Transformational or For a Purpose??

I’m going to ask you that question in a few minutes. 

I write books for a purpose. I pray God can use them in some small way to transform lives and further his kingdom. I mean by that, being a vessel for the Holy Spirit by sparking something in the reader that makes them ponder the spiritual dilemma the character or characters are facing. Sometimes I engage the reader directly, like I do with the tagline in my novel, The Next Target, releasing June 1 . . . Would you share your faith if it would cost you your life?

All my books deal with social, political, and spiritual issues that Christians face today. For example, my first book, The Winds of Sonoma, touched on illegal immigration. My second book, In the Shade of the Jacaranda, dealt with abortion. My third book, The Fragrance of Roses, dealt with the need to have more minorities donating to bone marrow registries. And my fourth novel, As I Have Loved You, was about a single mom whose college age son gets mixed up with the wrong girl. The situation is complicated because the son has Attention Deficit Disorder. When readers write me they almost always say they loved my book because of the issues raised in the story journey. I’ll admit it (blushes) I write my books to draw the reader in, get them to become emotionally invested in the hero and heroine’s lives, even pondering the decisions that the characters make – Why did they do that? – Would I have done that? –  Does it line up with what I believe the Bible says about that? –  They should have . . . –  You get the idea. 

There are lots of writers who write these kinds of books and they are written in all genres. What sets this type of novel apart, I believe, is the way the story is structured. There is more emphasis on the internal story and the character’s internal/faith journeys. Thrillers for example are typically plot driven, women’s fiction is about relationships. Both of these genres can be written strictly for entertainment, or with a purpose to be transformational by adding layers to the story. Making it go deep into motivation and the spiritual influences that are in play. Those elements are purposely laid in by the author. When done well, the story touches the reader in a way they can’t explain and they begin to think about them. All of you have read books that stayed with you long after the last page was read. Not every author chooses or is called to write that kind of a book. Not every reader wants to read one. It is just one type of writing among many. But the reason I am blogging about it is because it is the kind of fiction I love to write and I want to let people who like to read it know about my books and other authors who write the same kind of stories.  

Now I’m going to ask you that question I mentioned in the opening. If I were going to discuss this kind of fiction, would the term “transformational fiction” or “fiction with a purpose” best describe it for you? Or would it be some other completely different term?

That is the journey I am embarking on – raising awareness about this kind of fiction so readers who like to read it can find it. But I need words for that journey. Do you think one of those terms works well, or has one occured to you that is better? I would love to know your suggestions, comments or thoughts.



Please add your words for the journey

  1. Pam Agather says

    An idea fiction that speaks to the heart, or fiction for the heart. I’ll keep thinking about it.

  2. Karen Slimick Arnpriester My novel, Anessia’s Quest is intended to be transformational. To evaluate who you are and who you could be. To evaluate your faith and what Heavens’ destiny is for your life.

  3. I write purpose-driven fiction or what some editors call “issue-driven”. That is, I write to transform to inspire and hopefully change lives…to let a reader who may be struggling with these issues.

    My book, The Other Side of Darkness, is a suspense but also deals with the protag’s struggle with past child abuse. The horror of child neglect and abuse can stay with us into our later years until we allow God to transform us, using our past to help us understand our future. Details about The Other Side of Darkness can be found on my website:

  4. Linda and Karen, this is the kind of fiction I’m talking about. I’m setting up a group of authors and readers who are drawn to this kind of fiction. We’re trying to settle on a term for it so that when readers see the term they know they are going to get a story with many layers. Thanks so much for posting.

  5. Great post, Nikki–and a great job describing this type of fiction!

  6. Hi Nikki,

    Thank you for a wonderful description of the kind of novels I love to read AND write

    All my stories come from a place of wanting to connect the reader to Father God–that is ALWAYS a transformational interaction. I like to think my stories, such as THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) will draw people in with a fascinating narrative, but the true gift is how deeply the characters’ struggles and arcs affect the reader. Therefore, I like the title of “Transformational” but I’m not sure I want to announce to my readers that’s my aim. Kinda like when someone tells me a book is a real “tear jerker.” Rarely do I cry when I’ve been warned.

    But I have had reports from readers that they had significant revelatory dreams after reading THE FALL, which tells me something of the Father’s natural transformational nature is imbedded in the story. It’s such a joy to hear those reports.

    Longing to make a difference for the Kingdom of Heaven,

    www dot chanakeefer dot com
    Facebook: The Rapha Chronicles

    THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) a biblical account of ancient times through the eyes of an angel who was once best friends with Lucifer.

  7. I write about purity, forgiveness, and perseverance. My characters deal with decisions on whether or not to wait until marriage and what the consequences are if they don’t. They learn to forgive those who wrong them and to persevere through struggles. My hope is to touch the reader in a way that if she is dealing with any of these issues, her life will be changed in some positive way after reading my book. I hope a reader will be transformed. I’m excited about the blog!

  8. It is so good to connect with you all. I really like to hear your viewpoints. Email me if you’d like to join the group of authors and readers that are forming who want to promote and support these types of novels. There is a demand for them and we want to connect to those circles.

  9. Hi Nikki . . . Your blog speaks straight to my writer’s heart. “Transformational fiction” is descriptive. I like it! “Outreach Fiction” is another term I recently heard and it also fits.

    I’m excited to see Christian fiction growing in this area.

  10. Love the discussion. I’ve yet to be published in book-length fiction but both my current manuscripts, The Overcomers and Far from the Tree, are what I call “Knock on the Door Fiction.” I feel it’s a temptation for all of us to “pull over to the side of the road” in this journey to the heart of God and set up house. With everything I write, fiction or non-fiction, I want to be that “knock on the door” that invites all Christian hobbits to rejoin the adventure on that narrow,open road. I’m drawn to that type of fiction and it’s what I want to write.

  11. The type of “transformational fiction” I write is to make readers aware of certain unthinkable things that are going on in the world that we either don’t know about, or have heard about, but sort of shrug it off, as something that we can do nothing about, etc. I write them so that readers can begin to ponder these issues, and maybe come to the conclusion that there actually is something they can do. For instance, my current release, HUSH, LITTLE BABY is a romantic suspense novel that centers on fetal harvesting (a.k.a., baby body parts trafficking). It’s a subject we vaguely remember hearing about some years ago, but it’s still going on today. Maybe the reader can’t do anything directly, but I will be giving 10% of the proceeds from sales of this book to Life Dynamics, an agency that works to stop fetal harvesting. This gives readers a way to get involved without even trying.

  12. Donna Rice says

    I am very interested in this discussion. I like the term transformational because it so clearly speaks to the work God does in our hearts as he changes and grows us. A genuine relationship with him will always transform us in some way.

  13. Wonderful post, Nikki. Thank you! I lean toward “transformational fiction.”

  14. Great post, Nikki! You’ve nailed the idea so many of us are trying to convey. I like “Purpose Driven Fiction” and “Transformational Fiction” and “Impacting the World Through Fiction” –it’s just hard to capture it all in one set of words.

    It’s so good to bring these types of books together for readers and writers. Thank you!

    God bless!

  15. Hi Nikki,

    Cathy Gohlke told me about your blog.

    I believe many readers are interested in this type of book. I’m writing a trilogy dealing with an increasingly hostile atmosphere toward Christians in the America of 2025.

    Thanks for promoting this genre.

    Susan 🙂

  16. Thanks everyone for your comments. Help me promote Transformational Fiction by joining the readers group we’re going to be setting up on FaceBook. Watch my FB home page for info.

  17. I simply want to tell you that I’m newbie to weblog and actually savored this web page. Very likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You definitely have excellent posts. Thanks a lot for revealing your blog site.

  18. Linnette R Mullin says

    Hi, Nikki!

    I just ran into the term “transformational fiction” and decided to Google it. So, here I am. They way you describe this type of fiction pretty much spells out the type I write. My tag line is “Life Changing Romance” and I would describe it as both transformational and fiction with a purpose. I think transformational or transformative is a good word because a single word is usually easier to remember than a phrase – even though fiction with a purpose is a very good term! We could probably call it “Journey Fiction” too, don’t you think? Or maybe transforming fiction. It makes me think of the Bible verse that says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to become acceptable and pleasing to God – to be like Christ. Very good post! I really appreciate you putting this out there!

  19. Linnette R Mullin says

    PS – Found this at Wikifur .com just now:

    Shapeshifting can be a rich symbolical and narrative tool. Today, the theme appears in many fantasy, science fiction and horror stories; some would even recognize a distinct subgenre of shapeshifting or transformation fiction, with its own genre conventions. Fantasy and science fiction occasionally feature races or species of shapeshifters, and both magic and technology can be used to impose a change in form. Some of the more popular themes include werewolves, vampires, and age regression. In a broader sense, the trope includes stories about characters who shrink or grow in size without changing their form.
    Transformation in this regard is physical, as opposed to the character development common to many stories, even with no fantastic element, which typically involves characters changing mentally, psychologically or spiritually.

    So, maybe transforming or transformative??? I don’t know. Maybe a different word altogether to keep from getting confused with shapeshifting. ???

Leave a Reply to Linnette R Mullin Cancel reply


one + 20 =