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The Bird's Word

The Bird's Word

The Errors Writers Make and How to Fix Them, Part 4

Posted by Cindy on September 22, 2013 at 10:35 AM

This is the fourth installment of a series that all started because Chila Woychik of Port Yonder Press asked for opinions on what makes most Christian fiction so bad.  I, being a bit of a turkey, suggest that these problems are more pervasive than the usual Christian fiction. I see them in secular fiction, too. So, here is Part 4.  If you go hunting for Part 3 ... don't fret if you don't see it.  I named it something else: Expletive Deleted.

Good Guys Who Act Bad ... and Get Praised for It

PROBLEM: In a lot of stories, Christian or otherwise, the "Good Guys" do morally reprehensible things.  Then, not only is there no consequence for the deed, but the character gets major kudos for it. The ends justify the means.  It's okay that the "Good Guy" lies, cheats, steals, intentionally harms innocents, or whatever as long as the bigger Bad Guy gets his in the end.


This irritates me enough in secular fiction. I don't have much use for "anti-heroes," the Bad Guys who somehow qualify as Good Guys because there's a worse Bad Guy to fight. In Christian fiction, it's worse, particularly if the Good Guy in question has been proclaimed as a Christian.


FIX: I do not expect the Good Guys to be perfect, little angels with their happy, little halos.  That allows no room for growth. If or when you have your characters do something stupid, morally wrong, or inappropriate, there should be a consequence for their stupidity.  It can be an internal consequence like guilt or an external one like punishment from an authority. Maybe the Law of Unintended Consequences slaps the character upside the head when the stupid thing the character did causes an unexpected affect that makes a real disaster area out of the situation.


Remember that David, the man after God's heart, did something morally stupid, and he suffered major consequences after a prophet came to tell him he'd been foolish even though he repented.


Do Good Guys have to be squeaky clean?  No, they don't, but when they do something they shouldn't have done, there should be a consequence for it.

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