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December 12, 2005
posted by David Meigs at 12/12/2005 12:07:00 PM
How naive was that? When I finished my first novel, I thought the hard part was over. I had no idea how complicated publishing would be. It didn’t take long to learn that my books on writing were twenty years too old. I needed help, so I prayed for the Lord to send me some. Today I want to highlight one of those answers to prayer.

William G. Jones (WG) has a calling to help others navigate the maze of Christian writing. He recently started the Writing4Christians podcast that I’ve found extremely helpful. He hails from Western Kentucky, is a moderator at ChristianWriters.com and serves in many areas of his church.


My interview with WG

David: Do you have a favorite writing place or time?

WG: As for place, I’m pretty much chained to my computer. I can’t do longhand writing because I know, eventually, I’ve got to retype it anyway. That, and—to be perfectly honest—nobody can read my writing. Including me. I don’t have a preferred writing time anymore, but I tend to concentrate better at night.


David: Is writing a calling? If so, when did you know you were to be a writer.

WG: Definitely a calling. I knew in sixth grade, when a friend of mine got a camcorder and wanted to make a movie and I helped him come up with a story. I’ve been writing ever since. Trying to, anyway. God has giving me some specific revelations about writing that I all-to-often forget while I’m writing.


David: What kind of writing do you do?

WG: Mostly fiction, though blogging has become a recent obsession. I have ideas for stories in almost every genre, but I typically work in contemporary thriller.


David: What have you written so far?

WG: I’ve written three novels since ’02, but to be fair, I started my first novel in May of ’99. I didn’t finish a real workable draft until ’02, and the rewrite took a year and a half. Finished it in ’03, wrote my second book in ’04, and I wrote my third this year (’05). Right now, I’m rewriting that first novel again.


David: What do you think of the state of Christian writing today?

WG: Whew—that’s a loaded question. I make it a point not to read a lot of Christian non-fiction, at least in the form of how-to and self-help books. So I really can’t comment on that aspect.

Now, as far as Christian fiction, I think the Christian publishing industry is in denial about suffering from an identity crisis. Some publishers say their goal is to publish material that will bring readers to a saving knowledge of Christ; that’s nice, but who are you trying to reach if your product is available mainly in Christian retail outlets and marketed primarily to Christians? Backslid Christians?

I like the model proposed by Westbow, to publish stories by Christian writers that are on par with secular bestsellers, yet reflect and respect a Christian worldview. I’m not sure how well that will play out in the long-term, though, unless Westbow authors start sharing shelf space with the John Grishams and Stephen Kings of the secular world. The bottom line is, no matter how good a Christian writer is, as long as they’re not sharing that shelf space, there’s going to be a perception in the public eye that Christian writing is inferior to “real” fiction, or that Christian fiction is nothing more than a sanitized version of popular mainstream fiction.


David: What kind of books would you like to see more of?

WG: Gothic romance. Just kidding. Really, there’s not a particular genre I’d like to see more of. Just a more polished presentation. I haven’t read a lot of the new generation of CBA novelists—Chris Well, Eric Wilson, Kathy Mackel—but the thing that turned me away from older CBA fiction was the editing. But maybe I’m biased as a writer.

I would love to see a Christian writer take on classic horror, something like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. And I’d love to read something akin to Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate. But mostly I’m looking forward to Mike Snyder’s debut.


David: Who are the authors that inspire you? Why?

WG: Shirley Jackson, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, George Orwell. Without digging into specifics, the authors that inspire me are the authors that wow me. If writing leaves me in awe, I have to figure out why. And I have to figure out how to incorporate that feeling into my writing—not necessarily to copy the technique, but to replicate that feeling during the writing process.


David: You have just started to podcast. How is it going?

WG: Well, to be honest, I feel like a hack. I wish I had a more enjoyable presentation and some more worthwhile things to say in that little 20 minute slice of cyberspace.


David: What’s the mission statement or your personal goals for the podcast?

WG: The mission statement is to give the kind of advice I’ve needed over the last few years to writers who are just starting out, but also to look at writing from my background of armchair philosophy and my business training. My primary goal is to build a rapport with the listener, to offer insight into the writing process and also peel away some of the mysticism that surrounds writers and writing.


David: What is your target audience?

WG: Writers like me, who haven’t yet broken through but are serious about the craft. I don’t really feel like I’m the best person to be offering advice to anyone, but there just isn’t a podcast out there offering advice specifically for Christian writers—and I want to fill that void as best I can.


David: What topics do you cover in your podcast?

WG: I had a migraine going the second week, so I’m not really sure what happened that day, but it seems the majority of the shows have been about the basics of writing—character development, plotting and pacing, that sort of thing. But I’ve also tried to talk about the need for Christian writing, different ways to approach writing for Christians, and how jalapeños clear my sinuses. I’m thinking that I probably need to shorten the show up to fifteen minutes and ramble less.


Thanks WG!


Please take a minute and visit Writing4Christians, he updates them every Friday. Be sure to leave him a comment.

 

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18 Comments:


At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous

Curm, thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to visit WG’s podcast.

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger Rulan

Hey curm. Sounds like a really worth while podcast. I have managed to listen to some already and I am impressed with what WG's has to say.

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

Anonymous and the Kid,

Thanks for stopping by. I have learned a lot there already. Especially the hot pepper-sinus thingy. I’ll never write with a dry snout again.

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger Rulan

lol, curm. I haven't heard the hot pepper-sinus thingy yet. yuk yuk. Never write with a dry snout again? lol So funny.

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger Pia

hi there, curm! thanks for visiting my site. glad you came.
i sure will stop by WG's site. hope you don't mind, i'll add you to my links.

God bless!

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger BHGA

Will stop by and visit him...but I'm a little embarrassed...perhaps I should have known about this already eh?
God Bless

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

Pia, Thanks for adding me to your links. You are going to enjoy WG's podcast, I promise.

 

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

Donna -

There's a whole lot of loyal WG fans that didn't know about his podcast. He didn't even know until I told him. Be sure to visit, I hear they are giving away a 57 chev.

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger Kitty Cheng

Thanks for visiting my blog and your nice comments. I had a quite look at your blog, and am amazed by it. I'll certainly continue to read your blog and WG's podcast with interest.

God Bless You.

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

Kitty,

It’s great to have another visitor from the land down under. Please do check-out WG’s podcast. You won’t be sorry.

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger William G.

Thanks for the write up... and I'm really glad you told me about the podcast. :)

Thanks everyone who's visited the site.

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

William G.

Thanks for doing so much to shine a light for those of us still finding out way. I love the podcasts bro. Now, how about raffling off your 57 Chevy?

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger William G.

Hey, I think raffling off the '57 is a great idea. The parts car, I mean. We were just going to cut it up with a torch and sell it for scrap.

 

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Blogger Rulan

william g, gasp, shock, horror. Were you really going to do that? scrap metal? gasp.

 

At Wednesday, December 14, 2005, Blogger Kitty Cheng

thanks for recommending WG's podcast. I enjoyed listening to it!

 

At Wednesday, December 14, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

Kitty, I'm glad you were able to listen to the podcast. I think we are witnessing history in the making.

 

At Wednesday, December 14, 2005, Blogger M. C. Pearson

Okay, I finally had time to read this post. Very nice interview. I'll be sure to go to his site next.

God Bless ya buddy!

 

At Wednesday, December 14, 2005, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant

MC, thanks for coming back, I know how busy you are. You are going to love the podcast.