Thursday, January 28, 2010

The truth, the whole truth...

Is fiction a lie?

It amazes me how although we Christians all worship one God, we have such widely varying opinion on so many things. One of those areas of divergence is fiction. There are religious leaders who will say that only the bible and non-fiction books are worthy of the time it takes to read them. While I won't argue that any time spent in the Bible is time well spent, I do have to take issue with the idea that fiction is in some way wrong or evil.

So, those of us who like fiction argue that Jesus told stories and site his parables as an example. The fiction detractors come back with the idea that the parables weren't made up, but rather accounts of things that really happened. Now granted, just about any of the illustrations Jesus used were very practical, contemporary scenarios, so of course they could have happened. Does that mean that Jesus got the directive from the Father: tell the story of Esther of Capernaum...you know,the time she lost her coin? (Okay, now I'm being a little flip.)

But beneath my digression lies my point. Does a story have to have happened to possess value? If that's the case, well, then...we fantasy writers better just take our "My Documents" file and move it to the recycle bin.

As you have probably guessed, I don't think that a story need to be factual to have value, but what it does need to do is point to truth. Western Society has abandoned the existence of truth, even as it contradicts itself to do so. ( I can't get into the argument right now, but how can a person say it is true that there is no such thing as truth?) What the reading world needs is material that reflects the deep, God designed truths that no matter what philosophy comes along, no person can truly deny without eventually talking himself into a knot.

So, in the sense of thinking on whatever is true, I believe we can still do that in the context of fiction. If a fantasy story points the reader to the truth that one leads best by serving, is there no value in that? After all, isn't it the veiled truth that we pursue and discover hidden within our experience the one that brings us the greatest, most personal revelation?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Slim Pickin's

Nothing brings a smile to my face quite like a box from UPS on my porch.

Today's delivery? My copy of the 2010 Christian Writers' Market Guide by Sally Stuart. (I must interject, this woman gets some kind of medal for tackling this book every year.) I pushed the supple cover open to begin my treasure hunt through the pages within. My goal: to track down likely publisher/agent candidates to whom to send my manuscript for The Sword of the Patron.

To be fair, I am not entirely settled upon whether I will start sending the book to the four winds before Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press has actually rejected it through the traditional submission channels. Since he has only had it involved in Marcher Lord Select, he hasn't actually weighed in on it. But I do need to do my due diligence on other publishing options, after all.

What I'm learning so far, however, is that the publishing options for a Christian fantasy novel aren't exactly numerous. The publishers that do take them on often don't take unsolicited submissions or at least unagented submissions. The agents that want speculative fiction are few and far between...and they crop up between a forest of agents that write on their websites "interested in all genres EXCEPT: Sci-Fi/Fantasy."

I suppose the bright side to all this is that I won't be overwhelmed with options when it comes to sending out my materials. The negative? I won't have a big trove of choices when sending out my materials. But discouragement will gain no foothold here at the beginning of my journey, as much as it tries to sink it's little grappling hook into my soul and cling to me. After all, I'm only in the "h's" or so of the agent listings, so I'm sure I'll be able to put a little star next to a few more names before I finish that chapter of the book.

Let the journey begin.