A blog that I am subscribed to, the Seekers, put up a post yesterday about writing romance and having descriptions of your characters. You can read the article Here. After reading that, I couldn't help but comment on a great error that I see so many "Christian" authors making. Now whether or not we should write Christian Romance at all is debatable, but definitely cation is required.
As I was talking to my mother about the topic, she mentioned Song of Solomon and how it contains vivid descriptions of love, but nothing that inspires lust in it's readers. I think that is worth study if you intend to read, or write romance.
Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts in reply to this post.
I am only a beginning author, but I also intend to write according to the Scriptures if I am to call myself a Christian author, and if I may be so bold, I think you are missing something here.
It's definitely true that men are physical when it comes to romance, and that they struggle with lust. But they too love more in women then just looks. When we read through the Scripture (which should be our example of great storytelling) even in the love stories such as Ruth and Boaz, Esther and Xerxes (which was pretty much completely a physical attraction) we don't see Boaz lusting after Ruth in a detailed description of her curves, we don't see Rebecca, at falling in love with Isaac at first sight, swooning over his chest hair.
As Christian authors we need to be very careful of what we are putting into our writing. Is it honoring to Christ? Are we inspiring our readers to lust? Men think in pictures, so when they read a detailed description of a low cut top, what are they going to think of? A low cut top they've seen on someone. I can't do that to my brothers in Christ. It's enough of a battle for them already without me encouraging it. Also, the heroes in our stories should be fighting against lust, not giving into it.
Now there are ways to describe a beautiful woman without the lust, you can describe her hair, her eyes, her femininity, and say she is beautiful, but to describe her body parts should be offensive in Christian writing. I know it is to me.
As for the men, we are less attracted to looks as we are to chivalry, strength, leadership, a nice smile and manliness. You can tell the reader the man has a handsome face and describe that, and his character, but that should be enough for women.
All I am asking, is that we prayerfully consider our romantic descriptions remembering that we will have to account for every word we write, every word our readers read. Do we present a stumbling block? Are we causing our readers to have sinful thoughts?
Rebecca wondered if this wonderful man that Eliazer had described to her was really...real. Since she had reached womanhood she had been praying for a man who feared Jehovah more than man, who would work hard, provide for a family.
As the camel's stride rocked her back and forth she thought of all that Eliazer had told her, how this man named Isaac was a wise prince, how he loved, cherished and honored his mother, admired his father. He had told her how Isaac had extended a strong, compassionate arm to a slave girl on the brink of death.
"How can this be?" Rebecca thought to herself. "I feel I am on the cusp of falling in love, and I've never even met the man." She shook her head at herself. "Are we nearly there yet, Eleazer?"
"Look in the field yonder, sweet girl, the man approaching us is your betrothed."
Rebecca raised her green eyes to the golden plain ahead and her breath caught in her throat. With a strong stride Isaac was approaching them, and she could see, even from this distance, that he was not like other men. His clothes were rich, but not flaunting. His step was confident, but not prideful. He was smiling, and in that smile was something that captivated her. It was not a smile like most men smiled at her, no, he was not thinking of what he could gain. He was thinking of what he could give.
Rebecca's heart drummed in her chest as she lightly jumped off her camel and with shaky hands put on her veil. A man like this deserved a woman of character, and she wanted to show Isaac that she was.
As he drew close and took her hand in greeting, she looked deep into those handsome, brown eyes and knew. This was love. Not a girlish love like she'd seen in so many of her friends, but something deeper. A love orchestrated by God.
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Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, home-schooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses. Amber is a multi-published author and currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO..
(c) 2013 Amber Schamel