Dear Christian Writers,

(As you may have noticed, this post is not directed to all Book Lovers, but to a specific group of book lovers—Christian writers. But if you are not a writer, please feel free to listen in.)

I just finished reading a teen romance that has Christian characters and a take-away for Christian teens—a good take away I might add. But I am wondering about the “getting there.”

As writers we are told–it’s one of the first things we are told–“to show and not tell.” Readers want and need to experience the scene if they are to identify with the characters and feel satisfied with the story (translation: finish the book).

I’m thinking this gets to be a problem in writing for kids. Do we really want to show teens other teens in the throes of passion? I know, it can be argued we are just “showing” it like it is and–do please notice–as our story closes, our character realizes that she/he has made foolish choices. How will we writers get readers to this conclusion if we don’t give them the “feeling” and “seeing” scenes along the way?

Yet, pre-teens read YA. Young teens read YA. I keep wondering are we writers arousing and awakening feelings in them that they do not yet have? Are we encouraging them to rush into experiences that they are not yet ready for? Are we setting up older teens to have unrealistic expectations of love and relationships? The Song of Songs warns, “Do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires,” (Song of Songs 2:7b NIV).

I know it could be tricky to leave these love scenes more cloaked in mystery and still hold our reader’s interests. I get that. We would have to become really clever, really creative writers. We couldn’t just tell our stories the way secular writers do. But I’m thinking we should try. I think with God’s help and guidance and large doses of His creativity we could do this. What do you think?