Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Doug Sonheim

Second Advisor

Dr. J. Scott Duvall

Third Advisor

Mr. Daniel Inouye

Abstract

When I began writing Freeflight in 2008, I did not think of it as part of the "Christian fiction" genre. I intended to write a realistic novel1 containing ideas that interested me, such as unconditional friendship, the effects of fame, and the world of modern rock music. I wrote for a secular audience, envisioning my novel in the mainstream fiction section of a bookstore instead of on the one shelf of Christian fiction squeezed in the back corner. But finding the best balance between Christian themes and a non-Christian audience is a complicated matter. In this thesis, I attempt to identify what aspects of a Christian novel are most effective for conveying the Gospel to non-Christian readers while still providing unequivocal Christian ideas through the story. How does a Christian author write a realistic novel with supernatural content? How can fiction evoke questions in its audience about God and faith without turning non-Christian readers away? To answer these questions in this thesis, I divide the Gospel into four stages or themes that Christian authors may address in their novels, discuss the relationship between Christian authors and realism, analyze the technique and redemption theme of four novels in the Christian fiction genre, and analyze the same aspects in my own novel. I include a rough draft of my novel as an example of what I have found to be the most effective in communicating the Gospel to a non-Christian audience. While my novel is far from perfect, it contains several qualities that I believe are important to have in a Christian novel.

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