Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Defining LDS Fiction

Seems to be a controversy brewing. A book advertised as LDS fiction appears to be anything but.

Does LDS fiction communicate something specific? I think it does. I believe that authors who write for the LDS market have a responsibility to uphold LDS standards. If authors don't want to adhere to LDS standards they should write for a different market. It's unfair to market a book to the LDS community when that book twists gospel principles and it's overall message is to turn to Satan instead of the Savior.

No one is forcing people to write for the LDS market. It's a small niche market and no one will ever become wealthy writing for it. But, it deserves respect and if authors don't want to respect LDS values, write for a different market.

I rarely buy or read books for the national market because I've been disappointed too many times in the language or themes even for middle grade fiction. I buy and read LDS fiction because I expect it to uphold my standrads. I do not expect to be assaulted by profane language (especially using the Lord's name in such a disrespectful manner), or read graphic scenes, or read the glorification of immoral and unrighteous behavior. I have certain expectations when I purchase an LDS book. I expect to be able to hand it to my daughter, without reading it first, and not have to worry it will contain inappropraite material.

I will also read books by LDS author for the national market if I know I can trust the authors to write a clean book. I just don't have enough time to waste on books that I won't like.

I'm certainly not going to dictate to others what to write, but if they want to write for the LDS market I believe they commit to writing a story that upholds LDS stndards.

I think it's flat out wrong to advertise a book as LDS fiction when that book isn't. What do you think?

You might want to check out the discussion on this topic over at LDS Publisher.


Stephanie Humphreys said...

This is such an interesting discussion. I am supposed to review the book that started the conversation and I'm wondering if I even want to read it now.

I agree that is someone writes something specifically for the LDS market, they should stick with content that will not offend. I think different subject matter can be explored, but I like to know that I can pick up books marketed as LDS fiction can be confident I will not find explicit sex scenes, offensive language and gratuitous violence. I have heard some authors say they are just trying to accurately portray the world we live in. I have also read powerful stories that accurately portray the evil in the world without doing it offensively.

I think when it come right down to it, what is acceptable is such a fine line and everyone has a different ideas of what's offensive. In my own writing, I try to write things I wouldn't be embarrassed to let my father read.

Cindy Beck said...

I agree with Stephanie ... if someone writes for the LDS market, there are certain standards that should be upheld. Some people are more "thin-skinned" than others, and it's impossible to please everyone, all the time. However, a safe guideline is that if the author wouldn't mind his parents, teenage children, or bishop reading it, it's probably okay.

It makes me, as a reader, really angry when I pick up a book that's supposed to be for the LDS market and it contains offensive language and explicit sex scenes.

Oh ... I got so wrapped up in this issue that I almost forgot ... Thanks for stopping by my interview with author, Shirley Bahlmann and commenting!

Sandra said...

When I posted my negative review of the book in question, little did I know that all of this would come to pass. Then today I found quotes from my review and comments posted on blogs as an example of naitivity and ignorance. That disapointed me almost more than the book.

As I stated in my review, the reason I read mostly LDS books is for their safety. There is enough evil and corruption around me in the world, I don't want to invite it into my home in the books I read, even by "accident".