John David Kudrick

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Tag: novelist (page 1 of 4)

Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 4

It's God's Call on How Far You Should Go // Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 4 -- From book editor, John David Kudrick // johndavidkudrick.com #christianwriter #christianbook #writing #novelwriting

It’s God Call on How Far You Should Go

Since I left you hanging in Part 3 of this series, I’ll get right back to my thoughts on the main question we’re exploring in all of this: 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?

With that in mind, I also think about the prophet Hosea and how God called him to marry a prostitute … and then to go so far as to seek her out and take her back after she’d left him and likely cheated on him. As I shared this with one of our teen daughters on my lunch break just a little bit ago, she said, “Isn’t the Bible pretty much R-rated?” And I could only say, “Good point.” Because beyond Hosea, you can find all kinds of strong language, graphic violence, disturbing scenes, mature content, and even explicit sex (no matter how much people try to make Song of Solomon a strict allegory).

Finally, there’s the example of Jesus, who hung around the societal dregs of his day and age, with Matthew 11:19 going so far as to call him “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”—as in, the worst of the worst. Yeah, I know this isn’t a direct comparison to a Christian writing what might be considered tawdry fiction, but it gives me enough pause to keep thinking on this, because isn’t Jesus our best example of how to go into all the world with the gospel?

As a side note on that final thought about Jesus setting the example for us, XXXchurch also comes to mind: a ministry not only reaching those in bondage to pornography addiction, but also reaching out personally to those involved in the pornography industry itself—as in, setting up a booth at porn trade shows and showing God’s love to those in the industry and anyone in attendance through a variety of means.

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Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 3

Can a Christian Novelist Go Too Far? // Going into All the World with the Gospel: Part 3 -- From book editor, John David Kudrick // johndavidkudrick.com #christianwriter #christianbook #writing #novelwriting

Can a Christian Novelist Go Too Far?

And so we come to the pivotal point in this series on Christ followers who are novelists that want to share their stories with the world. It’s time to dive into the main question we’ve been driving toward by way of the first and second posts: 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?

At the end of the second post, I took us into an imaginary writing group of Christians who were sharing their story ideas in the initial meeting. Each novelist who presented a story idea was kind enough to also associate the content of the novel with a typical US movie rating: G, PG, PG-13 … and R?

Huh? A Christian novelist thinking that God might be calling him or her to write an R-rated story—and one that doesn’t even have any in-your-face stuff about God, Jesus, the Bible, etc.?

And so I ask again: Can Christian novelists can go too far?

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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 // johndavidkudrick.com #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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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

How Do Authors Find Time to Write?

I enjoy working with authors no matter how they approach the task of writing, whether it’s with bubbly joy and passion or steely grit and determination—or, more typically, a combination of both. In any case, these authors have done something that many other wishful writers have only talked and/or daydreamed about: they finished a book, perhaps even several.

And yet most of the authors I work with or know aren’t household names in the world of books, and they’re okay with that. They’re everyday folks, and most of them have full-time jobs. Like the wishful writers who have never completed a book—usually because “I just don’t have the time!”—these authors spend time with a significant other, keep up with family and friends, raise kids, attend church, go to work, see the doctor/dentist, take their cars to the mechanic, cook meals, clean homes, exercise, take care of pets, catch some zzz’s, and the list goes on and on.

So, then, how in the world do these authors find time to write?

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