1. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    ...let's just get it over with...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by The Tourist, Mar 30, 2012.

    I have learned a great deal in the short time I have been a member here. Mainly, that the story I tell and craft is similar to the perils you embrace by telling your story.

    The issue to me is that my problems, explanations and advice is based on an element I have have chosen not to explain. And frankly, I deliberately hid that until I felt I had become a "good, known commodity." The problem is that it colors my responses and advice.

    So here goes. My story has a religious theme. Not just 'spiritual' like ghosts, or praying over crystals or struggling in the world of the undead. My novel centers on a man working out his salvation to find the one true God. In doing that, he runs afoul of an accepted religious political body, his employer(s), and even his own survival as a mortal.

    My problem is that how how do I answer your questions knowing this? If we discuss pain, sacrifice, morals or interaction, how do judge a "normal" reaction if self-centered issues no longer apply?

    If a Guardian Angel came to you, laid out 'paradise' and its implications to you, wouldn't your life's focus change on a dime? Knowing that earthly delights of all kinds and risking death against fearful enemies no longer apply to your now shortened life, wouldn't you focus solely on the whims of God?

    Another problem is the theme in todays' world. In 1979 when I wrote my first outline we as a society had no computers, Bram Stoker was the only one who cared about vampires, we were on the cusp of the HIV strain, and 'social media' was the water-cooler in the breakroom. There wasn't much religious diversity.

    I was also a younger man, I was 28, and losing your life in a motorcycle crash was a very real and haunting possibility. In quiet moments you thought about God, and why you left him.

    So, there it is guys. When finding God is more important than losing an arm or winning the lottery, you story plot shifts on its axis. And trust me, people don't want to hear about this theme.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    is there an answerable question here?

    what 'questions' are you referring to?... who's asking some and about what?... where are you discussing 'pain, sacrifice, morals or interaction' and judging a 'normal reaction'?

    as for the guardian angel scenario, no, my life wouldn't change in the least, since i don't believe in any god or religion, so certainly would not 'focus solely on the whims of god' as i don't believe one actually exists...

    sorry for my confusion, but are you looking for advice, or just musing about your life and writings?
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    No, just admitting the truth and moving on. It seems that you can discuss all methods of worship--including blood-sucking, paganism, idol worship and Wicca--but if you openly profess your beliefs in Christianity there are catcalls from the cheap seats.

    I didn't think this was honest. Now everyone knows.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't understand your point. Religious books and books about people finding salvation have been popular for many years. Hell, I know a few people who identify themselves as Thomasians, or readers of Thomas Aquinas. Just because Atheism and non-belief has became more vocal in the past few years (spearheaded in my country by that Richard Dawkins bloke) doesn't mean that faith is under attack.
     
  5. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    I've been attacked for my faith. Notedly, it was mainly on the internet, and y'all know how that is. This one guy refused to take me the slightest bit seriously because I believe in God. Another guy doesn't like my faith, though I think he'd forgive me for being Christian if I were a liberal.

    A third guy instantly took everything I did in the exact wrong way just because I don't see the world like he does. We were talking on the phone, and the phone cut off for some reason. I didn't call him back because he had mentioned he was going to be busy soon, but later I saw he posted a blog about how "this one Christian" he talked to "for entertainment" had hung up on him because we were talking about something I didn't like. Truth was, the phone disconnected, and we were talking about something I found absolutely boring, but he cared a lot about for some reason. He never bothered to ask me the truth.

    However, that's just a few dudes. Most people judge you mainly by your actions, and are willing to cut you slack no matter what you believe (unless it's like nazism or something) if you're a cool person. The third guy up there was pretty interesting to talk to, and even the second wouldn't want me to hate him -- and I don't. The first was an out and out jerk, but...well, it was the internet.

    So basically, be cool, and people will see that there's something to what you believe in. As far as books go, yes, people are very quick to judge a work if they find out it's "Christian". Not that they hate it, but they'll think, "Um...yeah, I'm not going to read that". You can either be very bold and say what you want to say, winning fans by being hardcore, or you can tone it down and win fans that aren't expecting to read something by a person of faith. Whatever way you feel led to go.
     
  6. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I don't really get your motivation for this post either. I didn't have any preconceptions about your story because you've hardly even discussed it, at least in the posts I've seen. And my perception of you as a writer is not the least bit influenced by your religion, creed, denomination - or race, colour, sexual orientation, dress sense or taste in music for that matter! I will answer specific questions about your plot or characters or writing style, but the theme and ultimate message of each novel is personal to the writer, and no one can tell you not to write something you are passionate about. I can only tell you if it's something I would enjoy reading. If it was overtly Christian then probably not, because like Mamma, I'm an atheist. That doesn't prevent me from discussing aspects of your writing with you though.

    I don't really get what all the fuss is about? :confused:
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If someone has ridiculed you or your faith on this site, you should report those posts. That behavior is not tolerated on this site, but the moderators have to see it to take action on it.
     
  8. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Cog, I don't think anyone could have ridiculed his faith (at least directly at him) because he deliberately didn't reveal it - that much I understood from his post :D

    I haven't seen any religious bashing at all on this site, to be honest. It seems a fairly friendly and open minded place most of the time. :)
     
  9. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Well, I'm happy to say that I haven't seen any bashing and it seems to me from my short time here, people wouldn't respect anyone who even did that.

    Each of our beliefs, lives and ideals color our responses here and our writing. There's no need for you to hide it until someone gets to know you. Since I personally haven't seen or felt any kind of issues with personal beliefs here, I don't know what to suggest.

    Like Cog said, if someone attacks you due to your personal faith or ideas, report them.
     
  10. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If a good and interesting story, I for one am open to reading most anything. :)

    I'm sure many folk are the same. I wouldn't worry about those who don't 'like' this or that theme. No matter what you write, it will never be to everyone's liking.
     
  11. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Within a certain demographic, perhaps yes. But even if a book is popular it might not be critically acclaimed. Look at things like "Left Behind" or any one of the dozens of books on The Rapture.

    I was/am a Christian struggling with faith as an older man. I have not lived a good life, trust me. I think God burnished me just to finally beat some sense into my thick head. Hence the lead character, and his struggles.

    There are also some side reasons, and not the least, we need fun action adventure stories that aren't milquetoast version of popular dark-side themes. Hey, I pray, but I also collect guns and knives and watch NCIS. I don't want to buy into this thing that you have to be lily white to enjoy life and seek your God.

    I saw this forum, I liked what I read and how you supported each other. There are virtually no "creative writing clubs" in my area that aren't an extension of a college course or that don't discuss vampires. Considering the trends I see here I expect an influx of stories centered around the killing of starving children--who are also vampires...

    Say "Christian" to most people as an opening brings up stereotypes and some request for distance. That's not how I wanted to make an entrance. However, I want to discuss my writing problems in the open, and I cannot keep eluding to topics or citing analogies.

    My quess is that I took out the word 'spiritual' from my book and inserted "zombie" we wouldn't need this debate.

    Edit: And BTW guys, I have been treated great here. No one has ever said one disparaging word. I don't want to hoodwink anyone or mislead about my purpose. I, too, believe that a book can be great with any theme if properly written. In fact, I do not use the word 'Christian' in the story anywhere, it's just really obvious.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    What 'debate'?

    And not everyone cares about vampires. People here write a range of subjects and topics.

    If you wanted to make some entrance, good then. Glad to have you here. Here you'll not be looked down on for holding a faith or belief - people on this forum are pretty open minded and so if no one else has let me welcome you here. If you are struggling with faith then, this is a writing forum. Religious debates are allowed here (I think anyway) unless it gets nasty.

    Just be straight with us and explain your problem and we'll help. If you want to talk about God then you can do that here and you might well get responses from believers and skeptics alike. As someone else has already said, bigotry and intolerance are not welcome here. Those who do are punished/banned.

    I can tell by your wording you are expecting some sort of trouble for - if not being a Christian than at least being a theist. All I can say is 'don't worry and enjoy your time here'.
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    If I have this right...you're afraid that people might distance themselves from your book if it's all about Christianity and God, so you don't want to write the book? Judging from your last post on this thread, I gather you think that if you so much as mention that your characters are Christians, your readers will put the book down and walk away?

    That's like me saying I won't write a book set during the American Revolution or the American Civil War, because some people have negative stereotypes of Americans being all "AMERRRICAAA! <expletive> YEAH!!" (note: I mean in general, and in another forum, not on here. I love this place.)

    This is the lesson I'm slowly coming to grips with: People want to read a good book. They don't give a damn if your characters are 100% Catholic and attend Mass every day. As long as the plot is interesting, and the characters are well rounded.

    Consider this: I will likely never write a story set during WWII (I find it boring and overdone), and I doubt half of the people here will write a story set during the American Civil War (as it may be a boring and overdone subject for them.) That's okay. Why? Because we're all mature enough to not start making personal attacks on each other and resorting to stereotypes. If we disagree, we just disagree and write the stuff we want to write about because it makes better usage of our time. Don't listen to people who are trying to cut your ideas down, or cut at your beliefs. They should be of no concern to you.

    If you want to write a story that involves Christianity and God, and your characters are Christians, do it. As long as the story's well done, and the characters are well-rounded...that's all the readers want.

    I would also like to add that I am an Agnostic.

    EDIT: I may have completely missed your point, good sir, but that is what I had assumed from reading your posts on this thread.

    EDIT II: When you said 'Christian Themes', I instantly thought of Narnia. That was a good book with obvious Christian undertones.

    EDIT III: ...I think I missed the point. :(
     
  14. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Lemex, I understand your position, and undoubtedly you have always been fair in your personal dealings. But I can assure you that not all Christians creating music, books or movies are treated properly.

    Let's assume that my book is published, and we print a similar explanation on the dust cover. My guess is that many will read one paragraph of my beliefs on Christianity and lay the book back down.

    However, if the jacket printed true incidents of the story--just out of context--the book might be a success.

    For example, my lead character's name is Cutter. It's a pun and a corruption of a childhood nickname. But don't tell the public that, let them think 'slicer.' He rides a Harley because I ride a Harley, and like anyone else he has to earn a living. So let's now construct a blurb for the cover.

    Beneath the picture of him on the bike we type, "Killing is a business, and for Cutter, business is good."

    All true, but that's the backstory. We just omit the part where he finds his God.
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Okay, now I think I see what you're saying.

    I think it's just how you write it. The theme is about Cutter finding God, but it's not as blunty obvious. The subtitle you wrote has left me intrigued, and wanting to know more.
     
  16. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Link, I printed my response to Lemex before your post appeared. You deserve an answer.

    Yes, I do think people avoid Christian books. But to be fair I avoid books about "the true stories of bikers," and the current vampire re-hash and any book with "elf or dwarf" in it even if it's the memoirs of Santa Claus. (Someday some idiot is going to pen a book called, "The Vampire Dwarf Rode a Harley," and I will personally initiate book burnings.)

    You have the right to choose your nightstand book choices. I just want a fair shot.

    I am also a strict constructionist libertarian. Your beliefs are your own. Just remember, my lead character Cutter is an agnostic.
     
  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You're a fan of Megadeth I take it?

    If people do put your book down because of Christian themes - so what? I don't understand why that is a problem. Because some people just don't want to read that stuff doesn't mean it shouldn't be written. Some people on the other hand like that stuff, myself included. One of my favorite books is Paradise Lost by John Milton.

    Edit: This made me smile.

    I always try to be fair.
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write the book you want to write. Sure, there are audiences that may scoff at it, or have no interest. But there is an audience, Christians, or those open to new ideas and faith, that may have an interest.

    There are Christian publishing houses, and Christian bookstores, even Walmar has a section that could be described as Christian friendly.

    If someone gives you a hard time because of the theme, a man seeking faith and truth--and finding it in God, in Christianity for example, chalk it up to their narrow mindedness. Nobody is forcing them to read your work. Maybe they're insecure in their faith or lack of it, but that's not something you can really address in an online venue. Ignore and move on with your project.

    A friend of mine just had her SF novel published a publisher that focuses on works approriate for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)--meets their standards.

    There are markets and readers out there so, rather than get frustrated about what someone might say, just write the story you want to tell.
     
  19. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Perhaps we throw out too wide a net with the idea of "Christian themes." It's action adventure fantasy, it's just about a guy who does it while becoming a Christian.

    (Which no kidding, LOL, is fully six or seven words in a single sentence in the whole book. Like I told Link, he's an agnostic. And pretty hostile to the whole 'church' notion, I might add.)

    Again, even knowing that, I think lots of folks will pass up a book if religion is discussed at any level. Especially in the few words in a critique or on the cover.
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    This story is becoming more and more interesting.

    I like how you wrote the subtitles under the front cover in your description. I'm now curious as to what the dude means by killing. You could start the first paragraph with him griping about the church, etc. After all, if I opened a book to an angry guy griping about something he doesn't like, and under the same breath, talks about how 'killing is a buisness', I'll go, "Wow, what's this dude's story?" and read a few pages of it.
     
  21. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    And there's multiple reasons why people avoid them. It can't be helped. You are writing to a specific audience, period. If I read "journey to find his God" I would put the book down, because it's not my cup of tea. Nothing in this world will make me enjoy reading something I don't want to. And it has nothing to do with Christianity. But if I put in the blurb for one of my books that it's based in a pro-socialistic society, I'm going to turn away a lot of readers, just like I'll turn away the same amount of readers if a blurb for my other story is a crumbling socialistic society.

    That's that. Nothing's going to change that. I mean, you said it yourself. You avoid elfs and vampires and dwarfs; you're not alone, you're not the only one and those writing stories based on that realize it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    So, in the end, write your story and realize that you have a specific audience. Maybe when you've finished it, the trends will turn again and the Finding oneself/finding God storylines will be in just like vampires seem to have gotten the spotlight again.
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    If the book has a conversion to Christianity then it has a Christian theme, just as it might have a war theme. That's just what a theme is. If it's just six or seven words then you really don't have any reason to worry. At all. C.S. Louis put out more than six or seven works out on Christianity and they are still read and studied. Six or seven words isn't even a full sentence in many cases, so you are worrying over nothing.
     
  23. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    A couple points I'd like to make.

    First of all, like Link pointed out, you shouldn't avoid writing about something because it includes themes people might find controversial. In fact, books that are controversial are the ones that become best-sellers, because they spark discussion and debate and get people thinking and talking about them. If there was a book that had no elements of controversy, no serious themes under the surface, etc. would you really want to read something like that? I wouldn't. It would be bland.

    Also, I don't know anyone who has a problem with Christianity in the sense of believing in Jesus and trying to live your life in a Christlike manner. Christianity seems to get a bad rep sometimes because of the fringe elements who go against all science and logic -- for example, some Christians value scientific discoveries and just think God is behind it all, while others go into frenzies and insist that all science is wrong because it's not mentioned in the Bible. The latter group doesn't exactly come across as credible. Also, I and many other people have problems with people who are blatantly judgmental, who want to force women back into the gender role restrictions of the 1950s, and who want to use religion to mandate laws allowing government to restrict the behavior of people who are not harming or endangering anyone.

    However, most Christians are not like the people mentioned above. To me, Christianity is about love, forgiveness and being Christlike, and I don't think anyone has a problem with that. Some people use Christianity as an excuse for wanting to be controlling and bigoted. This is what most people have problems with.

    Your book sounds cool. And I totally agree with you that in fiction, Christians are often stereotyped as being overly preachy or nun-like (or "lily white" as you put it). Religious people are also regular people with the added aspect of religion, and it would be cool to see more religious characters portrayed that way. Maybe it would help remove some of the stigma against religion that you've talked about.

    Write what you want.
     
  24. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    I've actually seen more atheists who claim Christians think this than Christians who actually do. In fact, I haven't met any Christians that do. Honestly, the stigma is there. It's not a really big deal, it just happens to exist and Christians have to put up with it.

    It's so weird we're considered "lily-white" when the entire purpose of Christianity is to reach out to people who aren't.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, Gonissa, but I HAVE met quite a few anti-science Christians. And many of the Christians who reach out to people who aren't insist on converting them.

    Not all Christians, of course, and probably not even a majority. But enough to spread a reputation that stains all Christians.

    I don't say this to point any fingers, but just to explain why the stereotypes against Christianity really do exist.
     

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