Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Readers Crave Certain Books

Have you ever had a craving for the weirdest food? (maple sugar on snow with pickle-served in Vermont).  Perhaps something you've never  combined with another food item before? Maybe pizza with nutella? Or maybe you just had to try orange/pineapple juice mixed with Worcestershire sauce (the base for barbecue sauce- wow, who figured this out?)

Sometimes we crave salt, cucumbers, spinach, etc. Each craving is based on something our body needs at the moment. (Sorry, reader, sweets really don't fall in this category).

Our emotions have cravings, too. Have you craved:

a hug
to be left alone
to be with people
to move forward with a project
to step back from a situation
to rest
to exercise
to learn
to veg
to pray
to share a prayer request

Sometimes the hug can't be delivered because the giver is not there. But, God often will provide a temporary substitute, such as a scene in a movie or a book, a stuffed animal, a pet, etc.

Our books can also provide an avenue to help someone who has a need, even a need for good entertainment.  Perhaps their issue has them convinced they cannot seek help from a friend, parent, or pastor, but they are willing to spend a few hours or more diving into the lives of well portrayed characters struggling with the same situation.

Each reader is an individual with a distinct personality. They have different backgrounds, ethnicities, religious beliefs, age, gender, and etc. It would be impossible to meet all of their needs. For this reason, many are called to be quality Christian Fiction writers, to spill their heart's passion, the concern driving their thoughts, into a meaningful story pattern on the page.

Francine Rivers said she wrote one of her books after asking Jesus to be her Savior. The impact of the salvation experience was so great, her heart was stirred to share her passion with others in story form. What followed became a best selling book.

God kindles passion in our hearts as well. What are you passionate about? What good should be made better or herald? What woe should be soothed? What wrong should be made right? This should be written into your manuscript.

In actuality, there is only one book that will truly satisfy a craving heart and that is the Bible. Unfortunately, there are times readers are not willing or are not ready to seek God's tender loving help. This happens to Christian readers, too. The purpose of our books and manuscripts is to reflect the light of God's Word, directing our audience to God's Holy book.

Think about your WIP. What need does it address and how does it direct a reader to God's word?

Let's dialogue about this. There are many aspects to learn about writing, but if we perfect them all but leave out God, what good is it? Your thoughts could help someone else. We'd love to hear your ideas.

photo courtesy of

This blog post is by Mary Vee

Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.

Visit Mary at her website and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Paula Mowery said...

Isn't this the Christian writer's dream? To touch a reader right where they hurt or need?
And, you're right in saying that some may not go to the Bible for answers, but they may pick up our fiction book. That places a big responsibility on our shoulders as Christian authors to make sure we are writing the truth and steering them toward Christ not us.
Great post. Thanks.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I agree with Paula, we should take the responsibility of our words seriously. They might be the only witness someone ever has. Great post today, Mare!

Unknown said...

I really appreciated this, Mary. I've had quite a few people ask me why I wanted to published in the Christian market or if I'd ever want to transition over to ABA. My response is, I honestly don't think I'm capable of writing a story without a spiritual thread...I can't help seeing life through a lens of faith (not that I always see properly, goodness knows that lens gets smudged!) but without it, I feel like my stories would feel as listless as life would feel without Truth. I don't want to preach at readers. I don't want to write agenda fiction. What I do want to write is stories that make people laugh and swoon, yes, but also ultimately fulfill a piece of that hunger for Truth.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Mary, I loved this. You've got me thinking about my own story. The questions you asked near the end of you post are the ones I need to think about for my own story right now. Great post today!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I think sometimes we are so focused on the product or selling our books that we forget our responsibility to the calling God gave us.
Good observations. Thanks for visiting with us today.

Mary Vee Writer said...

And, as Amy said, we need to take our responsibility seriously. It's all to easy to forget, right?
Maybe we could tape a reminder by our to the premise. That way they can go hand in hand.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Too true. The pendulum swing to preaching is so not cool. That certainly is a turn off to readers. No, we want to steer them, guide them, shine the light on the one who has the true answers.
And I feel the same as you Melissa. I don't think I could leave out my faith, it's just part of me.
Even when I worked in an office my coworkers just knew without me saying a word. God's light will shine if we are willing vessels.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Perfect timing. As I recall you have dug deep into a new book. What better time to insure these qualities are contained within.

~cjoy said...

I love this post.
In particular, I have been known to pick up a Christian novel on days when my Bible was just too hard to open. I found myself fed small nuggets of a God that I needed. That's one of the things that draws me to write Christian Fiction--the possibility of feeding someone right where they are.