5 comments on “Writing: Do Religious Characters Affect a Mainstream Book’s Marketability?

  1. To me the classification of books has to do with plot. Is it centered around: teens? murder? crime? mystery? fantasy? sci-fi? etc etc etc. The religious persuasion of the main (or all) characters shouldn’t matter any more than race or gender.
    When religion is a driving force of the plot then perhaps it will find itself in both categories like CS Lewis’ Narnia, or other books that have differing plots but do concern religious matters.

  2. Ahhh, that’s a good point. Just like you can have novels about Americans, or you can have a Great American Novel. *grin*
    It looks, from Twitter & other conversations, that a religious character in an otherwise mainstream book wouldn’t bother most people, so I’m glad for that.

  3. I agree with Asheyna, it shouldn’t matter at all, because what matters is the action. I would be interested in reading books where religion is an important factor in the protagonist’s life…to see how that drives them; what extraordinary things they do because of it. I’d stop reading if I felt preached to.

  4. Claire, that’s an excellent point. The matter of “preaching” is an important one for any ideology, I think, not just religion. Case in point: the most recent episodes of Castle involve politics re: terrorism and racial profiling in the United States. I agreed fully with their ideas, but despite being in complete agreement was so turned off by how pushy and preachy it felt that I was just as annoyed as I would have been if I’d disagreed.
    I dislike preachiness in all avenues, so hopefully I’ll be able to avoid that.

  5. I do not follow a mainstream belief, but did grow up in one. And while I definitely don’t enjoy “preachiness” as you have said, I do appreciate fully fleshed out characters that are complicated and have belief systems that motivate or inspire or affect them in some way. This is what living is, yes? So why shouldn’t our characters be this way?
    In one of my books, I have a character who is Irish Catholic (in Ireland) but ascribes to the old gods as well. (It’s paranormal fantasy and she has a unique background) She doesn’t see a contradiction in this, and it motivates some pretty extreme behavior on her part. Her beliefs compel her actions.
    So I enjoy this, regardless of the religion. I appreciate that you represent a mix and represent all of them as fleshed out human beings!

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