Monday, August 29, 2011

EDGY FICTION or SIMPLY MORE SECULAR?

The words edgy fiction are being tossed about like a marble on a teeter totter. I was recently given a work to proofread and was told I would enjoy it because it was “edgy fiction”. I read it; it was a wonderful romance, albeit formulaic. So where was the edgy?

Ah hah! I finally figured out what the author and publisher thought was edgy.

A lot more sex filled the pages. Is that edgy or is that just plain old secular?

Don’t panic. There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. You won’t be given a test. But think about it. Are we in the inspy market simply leaning more toward secular when we call our work edgy or are we jumping on the secular wagon and riding off into the sunset, guns drawn, bustiers showing, and kisses as well as other body parts flying here and there.

Okay, a bit melodramatic, but you get my point.

What defines edgy for you?

For me, it’s an author willing to push the limits of his/her genre. Takes steps no one else has. For romance, it means stepping outside the traditional formula and bringing a wonderful romance that might or might not have a happy ending.

Love Story anyone? There’s hardly a woman who lived in the seventies who didn’t read/watch that romance. I can’t tell you all that I read back then, but I can tell you almost scene for scene what happened to Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw’s love. For the story’s time, IT WAS EDGY!

As an inspy writer, do you merely throw in a bit more sex, violence, or **shudder** a couple obscenities and call that edgy? Or do you dare delve into difficult topics that might bring thought-provoking interest to your work?

This is an issue very dear to my heart.

You will hear more on it.

7 comments:

  1. My definition of edgy fiction closely resembles yours--pushing the envelope of genre-defined guidelines as defined by most CBA publishers, in order to connect with a broader range of readers. Edgy is pushing the envelope, though not blasting through it.

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  2. I agree, Tammy. I hate to think authors will only emulate secular in an attempt to be "edgy".

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  3. Fascinating. I had NO idea what edgy fiction was (though I'd heard the term OVER and OVER). Looking forward to more of your thoughts, Linda.

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  4. I'm glad you brought this up, Linda. I recently read a review of a book that was labeled "edgy Christian Fiction." Wondered what that was and downloaded it. And was I appalled!

    Not only was the story very mediocre, it was the kind of book that I stopped reading after I became a Christian...with a little God thrown in.

    The only reason I finished it was because I wanted to see just exactly where this bad story would lead.

    I personally am horrified that the connotation of "Christian Writer" would be used in such a manner.

    To me,edgy should tell the story enough to get the point across without dirty details. It's not that hard to imply sin without spelling it out.

    Sorry to rant--I feel pretty strongly about this. Can you tell?

    Good post.

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  5. My problem with a lot of Christian fiction is how unrealistic it can be. If the author is writing about a violent, drug-abusing gang member, he or she isn't going to say "shoot."

    If the author places their characters in a compromising sexual situation there isn't going to be a "peck" on the cheek with a cool and calm demeanor.

    I vote for realism without vulgarity and titillation. If the author doesn't feel they can write this way, then they need to avoid using characters who would cuss and avoid placing them in compromising situations.

    It is frustrating to me to read the writer's guidelines for certain Christian houses. One even says to avoid having a female character to outside in her nightgown! Really???

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  6. This is the very word that I am wrestling with as I re-write my first attempt at a novel.

    For me it is taking the Polly-Anna out of Christian Fiction. Get real, but tactfully. Don't be preachy. Have genuine romance with the battles we've all (if we are honest) dealt with at some point in our lives.

    I'm struggling, but working on it. I know I can do it without crossing the fine line, after all...I've lived my life the very same way. Haven't you?

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