First of all let me say that this is not a post about writing passion into the argument of characters, so if that's why you clicked into this post I'm sorry to disappoint you. THAT post will come later (yet another writing idea that I want to blog about but have yet to do so. *eyeroll*).
This post is actually about the passion I have concerning one certain argument in the literary world, and if you write Christian Speculative Fiction then you probably share this passion.
The other day I was browsing one of the writing forums I'm a member of when I came across a thread titled simply "Christian Fantasy?" The writer of the thread simply wondered if there was such a genre as Christian Fantasy and if his book would apply as it contained aspects from a Christian World View. Before I had read any of the replies I started writing my own. "Of course there's such a genre as Christian Fantasy!" I said. I was excited to be able to tell this person about what I knew of the genre, the whole time thinking, "That's another one for Christian Spec-Fic. Man is this genre growing!"
But after I posted my reply, I started to read the other replies on the thread, and what I saw broke my heart. Out of the three pages of replies, there were only a few people who actually stood up for the genre, and one of them was a lady that goes to my writers' group. Many of the other replies were saying that there couldn't really be such a genre as Christian Fantasy. They told the guy that perhaps his fantasy book was only Christian based, and maybe it should just be called a supernatural fantasy or something of the like. One person even posted something stating that all fantasy is of the devil and evil and terrible for children as it corrupts them.
Now I have very clear vision as to what I believe and what I believe is nonsense. I will be the first to admit that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that's fine by me, but when I see people openly and (dare I say it) blatantly demeaning something that not only has been proven true multiple times, but that I also thoroughly believe in, that's when I start to get fired up. Me fired up is not always a pretty picture. I've been told before that I should be a lawyer because of how passionate and pointed my arguments can be. I don't have the patience or the drive for law school, but DON'T cross my genre.
Of course I couldn't just let these statements slide. What were they telling this poor man?! I was sitting right there in my chair at the table, a Christian Speculative fiction/fantasy writer and reader who could name off 2 dozen world-known authors of the same genre just off the top of my head, not to mention the books that those authors wrote. I wasn't exactly invisible… (well, it's the internet… to many of my online writing buddies I'm just a faceless username. But still.) My next reply was full of reasons why there is such a genre as Christian spec-fic, how that works together, and then a whole list of links the guy could click through to read about the genre itself. Not to mention publisher names. My following posts included hot headed debates with those who put down or dismissed Christian Fantasy as well as encouraging words for the few users on the thread who actually wrote in my genre. My recurring tag line was "we may be small, but we are not invisible and we refuse to be overlooked or ignored".
Then yesterday someone replied to some of my replies. The person was very nice about it, welcomed me to the forum, admitted that it might sting to have my genre ignored and overlooked, but then told me that I'm probably insulting people as genre definition is often vague, and varies from person to person.
Ok, so I was a little hot headed when I wrote some of those posts, I admit it. I apologized if they insulted anyone. I didn't mean for them to be insulting, but I'm not sorry I posted them and I'm not taking them down. Genre Definition often times IS vague, it's very true, but that doesn't give anyone permission to erase a genre completely. The CBA and other organizations in the publishing world have tried to ignore this genre for far too long. I didn't even know there was such a thing as Christian Fantasy until a few years ago when I discovered Donita K. Paul's books, and then Wayne Thomas Batson's books. Many other Christians don't know about it either; they've been told that there is no Christian Fantasy, Christian Sci-fi, or Christian Spec-Fic in general. And I admit that sometimes it's hard to tell… I found Jeffery Overstreet's books in the general Fantasy section of my local B&N. However, if the writers and readers of this genre don't stand up for themselves and their books, then of course we'll be invisible.
But I can't stand that thought. I refuse to be ignored. I refuse to be overlooked.
I mean, even if you don't believe that the genre is moral (which, in my mind is complete nonsense), at least recognize that it IS a genre… that it's real and not just a pretended fad or wishful thinking. There are authors out there who write Christian Fantasy; they don't try to hide that fact. There are readers out there who read Christian Sci-Fi; they know what to look for in the bookstores. I may have insulted some people with those forum posts, but at least I was stating truth, and if someone wants to be (in my opinion) blatant about the "truth" of a nontruth, then I will be blatant about the actual TRUTH.
Don't put down my passion. Don't ignore it. Don't tell me it's not worth it... I work hard for my passion just like everyone else, and it's not easy. Don't try to convince me that it's immoral when it's been proven moral over and again. And don't tell me that it's not real. I know it's real. I've seen it and I've been writing it for years. If you try to convince me otherwise, I won't believe you because I have proof of the opposite. I'll show you my proof if you like. I'll share what I know. I'll share author names and book titles and publishing news. I'll even listen to your opinions on the matter.
But I will not sit by and pretend to be invisible when you insult my chosen life and my chosen genre. Christian Speculative Fiction is real, the writers and readers of that genre and all of its subcategories are out here, and we are NOT going down without a fight.