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I’ve found it useful over the years to get feedback on my Christian fiction from those who don’t believe as I do. Some writers may have similar beliefs, but not the same. Others might have opposing views. Either way, how they react is helpful.
If a non-Christian doesn’t “get” something spiritual I wrote, is it the general concept that’s a stumbling block? I’ve had a non-Christians say, “Believing in God is like believing in Tinkerbell.” That person won’t understand my character’s reliance on Him. Or was I too “churchy” in my writing? I can’t change someone’s basic beliefs, but I can make sure that what I write is as clear as I can make it. Or a Christian from another background may point out where I’m being too specific to my local body’s interpretation of scripture.
We’ve all read the stories where the characters are “too good.” Or they spout Bible quotes for every situation. Real people aren’t like that. Even the “best” Christians I know have flaws and aren’t a living Bible reference book. We need to give our characters flaws and make them believable. Let them make mistakes, too. This all helps them be relatable.
But what if you don’t know where to start to get feedback? First, search for Christian Writer organizations/groups in your locale. If there is one, visit the group’s website and meetings. They may offer critique hookups. Check secular writing organizations in your area, especially if you write in a specific genre such as romance, sci-fi/fantasy, or children’s writing. You may find national groups and then look for local chapters. Meeting others has been the best way for me to get involved with others to exchange critiques.
If you can’t find a writers group, or the one in your area doesn’t work for you, check out online groups. Here’s a few I’ve found with the caveat that I cannot vouch personally for or against any of these:
Christian Women Critique Partners and Beta Readers on Facebook
Christian Writers finding-a-critique-group.html
One I’ve joined recently on Facebook is Christian Writers Support Group.
(Earlier this year I wrote another post on finding critique groups. You can read it here.)
But back to the why of getting feedback. I’m seen too many writers who say, “God told me to write this story/book.” They seem to think that means not working on what they write. Learning craft, editing, revising, feedback, and more revising are all steps on making our writing the best it can be so we can honor God with the finished product.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.