I’ve never been the rebellious type. It’s not that I didn’t ever test the boundaries… shoot, I still do that with flair, but most often I find it easy to live between certain acceptable lines.
But when I started writing novels I got to defy all the rules. As a creative outlet, it helped me escape to a world outside my comfy little suburban bubble and in a lot of ways, it taught me about a wild side of life I’d never experienced. Or perhaps never had the stomach for.
I write about everyday women who face danger head on, who gamble with their mortality for the sake of justice and true love. They almost always travel a journey of grace to a depth of which I can’t really fathom because I’ve never had to wager with my life. Never had to overcome even a fraction of the stuff I throw at my characters.
But, I love where each adventure takes me! You ever felt this ways about your story? Or someone else’s great book?
You get to be someone completely different for a few hours and yet, you get to discover yourself in the characters too.
Because my fiction can tend to be viewed as “edgy” I have been worried about how readers, present and future, might receive the honesty I slather on the page. I’m not one to shy away from violence or the very real temptations we face in our world today. None of us are blind to it and yet so often we write like we are. As a very stubborn woman, I decided that I wouldn’t pander.
It got me thinking though… Is it too much? Are Christians going to be offended? Are those really the only people I want reading my stories anyways? And might there be a great opportunity to tear down the dividers that make those without faith think Christians have put themselves up on a holy pedestal and are judging their struggles. I mean, lets be honest… don’t we all struggle with the same things anyways?
The only difference is we don’t go through it alone.
But… what if they don’t get what I’m trying to convey? What it they get so caught up in their offenses, they don’t see the message of grace shining through all the junk that clutters our lives? What if no one wants to take a risk with a story like mine? What if… (fill in the blank)
The uber-awesome Chip MacGregor wrote a blog post recently about writing to your audience, finding your true voice and telling the story you were meant to tell. He said the most profound thing.
Your reader is yourself.
I’ve been fretting so much about how my stories might be perceived by some more conservative believers. By readers with more sensitive appetites. How might people be offended by the honest struggles I show battling within my characters?
And then I realized the very simple truth.
These stories aren’t for them. And furthermore, my stories aren’t for everyone.
For a reader like me, well, it will be right in their wheelhouse. They will love it. I LOVE what I write. It’s like dreaming on paper. And honestly, I don’t wish to whittle away those questionable things and cookie-cut my stories into some placating bundle of pages.
But for a different kind of reader, they’ll probably hate it! They might say it’s creepy or too steamy or salacious. And that’s totally okay.
Don’t get me wrong, if you want your work to sell, and I sure do, there has to be a market out there. There has to be more than one of you who wants to read it.
But as much as your story is meant to be shared, it’s also your own kind of therapy for yourself.
I want to encourage you. Write what you love. Fall in love with the freedom of the open page and the story God is pouring out from you. Enjoy the ride.
And…Be your own preferred reader.
Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little mischief makers and would challenge anyone to a cutest family contest. Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.