Join the Adventure Giveaway

Winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Carol Award for Dauntless!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Weird Taste

I've been a little sad about something recently. I realized that I have very atypical taste when it comes to books. I found out that most people want a lot of action and excitement and stuff. That they don't all relish amazing characterization, stunning symbolism, lyrical prose, challenging themes, and experimental styles the way I do. I guess it comes from teaching too many literature classes and analyzing those subjects ad naseum.

I started suspecting this when I realized that not everyone shared my passion for The Passion of Mary-Margaret. And that Lisa Samson, the author of this awe-inspiring masterpiece, has been discouraged lately that her books aren't hitting the market well. I saw on facebook that she's currently taking a sabbatical from writing until she figures it out.

For the last few weeks I've been reading Christi nominated Veiled Freedom. I have been thorougly enjoying it as a cultural study and for the amazing conversations between characters, but when I told my daughter, "There's just way too much action. Stuff keeps blowing up. I might just skip those parts," she looked at me like I had two heads. Evidently she loves all the action and excitement. That's supposed to be the good part of the book.

Hmm. I was starting to question if novels were even the right genre for me.

But I have to confess, that a few weeks ago I was studying some of my plots and realizing I was missing great opportunities for kidnappings, pirate raids and the like, and that I needed to start making the most of those moments. For my first novel, I did that. What happened? My critique partner, Christine Lindsey, has been trying to nicely point out how some of my scenes don't really go anywhere, but I just wasn't getting it.

And while one of my new favorite authors, Lisa Samson, might be struggling with her purpose right now, the other of my new favorite authors, Roseanna White, seems to be doing quite well. So I thought about her story in A Stray Drop of Blood. A great straight forward plot that has lots of action interwoven with snappy philosophical conversations and amazing characterizations.

I've had the pleasure of critiquing Roseanna's new novel about one of Xerxes wives for the last month or so. Adding in a little of my lyrical prose expertise. And I think I'm finally getting how she does it. Choosing smart scenes that weave dialogue, action, description, narration, and characterization seamlessly. And yet she still gets in all those artistic elements I love.

Epiphany moment!

So, I will be working on this in my own writing. I did some big edits today, and you know what. I actually love them. They really work.

My sadness has now turned to thanksgiving. I think I've finally figured it out, and I'm looking forward to putting my new epiphany into action. Literally. Watch out publishing world. Here I come. Although, of course, I vow to remain a faithful fan of Lisa Samson and literary writing in general.


  1. A writer has to be true to what they love to write. Just because mass market seems popular, it's not necessary the way to go. Trust your muse.

  2. Wow, I played into an epiphany? God is so awesome, because I've been extraordinarily blessed by your insight and writing too. You are a fabulous writer, Dina. And while I think some books are just fine without tons of action (maybe I've read too much of the old literary style too, LOL), I think you've hit on something great here. Can't wait to see what comes from it. =)

  3. Thanks for the encouragement Lynda. I think what I've discovered, though, is that there is a way to write things I love and still make them "more" marketable. I don't want to be stubborn about being literary and artistic and hurt the influence my books might otherwise have. To me, it's all about getting out the messages God has laid on my heart.

  4. Hi Roseanna,

    I figured that title would catch your interest :) I'm so glad we've been able to be mutual blessings to one another. I've enjoyed your friendship and your expertise so much.

  5. I also meant to say (but got distracted by children, LOL) that I passed MARY-MARGARET along to my mother, unsure if she'd really like it. She not only loved it as a story, but she said it spoke to her more than any book has in a long time, and really helped her in her relationship with the Lord.

    Our type of story might not reach the masses, but I think Lisa Samson's books prove that those they reach, they REACH.

  6. Mary-Margaret is one of those books that really goes deep and changes your psyche.

  7. On the other hand, I think it probably still would have done that with a straight forward plot structure instead of the rambling stream of conscious format.

  8. Have to mention that...The Passion of Mary-Margaret won the 2010 Christy award, so weird or not, I guess my taste is pretty good :)