What is clean suspense?
And what do we mean by ‘clean’ anyway?
It’s a question that other authors have also dealt with in the growing Clean and Wholesome marketplace. I’ll share their guidelines because they reflect my approach.
DEFINITIONS OF CLEAN FICTION
1) I like the definition they’re using at 1531Entertainment.com… “Clean Fiction is defined as a story that does not contain gratuitous violence, sexual situations, glorified abuse of any kind, or cursing.”
2) H.L. Wegley, who writes inspirational thrillers and high-action, romantic suspense novels, says of his stories, they may be gritty and intense, but “descriptions and events will never be gross, graphic, or gratuitous.”
3) “The sex private, the language tempered.” That’s how author John Hemmings defines his brand of clean. As well as putting all sex behind closed bedroom doors, I’d add “the sex, if any, is private.” John’s guidelines are wide enough to allow books with the occasional ‘well, I’ll be damned’ or ‘what the hell’ — and there are plenty of highly acclaimed books that we’d miss if we applied a more strict standard.
- Personally I’ve managed to avoid expressions like that (and worse) in my Doctor Tess series. I agree with what a Goodreads member, Karen, wrote about writers that “use liberal sprinklings of the f-bomb. For me it shows a lack of vocabulary and education.”
4) Here’s how cleanreadbooks.com defines clean reads. “A book in which there is no foul language, no excessive violence and, if there are bedroom doors in the book, they must be closed.” Well said!
5) Vannetta Chapman writes clean romantic suspense, and on her blog she says “Basically it has a little more tension in the plot, but there’s no graphic violence, no adult language, no bedroom scenes.”
6) And then there’s Adam Blumer’s approach. “I make no apology that I intentionally write clean and wholesome fiction for Christian readers,” writes Adam. His “Clean fiction guarantee” says: No profanity. No vulgarity. No sexuality. Ever.
7) I ran across (and joined) the Clean Mystery -Suspense -Thriller Readers Cafe group on Facebook and I like what they’re saying too. “What is a Clean Suspense, mystery or thriller? – no explicit sex, mild language only. No erotica, No witchery or evil magic, or glorifying evil of any kind.”
- That accords well with my own values. Which leads me to mention that clean stories can include evil events such as kidnapping or murder or extortion or rape (and the list could go on), BUT a clean writer will not glorify any such evil. Descriptions of these evil events will be minimal. Often they are just referred to, not reported on in any detail.
Or click the image below to check out our Clean Suspense Stories Group on Facebook
List of keywords to help readers find this page…
clean suspense novels
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good clean suspense books
… because that, folks, is what this site is dedicated to. So welcome!