I’m Annoyed with Christian Fiction, Part One

I’m Annoyed with Christian Fiction, Part One

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“I’m fine.”

These are two of my least favorite words in the Christian fiction I’ve been reading lately.

A diabetic forensic scientist hasn’t eaten in 12 hours. “I’m fine.”

A former Special Ops soldier-turned detective hasn’t slept in 48 hours. “I’m fine.”

The strong-but-silent, uber-tough cop struggles with over-protecting the homeless woman he’s coming to love. “I’m fine.”

The stunning detective is at the crime scene for hours in her high heels. “I’m fine.”

The beautiful cop is captured and nearly killed by a psychopath. “I’m fine.”

Really? Nobody in those scenarios is “fine.” Each one is traumatized in some way or needs medical attention or even a visit to a counselor. None of them, however, are “fine.”

I realize that being “fine” ups the drama, ratchets the suspense, makes the characters vulnerable—all that good stuff that makes a novel a page-turner and, hopefully, a bestseller. But are the authors really obtuse enough to make their characters “fine” and let them go forward and really be fine, as if nothing at all had happened?

Recently I attended the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference. A woman there wore a shirt that said “I’m fine.” I began having a small fit until I saw the huge, gaping, bloody wound pictured below those two annoying words. I laughed instead, getting the humor (and the pathos) of that shirt.

We love to say “I’m fine” when people ask, while inside we’re a mess. I understand why we do so, and do it myself. But there is good reason to share our struggles and worries with friends who care and with those who can help us. It’s healthy and healing to do so. That’s real life.

Using those two words constantly as devices to drag on a novel’s emotional drama? I’m not fine with that.

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7 thoughts on “I’m Annoyed with Christian Fiction, Part One

  1. I had to chuckle. A friend of mine have this ongoing “joke” that when we respond with “Fine” when asked how we are, the other responds as if we said, “Everything is terrible in my life.”

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  2. Love this. As an editor, the health of characters is something I pay attention to (food, rest, bodily functions, etc.) They don’t have to happen “on stage,” but there has to be time for them. I’ve been known to leave a note like “btw, gangrene is setting in about now…”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post, Ann. Reminds me of the powerful lesson I learned from my MS-suffering friend when pushing her wheelchair through crowds at church. Her responses differed depending on who was asking the “How are you?” question. “I’m fine” to some, and “I’m struggling today, please pray” to others. She knew which ones were asking out of duty and which ones out of genuine concern and desire to bring her needs to His throne of grace. What a takeaway! I want to be known as one of the latter, don’t you?

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  4. Great post Ann. I agree and can add, why the heck does every character when under stress forget to eat. Or simply forget to eat (fill in meal or meals here) when busy. Some of us eat more when stressed and we never go out for a 10 mile run to relax. Can writers please oh please find a different way to relieve stress besides running?

    Another pet peeve with Christian fiction? How beautiful someone’s eyes are. Okay so you want to keep it clean, but really does every love interest have to have to deepest (insert eye color) we have ever seen. Ugh!

    Okay so I must be a bit grumpy, but I’m fine. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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