June 22, 2017
#RebelliousWriting: Why We Need Good Books
I had originally planned a picture post on my family's North Carolina trip for today, but since that trip got pushed off, I have something different for you. Recently, I became aware of a movement called Rebellious Writing, started by Gray Cox.
This isn't talking about rebelling against your parents or anything. Instead, it's about rebelling against the normal in YA books. The movement is to encourage writers of teen books, teens especially, to not put things in their books like swearing and sex. This is something I agree to with my whole heart.
So today I'm going to talk about why we need good fiction (something I feel strongly about). I'll also give you some suggestions of authors and books to try that are good and clean. This post is definitely a rant, from a Christian point of view, and rambles a lot. You have been warned.
Why I'm Passionate About This
Writing clean, good novels has always been something that I feel the urge to do very deeply. It started when I first got into teen books and realized just how much crap was out there. If we tried to take out all the books that weren't worth reading, our libraries would probably be half the size they are.
My sensitivity towards reading good books probably came from my parents. When I was younger, they wouldn't let me check out books from the library without their approval. Thus, I read fairly safe books as a child. In fact, I think I read more classics as a kid than I did normal fiction. That mentality of not reading books I wouldn't want my family to see has stuck with me to this day.
I've written a post before about what I don't like to see in the books I read. Some of them, like excessive gore and violence, are a more personal thing. I just don't enjoy reading that sort of thing. But other ones, like sex, cursing, and glorifying evil things, are something that no one should read.
It's been sad lately, because I see more and more things like that slipping into middle grade novels. One book I saw was about a girl had crushes on boys and girls, and another on a boy who was pretending to be a girl. Thankfully, swearing and sex have remained mostly out of MG novels, but who knows how long it may be before they arrive too?
Once I started reading YA books, I decided that I want to write books that are good for teens to read. Do I have to shove my thoughts in readers faces? No, but I can write things that give people good things to think about and show them examples of good behavior.
The Reason People Need Good Fiction
The world has made it acceptable to have swearing and sex in everything. They make it seem okay to drink and do drugs because it's cool. When they glorify things like that, it says to young people that doing that is good.
That's why we need good fiction full of characters acting in a way we want people to act. Books and movies have so much influence. We, as creators of them, should use that influence to change people's minds and hearts. Instead of saying bad stuff is okay, show it how it really is. Wrong and sinful.
Yes, doing this may make it harder to get published the traditional route. But today, there are many other options. As Christians especially, we should strive to get our work out there and into the hands of people who need to hear the message we have. A message of hope and light in this dark world. A message saying you don't have to follow the ways of the world. There's a better path.
What bothers me even more than people saying bad things are good, are people who claim to be Christians that put bad things in their books and glorify it. It hurts every time I see something like that. Actions speak louder than words, and if you say you're a Christian, but your writing proves otherwise, something needs to change.
So please, make the choice to use your novels, movies, and anything else you create to shine a light in the world and point people in the right direction. Don't lead them astray by saying sex, swearing, and being gay is right. People may hate on you but it's the truth and we should be willing to stand up and say it.
I know how hard it is to find a good book these days. And I don't just mean one with a good plot or characters. One that's really wholesome. So here a few suggestions of authors and books to try if you're looking for some good fiction.
• N. D. Wilson. He's one of my favorite authors, and a Christian to boot. He's written several series and everything he writes is awesome, if sometimes a little scary. He has really been an inspiration to me in my own writing as I struggled with writing fantasy and being a Christian.
• C. S. Lewis. Only the most famous Christian author of all time. In my book anyway. He's written many works, his most famous being The Chronicles of Narnia. If you want some more theological books, try some of his other works. (I suggest The Screwtape Letters or Mere Christianity.) Try his space trilogy too.
• The Soul Chronicles. Only the first book in this series is out so far, but I already love it. It's good and reminds me of the way I want to write my own novels.
Those are only a few suggestions. I'd love to hear others in the comments, so please share. Someday, I hope my fiction will be on a list like this.
Also, as a follow up to this post, I'll be starting a series next month on relationships in writing. It will be about how to write good relationships, whether it's between family, friends, or couples. Stay tuned to learn more.
Let's talk! Are you a #RebelliousWriter? What are your thoughts on using your writing to glorify good? What are your favorite clean books? Tell me in the comments.