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Objections to Magic/Fantasy elements

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Ah! Rab!!! Exactly so! I yearn mightily for a writers group who knows what 'mythopoeia' is, perhaps have even read the poem 'Mythopoeia'!  *And* I see that you have books based on Beowulf...a story that figures greatly into my next project.  How do you feel about George MacDonald?

eab
#151 - January 08, 2010, 07:33 PM

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*butting in for a moment...*

George M. ROCKS! :)
#152 - January 08, 2010, 07:40 PM
Being Frank (Flashlight Press)
http://flashlightpress.com/

Bernell Spicer

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Ooh, ooh, I wanna join! We can be the new Inklings! Have any of you read Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories?" Great stuff.  And I LOVE "Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics." A lot to learn there about writing and the serious nature of dragon tales.
#153 - January 08, 2010, 09:14 PM

sally_apokedak

Guest
Sary, I loved Harry Potter, precisely because it wasn't real religion. Wiccans don't really ride brooms. The HP books were fantasy.

I probably won't read your book with a child who grows up in a pagan home, but I don't see why you'd have any trouble publishing it and gaining a readership. I know a lot of pagans. Yes, Christians--some Christians will object to what you write. I may even be one of them. I think if someone publishes something and puts in the public arena, we should discuss it. I think books were meant to be discussed. Other Christians may go so far as to try to ban books--I hate that. I think we should all say what we want and let the readers decide who is right. But all the discussion and even the book banning attempts won't hurt you if you've written a good book. Controversy usually drives up sales.
#154 - January 12, 2010, 10:54 PM

JustinDono

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I've always been drawn to the darker, dirtier side of things, though I do still love some time in the sun.  In my book, which I'm foisting upon others at the moment, has a lot of traditional magic in it: the ritualistic kind.  Things where blood is used, names are important, and so on.  Part of it takes place in Israel and deals with a fallen angel who is cited in the Book of Enoch.  The Book of Enoch isn't regarded as canon by any church (except a small one in Africa somewhere), but still, it invokes Biblical places, names, and histories.  I've also got a murderous little demon running around, a golem with part of the name of God, and a large number of warlocks, wizards, monsters, ghosts, and elemental spirits.  One guy talks about wanting to become like God himself.

Point being, I'm going to [word censored] some folks off if this book ever sees the light of day.  And I don't care.  What I mean is that it's impossible to please everyone, so I'm not going to try.  Somebody will be offended that I have a fallen angel, or that I have somebody engaging in a blood ritual, or maybe even that there's a little bit of sexual tension between my teenage characters.  Don't give a damn.  I write what I want and if it makes people angry so be it.

More in line with what this all is about, I think that generally mythologies from ancient cultures are always a safe bet.  I never hear anybody kicking up a storm over Percy Jackson.  Any magic you have where it's innate to the person (like, they're born with it, have no choice) that's a safe bet as well.  Generic magic, like shooting pretty lights on command and saying funny words is a step into risky territory but still mostly neutral ground.  You start making people excited when they call upon the power of anything besides themselves or the holy spirit.  Magic objects that have power inside of them are basically just the magical equivalent of guns or bombs or microwaves and I have rarely heard anybody getting their knickers in a twist over those.
#155 - January 15, 2010, 01:55 PM

Amy Spitzley

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Go Justin! Your book sounds awesome. (Grin)
#156 - January 15, 2010, 04:40 PM

JustinDono

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Aw, thank you!
I just want to add that I'm not doing this to intentionally tick off any religiously conservative folks.  My parents were that way, back in the day ("Halloween is the devil's holiday!  No candy for you!"  "Aw, Mom...." :( ), only that any concerns somebody may have about my material based on any system of personal beliefs do not concern me.  I write to write, whatever that may be, and do not put up a boundary for myself.  If I see something as fitting, or being real or in the spirit of a story, I will write that, even if it happens to offend some people.
Still, like any writer, I'd rather they enjoy my stories instead of getting angry about them.
#157 - January 15, 2010, 05:12 PM
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 10:56 AM by JustinDono »

pixydust

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*waves hi to Sally* Hey You!  :cookiemonster

"Halloween is the devil's holiday!  No candy for you!"  "Aw, Mom...." :( 

LOL...sounds like my life growing up! Ah, memories...  :mob As a consiquence I am crazy about trick or treating with my kids. I'm not sure who has more fun--me or them. :)

 I write to write, whatever that may be, and do not put up a boundary for myself.  If I see something as fitting, or being real or in the spirit of a story, I will write that, even if it happens to offend some people.
I SO second this!

I understand why some Christians feel the need to hold back but I just find it harms my story if I worry about sensoring myself as I write it.

I can't do the ritual stuff, though, in my own work. I've had too many real experiances with demons and blood power in reality to stomach it in my entertainment yet--too close to home. But I think it has it's place--people need to know what's out there. And I do love a good episode of Supernatural or Buffy. :) I think the cheese factor helps there, though.

I write edgy. I just do. But I still struggled a little with my recent ms cause it has fallen angels in it. I‘ve never written anything that might conflict with standard theology before and these are not your typical angels. Plus, the setting is post-apocalyptic and urban and dark and my mc is a drug addict assassin…lol. Needless to say, she’s not a real moral person. But she’s real. I know if Christians read my book with the idea that it’s written by a Christian they will have certain expectations, and I’m pretty sure most of them will be shocked and unhappy with my outcomes.

But we have to remember that writing is an art--an expression. And I am of the mind that there are many things that are beautiful that we miss out on cause it’s not Christian enough. Or it has magic in it. Or it’s not blue on Tuesday. Wherever we got these rules, I have no idea. I was pretty sure we’d been set free…
#158 - February 02, 2010, 07:56 PM

I admit that after reading through this thread, I'm terrified for my manuscript. I have witches, witch hunters, an evil vicar and a summoning ceremony. Yikes!

But, at the same time, it's a retelling of an old Irish witch story -- the vicar tricks the devil 3 times, then gets his just-deserts in the end. How do you retell that kind of tale without including some religion/theology (hey, it's the devil and a vicar!).

Of course, I've told it from a different point of view -- a girl in the service of said evil-vicar who gets caught up in the black magic. But she's redeemed in the end. Will that count?

Will some people read the opening page and shout "Blasphemer!" my way and refuse to read the rest? Yeah probably. *sigh*

Still, I think it's a good story.
#159 - February 03, 2010, 03:12 AM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

Summoning, a YA novel
Murphy's Law, a MG novel
LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

sary

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Will some people read the opening page and shout "Blasphemer!" my way and refuse to read the rest? Yeah probably. *sigh*

Still, I think it's a good story.

It sounds like a GREAT story!!

Hey, the first page in my WIP begins with, "Ember's Spell Journal" and directions on how to do a spell for revenge.  I hope those who object don't smash their fingers in their haste to slam the book shut after reading that page!
#160 - February 03, 2010, 03:16 AM

Sary, I think all good books should start with a spell of some sort!  :hug  :smile
#161 - February 03, 2010, 04:46 AM
http://debifaulkner.blogspot.com/

Summoning, a YA novel
Murphy's Law, a MG novel
LilyPad Princess, for 7-9 year olds
WereWhat?, coming August 20

Amy Spitzley

Guest
Debi--sounds Irish to me! (grin) I'd read it in an heartbeat.
#162 - February 03, 2010, 05:55 AM

pixydust

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Irish lore is my chocolate! Yum!
#163 - February 03, 2010, 08:12 AM

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Will some people read the opening page and shout "Blasphemer!" my way and refuse to read the rest? Yeah probably. *sigh*

Yes, probably indeed--I write magic and I know am not read by people with objections to magic in fiction.  But I look at it this way--not every book is right for every person anyway, so...well, whatever!  :) (need shrugging emoticon!)
#164 - February 03, 2010, 08:36 AM
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 08:40 AM by Marissa Doyle »
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

I'm a Christian and I love fantasy and really, REALLY love Harry Potter. I personally don't care for books that make evil look good, whether in fantasy or real life. And as a Christian I do believe in evil. So I personally don't read, and won't allow my daughter to read books with demons as friends or heroes. I'd read books with demons in therm (The Screwtape Letters comes to mind), so long as they're not presented sympathetically.  But I'm also not a big fan of contemporary books with lots of destructive behavior with no consequences.

Also - kinda appalled that someone objected to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...
#165 - February 03, 2010, 09:34 AM
Robin

ecb

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I love it when this thread pops up again! :D

I know that before CURSE came out, I was definitely concerned with how it would be received.  I live in a pretty conservative community, so I try to be pretty sensitive to my readers (and neighbors).

I will say that in TWO YEARS, with a fair amount of national press and daily Google alerts... that that "Lion's Call" review was the closest CURSE has come to anyone objecting to the content.

I find myself constantly surprised by this, but even my most conservative Christian friends all say, "My kids know the difference between fantasy and reality."

In fact, I just came back from a two-day school/library visit to a community that's 80% Amish, and the librarian (who self-identified as a conservative Christian, and whose husband is a minister) said she didn't have problems with the content, and didn't anticipate objections from her patrons, either. 

All this to say... I think it's definitely politic of us to respect our readers, but perhaps not necessary to worry overmuch. 
#166 - February 03, 2010, 01:54 PM

sally_apokedak

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Pixie! I'm so glad to see you here. You invited me over and by the time I got here, you were gone. :)

Quote
I understand why some Christians feel the need to hold back but I just find it harms my story if I worry about sensoring myself as I write it.

The thing that really freed me up, was one year my son got a little crazy with the Internet and I cut off service for eighteen months. I started writing a book then that I had no intention of publishing or of showing to my online Christian fiction writer type friends. I didn't care if the characters were Christians. I just wrote. It's the best thing I've done so far.

But it ended up being, I think, a book with a lot of strong Christian pictures in it. I put thought into the theme and into what kind of unconscious messages I would be sending to readers. I am a Christian first and a writer second and I'll burn my work before I'll put out something that I think will harm someone or teach false things about God. But I see no need to write crappy books full of unrealistic characters who pray their way out of trouble and always speak respectfully to adults just because they're Christians.

Still I was told by a CBA agent and a CBA editor at a conference that it couldn't be published in the CBA because of the sex (the agent said--it didn't really have any sex in it. It just talked about it.) and because the god in the book was not like the real God so the readers would level a charge of new age religion (that was from the editor) . DOH It's a fantasy. There was nothing new age about it.

But I didn't submit to the CBA because I am hoping to be published in the ABA I don't want to be known as a Christian writer. I just want to tell good stories. Yes, i want them to reflect my beliefs but I don't think we need to preach the gospel in every book we write.
#167 - February 04, 2010, 07:32 AM

sally_apokedak

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ecb, I'm ashamed to say I haven't read Curse yet. I keep meaning to. I just have so many books stacked up waiting for reviews I have a hard time finding time to read for pleasure any more.

It must be a good book if it's published by Arthur. Gee, I need to take a vacation and get some fun reading in.
#168 - February 04, 2010, 07:34 AM

pixydust

Guest
Quote
But I didn't submit to the CBA because I am hoping to be published in the ABA I don't want to be known as a Christian writer. I just want to tell good stories. Yes, i want them to reflect my beliefs but I don't think we need to preach the gospel in every book we write.
Amen Sally!!! That's exactly how I feel.

I missed you at SCBWI last year! Maybe this is our year! :) Are you thinking of Mt. Hermon at all? I don't know why, but I think I might go. Just a good place to regroup and rest my writer's soul--especially since I don't care what they think about me and my work this time. :D Becky might be going and they're having Jeff Gerke do a Sci-fi/Fantasy morning track. Not sure I can resist that....lol
#169 - February 04, 2010, 03:03 PM

I do not mind being known as Christian writer. If the likes of Walter Wangrin Jr., Catherine Patterson, Flannery O'Conner, Madeleine L'Egle and J.R.R. Tolkien I can be open, even transparent about it, so can I.  :moose

eab
#170 - February 04, 2010, 03:15 PM
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 04:00 PM by Auntybooks »

sally_apokedak

Guest
Pixie, I'd love to go to Mount Hermon. It's probably my favorite conference. I lived at Mount Hermon--11 and a half Mound Avenue, up behind the post office--when I was eight. So when I go back can get under those trees it is such a treat for me. Plus, I love the people there. If I were on the West Coast I think I'd gove every year.

But I'm not going to make it this year. I'm going to a local SCBWI conference this month in Atlanta and I may try for the SCBWI LA this year, though that is hardly soul-feeding--no nature to soak up in those expensive LA hotels. I may do Chautauqua this year and another founders workshop. I went to one this fall and LOVED it. Oh, man, it was so good. Mine was with Stephen Roxburgh and I loved everything about it.

How to choose? They are all good for various reasons. Becky and I keep saying one year we're going to do a writer's workshop on a train. Wouldn't that be fun? One that goes across the Rockies or something. With an editor or agent to do a class every night and writing time every day?

If only I were rich. I like the conferences and being the groupie better than the actual writing, I think. :)
#171 - February 06, 2010, 11:59 AM

sally_apokedak

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Aunty, I don't mind being known as a Christian and I don't mind being known as a writer, but being known as a Christian writer means, to a lot of people, that you are writing Christian books. And what is a Christian book, exactly?

There are a lot of wonderful writers who are Christians. But none of the ones you mentioned are writing for the CBA. When I say I don't want to be known as a Christian writer, I mean I don't want, necessarily to be a CBA writer. I have a lot of friends published in the CBA and they are writing wonderful books. So I'm not saying the quality is lacking in the CBA. I'm just saying I don't want my books, if I'm ever so fortunate as to be published, to be stuck in the Christian fiction section of the book stores. You don't find the authors you mentioned in that section of the store.

And I want my worldview and my stories to engage readers in the world. I don't want to just talk to other Christians. I want to talk to girls from all backgrounds. I want to be as widely read as L'Engle. I doubt most of the people on this board have heard of Bryan Davis or Jonathan Rogers or Melody Carlson or Robin Jones Gunn even though these writers are popular in the CBA children's world. They are stuck in the Christian section of the book stores, if they have any presence at all. Mostly they aren't even carried in Borders of B and N.

So, I just want to write good books and I want to be in the same section of the store that Meyer and Hale are in. They are Mormon and everyone knows it but there is not a special Mormon section of the bookstore for them to die in.
#172 - February 06, 2010, 12:10 PM

I can agree about not being a CBA writer. They do get my kickers in a twist.

eab  :yup
#173 - February 06, 2010, 01:57 PM

RJ_Anderson

Guest
What sally said, with knobs on. Even as a young teenager I knew I wanted to be a Christian who wrote great fantasy novels, not to write watered-down, super-sanitized fantasy that would fit "the Christian market". C.S. Lewis attributed much of his eventual conversion to the "fragrance of holiness" he found in George MacDonald's Phantastes, a book which I read as a teenager and in which I couldn't see much that was overtly Christian at all. Which is a far cry from the belief that a "really Christian" novel will have a conversion scene at the end and/or an obvious moral lesson about How Christians Should Behave.

Things are changing in the Christian market now, but that only makes me wonder why those novels aren't being published for everyone to read, instead of being marketed almost exclusively to people who walk into a Christian bookstore.
#174 - February 06, 2010, 04:47 PM
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 04:55 PM by R.J. Anderson »

Yeah. I just refuse to let the CBA own the word "Chrisitan".  :moose

eab
#175 - February 06, 2010, 05:49 PM

Everything AuntyB said - DITTO! :)
#176 - February 08, 2010, 08:39 AM
Robin

pixydust

Guest
The whole idea of what Sally, AuntyB, and R.J. are talking about has always frustrated me. Why do we feel like we have to be "Christian" writers, instead of just writers? I would think our beliefs would be inherent to what we produce, but it certainly shouldn't limit us to a box of orthodoxy. I think I see spec writers who are believers realize this more readily than a CBA writer who writes what I guess you would call "normal" CBA fiction. We're already out of the box. There's really no getting away from it....LOL... I am a follower of Christ but I don't write for other believers. Maybe I can shine a light in the darkness, and hopefully show a little piece of the truth through a character's journey.

Still, I will say, that I find a sort of elegance to the way a CBA writer can direct their words to the church. I know my words to them wouldn't be received, and so I give them to the world, instead. It's loads harder to get through to people who think they've found the truth than to those who know they're lost. So, kudos to those in the CBA. Peter tried it and did well. Paul found the church too hard-headed. I think I'm with Paul...lol
#177 - February 08, 2010, 12:50 PM
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 12:57 PM by pixydust »

Everything AuntyB said - DITTO! :)

Dittoing the ditto!  :yup
#178 - February 08, 2010, 12:53 PM

sally_apokedak

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Well, yeah, Aunty, you are right. Christian is way bigger than CBA.

I've just been hanging in CBA groups so long that I have let the two bleed together.

RJ I've never read your books. I'm happy to discover them and look forward to reading them.
#179 - February 08, 2010, 03:13 PM

sdficklin

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How do you feel about the books like Percy Jackson that deal with urban Mythologies? I've noticed that they aren't listed in my church book catalogue even thouth the Rangers Apprentince books are.  I'm just wondering how other people feel about it.
#180 - March 31, 2010, 12:31 PM

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