Simmer Starters – Feb. 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

In this week’s Simmer Starters, there are lots of links about literature and the state of fiction.

Why are Christian Movies So Painfully Bad? (Brandon Ambrosino) – Even if you don’t think Christian movies are all bad, there are some fascinating quotes in here about common problems in Christian storytelling.  “It isn’t problematic that Christians ‘borrow ideas’ from Hollywood and put their own spin on them. Every film genre does this. But given the Christian doctrine of creation, it is certainly surprising that so many Christian filmmakers — and artists in general — would choose to mimic someone else’s vision, rather than cultivate their own.”

Does Fiction Matter? Fiction, Fantasy, and Social Change (Kristen Lamb) – “To assert that any book that’s sold that many copies is just a story, in my [point of view], is naive and ignores almost all of human history. Societies have always been defined and redefined by its stories. Fiction IS NOT INERT. Why do you think dictators shoot the writers and burn the books first?”

Religion in Fiction (David Farland) – This article looks at religious fiction from an outside perspective and advises authors on how to write successfully to a religious audience.  The blogger suggests, “…Religious readers usually don’t want to be challenged. Religious literature is comfort literature. It reinforces, strengthens, and builds up the reader’s own belief system. That’s the draw. So anything that negates that will tend to disenfranchise readers.”  Food for thought, that!

Infographic: What Age Do Writers Publish Their Most Famous Works? (Lincoln Michel) – This was a fun infographic!

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life (NY Times) – This is worth a read.  The world can be an ugly, mean place, especially in the internet age when a single comment online can destroy your life forever.  This article feels like it goes hand in hand with my blog post last week about showing grace to people online.  “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” – Proverbs 10:12

Top 10 Tips for Being a Bestselling Author (Sophie Kinsella) – I love all these tips!  Especially #3 and #10.


  1. Hello! I just had to read the article about why Christian films are painfully bad, and really disagree with the author’s scathing review of Old-Fashioned. One thing the movie was not is explicitly “Christian.” I’m not convinced that the sole purpose of this film was to counter the release of 50 Shades, either, but that’s because I’m not familiar with that book or movie, other than the synopses people have given in articles against it. I think the point of the movie Old Fashioned is that when you do whatever “everyone” else is doing (participate wantonly in drunken revelry, lascivious promiscuity with no commitment, making and breaking marriage covenants, as examples given in the movie,) you will feel pain. A lot of pain. You will experience heartache. You will cause pain for others. You will change the course of your life, and it may not go as well as you had planned. And you will struggle in your future relationships because of your painful baggage from the past. This is an EXCELLENT message for today!!! A truthful message to counter the myriad of destructive lies that are so cleverly and pervasively integrated into slick, professional Hollywood films. I think that the awkwardness of the protagonist’s lifestyle choices in the movie (making a commitment not to be alone with a woman he is not married to, for example) show the difficulty in taking a road that is far less travelled. He tries so hard to keep his new commitments, and for that he is ridiculed and even persecuted. I love this message too, that when you make tough choices, you will not always be patted on the back! And then there is the discouragement and temptation that he faces. It shows him making the right choice in spite of his discouragement. Again, I love that! We all face discouragement and temptation, so it’s encouraging to see a character model making the right choice in the midst of that. I think the critical and high-minded review was written by someone who obviously missed the point of this movie in his relentless bashing of the filmaker’s work.

    • Thanks for weighing in! I knew you’d hate that article if you saw it. 😉 I haven’t seen “Old Fashioned,” and I did see comments defending it (when someone else on Facebook posted that article about Christian movies) so I don’t have an opinion on whether his review was fair or not. Hence my disclaimer about “Whether or not you think Christian movies are bad…” I probably should have been more specific and said, “Whether or not you think ‘Old Fashioned’ was bad.” 😛

      “Old Fashioned” aside, I thought his comments about Christian fiction in general were fair and accurate. He used “Old Fashioned” as his scapegoat because it’s in theaters right now, but his complaints are probably better leveraged against other films and books.

  2. Well, I knew you didn’t post the article because you agreed with him, but rather, were offering it as fodder for discussion, which I heartily appreciate!

    • Oh good! 🙂 And I appreciate you sharing your perspective, as someone who’s seen the film!

I love to hear your thoughts!

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