Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction

I'm back. Exhausted after driving 2300 miles to take my daughter to college, but it was a wonderful trip. Girls only. And she's studying Creative Writing at an awesome school. So, back to brand new posts!

If you don't write "inspirational" or "Christian" fiction, don't be put off by the title of this book, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. Jeff Gerke is an accomplished author, editor, and owner of his own publishing company. After writing six novels, editing thousands, and acquiring many, he knows much about writing fiction in general, and Christian fiction in particular.

Gerke's book was born from a popular blog column he maintained for years: Fiction Tip of the Week (it's still up, if you'd like to check it out). He expanded and added to the compilation of advice, and then wrote a companion workbook with my local friend and fellow homeschooling mom, Mary Agius.

Art & Craft reads like a conversation with the warm and funny author. Being that his company publishes speculative fiction, there are plenty of examples that will particularly resonate with sci-fi and fantasy fans (like the section titled "Build Your Own Light Saber").

The book is divided into three sections: The Spiritual Heart of Writing Christian Fiction (a six-part examination of the writer's goals & motivations to write for the inspirational market), Strategizing Yourself, Strategizing Your Novel (how to look at yourself as a novelist, what to write, and everything you need to know about character), and the third part, Writing Your Novel (with sections on topics like point of view, description, and dialogue).

Each of the main sections is divided into Mastery points, and Mega-Mastery Clusters. I like how the chapters are short, and easy to read when you have a few minutes.  And the workbook is chock-full of practical exercises to put each Mastery point into practice.

For more on Gerke and his cutting-edge publishing company, or his amazing site for fantasy & sci-fi writers, click here.


  1. Good book! I have it and also recommend it. I'm about as far from being a "Christian writer" as one can be, but it doesn't matter--the material in this book applies to all of us, no matter what we write.

    As always, you write a terrific, informative review, Debbie.

    I'm dying to know what college your daughter is going to... Tell her I wish her the best of luck in her career as a writer!

  2. I'm so glad to hear that you like it, too! An excellent recommendation. Jeff is a great teacher.

    Katie is going to a small school in Mississippi--Belhaven University. I'll pass along your wishes to her!



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