Writers Waiting on the World to Change

blogger: Cynthia Ruchti

Are you a writer waiting on the world to change?

Good news. It sometimes does.world change writing

A recent article in The Guardian noted that readers in the general market have been turning away from doom and gloom books with disturbing, disheartening, and downright depressing themes and endings. After decades of bestseller lists peppered with psychological thrillers, we’re seeing a trend, the writer of the article said, toward Up Lit.

No. It doesn’t involve setting your book on a plexiglass end table with an Edison bulb underneath so your words can benefit from uplighting.

writers waiting

Kindness and Compassion

What’s being branded as Up Lit are “novels of kindness and compassion,” notably from complete strangers. But the term also encompasses an atmosphere that one author describes this way: “I write about communities, kindness and people coming together because that’s the society I wish for. I write what I’d like to happen” (Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep).

Light and Shade

Hannah Beckerman’s Guardian article clarifies, “But up lit isn’t simply a means of sugar-coating the world. Rachel Joyce, author of international bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, stresses the importance of light and shade. ‘It’s about facing devastation, cruelty, hardship and loneliness and then saying: “But there is still this.” Kindness isn’t just giving somebody something when you have everything. Kindness is having nothing and then holding out your hand.’”

Sound familiar? Good vs. evil in storytelling form shows how light plays off shade, and shade adds dimension to light. Selflessness. Sacrifice. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness…

Community, Friendship, and Hope

Beckerman notes, “What these novels offer – beyond a template of kindness, community and friendship – is hope. As Hogan says: ‘No matter how bad things are, there is a way forward. I want my writing to focus on how you can find joy and happiness even when you’ve had a really tough time and even when things aren’t going your way.’”

Finally. The novels some of us have been writing for decades fit the mold of what the world is hungry to read. Stories with prevailing HOPE.

Redemption is a timeless theme. Hope is a universal hunger.

Those of us writing stories that don’t skirt the edges of life’s challenges but plow through them to find redemption and hope are “on trend.”

world to changeWho knew we were waiting on the world to change?

Books & Such agent Wendy Lawton says the secret to reaching an audience of readers is to “watch what society is expressing they’re hungry for, then look for and address the spiritual hunger behind it.”

Will we see an influx of more books in both the general and Christian markets that show endurance, resilience, community, desperate circumstances that resolve into a hope-filled redemption story? It’s what the human soul craves. If we stay faithful long enough, the world will eventually catch on. “Give us hope!”

It’s what many of us have been writing.

If the world is ready, oh the stories we have to tell!

If you stay faithful long enough, the world will eventually catch on.

38 Responses

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  1. “Watch what society is expressing they’re hungry for, then look for and address the spiritual hunger behind it.” Good advice, not just for authors, but for the Church.
    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

  2. Hope is an active and intentional verb:
    Help
    Others, and
    Prioritize
    Empathy

  3. Yes!!!

  4. Thankful for this. I have finally discovered the redemption story in my grandmother’s life after losing three sons during WW II and her husband a year later–half her family in just three years.

  5. Good in, good out. I wish the world would catch on.

  6. Linda says:

    Wonderful to know this. I have long believed we need more stories that show people with real struggles living out their lives with hope for a better tomorrow. A book that doesn’t necessarily end with the struggle going away either, but perhaps some new insight in how to live life anyway.

  7. This is truly exciting, Cynthia. To know that the world is hungry for something we already have and want to share (Hope)? God does have a way of working things out in His timing. It seems to me that Christian authors, in particular, have the kinds of stories the world would be uplifted by. It will be interesting to see how this trend goes over the coming months.

    • Cynthia Ruchti says:

      As with all trends, this one too may fluctuate. But it’s encouraging to know that the world is starting to realize its need for hope.

  8. Up Lit…I like it! This will be a fun trend to watch. We really do need a lot more light and encouragement in today’s world. Thanks for sharing, Cynthia.

  9. Teresa Haugh says:

    I feel hope just reading this.

  10. This is great news for the eternal optimists among us. (raising hand) Thanks for describing it so well.

  11. Mary Kay Moody says:

    We knew in our bones, as they say, that these stories were needed. So encouraging to read this, Cynthia. you’re sharing hope in your stories and in blogs to this audience of writers! Thank you.

  12. This is great information, Cynthia, and it makes perfect sense. As society gets darker and more disturbing, I can see people choosing “up lit’ to escape.

  13. This blog post made my day! What a wonderful new trend. It reminds me of an article I read recently about contemporary realism in Christian fiction. The merger of these two trends is my happy place. <3

  14. Pat Iacuzzi says:

    “Will we see an influx of more books in both the general and Christian markets that show endurance, resilience, community, desperate circumstances that resolve into a hope-filled redemption story? It’s what the human soul craves. If we stay faithful long enough, the world will eventually catch on. “Give us hope!”

    Thank you, Cynthia. I happen to attend Hope Church; my tag is “Hope Inspired Stories” –HIStories 😉 Truly believe we have a Purpose to bring the Good Word to others and uplift them.

    And blessings, Andrew–you’ve done it beautifully.

  15. Pat Iacuzzi says:

    P.S. Quick question: I’ve been leaning toward writing a nonfiction story set in the Netherlands, 1600’s, I’ve found overview biographical information concerning the protagonist, but would need to write it as creative nonfiction to fill out setting, and too deepen character. How well-received are “creative” non-fiction stories? (I’m thinking of stories like “Michelangelo” etc.)
    Thanks!

    • Pat, I’m not an industry professional, so please take anything I say with a grain of salt…but there is a category called ‘the non-fiction novel’. Both “In Cold Blood” and “Helter Skelter” inhabit this genre.
      * And thank you so much for your kind words!

      • Cynthia Ruchti says:

        And in the Christian community, that would indeed be called creative nonfiction.

      • Cynthia Ruchti says:

        For Christian publishers, we often frame those stories as a fictionalized true story, or as a novel based on a true story.

    • Cynthia Ruchti says:

      The acceptance of creative nonfiction completely depends on the skill and integrity of writing it. You can write with integrity even while fictionalizing. But it does take a deft hand. 🙂

  16. Thanks for this post. Such refreshing information!

  17. How exciting (but not that surprising). One of the many things that Christian’s have to share is hope. Although, I haven’t found nearly as many books that I’d like that have the potential for eternal impact (either on Christian or non-Christian world).

  18. Jerry Weaver says:

    I think inspiring others and giving them hope for a better future is what the world needs more of, too much sex and violence in everything makes us grow ‘numb’ inside and we start thinking it’s today norm, which isn’t kosher with the younger generations thinking it’s ok for them to behave inappropriately imo

  19. Josh Kelley says:

    Thanks for this post – a new trove of good books! After following the link, I read “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.” Most I’ve enjoyed a book in awhile AND it helped me find some comps for my book.