Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Religious Fiction

A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic–nothing else. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.

Today’s genre:

atoz-rReligious Fiction


Fiction based on faith in a supreme being. Often, stories deal with prophecy, angels, demons, spiritual choices, and inspirational encouragement of forgiveness and freedom from what hinders humanity. Also known as Christian fiction, inspirational fiction, and faith-based fiction.

Tipsa to z

  1. Don’t preach. Put your beliefs into a story.
  2. Make sure the characters follow what is typically a religious lifestyle.
  3. Create believable characters with endearing qualities as well as flaws your readers can identify with.
  4. Though the plot may model any event that can occur in life, it is likely to be uplifting with a positive ending.
  5. Plot development is more like cozies than horror or thrillers.
  6. Include a moral that supports religious beliefs.
  7. Don’t apologize for the ways of God. Everything is possible under a religious umbrella.
  8. Once you finish your faith-based story, do get it published by a Christian publisher. Sometimes, that’s the clearest sign that it is religious fiction.
  9. Your goal with writing likely is to honor God.
  10. Because you represent God in your writing, do it as well as possible.

Popular Books

  1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  2. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  5. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  6. Rekindled by Tamara Alexander
  7. Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston
  8. The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg
  9. The Prodigal Husband by Jacquelin Thomas
  10. The List by Robert Whitlow

More R Genres:

Click for complete list of genres

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May 2017. Click to follow its progress.

53 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Religious Fiction

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Regionalism | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Reference | WordDreams...

  3. Thank you so much. I am a writer that is trying to get into the Christian Fiction world. I found your tips to be very helpful and full of insight. I have one children’s book published as a starter book and just recently I was told it wasn’t preachy and it got the point across. That is something I try to keep in mind. Thanks again. I will look for more of your blogs in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Since faith is a hallmark in my lfie I kind of feel bad not considering this and I suppose it is developing little by little in my mind. I think I could do well with it due tot he years of knowledge concerning bible teaching I have retained.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There was one writer a few years ago (good grief, more like 20!) who was very popular in the Christian genre, named Frank Peretti. I’ve read some of his stuff. And of course, there’s Jenkins with the “Left Behind” series that was so popular. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho is one of my favourite books and I actually didn’t know it was religious fiction (if I had known that I may not have read it). I guess this is because it follows the first tip in your list “don’t preach”, I’ve read a few on your list but I’m keen to read the others now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A couple read from this list and a whole swathe of Hindu/Buddhist ‘morality tales’ read in childhood. Wouldn’t go out of my way to read, but quite happy to delve into if there is something lying around and/or there’s nothing else. Religious fiction sounds intimidating somehow…but ‘parables’ and ‘fables’ I’d happily read 🙂 weird I know…


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jacqui – I certainly couldn’t do with a religious fiction book – but would Johnathon Livingstone Seagull fit in here … I’ve read the Alchemist and The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe … and have some others … which I got when my Ma was ill – as informative books – to learn from … one was Mister God, This is Anna … I think it’s still here – and having looked at the Wiki notes I think I can read that quite easily …

    Interesting to say the least – cheers HIlary

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Although I know Madeleine L’Engle was Christian, I would not have put A Wrinkle in Time in the religious fiction genre – but maybe others would. This is a hefty section at Barnes & Noble – or at least it used to be when the store had more books than gadgets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think a lot about genres is subjective. There doesn’t seem to be a master checklist. This Richard Bausch, a wonderful NYT best-seller in literary fiction–very thoughtful and deep–ended up on my amazon thriller list. When I told him that, he just shook his head.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve loved all books by Susan Howatch which usually have a preacher, mentor and magnificent churches and real live characters who get all conflicted about what they’re doing in their lives. She’s an English writer (UK) but I haven’t come across anything by her in a while. Huge lovely blockbusters and a great storyteller! CS Lewis is wonderful … ‘Till we have Masks’ (I think that’s the title) is one I read some while ago …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This can be so tricky because of having to walk the thin line of getting your message across without preaching. There are two keys. Get your reader to trust you so that if you have characters that aren’t necessarily religious, they don’t turn and run. To make it realistic, you’ll need these “outside” characters since faith shouldn’t take place in a vacuum. The second key is the old, “show–don’t tell.” That’s how you avoid preachiness. When done well, this is a fantastic genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s an easy genre to get wrong, but if you study books like, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” and “The Alchemist,” you’ll see how to weave a story that models behavior and stay true to a set of beliefs without beating you over the head with it.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. One of my all-time favorite books is in this genre, God Game by Andrew Greeley. If you question your spiritual beliefs or are wondering how religion could possibly survive in the tech. era, I recommend reading this book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think many books are easily classified in a number of genres. Amazon put my To Hunt a Sub into the Military genre, though I called it a thriller. Truthfully, I have yet to figure out why.


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