It’s hard to believe, but there is a brand new genre out there for us writers AND readers to try to absorb: the Christian horror genre.
I’m trying to wrap my heart around the concept of this new genre, but I’m having trouble accepting it. The whole idea of “Christian horror” seems like such an oxymoron, a genre filled with opposites that cannot coexist on the same page. Can two be together unless they agree?
As the coordinator of the Susquehanna Valley Writers Conference held in central PA on the first Friday and Saturday of every October, I’m always looking for faculty members for the upcoming year. For 2011, I want to schedule a fantasy, paranormal editor or agent (at numerous past conferees’ request).
Ever since Harry Potter appeared on the scene, and then Twilight (plus dozens of other similars), these spooky fiction subgenres are running wild in the market at the moment, so everyone with a pen in his hand is jumping on the bandwagon to write a best-seller thriller, Christian or not.
In my search to fill this faculty vacancy, I’ve been given the names of three different publishing companies (I’m sure there are lots more) that are now releasing “Christian horror” novels. At my request, an editor at one of those companies has sent me a manuscript of the creepy genre to read so I can get a grip on what the Christian market is trying to present to its readers with this seemingly contradictory new type of book.
I’ve been told that the main difference in a secular and Christian horror is thus: the Christian book exposes the occult, witchcraft, demonic activity, or “whatever wicked this way comes” for what it isevil. The book then presents the gospel of Jesus Christ with hope for the future to be delivered from such evil.
Anticipating that promised vision of hope in the resolution, I plan to read the manuscript with an open mind and see if I can accept the new genre as part of American literature that is not only a good read, but also presents “the truth” based on biblical principles and hope beyond the gory grave.
If I feel the dark side encroaching way too much into my “Christian” comfort zone so that I must put the book down and walk away, then I might conclude that this new genre is not for me. It certainly won’t be for me to write, and I’ll resolve never to pick up a horror book of any kind again, whether it has the “Christian” label on it or not.
This remains to be seen.