Friday, March 9, 2012

Progress Report

First of all, a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who commented on last week's post about my title troubles. I really think you helped me head in the right direction and I wish I could give you all a prize. But my thanks will have to be enough.

I hit another block with Ruby's story, and it's something I really have to search deep inside myself to resolve. Initially, I really wanted to set the book in Duncan, OK because I have fond memories of the place and wanted to show a different side of what is sometimes considered a backwater area. My idea, since I'm telling the story from Ruby's point of view, is to show how annoying she finds everyone and everything about her new life at first, but how eventually even the acts of strangers begin to warm her heart.

But now I'm kind of hit with a crippling fear that locals reading the book will be so disgusted by the stereotyping and cliche characters at first they won't wait around to see how it gets better. Because, right now, the only characters who come to mind are cliche and stereotypical.

That's my current problem. I'm the first to admit that being a Mormon in the middle of the "Bible Belt" is difficult. One of my sons has already been told by a classmate he's "going to Hell" because he's LDS. We have lots of religious discussion in my house now, more than we did when living in UT, and most of it is started by our kids. I think it's because they feel the lack of what they used to know, and seek their grounding in the gospel because it is familiar and true. And, not to point any blame, but the current political atmosphere is NOT making things easier on my kids. Weird, huh?

Last Sunday, author Rachel Ann Nunes posted on FB about a bad review her book received on Amazon--not because the reviewer didn't like the book but because the reviewer felt there should be a distinction between LDS fiction and Christian fiction. Again with that whole "Mormons aren't Christian" nonsense. As a lifetime insider, I confess I don't understand how people can say we aren't Christian. It's in our name. And I pity the poor soul who ever tells my daughter she's not a follwer of Christ. That girl, who can greet Jesus like an old friend, will happily correct them.

I don't want you to come away thinking everyone out here is against us, because that's not the case. Before we moved, each of the kids received Father's blessings. The predominant theme was that the people out here are also God's children, and they are good people with good hearts, and that we don't need to shut them out in order to maintain our faith. In fact, more kids asked my son "What's a Mormon?" than condemned him to Hell for being one.

Religion aside, I'm still struggling with this fiction novel of mine. It will be obvious to any LDS reader of Ruby's story that her aunt's family is LDS. But I want to emphasize the Christian aspect of their beliefs and actions, so that anyone else reading the book won't immediately shut down because it's about a bunch of Mormons. This isn't for some future big reveal, but more for myself. I want the story to resonate with all Christians. Which is why I'm self publishing it and not going through an LDS publisher or trying to hit up a national publisher (because they'll make me take out the religious aspects and mess up my whole plan).

I think I've been more rambly here than I intended. And probably what I'm going to have to do is delve into these supporting characters in Ruby's story and find out the parts of them that make them loveable and less like the cliche, stereotypical book fodder they currently are.

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