Reality In Writing

Reality In Writing By J. Spredemann

Does Amish fiction have to be realistic?

When I began writing, at first with my teen daughters, the stories were pretty typical Amish-type books. We had in mind to write an ‘American Girl’ type Amish series for teens. They didn’t exactly turn out that way, but we had a blast writing them and I hope they continue to fulfill the purpose God has for them.

Since the inception of the Amish Girls Series, God has given me many more stories (and continues to!) that I feel compelled to write.

I describe my writing as Different Amish Fiction. I can’t claim to have been the originator of the term, though. That distinction belongs to my readers. After reading several reviews, one word readers used to describe my writing kept jumping out at me. And that was the word ‘different,’ which I thought was the perfect way to describe my stories.

Can realism and speculation meet in the realm of Amish storytelling? I like to think that they can.

At least, they do in my stories. I like to ask the ‘what if’ questions. What if an Amish girl and an Englisch girl were doppelgangers and they unknowingly switched places? What if a California surfer girl’s parents passed away and her next-of-kin relatives were Amish? What if a young Amish man became homeless?

I also like to include stories that reach down into the soul and cause a reader to ponder something they may have not previously considered. How much would you sacrifice for the one you love? Would you be willing to give up all that you love for the sake of what’s right? Would you offer your very life, knowing that you might be required to give it?

Sometimes, to say life is unpredictable is a huge understatement. We never know what might be just around the corner. But we can know that God is there with us at every turn. As a matter of fact, He not only knows what is coming but He sees the whole picture. I want to portray that in my books. I want my stories to draw readers closer to the God Who’s got the whole world in His hands.

I call them my stories, but I really desire them to be God’s stories. Or, stories in which God gets the glory.


J. Spredemann

What are your thoughts? Does Amish ‘fiction’ have to be firmly planted in reality?

12 thoughts on “Reality In Writing By J. Spredemann

  1. No, Amish Fiction is just that…. fiction. Stories are created and invented, not a retelling of actual events. That is what people like about them.

  2. I believe that Amish fiction does need to be planted in reality to the point that the story line is believable. For me, if it is not written with some semblance of reality then it loses its drawing point to the author.

    1. I understand what I think you’re saying, Mary Jane. The writing needs to have a certain authenticity about it. Even before I moved to Amish country, I relied heavily on research – nonfiction books, blogs, and documentaries – to give my stories what they needed to be true to Amish culture and customs. I admit, though, that I probably do put a tad bit more kissing in my books than what you’d actually see in real life! 😉

      A funny thing about it is, on the same book, I received negative reviews from two different readers. One said something to the effect of ‘the author is just trying to show how much she knows about the Amish.’ The other review went something like ‘this author knows nothing about the Amish.’ (sigh) I guess it just goes to show you that everyone sees and reads things differently and you can’t please everyone!

      Another thing I find interesting is when people state adamantly, “The Amish would NEVER do that!” I guess it could possibly be true in a few certain situations, but we sometimes fail to remember that the Amish ARE human – they will be tempted with the same things we are because they are simply human beings and have a sin nature just as each of us does. I find oftentimes that the Amish themselves have no clue what other Amish groups do/don’t do. They only see their very limited view and assume everyone else must be the same or pretty similar.

      I’ve had my own thoughts challenged on this in the past. For example, I was shocked to visit an Amish home to find out the father had taken the children out trick-or-treating. The Amish don’t trick-or-treat, right? Also, when we moved to SE Indiana, one ex-Amish friend I spoke with had never heard of a mud sale and had no idea what it was.

      I guess I could go on, but I think you get the point. Hmm…maybe I’ll write a blog post on this topic!


  3. No I do not. That’s what makes it Fiction. You can do your research on the Amish Community. and take what you learn and make it what you want it to take you. with a little bit of reality. does this make any sense?

  4. Of course, it is fiction, but Jennifer, one of the best things I love about your stories is that they are real. Not syrupy sweet. Not fairy-tale-ish. I love that!

  5. Not’s why it’s called a 📚😀! As long as its a good story line, it shouldn’t matter. We’ll still fall in love with the “people” in the story! Great question 😀

    1. Yes, Brenda! Fiction wouldn’t be fiction if it was all true, but I think we can have a semblance of truth even in fiction. An interesting story is what keeps readers like myself glued to the page – add in a handsome hero and I’m done for! 😉 If I wanted to read a text book, I’d go back to college! Not. 😉

  6. I like for the story line to be as realistic as possible. It gives me a better insight as to how life really is for the Amish. I have great respect for these God loving peaceful people. My one wish is to become friends with an Amish woman so I could get a better understanding of what it is truly like to grow up in such a wonderful culture.

  7. I like a book that keeps me wondering and reading! I want to be excited to pick up that book , that it is part of a series. Fiction is a story, Amish fiction is more enjoyable to me when the author has done research and the facts are accurate. My husband were listening to an Amish murder book and the writer remarked about the girl wearing an Amish print dress, I was ferhoodled
    about that remark! Also the Police Chief never joined the church but was under the Bann, can’t happen!

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