What’s with all the Christian tattoos? Am I missing out?

I used to want a tattoo. That was more than twenty years ago, back in high school when only the brave and cool and rebellious people got tattoos.Back then a neck tat meant you were hardcore. Today it means you're a 19-year-old sorority girl.I never did get the tattoo. I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to permanently etch on my epidermal canvas. Or what part of the canvas I would use. Something public? Or something I could cover up so my boss didn't think I was secretly the chief … [Read more...]

The redemptive quality of a story

In her essay “The Grotesque in Southern Fiction,” Flannery O’Connor writes that readers desire and even need something uplifting in the books that they read.“There is something in us,” she says, “as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.”At Thomas Nelson, where I work, we strive to publish stories that are in some sense redemptive. It’s a priority at the acquisitions and editor … [Read more...]

Don’t write edifying fiction

Here's a fact: The way to write edifying fiction is to write what is. Here's another: The way to write bad fiction is to write what is edifying.I just read a line by Flannery O'Connor in Mystery and Manners that explains why this is so: "what is written to edify usually ends by amusing." The word "amusing" is what triggered the realization. Humor is often produced by incongruity, contradiction, and paradox. The fool is comic because man is not supposed to be foolish. The wise man is good for … [Read more...]