Ok, ok, so I did get a LITTLE reading done while ill. Still not confident I can string words together coherently, but here goes:
See Jane Write: a girl's guide to writing Chick Lit
by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs
Just finished flipping through it. While it might be a how-to on writing for Chick-Lit, it actually was just a good, brief (yay!) overview of writing for any genre. My WIP wouldn't fall into the Chick-Lit category, but some of my other writing would. I have a soft spot for it mostly because bulk of it is written in a sassy first person POV, which of course, is the tone of my inner dialogue.
I appreciated the authors' emphasis on not using stereotypes, especially for secondary characters. The bossy soon to be mother in law, the mean boss, the bubble-head best friend. They kept bringing up the "gay best friend" stereotype. I don't think that's going to be an issue in any of my stories, but it would be an interesting thing for Christian market to address.
Throughout the book, many of the examples the authors portrayed I couldn't relate to in my writing: the living together, the heroine sleeping with her best-friend's fiance, falling for her gay best friend, dealing with a shoplifting disorder. Not that Christian's don't struggle with these things--but they aren't the normal topics found in in CBA fiction. Part of me feels like we should address these areas, but none of them are areas I struggle/have any experience in. Good stories are composed of imperfect people. Sorta like the "Gay Best Friend" quandary--do you think about Christian fiction including more frank discussions of taboo subjects/situations?
I think the difference between "Christian" fiction and secular fiction is just that: Christians. It's not the topics or plots or characters. There is very clean (ie, no language, no violence, no bedroom scenes) secular fiction available. And there are a couple Christian novels I've read that were too much for me--beyond my comfort zone. It's the inclusion of the faith framework that makes the difference.
I think that's all the steam I have today. And I just noticed that this is my first post with something other than a single word title. So much for consistency.