Wednesday, August 14, 2013

But Does It Have to Have a Message?

I'm going to start off by launching right into the question at hand:

Does a Christian writer have an obligation to be sure his writing advances the gospel (a.k.a. helps people come to a belief in the redemptive work of Christ or in some way build up the existing church) to be using his time in a way that is worthwhile? What if a writer chooses to write solely for the entertainment value he and his readers find in his books? Does that mean he is being a bad steward of the talent that God has given him?

As you can imagine, Christians in the arts fall on every part of the spectrum when they endeavor to answer this question. But when I look at it, I have to writing any different than any other hobby or profession?

If you scrapbook avidly, should you be only putting together albums that preach the gospel or commemorate church events?

If you're a cabinet maker, does your woodwork need to have scripture graven upon it?

If you golf, is it a waste of time if you're not using the time to witness to your companions on the course?

If you're an accountant at a big corporation, are you spending too much time earning a paycheck and not enough serving God? And what if you work for a company that actively discourages any sort of religious dialogue in the workplace?

Cobblestone Brooke by Thomas Kinkade
Now, I realize the examples I've thrown out there are borderline absurd. But is there something about narrative that somehow bears a greater responsibility to convey biblical truth than cabinetmaking? What about visual arts? Thomas Kinkade, the "painter of light," was said to be a man of faith, but he painted tons upon tons of pictures that were merely pretty with no significant gospel narrative attached. Does that make his entire wall art empire a sham?

As you can probably tell, I am not of the mind that we have to tell the story of Christ in order to write fiction Christians can feel good about reading or I can justify writing. I am of the belief that if my work engages the reader with excellence, that we honor God through a job well done. We small-time authors might not get to engage thousands of fans and share the way we try to live out the gospel with them, but we might get to someday do so with one, or six, twenty. Last I checked, God doesn't keep a tally of how many people we told our testimony or mete out rewards accordingly. And it's not as if our writing is the only route we have to touching the lives of others.

This is one of those blog posts that exists mainly to pose questions. I have come to place of peace on writing "entertainment" fiction. What do you, as a reader or a writer, have to say on your own stance?

Friday, August 9, 2013

I'd Look Ahead If I Could Keep My Eyes Open

The Realm Makers Conference is a wrap for 2013, and if the feedback is to be believed, was a great success. Valor's Worth has been released. We're (for the most part) in the winding-down phase of the renovation on our home. So why is it I feel closer to a nervous breakdown now than I did in the thick of all three of those things at the height of their production?

Don't get me wrong...I am still very excited for what's been going on with these three monumental events that have characterized the summer of 2013. But justifiably, I'm tired. I have told myself that I would do nothing that causes artistic pressure during the month of August. However, we all know that's not realistic. After all, books that have been released require a high level of talking-up and promotion if they're not going to go off with a fizzle. The conference needs wrapping up from a bookkeeping standpoint, and if we're going to do this annually, we honestly need to start thinking about what next year will look like right away. Home ownership is never a "done deal." There's always a project waiting for attention.

I don't want to be like the quintessential child who begs for a puppy and then tires of walking, feeding, and training that commitment. The trouble with artistic "babies" you birth is that you have to decide: will I continue to nurture this thing to its full potential, or will I let it wither? Or put it up for adoption? For me, I'm too emotionally interwoven with my "babies" to go for the latter two options I just presented. And so I pick up a cup of extra-caffeinated coffee so I can soldier on.

The advantage I have with the conference is that I don't have to carry that one on my own, as I do my books. The first Realm Makers inspired a host of volunteers who I will be able to gather in order to make the next event grander and better-executed. I take heart in that. And so, after a brief weekend of extra napping (after I paint some stuff around the house) I suspect I will be back at it. Yes, I get that "what have I done?" feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about the pressure to make next year as good if not better than this past event. My friends who constantly remind me that it doesn't have to be up to just me lend me the strength to push my fears aside and prepare to serve once more. Thank God for that.

And so if you don't hear from me for a few days, never fear--I may be curled up in my bed with the covers over my head, but you can bet I'm still scheming under there.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Now available for Pre-Order! Valor's Worth

$18.00 for a signed copy of the newest installment of The Windrider Saga!

Price includes shipping

The third book of the Windrider Saga, Valor's Worth, is now available for pre-order. If you would like a signed copy of the paperback edition of the book, please use the PayPal button here.

The best part about this pre-order: if you order before August 19th, your name will be entered into a drawing for a fabulous book bundle from Diminished Media Group, including books from Bryan Thomas Schmidt (The Worker Prince and The Returning) and the first paperback edition of The Windrider Saga which includes both Divine Summons and A Greater Strength.

Please note that the $18 cost only applies to US orders. If you are ordering from outside the US, please email me at beckyminor123[at]comcast[dot]net. I will invoice you with your exact cost for international shipping.