bigotry that, despite their growing passion, continues to fuel his doubts. Perhaps, the irresponsible youth he’s been isn’t strong enough to protect her. And maybe the hatred of those around them will ultimately destroy them both.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.
To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://www.feelgoodromance.com.