Salting Christian Fiction

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.  “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Luke 14:33-35 NIV)

Salt is for savoring. It has a unique flavor all it's own, but the purpose of salt is to bring out the best of the taste of the rest of your food. If it overpowers the food with too much saltiness, the food is no longer savory, but inedible.

As Christian writers, we feel the urge to salt our stories with the grace and truth of Christ. It is compelling, and our purpose. If we put nothing into our stories of Jesus, it will likely be bland. But if we put too much preaching into our stories, we lose the audience with our saltiness. Just like with cooking, it's a delicate balance.

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? (Luke 14:34 KJV )

You can't then add anything to your writing that will save it, once you've over-salted it. I am struggling to find the balance with  my fiction now. As a non-fiction writer, the right amount of saltiness is so much easier to judge, but with fiction, we have to juggle realism with the truth of Christ.  So let us be careful to put just enough in to bring out the best of our stories.

Short Stories, Submissions, and Steampunk!

I've told many of my friends in the writing community that I'm a short story writer who tried her hand at a novel for the first time last year.  It turned out better than I expected.  Meanwhile, I'm about 4000 words into two other novels, and 11000 words into a third. While those are waiting for my motivation, I'm back to writing short stories.

Some of you know that my short story "Sanctuary" was published at Fear and Trembling. At the same time, another short, "Teacher's Log" won CCW's Short Story Contest. Meanwhile, I have a short story serial at Avenir Eclectia about Zana Black, cyborg bounty hunter.  Recently I wrote an Urban Elf Fantasy that was accepted for an anthology. This weekend, I submitted four more short stories to different markets, not to mention the one vampire short story that is waiting on an editor's desk until May.

What does it take to write short stories? (this list is far from complete, but it's a start)
1. Emotion - if you don't evoke an emotion in your piece, your reader will not care about your characters. If you can touch on one of the primal emotions, even better - fear, hunger, and love are the prime motivators for a good short story.

2. Concise writing - you don't have the time to be verbose. Going on and on about the color of your character's hair will not move the story along fast enough to make it short and keep the reader's attention.

3. Action - something needs to be happening. If there is no problem for the characters to conquer, the story will feel incomplete when its finished.

4. Research - yes, research. To write my Urban Elf Fantasy, I studied Elfish lore. To write my dragon sacrifice piece, I studied true dragon lore.  To make your story ring true (especially if it's genre fiction) you must research your subject.

So next on my agenda - I'm writing Steampunk.  I've never done it before, so again, I'm researching.  I watched several podcasts, rented movies, and now diving into other stories (Christian and non).  Searched Amazon for some free steampunk reads and here's what I found:

I've already made about 1400 words of this story happen, but need more authenticity, so hoping to gain some. If anyone has any advice for me, please leave a comment. Otherwise, wish me luck!