- by Patricia Rosemoor
Sin/sin/n. –  behavior that is against moral or religious norms;  immoral act such as lying, cheating, theft, murder;  original sin, as in Christian teaching of the seven deadly sins;  an act or omission against convention.
Sin has always been a topic of interest, especially to those in the arts. What conflict we glean from the seven deadly sins-pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger and sloth.
Back in the late 90s, I decided to write a series called Seven Sins for Harlequin Intrigue. Perhaps too edgy for our reading audience then-or maybe it was that my protagonists rather than the villains were the sinners in question-only four of the books made it to the shelves.
Readers and movie goers never seem to tire of sin themes. Authors never tire of writing about them. Which is the case with a bunch of young writers I know well.
A little background.
I’ve been teaching Writing Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago for a dozen years. And through those years, I have run into some very talented students. But once the class was over, I rarely saw those students again. Unless, of course, they signed up for the other course, which many of my best students did.
The Fiction program at Columbia is literary-based at its core, with some genre courses as electives. Because there was no way for my students to workshop their genre novels once they’d developed them, written a couple of chapters and a synopsis, I came up with a plan to nurture their talent-I had a barbeque.
I invited a dozen former students (from the preceding two years) who I thought would finish their novels if they had a support system and told them their “entry fee” was a new scene of their novel-in-progress that they would have to read. I challenged them to start a support group which would include sharing work to get feedback. They accepted-and met in my backyard every month until the weather turned. Then they proceeded to meet at a local bar.
That was five years ago and the group has grown and members still meet nearly every month. A few of the writers have been published in novel-length fiction-books started in my classes. Other writers have diversified, finding other kinds of writing work. Some of the writers have moved away but keep in touch via the email link.
And via a project called SIN, A Deadly Anthology, published on September 1 by Avendia Publishing.
The challenge was to use sin as the theme of our short stories. No restrictions. What resulted was an interesting and inspiring mix of stories in various genres. Nurturing these emerging writers has been so rewarding. I’ve not only celebrated their successes with them, I’ve made good friends along the way.