Chip MacGregor

October 27, 2013

Writing Out of the Box (a guest blog)


My novel Digging Up Death, the one Chip signed me with five or six years ago, made its debut last year at this time. Yes, I know. I did the math (and the waiting,) and the fact that it didn’t sell right away had nothing to do with the efforts of my brilliant, hard working, loyal agent. (Brownie points, Chip?)

From the feedback I got, I believe it had more to do with it not being a good fit or timing, or something. for the inspirational fiction market. Then we shopped around another, similar story. The comments from editors: “Too edgy, not CBA enough, too melancholy.” Again, the project just didn’t fit. Big surprise? I was beginning to see a pattern, and starting to think my stories were just never going to fit the Christian market. Or maybe I didn’t fit as an author?

And maybe that realization was a good thing.

Really? How could not fitting the market be a good thing?

Okay, maybe it wasn’t good for my bottom line, but I have to put a positive spin on things in this business or I’m in trouble. So back to not fitting the market being a good thing… Let’s face it, every novel preaches something. There’s some kind of faith or world view in every story. And your novel will speak what you believe, no matter if it’s pro-Christian or anti-Christian, pro-faith or anti-faith.

But faith in your fiction shouldn’t be about fitting into a mold or a box someone else built. It should be about sharing the unique story you have inside you — your faith as you see it, as you believe it, as you live it, because chances are there are readers out there who see it just like you and need to hear your message of faith.

That’s all good, but I want to make money at this.

So do I. And you can. Maybe not a lot of money, but if you work hard to know yourself, know where you fit (because you do fit somewhere), and look for ways to find people who will love your stories, they will buy them. And voila, money!

I guess that sounds simple, but it isn’t. Writing is never t easy. Just like faith isn’t easy. Faith while writing can sometimes seem impossible. But if you can latch on to a purpose a little bigger than being published and getting that paycheck, you just might go the distance. And discover the place you fit.

AND get paid in the process.

Have you found the place you fit? If not, I think the question to ask yourself is simply, “Will you keep searching until you do, or will you stuff yourself into a box that was never meant for you?” 
If you’re an author who has an “out of the faith-box” Christian novel, I invite you to participate in The Monster Mash Book Bash: Shedding Light in a Dark World on Oct 29-31st  No book? No problem! Come join the discussions on faith and writing, and enter to win some free books.
Gina Conroy, author of Digging Up Death, used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she’s learning to embrace life’s detours. She is the founder of Writer…Interrupted  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God’s timing is perfect, even if she doesn’t agree with it.  Gina shares openly about her triumphs and trials as she pursues her writing and dancing dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase their own passions. When she isn’t writing, teaching, driving kids around, or dancing, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. 
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