CSFF Blog Tour – The God Hater, Day 2

    “This should be ‘Structuring Children’s Fiction’ and I should be Bill Myers.”

So was the first line of a workshop I attended years ago at a Southern California writing institute (and no I didn’t memorize it — I have it on tape). Lo these many years later, I have the privilege of participating in the CSFF Blog Tour featuring Bill MyersThe God Hater, not a children’s story but an adult novel.

What’s interesting is to compare what Mr. Myers taught us writers — things he said should be true about stories for adults as much as for children — and what he has written. His first point was that the story should appear to be written primarily to entertain. The character should be relate-able (likable, easy to hate, or one readers will identify with), he said, or have some mystery that drives readers to want to know more. And on and on. Good things. Elements I see in his work yet today.

Perhaps someone may not know why Mr. Myers was teaching about writing for children when the book we are touring is an adult novel. Just so happens, he is the author of the very successful McGee and Me series put out some years ago by Focus on the Family. (In fact, in the seminar he explained that the name for this imaginary character came from a code Mr. Myers and his wife shared when they were in a public setting — watch yourself, McGee, she would say. 😉 )

Thinking about Mr. Myers and his career makes me wonder about writing for children and Christian publishers. You see, the seminar I went to was in an auditorium because there were so many writers attending who hoped to publish children’s fiction. Yet where are the hundreds of children’s books written from a Christian worldview?

I attended that institute with the thought that I wanted to write books for the age group I taught — 7th and 8th graders, who had very little literature written for them, and the books they could buy were more and more apt to encourage a worldview opposed to God.

Sadly (though I know God used this in my life) I learned that publishers were not at that time interested in publishing books for that age level. No money in it, essentially.

It was a blow, but I re-focused my writing toward adults, something I believe God wanted me to do.

Surprising, isn’t it, that YA books have become the hottest, fastest growing segment in publishing, at least in the general market. But I still wonder, where are the Christian YA books? Happily, fantasy has become an acceptable Christian YA genre, thanks in part to Bill Myers. Yes, he wrote imaginary fiction, speculative fiction, for children and teens. One such series was The Bloodstone Chronicles.

I suppose I’m highlighting Bill Myers’ work with children’s fiction in part because of yesterday’s Novel Journey post dealing with the purpose of writing for children. It reminds me of the need to reach young people as much as adults with good stories.

Happily, no matter who he’s writing for, Bill Myers writes the kind of stories we need.

Tomorrow I’ll give my review of The God Hater.
For specific posts about our featured book, check out the links at the end of yesterday’s article. Among the many thought-provoking and interesting ones, I’d recommend Bruce Hennigan’s posts (1 and 2).

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Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Interesting facts you presented here. I don’t follow YA very much because of my preference for adult fiction (and only so much time in the day), so it’s interesting to read a bit about “the other side of the fence.” I’m happy for all the YA fantasy/sci-fi writers in the Christian community who are finally finding a bit of a market in this niche. Hopefully when the YA audience grows up there will be more of a market for adult Christian fantasy/sci-fi. I think we’re already seeing increasing interest among CBA publishers for spec fic. It’s a start. 🙂

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  2. I agree with you, Dona. I don’t run across very many people who enjoyed speculative literature when they were young, and then do not like it as adults. I think they may leave it, thinking there is nothing in the genre for them as more mature people. Consequently, the interest is there, but knowledge that there are books for them lags behind.

    Becky

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