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Inspirational Novel vs. Christian novels

I'm trying to do research on the difference between an inspirational and a Christian novel?

I'm coming up empty handed in defining the difference. I can define them apart but not one versus the other.

I have some scripture references in the novel, HUNGRY FOR CHOCOLATE, and I'm trying to determine if it would fit into the category of the inspirational novel but thinking it might be too lighthearted for the Christian market. In a quandary here!

I'm excited to go shopping soon and  look at the categories at book stores to see what I can find. I thought I'd buy a few books to read to see if I can find the differences.

I've read inspirational romances and I know that category well. I like to read them but don't want to write one.

My book is women's mainstream and I'm willing to do a total rewrite - after I decide which way to go.

Any comments, suggestions, or advice will be much appreciated.

Any recommendations for reading in those categories.

I need to get busy.

Thanks, Barb


  1. This is a good question. I have no idea of the answer, but am truly interested in finding out.

  2. Does one have to exclude the other?

  3. I think the Christian genre relies heavily on God, using scripture, the Bible, praying, allowing all things that happen in the book to come from God.

    And Inspirational is, more of an undefined divine presence. Encompassing all faiths so not to insult anyone.

    I think angels are used a lot in Inspirationals.

    And you might want to look in the archives over at Rachel Gardners blog. She might have the definitions listed somewhere. Or send her an email, I know she answers on her blog.

    Hope that helps somewhat.

  4. I certainly can't give you an answer, but I'm looking forward to what you come up with and reading your finished product!

  5. Sorry, I'm no help either, Barbara. But it sounds like Anne may have helped you with her answer.

  6. Inspirational writing appeals to a wider audience, with themes that are applicable to all people, no matter what their belief system.

    Christian works are for a specific group within the wider range.

    For an example, look at the song, Amazing Grace. At first glance, this seems specifically Christian, especially the line, "we've no less days to sing God's praise. But the theme; losing your way and finding it once more, is not specific to Christianity. When I sing the song, I don't mean I turned toward Jesus. I mean I've found MY way, after wandering in the fog of other people's religions for a long time, feeling lost and somehow incomplete. This song is quite universal. Singing "God's praise", to those of us who are not Christian, means singing our praise song. Praise lives in every open heart and is not specific to one belief system.

    For the song to be truly inspirational rather than inspirational Christian, slightly different wording would have been used.

  7. All your answers helped. I get it now. And it seems so much simpler than I'd first thought. I think I was making it difficult.
    While I am a Christian - I write in many different genres.
    So thanks all for commenting. Finally it's in my head.
    I'd never thought of amazing grace being anything other than Christian.
    Interesting take on it. Blessings all.

  8. I have a version of Amazing Grace by Krishna Dass. There is even a version in Cherokee. Sometimes folks change a word or two here and there. It is a much loved song by people of various paths.

  9. Everything Christian is based on Christ. Last week I was in a fog. Or as my mother would say, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off!!!
    Blessings everyone for your help.
    No longer in a muddle over this one.

  10. Glad you found your answer! I was going to say that reading the different genres might help to decide which category to place your work in :)

  11. Yes, I agree with Anne that (to me) Christian is specific and Inspirational is generic where wisdom, angels and other things are included.

    Thanks for making me think on this.


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