I’m not a fan of the word edgy when it refers to Christian fiction.
Why does the term bother me?
Edgy is a subjective word. What is edgy for some writers is over the edge for some. I find that for some authors edgy means they should push the limit. Well, yes and no. How far can a writer push the limits before she falls off the ledge into what would, under no circumstances, be considered material in a Christian market?
That is a question I pondered as I worked on a workshop I taught last summer. Today, I thought I’d provide you with the two lists that explains what edgy fiction does and does not contain.
Let’s start with the negative first. What is it that a Christian should preclude from her manuscript, even if she is working toward an edgy feel:
An edgy Christian novel should not include:
- Gratuitous anything;
- Scenes and actions that overshadow the story’s message;
- Offensive words or phrases, even substitute words that leave the real words or act in the minds of the reader.
- Offensive language toward any group, people, or individual (a disclaimer on this one is a bigoted villain. However, this villain should clearly be defined as a villain and very much in opposition of the truth); and
- A story that provides incorrect theology.
On the other hand, in order to make a novel edgy, an author may want to try to write:
- Thought-provoking stories that do not leave readers’ minds in the gutter;
- Dialogue and action loaded with conflict that does not leave readers’ minds in the gutter;
- A plot line that shows the state of fallen men and women but does not leave readers’ minds in the gutter.
- A story that contradicts the world’s theology and pulls readers’ minds from the gutter.
Think about it. How can an author change the world if her book uses the world’s methods to tell her story?