Fantasy Friday – Books I Hate

No, I am not going to create a list—sorry to disappoint any of you who thought you were going to get to see my career implode before it started. 😛

I’ll tell you what I do hate, however. I hate books written by “platformed authors” that are no good. Especially fantasies.

As many visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction know from other posts, I believe Christian fiction has grown and changed a lot over the last five to seven years.

Many of the changes are good. The quality of writing has improved, the types of stories have expanded, the thematic elements are deeper.

Not in every book, but in a growing number.

Then along comes a book from “platformed author” who hasn’t learned how to write fiction. Yet a publisher, thinking that certainly because “platformed author” has such a ready platform, this book will sell.

And it might, though I know of at least one that tanked miserably. But even if that first book sells, the reality is, all those many trusting readers who bought the book because “platformed author’s” name is on it will wrinkle their noses and say something like, Wow, Christian fantasy sure isn’t very good, is it.

Chances are, finding that first book to be a real stinker, readers won’t give the second book a chance. Then the publisher will say something like, Wow, I guess Christian fantasy doesn’t sell.

All because a book went to print on the basis that “platformed author” wrote it, but nobody apparently thought to see if he/she actually produced a good story.

Shouldn’t characters have motivation? Shouldn’t actions be caused, as opposed to “something told him to …” Shouldn’t events inform a character so he/she doesn’t appear stupid? Shouldn’t secondary characters be more than cardboard figures? Shouldn’t the story change the character in some important way?

I could go on—about opening scenes and hooks and tension and stereotypes and a host of other issues.

The thing is, I really wanted to like the books I ended up hating. I want fantasy to succeed. I want “platformed authors” to sell and sell so publishers will sit up and take notice.

I do not want the false conclusions (Christian fantasy is no good; Christian fantasy doesn’t sell) repeated over and over because a particular house published a bad book.

Sadly, sadly, there are some bad books getting in print alongside the good ones. The former, I hate.

The latter—a good sampling, at least—have been nominated for the Clive Staples Award. Have you voted yet? Haven’t read two books on the list (the minimum requirement)? You still have time. Voting continues throughout the month of August.

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