Okay, I have to admit, I’m a little hot under the collar regarding this topic. I’ve just been privy to my work being called, as a LDS writer, “. . . most LDS fiction is a tribute to mediocrity. Plus I pretty much hate sequels, they reflect an amazing hubris on the part of authors that people will remember everything in the other books. Also, they are lazy because they only have to write half a book because the other half is just what was in the last book.” Okay, I’m trying to remember the “Christ-like” thing. I’m also trying to remember that not everybody has to enjoy our market. But really! And sequels! I LOVE ‘EM!
Her one and only foray into the LDS market was a particularly famous author, who yes, is not that good of a writer – but so what? I could list dozens right off the bat in the national market who are no good either. For instance, Patricia Cornwell, while an incredible storyteller, is really not a very good writer, technically speaking. Doesn’t stop me from buying her books the second they come out. I have every one of them. I lose myself in the story and ignore the writing technique.
I think the point is that there is good and bad in every market in every generation since the beginning of time. This particular person went on to ask if we’d read Amy Tan, James Frey, Madam Bovary, Les Miserables – as if fiction could only be good if it was wallowing in misery, degradation and filth. By the way, Les Miserables is a very good book. So I say back – have you read Jane Austin, William Shakespear, John Milton, Lord Byron, Mark Twain, Jeffrey S. Savage, Willard Boyd Gardner, Dean Hughes, Tristi Pinkston and so on. There are fantastic writers in every single market!
The LDS market came into existence because saints were craving fiction and nonfiction that was clean. As with any market, it has improved drastically since its inception and will continue to do so. Clean fiction is not bad fiction. Clean fiction is naive fiction. I plan to stand one day before my Savior and say “I did not eschew my standards in lieu of fame.” Oh my word, I need to go take a cold shower. I’m ready to go smack someone. Okay, I’m thinking of the Savior, I’m thinking of the Savior, I’m thinking of the Savior . . .