Are Today’s Novels Too Vanilla?

A Rush of Wings

In Tuesday’s post (The Breath of Dawn – Novel Recommendation), I talked about one of my favorite series published in the CBA, the A Rush of Wings series (though not technically a series as all books stand alone) by Kristen Heitzmann.

One thing stood out to me as I was reading those books again, a question that nagged at me:

In the current market, would these stories be published in their current form by an unknown author? Or would they be stripped down, made lean according to present-day authorial rules, rules for tightness that can sterilize personality and neuter voice.

Kristen Heitzmann’s books are anything but lean. Her prose isn’t bound by the scarcity-of-words rule, where the words often becomes bland, tasteless. Heitzmann is a gifted wordsmith, writing with prose that flows and sometimes meanders. Nowadays, meandering is a definite no-no, but it’s often in the meandering that we discover beauty. Her books aren’t lean; they’re not for the diet-driven reader but for the reader who loves the flavor of a little fat.

I honestly don’t find books like this nowadays. With authors encouraged to cut all the fat from their novels, too often the flavor is stripped away as well. Now, too many authors follow a recipe laid out by cookie-cutter teaching. What’s left is a menu of books that all look the same and read the same. They’re vanilla.

There’s nothing vanilla about Kristen Heitzmann’s novels.

What do you think about the novels published today? Are you happy with lean, or would you prefer to read something with a little fat? Can you name another Christian fiction author who gets away with writing non-lean novels?

For additional perspective on tight writing, read Nicole Petrino-Salter’s The Impatient Reader post on Novel Rocket.