What is your Book’s PURPOSE?

One of my fave histfic books ever. Not too many details yet evokes a time period. Driving first-person storyline.

I just read an excellent post by Baker acquisitions editor Chad Allen here: http://www.chadrallen.com/2012/11/29/the-not-very-sexy-essential-to-your-books-mind-blowing-success/.

Basically, he was in a situation where he had to explain what need would be met by the book he presented to the publishing committee. In other words, what was the book’s purpose?

This totally got me thinking. If you’re like me, you wish you could sit in on a pub board meeting and tell them all the reasons your book would be important. After all, we have loose goals in mind when we start writing it, and they usually solidify as we go along. Especially in the Christian book industry. What’s the worldview we’re hawking with our stories?

So, to feel a little more vindicated, let’s open up and share our purposes! I know about many of your books time periods or genres, but I’d love to know more about their purposes.

I realize it’s easy to be secretive with the messages of your novel. But some things are kind of across-the-board themes. That’s what I’d like us to share. The things we feel strongly about and the topics we’re addressing.

Things that will make a difference to readers.

Okay, I’ll go first! With my Viking historical, God’s Daughter, I wanted to:

1) Dispel commonly-held but incorrect ideas about the Vikings–like that they didn’t bathe, they were all bloodthirsty, they loved having slaves, they were basically inhuman.

3) Tell a modern story set in a historical time, based around real people. Draw people into the Viking world without overdosing on details, through the eyes of a strong main character–like The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

4) Address the issue of married women who are tempted.

5) Address the issue of married women who are depressed.

6) Tying in with both of the above: addressing the issue of absentee husbands.

7) Reiterate the beauty of fighting for your marriage.

Okay, so those are a handful of my themes/purposes. Please share some of yours! Looking forward to it!

23 thoughts on “What is your Book’s PURPOSE?

  1. The purpose of my current WIP is to kill a lot of pastors and priests. I figured I'd create a sociopath who'd slaughter them and then find a detective to stop the killer once I'd killed enough. People who read it will say, "Yes, that's a viable alternative to voting him out and causing a church split." Yes, in my book, we'll split the pastor, not the church. 🙂 (I hope no one takes me seriously.)While pastors will be killed, the actual purpose is to show the slippery slope of unchecked false doctrine.

  2. Agh! PJ, you had me worried there for a couple minutes! Unchecked false doctrine. Heavy, man. So I want to know who's killing these wayward pastors? Hmmm. Interesting concept and execution. (No pun intended, but it's there nonetheless!)

  3. Great topic, Heather! With my first MS (the time travel), my heart was to create a atmosphere alive with this truth: pleasing God is far more important and fulfilling than the pursuit/achievement of happiness, because more often than not, life is just plain disappointing. Sounds a little depressing, but the story turned out to be quite powerful. My second MS carried a "looks can be deceiving, be careful who you trust" theme, and I'm still discovering the theme for my third MS, but it's kind of along the lines of yours, being "lack of romantic feelings toward a spouse is no reason to give up on a marriage". 😉

  4. Hi Heather,In my Gustafson Girls Series, my theme is all about forgiveness and about how unforgivenness doesn't usually affect the one who has wronged, but the one who won't forgive. Grace. Undeserved forgiveness and love.In Restoration… well guess. The theme is restoration. How a marriage CAN be saved and restored to an even better place after it has been completely destroyed. God is the Master Restorer. Grace. Undeserved forgiveness and love.Do you see a trend?One day I'll write my own story and guess what the theme will be? Grace. Undeserved forgiveness and love.Hugs,Becky

  5. Great idea for a post, Heather!I love your purpose on absentee husbands and depression. As a Christian, I battled depression in my teens and early twenties. Thankfully, it no longer plagues me, but I know many people who aren't so fortunate.The purpose of my book is to show that God doesn't cause all the bad things that happen in our lives, but He can redeem them if we'll allow Him in.Secondly, is to help women who have dealt with miscarriage, infertility, or abortion. And most importantly, that all my words will point back to the glorious gift of our Savior. 🙂

  6. The purpose of my very short, mostly random, first real attempt at a novel, which has very many run on sentences and waaaay too many quotes and….. Well, anyway…. I would like to have it be an interesting story that keeps young readers engaged long enough to learn a few lessons from some of the experiences of my characters. Or at least get them thinking about the issues. I am really grammatically challenged but a pretty good speller but use a lot of slang and clichés! It's very eclectic and I hope I can make it work. Thanks Heather for all of the encouragement and info. I may not comment much but I do read your blog and usually look at the links you post. Amy M. Hawley. ….who by the way is not "winning NaNoWrimo" but wrote over 3000 words in less than 3 hours tonight. I'm almost to 20,000 but I've researched a lot and learned so much!

  7. In my first story, written about the early history of my hometown, my purpose was to show that a) this little midwestern town, often overlooked by people as plain and uninteresting, is actually home to some of the coolest history in our state, b) choices have consequences that often have to be lived out, even though we've been forgiven, c) we're each given the choice to be happy; no one can do it for us and d) God has placed each of us on the planet for such a time as this, and He's equipped us for the job He's called us to do.Thanks for asking this question! I think this is a good exercise as we're brainstorming our stories to discover why our story is needed and relevant.

  8. Hi Heather! :)The purpose of my book is to:1) show that all Germans weren't Nazis in WWII and that some Nazis turned against Hitler2) explore how God places certain people in our lives for a reason3) show how we can have the courage to stand up for our convictions and follow the path God has before us even if it seems impossibleMorgan

  9. Oh my word, woke up this morning and had all these UBER-thought-provoking comments. I want to read EACH AND EVERY ONE of your books now! SUCH relevant and important topics, from forgiveness to miscarriages to Nazis! There is such an important take-away from everything that each one has written about. I am SO impressed with you all! I'm just beaming at your brilliance! I hope we can all get our books out there someday to reach people with the TRUTH. Keep up the good work! And thanks so much for being open and sharing.

  10. Jim, you slay me!!Mine?So many thoughts in my head.That no matter how deep the pit and dark the despair, God still knows where we are. That healing comes in many forms, and that there is always someone who will understand our hurt.That love does not see colour or race. It can go beyond what we are taught and teach us what we need to know.And that the mind and will of God does not respect time and place like we do, but His perfect will is timeless.

  11. Wow! Loving these teasers and looking forward to reading each of these novels. The purpose of my novel is (1) to remind readers of their true identity and their true home, and (2) to share an important piece of Scottish history that resonates with our modern world of haves and have-nots.

  12. Wow, Scottish history and a theme of our true home? Love it, Diana! And Jennifer, such powerful stuff. God's will is timeless. I was just reading something like that in my Beth Moore study last night. Something I need constant reminders of.

  13. Wow! Chad's post was great, enlightening. My ms is my answer to the question: What is the reason for the hope you have? It's a story of a faith journey, a family, and forgiveness. And for variety, there's some emotional and aging parent issues thrown in.

  14. Great post, Heather! Hmm, my book's purpose…I would have to say one of the biggest purposes is to get Christians to laugh. Seriously, I just love humor and laughter and I love sticking characters in funny situations with zinging dialogue. It's not a hugely deep purpose, but I believe in the power of humor.Another purpose, though, is to get people thinking about identity. How do they determine who they are, where they find their worth. It's something my characters grapple with…it's something I grapple with.

  15. What a great question and what fantastic answers! In Miracle in a Dry Season I mostly write about forgiveness, but also:-The fear of being judged for making poor choices;-The struggle between longing for happiness and fearing it’sundeserved;-Doing the right thing in the face of misunderstanding andcondemnation;-The need to repent for sins that seem long buried; and-Learning to forgive others while accepting God’s forgiveness.

  16. Wonderful post, Heather! I'm not as advanced in my writing journey as many of the other commenters, so my purpose is still coming to light. I would have to say with my recent NaNo project the purpose is no matter how deep the hurt, forgiveness is always available to us.

  17. Great post and now I want to read your book more than ever before! It sounds great! Publishers out there, snap this book up please, so I can read it. 🙂 heh. Sounds like you have written deep, and that always makes for a good book.

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