John David Kudrick

putting words to work for you

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Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 2

So God’s Calling You to Write a Novel about (insert story idea here)? // Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 2 -- From book editor, John David Kudrick // #christianwriter #christianbook #writing #novelwriting

So God’s Calling You to Write a Novel about (insert story idea here)?

In the first post of this series, I broached the idea that God might use a novel written by a Christ follower to knock on the door of someone’s heart, or maybe even give it a last nudge to open it all the way so the light of Christ can shine in. I also pointed ahead to where this whole discussion is heading: Can Christian novelists go too far with their content in trying to reach the world with life-changing stories that can touch hearts and point readers toward God?

Mainly I laid some groundwork by presenting the wide spectrum of people that can be found among the world’s fiction readers, and to remember that every person on the spectrum of readers needs Jesus and the good news in some way, shape, or form. And that’s where I want to pick up with this post.

If Jesus called his followed to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) and to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), as mentioned in the previous post, then it seems that every person on the spectrum of fiction readers would certainly fall into the “all-ness” of Jesus’s commission to us.

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Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 1

Types of readers that Christian novelists write for // Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 1 -- From book editor, John David Kudrick // #christianwriter #christianbook #writing #novelwriting

The Spectrum of Readers for a Christian Novelist

Before his ascension, Jesus Christ told his disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) and “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). To any serious follower of Christ, these are clear calls to tell the world about Jesus and the good news of salvation through his sacrifice for our sins.

Since the point of this blog is not to get into a long treatise on the various ways a person can share the gospel, I’ll just say I agree that many methods exist for preaching the good news to the world. Instead I want to broach the idea of every human heart being like a door—and then eventually get to how a novel written by a Christ follower might be an avenue that God can use to knock on that door or perhaps give it a final nudge to open it all the way so the light of Christ can burst in.

Beyond that, then, is a discussion about whether or not Christian novelists can go too far with their content in trying to reach the world with life-changing stories that can touch hearts and point readers toward God. Given that all of this is a fairly deep exploration of caverns that I’m still spelunking myself, I’m guessing this may take a few posts to get through everything.

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Drowning in Details

In my most recent post, I took a look at how details matter in a novel—to the degree that you may lose readers if you flub up the details in your story. Of course, it’s also possible to make sure you have all the details straight and then go too far with them … as in drowning a reader in the details you give.

Let’s look at an example:

The sun-kissed, billowy-clouded azure sky overhead contrasted starkly with the terrifying obsidian-plated killer android that was sickeningly immune to the 7.62mm M61 150.5-grain armor-piercing rounds that we fired at it in staccato rhythm like there was no tomorrow.

Gurgle-gurgle … Blub-blub … And the reader has gone under. Continue reading

Little Details Can Make a Big Difference

Every so often, a novelist should make it a point to remember that most readers have about 54,000 other things they could be doing instead of reading a book. A novel will only hold your reader’s attention ahead of all those other things if it’s truly worth reading.

Aside from all the various mechanics and methods of writing that can turn off a reader, one item sure to doom your novel is goofing up on so-called little details—especially when you need to include subject matter that may not be familiar to you.

To wit: Continue reading

To Cuss or Not to Cuss?

Handling Profanity as a Christian Novelist

“I’m a Christian who typically doesn’t use profanity, but that doesn’t stop me from allowing my fictional characters to cuss if they want to.”

If you’re a novelist whose first love is Jesus, then the preceding quotation may have your eyes popping wide open, perhaps with an accompanying gasp … or maybe it’s got you sighing with relief at the burden that just fell from your shoulders.

The quote is from an author I’ve worked with, and it feels a little like opening Pandora’s box to even begin to speak about this subject, but I know it’s a struggle for many Christian novelists out there. After all, as Christians, we don’t want to say or do anything that hurts our witness as a follower of Jesus Christ. At the same time, though, we want to write honest stories about engaging characters who resonate with readers—and most of the time, this means that very few of our characters are going to always sound as saintly as dear old Aunt Emma, who shouts “Fiddlesticks!” or “Sugar!” when she accidentally breaks a dish in the kitchen.

So what’s the answer to handling real-life speech in a novel if you’re a Christian?

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Another Thought on Writers Conferences

In my most recent post, I touched on why authors should attend a writers conference, focusing on two main reasons: First, it’s a great place to pitch your book to an agent or editor. And, second, it’s a place to be around other people who take writing seriously, allowing you to find new inspiration and encouragement.

In this post, I want to touch on another (multifaceted) reason why writers conferences are a great idea for authors: knowledge.

When you attend a writers conference, you have the opportunity to be empowered with knowledge from at least three sources: speakers, agents/editors, other writers.

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Thoughts on Writers Conferences

One question I encounter somewhat regularly from authors is: “Should I attend a writers conference?”

Before I actually attended a writers conference myself, I would have likely responded with questions about what the author hoped to accomplish by attending, if it would be a financial burden for them, etc. Now, having attended some conferences myself (both as an author and as faculty), I don’t even waste time with such replies, but instead just say, “Yes, go!”

So why should you spend your time, money, and energy on attending a writers conference? I can think of a number of good reasons, and perhaps I’ll blog again to cover all of them, but for now I want to focus on two.

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Hope ALWAYS Remains

Good Friday: a day that no doubt didn’t seem so “good” to those who loved Jesus and knew him best. I can only imagine the darkness and despair that descended into the depths of their hearts when the sun stopped shining as Jesus hung bloodied and beaten on the cross, then finally cried “It is finished!” and gave up his spirit.

But on this side of the cross, we know that the story didn’t end there. Even on the hardest of days, we can find hope because of the resurrection power of Christ. As one author wrote about a particularly tough time in his life:

A hard day, yes. Rattled and unglued, yes. Unable to cope, no. How does the life-giving Spirit of the risen Lord manifest Himself on days like that? In our willingness to stand fast, our refusal to run away and escape into self-destructive behavior. Resurrection power enables us to engage in the savage confrontation with untamed emotions, to accept the pain, receive it, take it on board, however acute it may be. And in the process we discover that we are not alone, that we can stand fast in the awareness of present risenness and so become fuller, deeper, richer disciples.

So even amidst the darkness and despair of Christ’s death commemorated on Crucifixion Friday, we know that Resurrection Sunday is coming—and because of that, hope ALWAYS remains.


Christ is risen!




Apologies …

Hey there. Just a note to announce that I’m putting my blog writing on hold for a bit, as I am going through a rough stretch with some ongoing ailments. However, I look forward to returning here in the near future. Thanks for your patience.


John David Kudrick

“My grace is sufficient for you….” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Keepin’ It Real with Dialogue

It will probably come as no surprise that editors enjoy the written word, which means that most of us wordsmiths not only work with words as a profession, but we also have our noses in books each day for the pure joy of reading. To wit, just the other night, I was re-reading an old trade paperback comic book (X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga) because I think it’s a great story overall, with super artwork to boot.

Anyway, at one point I came across some dialogue that is common enough in comic books because they are such a visual medium, and it reminded me of an issue that I come across all too often in my work as an editor: dialogue that doesn’t sound realistic because it’s so full of backstory and/or information dumps.

Again, in comic books I expect this to some degree because the writers have limited space with captions and word/thought balloons, but I have to admit that it still bugged me a little because it just sounded so unrealistic. When I see it in a novel I’m working on, I flag it and let the writer know that such dialogue will not ring true in a reader’s ears and will feel like a hiccup or speed bump even amidst well-written prose.

Here’s an example: Continue reading

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