Writing Contests, Submission, and Why Christian authors really do have it tough (but we still shouldn’t whine about it)

You may have noticed that this past Friday (well, now the past past Friday, since this post has taken me almost a week to get written) I didn’t post a flash fiction on the blog.  Or maybe you didn’t, because you know, it’s not the first time that I’ve failed to post.  But I’m done with my master’s, so I’m supposed to be keeping up now!! Okay, well, I have a good excuse. A non-education-related excuse. A writing-related excuse! I was busy trying to come up with a couple entries for the string-of-10 contest Jon posted about last week.  And yes, I did come up with a couple entries (with a little editorial help from Jon’s wife – thanks!).  Jon also got a couple in, as I understand it, even though I have yet to see them. We’ll see come March if either of us ranks.

While we’re on the subject of submitting stories, we should note that Jon has a piece going to Every Day Fiction (still in the editing process, but it has been accepted).  Yay for him! Woot! Way to go, man! Seriously, this is part of what this blog is all about – developing ourselves as writers to the point that we can be submitting stuff and getting it accepted.

Along that vein, I should note that I am being true to what I said a few weeks ago, that I am refocusing on my writing. “But wait!” you say, “We haven’t seen any new stories on the blog, though, save some cast off flash fiction. What gives?!”  Well, back to that submission thing… I’ve been working on pieces that I can hopefully submit somewhere. Right now I’m doing the whole write-for-the-people-you’re-submitting-to thing, that is, writing my stories with potential takers in mind.  My intended audience with a couple of these pieces are online publishers, like Daily Science Fiction and similar. I am attracted to these options because while the pay may not always be as high, one of the cool things is that they have lower overhead and can publish more stories, so there is perhaps a greater likelihood of success and exposure.  Exposure is a bigger deal to me right now than prestige.

Finally, a completely unrelated piece of interesting news – One of our favorite authors among us Seekers, Orson Scott Card, has been contracted to write part of an upcoming Superman series.  But oh nos! Orson Scott Card is outspokenly against homosexual marriage! Stop the presses, we can’t let him be a Superman writer! What? He is an accomplished author? An acclaimed storyteller? Brilliantly able to create compelling characters and approach the human spirit?  Nah, none of that matters, the only credential we care about is where he stands on gay rights!  Because, you know, Superman is all about… gay… rights….

Hm.

Alright, let’s just be real here for a moment.  Certainly, because the issue of homosexuality is a big deal right now in our society, we have to allow for there to be strong feelings.  We also have to assume a certain amount of judgmentalism on the topic – how you come down on it will have an impact on how people feel about you in all areas of your life.

But really…

I think the problem is that there has become a certain thrust in our culture that if you uphold traditional values, you waive the right to say, “Hey, that’s not fair.”  What I mean is, when a bunch of Christians publicly say, “We’re not going to go see that movie because the main actor is gay!” or “We’re not going to buy this book because the author is gay!”, they are publicly rebuked for their intolerance, even by other Christians sometimes!  Yet, when a group of people supporting homosexuality stand up and say, “We’re not going to buy that person’s book, because he is outspoken against homosexuality!” they are respected.  Isn’t that a double standard?

Now, I know, you could debate that the situations are different, and I’ve heard again and again that the difference is what a person is versus what a person supports (or limits in the minds of the gay friendly community).  But really, it comes down to a simple principle: Should a person’s entire life be judged on the basis of what they believe or how they behave in a certain area of life?

Since the day I started writing this post, there have been further developments in the story.  DC has been given the easiest option for them to get through this without being totally lambasted by either side: David Gerrold, a gay author has offered to write part of the storyline as well.  This definitely makes it easier for DC to balance things, and you know something? I actually kind of respect this gay author for taking this approach.  He could have joined with everyone else in working against Card, but instead he said, “Let’s just make peace and appease both sides.”  And hey, maybe he’ll write a really good story.  I can’t wait to read it.

Well, as I said in the title, this really isn’t something Christians need to whine about. I mean, we can look at how unfair it is, and complain that it might make it harder to sell books, harder to get work, harder to gain a following, and harder to capitalize on success.  But in the end, is that really what this is about?  Is the goal to gain fame, wealth, or success?  Of course, we want to do well at what we do, and we don’t want to be struggling authors for the rest of our days.  But we count on the Lord to give us success.

That’s really the key.  It is God who gives us success, it is he who blesses our efforts, it is his will that is to be accomplished.  I could gain all the wealth, success, and fame as a writer I want, but if I did so because I abandoned the principles God gives me, have I really gained anything?  “What good is it for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Jesus asked.  Good question, Lord. The answer is: no good.

So, I will stand up for what I believe. And it may or it may not show up in my writing; we all reflect ourselves in our work, but we don’t always reflect all of ourselves in all our work.  If it means people don’t want to read what I write, well, so be it. I hope they will be more open minded than that.  Only the Lord can tell.

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One response to “Writing Contests, Submission, and Why Christian authors really do have it tough (but we still shouldn’t whine about it)

  1. …I don’t remember reading this, and I think I would, since you commented on comics and I’M the comics guy!

    Thanks for the analysis. I personally thought that the OSC deal was a huge deal made over nothing — let the guy write! The comics internets were pretty divided over the brouhaha as I recall.

    And in other news…. I don’t know how I missed this post originally!

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