Every time I receive a one-star review, it presents me with a momentary conflict of why do I write? The latest one star commented on how the reader picked up the book because it was steampunk, enjoyed Tainted, even with the bits about God and religion, then it all went down hill with Awakened. There was too much God and preaching going on to the point where this reader couldn’t finish the book and decided to give it a 1 star.
After reading the review, I started asking myself who am I writing for? Should I have toned down Awakened, even though the very premise was about Kat realizing in the end she couldn’t heal herself, and even science couldn’t heal the condition of her soul? Should I have just kept God out and had science heal her?
Should I become a secular writer and just write really good books? I would gain more readership (and probably higher royalties).
But every time I face this conflict, I can’t shake the fact that not only do I feel called to write Christian fiction (not just be a Christian and write stories, but write God and everything about Him into my books), I want to write these kinds of stories. I love writing books about grace, about finding hope, about miracles when all seems lost. This is what burns inside my heart, what gets me excited to sit down and write every day.
I am thankful for these reviews because they make me pause and reevaluate why I’m doing what I’m doing. And every time I come back to who I am personally as a writer and remind me I’m not going to please everyone. For me, I need to write about the passions of my heart and soul. This brings me more satisfaction that a large readership, 1k 5-star reviews, and large royalty checks.
This is who I am. So these are the books I will continue to write. The stories of my heart.
19 thoughts on “A Crisis in Writing”
Way to work through it, and come out on the other side. Keep doing what you are doing. Love the books; Someone that says there is too much “God” in the book, they will find another author. Hang in there and keep writing.
I know it’s hard to read 1 star reviews. You want to think that the person is an idiot. But after I read his review, I said a prayer for him, because he needs God in the worst way. Don’t compromise your standards or what you do. I’ve watched you mature as an author, and you are awesome!
Morgan, thank you for sharing your inner wrestling. Stories like yours remind me of God’s presence, renewing and encouraging my hope in Him. And to write Him into my stories, too. Also, seed planting happens in ways and at times we can’t imagine. I pray that for your cranky reader. 😊
Glad you are sticking to your guns! I have really enjoyed reading the first two books in The Ravenwood Saga series and am looking forward to reading the next one!
Just another dart. I’m glad you didn’t let it through your shield. When I read a one-star review that says a book is too Christian, that’s usually enough to make me buy it.
Your God-centered books are alive with hope and grace, forgiveness and healing. You encourage so many of your readers. Keep sharing your heart.
Never compromise when it comes to God things. Continue to stand as you are and you will be greatly used. I have seen what happens to Christian authors who ‘ease up’ on the faith written into their books. I don’t want that to ever happen to you. Kudos for standing strong!
Don’t ever lower your standards because people are cruel. I’ve yet to read the whole of Tainted because I felt so much emotion (it was a hard time for me), but I loved your series with Rowen and have recommended two different church libraries about them. Regards, Janice.
Sent from my iPad
I tend to read one-star ratings first when I’m choosing a book, and this one would make me want to pick it up. There is nothing more disappointing than a writer who claims to be a Christian offering a book with no evidence of this claim! That this reader couldn’t finish reading your book means he was pricked by what he found in it. Your job as a Christian is to “preach the gospel to every creature,” so be glad he heard from God, and pray the seed you planted will bear fruit.
I am also a Christian fantasy writer who once struggled with this same issue until I asked myself what the point of writing is unless it reflects who I am and what I believe at my very core. If God has given us these wonderful gifts of imagination and writing, then we should use them for His glory and leave the results to Him. So glad to have found your website!
Yeah! Glad you found me 😁
I wish there were “Like” buttons for I would have clicked it for every response here. I praise God for the encouragement you have given me to stay true to His purpose for His glory.
Thank you, everyone! You’ve been so encouraging ❤️
Stay true to who you are, Morgan! A child of God! No one can take that away from you, and though a 1 star can deflate you for a moment, who you are in Christ is so much bigger! I loved Tainted and Awakened just the way they were. As an aspiring author I often struggle with some of the things you listed in your article, but at the end of the day, I am who I am because of Christ and I want that reflected in the stories that need to reach so many!
Thank you for writing about the passions of your heart and soul, Morgan! That is what makes your novels so meaningful, beautiful, and powerful to me. Because I can relate to these characters in the deepest way possible. Truly, the reason that you and I exist is to bring glory to God, and I believe you are doing just what He calls you to do when you use the gifts & talents He purposefully gave you for His glory and to make much of His name! ❤
So I hope you are discouraged by reviews that say your books are "too preachy" less and less! 🙂 The way that you write your books gives them eternal value, I believe. In pointing others to Christ through your fictional stories, you are participating in some much bigger and greater than just earthly novel-writing! You are doing kingdom work! I, personally, just feel so awed and excited and joyful when I realize God is working through me for kingdom purposes! Wow!
Keep writing, friend! I have loved your RAVENWOOD SAGA series, and can't wait to read more of your books!
Thank you for not letting the negative of the 1 stars to lead your desires and goals in writing. Thanks for being not only an example to readers but writers alike!!! Keep up the good work!!!
Consider for a moment that the person who gave you a one-star rating was actually revealing to you the condition of their own soul. Perhaps your story was convicting them and so instead of accepting the message of Jesus that you presented, they rejected it. So it’s not you they reject…it’s Him. Pray for that person. Maybe they will remember your book one day and give their heart to Christ. I can think of no greater reward as a Christian author.
As a Christian fantasy author, this is also something I have to face. I want to reach people with the gospel through the stories I write. Your article and the many comments here have been so encouraging! Let’s continue to support one another through faith, keeping our eyes focused on God.
Interestingly, I have the opposite problem…I feel like I don’t put ENOUGH of the Gospel and Jesus into my stories, I just write what is in my thoughts and expressive of my emotions at the time…
I know that all talents come from God, so I *should* be using my storytelling to glorify Him, but it just feels like if I try to impose a Christian framework on my story that will force the story to become something it doesn’t want to be.
With that said, though, I have a few stories where my characters are Christian, it’s important to the story, and I’m not going to change that no matter what my (hypothetical) editor says.
But as for you, Morgan…if you have a talent, and you feel a deep desire to praise God through story, by all means do it! We need more Christian fantasy that is high-quality and from the heart, and fantasy is such a wonderful way to illuminate spiritual truth in a way that is both literal and subtle. If nothing else, your work is a praise to God and He will be pleased with it. If you have a lot of readers leaving good reviews, all the better 🙂
I for one am hoping to buy one of your novels soon (either Cry of the Raven or Tainted, still deciding!), and, as I tend to be very positive, I think I’ll leave a nice review 🙂