Know Your Audience

It is one thing to know part of your story as you’re beginning to write it. You have an idea of what happens and why, but that’s about it. Okay, at least that’s how I write. You may be different, but for the moment pretend you’re not super organized and don’t have the minor details down just yet. Imagine not knowing what will happen next in your story, just a vague outline. Scary, right? Aren’t you glad you’re not me?

When I begin a book, I’m not always certain what type of audience I’m aiming for. Yes, I realize I’m supposed to know that before I start. I write backwards in some regards. It took me seven books one time to name the fictional country where the characters lived. Yes, seven books.

I learn as I craft the story about the future reader. I narrow down the genre as I write, and I’m able to write to that specific audience.

Normal romance novels tell of star-crossed lovers who want desperately to be together and can’t because of some problem. By the end of the book, the problem is solved and the two can be madly in love for the rest of their lives.

Christian Romance novels tell the same story, with a few differences. One or both of the characters is a Christian. Salvation is normally a theme. Problem is solved after much prayer. There is a wedding and a happily ever after.

I met a writer on a message board who felt that her love story didn’t qualify as a romance because it didn’t have any sex. I wanted badly to explain that good love stories could be crafted without this element, but I didn’t know the person, and they might have taken it the wrong way.

Let me address my Christian readers for a moment, well before the announce of my release date. Due to certain situations that arise within the confines of this story, I must warn you this book is not for younger readers. If it were a movie, I would give it a PG-13 rating.

Since I have written a Christian Romance, I know part of my audience will be a bit taken aback by some of the content. Adult themes are not something you usually have to worry about in a Christian book, but they are present.

There is still a message within my story, Christian readers. I promise. Read the book and judge for yourself.


1 Comment

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One response to “Know Your Audience

  1. Adrienne

    As an avid reader of all sub-genres of romance, I have read (and loved) several Christian romances that dealt with some darker, i.e. “adult content”, themes. These were usually items from a character’s past they were wrestling with or situations in the present that a character was caught up in through some means and was fighting their way out…physically, mentally, and spiritually. I think this is what separates Christian romance from other sub-genres. All romance deals with conflict or dangers or weaknesses or what have you (if they didn’t there’d be no plot to pull the lovers together) but only Christian romance deals with the truly spiritual angle of overcoming these obstacles. I don’t think just because a love story is sweet and doesn’t have sex necessarily makes it a “Christian” romance. However, a story that shows characters struggling through darkness or trials (etc etc) that happen to lean on each other through love and prayer and faith to make it to the side of the light and through those issues to a better life–that most definitely is a “Christian romance”–and even more so because in life people have to deal with those uncomfortable and hard issues. In the darkness, people look for the light. Your story shows that search, and rightfully so. If they already had the light, why would they seek it out? (I know this is a long and winding comment… but in essence I’m saying don’t shy from the adult themes if they are what brings your characters closer together and closer to God.)

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