The most helpful thing I’ve learned about publishing is that if you’re having fun with a book, chances are your reader will too. Before I was published, I kept thinking I had to fit in, “do it right,” when just the opposite was true – in order to stand out, you want to leave part of yourself on the page.
It’s easy to say, but a hard thing for a writer to do. It’s a vulnerable, risky place to be. I knew The Accidental Demon Slayer was big enough to sell when instead of ending my writing sessions thinking, “I hope that’s good enough to impress an editor.” I ended them thinking, “No. I didn’t not just write that. I did not just make my heroine defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.”
Let that story take you in new directions, because if you’re enjoying the surprise, chances are your readers will too. When I sat down to write my book, I had no notes about a sidekick for my heroine. But in the second chapter, when she’d learned she was a demon slayer and all hell was after her, she took comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, ‘This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’ Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I had fun with it. Readers did too. They love Pirate. He even gets mail.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that writing should be an adventure. It’s all about stepping out, taking risks and pushing that story to the next level.
Angie Fox is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Accidental Demon Slayer. Visit her at www.angiefox.com.