Living on the "Edge"
Let’s talk about “edgy fiction.”
First, by “edgy” I’m assuming most people mean pushing the envelope on what’s politically correct within the CBA. That is, the standard m.o. of the CBA has been no sex, no swearing (even euphamisms are frowned upon), and watch the violence and gore very closely. It has also been taboo to have unmarried folk jumping in bed with each other, homosexual characters portrayed in a positive light, and other no-no subjects in the spotlight. Therefore, “edgy” fiction is fiction that pushes that envelope, that stretches what is acceptable in the CBA and sees how much it can get away with.
Now, because of the horror aspect of my novels, many would consider my writing to be “edgy.”
I don’t. And here’s why.
One, because I loathe that whole edgy thing. This notion of seeing how much we can get away with in the CBA and not get our hands slapped is juvenile and silly . . . in my opinion. How low have we stooped in Christian fiction when we purposefully feel we have to prove something to . . . who? . . . by seeing how far we can inch our toe over that line of what is acceptable.
Two, because I’m not into being “cool.” And that’s what this edgy thing feels like. How cool are we that we can slip in a swear word or get some extra gore in there without an editor cutting it. Man, when we can do that, we’ve arrived as writers . . . Cool! Of course, I’m being facetious.
Three, because I think good writing is more than making your bad guy call some woman a bad word and more than describing in detail how the villain dismembers some guy with a surgical saw.
And four, because this whole edgy thing smacks of those shock jocks on the radio whose whole persona is seeing how much they can get away with and not get fined. I want to be more than that as a writer.
Some say they have to push the envelope in order to write what is real. People do swear, violence does happen, unmarried folk do hop in the sack with each other. Of course all that is true. But writing is not merely describing activity. It’s so much more than that. It’s establishing a mood, setting a scene, creating a world, and taking the reader on a journey. And (surprise, surprise) all that can be accomplished through good writing, not just “real” writing. Good writing can take the reader into the mind of the villain and show her his anger or hatred or whatever so much better than a clumsily placed swear word.
Okay, I need to wrap this post up. Look, call me whatever kind of writer you want–a good one, a lousy one, a thoughtful one, a wannabe one–but please oh please don’t call me an edgy one. I’m not into pushing any envelopes. I just want to write the story in my head and on my heart to the best of my ability.
What do you think of all this “edgy” stuff. Is it good for Christian fiction?