Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Christian Fiction I look for ...

Are you like me? Do you enjoy reading Christian fiction?

The other day I was thinking on what it is specifically that draws me to this genre.

The first aspect that draws me in to Christian fiction are good characters. What makes up a good character?

First, the characters have to be believable. Yes, I'm reading fiction, but a writer can't stretch what is in my realm of belief about a human being. And, as I'm getting to know this character, I come to expect her or him to behave in certain ways. If she or he does something outside of what would appear reasonable for her or his personality, I might just put the book down.

Characters also have to be real. By real I mean I like to think that I could meet this person on the street someday. Real characters allow me to relate more naturally to their personality and what is happening to them.

A no-no for me is when a character is a dead-on stereotype. Of course there are character types, but every person is unique and an individual. I like to think that my book characters would be the same.

A surprising aspect that I don't care for is over-description of a character. I've read in writing craft books that when a reader is picturing a character from a book, the reader should picture the character in his or her own unique way not see exactly what the writer did when writing. In other words, when reading about a first grade teacher, the reader should picture his or her first grade teacher, not the author's. And, I'll admit, too much description makes me skim and skip.

Some recent characters stand out for me.

Emma from ALWAYS THE BAKER, NEVER THE BRIDE by Sandra Bricker. This character has everything I look for and then some. She has some little quirks thrown in that are so appealing. In fact, all of Bricker's characters match up to what I feel is needed for a good Christian fiction character.

What about Kate from MY STUBBORN HEART by Becky Wade? Explained enough that I pictured her my way. Real and believable and yet unique.

Charlotte from WAITING FOR SPRING by Amanda Cabot. This character's emotion tugged at me, and I found myself pulling for her until the very end.

I could go on and on. The three character examples I listed above are from recent reads.

Do you have an example of a character that was just what you like? Share in the comments.

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