Catholic writer needs help

Hey all,

Hope this is the right forum for this, but it seemed like an apologetics matter. For the last six years or so, I’ve published short fiction in the horror genre with reasonable success (hence the screen name). Since coming back to my Catholic faith, both spiritually and intellectually, most of my reading has been apologetics stuff. Over the last year, I’ve become more and more disconnected with the horror stuff for two reasons. For one, I hadn’t been writing stuff I’d want my kids to read. Secondly, I’ve felt that if God gave me the ability to engage people with my writing, I should be using it in his honor. I’ve decided to move into Catholic fiction. While I don’t assume I’ll write a blockbuster, we need more popular fiction out there evangelizing and defending the faith in light of all the **** that The Da Vinci Code, the Left Behind series, and other popular titles are spreading. The problem: while I got to know the horror markets, both magazines and anthologies, inside and out, I feel like I’m wandering in the dark with the Catholic market. Anyone know of good online resources or magazines that would be open to Catholic fiction (I don’t want to write non-denominational stuff just to attract readers – the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but . . .)? Anyone else out there write fiction and willing to touch base with a newcomer to the Catholic publishing world? Curious to see what sort of responses I get out of this, if any.


Spencer Allen

I wish I could help you but all I can offer is a word of encouragement.

I also am an aspiring writer and I have works others have encouraged me to publish, but unfortunately they are not something I would care to use as my entry into the world of publishing. I have publised minor works in Christian/Inspirational, but they were charity projects and nothing useful to anyone other than to 1. the Charity they benefited, and 2. myself as minor credits.

I would encourage you to follow the advice I have gotten:

  • subscribe to Catholic publications and see what they publish and learn whether they accept outside submissions.

  • purchase the current Writer’s Market book.

And the following, which I have been considering:

  • gather your work together and try to publish an antholigy of your work, divided into types: Apologetical, Biblical, Inspirational…etc.

  • Find other like-minded Catholic writers and create a compilation of Catholic inspirational work.

That’s all I got. Please take it with a grain of salt as I’m virtually unknown in spite of my very minor publications under this screen name. (J.C. Phoenix)

Good Luck! I’ll be praying for you!

Hey, Spencer - you should join the Catholic Writers Online email list. I’m sure someone on there has some good ideas for markets. We have alot of published Catholic authors of many genres (one who even writes fantasy/horror and won several World Fantasy Awards–don’t want to spit his name out, I know you’d know of him)…plus those who strictly write for Catholic publishers.

Go here and check it out!

By the way, I write fantasy and romance. Talk about having a hard time writing something you want your kids to read…sheesh.

Read Flannery O’Connor and Tim Gautreaux. Also, although I’ve never read him myself, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Walker Percy. Each of them is Catholic. You can’t go wrong w/Flannery O’Connor. She (along w/Faulkner) is my biggest influence as a writer. The thing I like about her is that she writes realistically - she doesn’t soften reality to suit a christian audience. But her faith quite obviously affects her fiction.

I, too, write fiction that a lot of Christians have a problem with. It’s dark, harsh, and sometimes violent. My faith always affects my writing, but I think we have to recognize that the world we live in is quite often very dark, harsh, and violent. I think that I write the way I write and O’Connor wrote the way she wrote to demonstrate w/out question that we all are in need of a Savior.

The advice I think you need to hear is that you need to concentrate on writing well. Don’t approach your work with an agenda. Don’t start out thinking, “I’m going to write this story to prove that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist” and then beat people over the head with two characters having a conversation about how St. Ignatus was writing about the Real Presence in the 2cd Century. The “Left Behind” series was written to propogate a certain theological point of view. Don’t do that, because it almost always (as demonstrated in “LB”) results in bad fiction. Concentrate on writing honest work and let your faith guide you. Intelligent people aren’t converted or inspired by work that is unrealistic and dishonest about reality.

Tell the truth about life and people, and everything else will fall into place.

I have written two books myself, one about computer games, and another about a fictional Franciscan brother. I wrote the book about computer games for fun. I wrote the fictional book of a Franciscan brother as a vehicle for a pro-life speech.

Needless to say, the computer book sold more than the religious fiction. I guess what I am trying to say is that religious fiction is not the way to go. If you want to write something that will justify your remark… “I’ve felt that if God gave me the ability to engage people with my writing, I should be using it in his honor,” you should concentrate on true religious subjects. Fiction can be too easily dismissed as personal opinion; or taken out of context by your enemies.


Are you familiar with the Catholic novels by Bud MacFarlane, Jr.? They are very good and I think an excellent example of how good Catholic fiction can lead us to ponder our faith more deeply and even challenge us in some areas.

They are available for a donation at:

[quote=awfulthings9]For the last six years or so, I’ve published short fiction in the horror genre with reasonable success

Have you considered sticking with this market? What satan has done with certain souls falls into the horror genre. Attract them with this horror, but show them how faith can conquer this evil. Maybe try doing an exorcism story.

If this seems reasonable, be sure to fall in love with sacramentals like holy water, blessed salt, St. Benedict Medal, Holy Rosary and the scapular. Be sure to have some prayer warrior pray for you as you write the book.

God :blessyou:

I hope for all the best in your endeavor. In perusing the web, I found a couple items (they all seem to have at least a couple Catholic publishers apiece) :

Religious Publishers Links
Christian Publishers Links
Catholic Publishers Links
Catholic Literature Links

Hope this helps,

Thanks all. Some great resources and advice. I’m still not sure which direction to go with my writing. I do non-fiction and essay stuff, too - just not as much fun. Anyone who wants to keep in touch, drop me an e-mail at Maybe we can put together Catholic writer’s group on yahoo.

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