Posts Tagged ‘Chip MacGregor’

Venn Diagram for Books

Source: Writer’s Chat with Alton Gansky: An Interview with Chip MacGregor

In part II of the chat at index 4:14, Chip MacGregor talks about a Venn Diagram for books. He describes three essential areas that make a book successful: The Bigness of the Idea, The Quality of the Writing, and the Size of the Author’s Platform.

As Chip puts it, “[Publishers] will sometimes settle for two… but they really want all three”.

Part I

Part II

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Source: The Best Advice – ChipMacGregor.com

Chip is at it again – distilling years of wisdom into simple forms. This is not a list for the faint at heart because it’s honest in its sincerity.

  1. There are very few great books, but every great book begins with a great idea.
  2. A great idea does not constitute a great book. Having a great story to tell doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great book. It takes hard work to turn even a fabulous idea into a reasonable book.
  3. Therefore, keep refining your craft. Take whatever steps you can to improve your writing. Don’t settle for what you are. If you’re really good, you’ll get discovered. “Greatness will out,” to borrow an old phrase.
  4. Books aren’t written, they are re-written. That means you’re going to have to write, revise, review, and restructure. Don’t think you can create a good book without hard work — you can’t.
  5. Read widely and write regularly. The two go hand in hand.
  6. Establish a plan for your writing life. Have a time and a place to write. Write toward something. Establish writing goals. Few people move forward in the business side of any craft without some sort of plan.
  7. Learn to listen. Get involved with other writers and learn from them. Ask editors for their opinions. Seek out a writing partner or group. Learn how to imitate great writers. Find a mentor. Shut up and listen for a change.
  8. Face your fear: You’re not the best writer on the planet. You’re going to be rejected. Learn to appreciate others as better than yourself. Not writing because of fear is simply a way to protect yourself from potential failure. It’s time to grow up.
  9. Don’t expect nonwriters to understand. They won’t. Learn to smile and nod a lot.
  10. There is value in writing, not just in getting published. We learn about ourselves, about others, and about our world when we write. So there is value in writing something, even if you’re the only one who ever sees it. If I help you publish your book, that doesn’t validate your life. There are lots of jerks who published books, and lots of beautiful people who never published anything. If you’re really a writer, you’ll focus first on the beauty of the words.

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Source: Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel.

[Update: The link above no longer works. Harlequin has taken the page down as reported by Ted Dekker. Read comment #2 for the history behind this post.]

Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel:

  • Arousal
  • Bastard
  • Bet/betting
  • Bishop
  • Bra
  • Breast (except for breast cancer if necessary)
  • Buttocks or butt (alternatively, you can say derriere or backside)
  • Crap
  • Damn (try “blast” instead)
  • Darn
  • Dern/durn
  • Devil (except in the religious sense, but the circumstances would be rare)
  • Dang or Dagnabbit
  • Doody
  • Father (when used to describe a religious official)
  • Fiend
  • For heaven’s sake (can use “for goodness’ sake” instead)
  • For the love of Mike
  • For Pete’s sake
  • Gee
  • Geez/jeez (but “sheesh” is acceptable)
  • Gosh
  • Golly
  • Halloween
  • Harlot
  • Heat (when used to describe kisses)
  • Heck
  • Hell (except in the religious sense, but this would be rare)
  • Holy cow
  • Hot/hottie
  • Hunk
  • Need/hunger (when used to describe non-food-focused state of being)
  • Pee
  • Poop
  • Panties
  • Passion
  • Priest
  • Sexy
  • Sex
  • Sexual attraction
  • Tempting (as applied to the opposite sex)
  • St. [name of saint]
  • Swear, as in “I swear…” – Christian characters are not supposed to swear.
  • Undergarments – of any kind
  • Whore

The following are allowed only in the context mentioned:

  • Angel – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Miracle – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Oh my God/Oh, God – ONLY allowed when it’s clearly part of a prayer
  • Heavenly – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Although you can say “He cursed” or mention cursing, do not overuse. Furthermore, only non-Christian characters can curse.

Situations to be avoided:

  • Kissing below the neck
  • Visible signs or discussions of arousal or sexual attraction or being out of control
  • Double entendre
  • Nudity – people changing clothes “on screen” or any character clad only in a towel
  • Hero and heroine sleeping in the same house without a third party, even if they’re not sleeping together or in the same room
  • Also, Christian characters should not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (except in historical novels they may dance but please limit to square dances and balls, no “sexy” dancing like waltzing cheek to cheek), and terms associated with these activities should only be used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such.
  • Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don’t want to sound quaint or absurd.

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Chip offers very good advice regarding spotting scams and knowing which agents are trustworthy. In particular, Chip mentions several web sites created specifically to combat this problem including:

Read now at Chip MacGregor .com: New Talk About Agents.

UPDATE! Chip has continued his talk with two additional posts. Talking Agent Trash and A Bit More Agenty Thinking.

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