blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
Are you a writer waiting on the world to change?
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.
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.”
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.