Monday, July 28, 2008

Guest - Angie Fox

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is pure serendipity :D Skylar suggested the Contest theme week that we just had and none of us realized that Angie's first sale was due to a contest! So she's going to talk about her experience and therefore add a whole 'nother layer to our discussion. Oh, and be sure to check out her contest at the end of her article. She's giving away a copy of her book 'The Accidental Demon Slayer'

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Newly anointed with demon-fighting powers and suddenly able to hear the thoughts of her hilarious Jack Russell terrier, a preschool teacher finds a whole new world of dark and dangerous, including a sexy shape-shifting griffin she’s not entirely sure she can trust.

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Three things I had to do in order to sell

I noticed you’ve been talking about contests, which is completely up my alley because I sold The Accidental Demon Slayer as a direct result of the Chicago RWA’s Four Seasons Contest. I entered mainly for feedback, but also hoping that the manuscript would make it to the desk of Leah Hultenschmidt, who was the finals judge for my category. It did and she bought the book.

Now my critique partner also has a manuscript on the desk of my editor, as a result of the exact same contest. No kidding. We’re going for a two-fer!

And since we’re talking about writing and making that all important first sale, I’m going to blog today about the three things I had to do in order to sell. Because, let’s face it, its hard being “almost there” with a story. You love your work, you’re getting positive rejections, so what does it take to break through? For me, it was all about making the story bigger. And, I know, you’re saying you’ve heard it before. So did I. But I didn’t know what it meant. I had to push my writing to a level I had never gone to before, but I found three things were the key

The “no way” factor
My characters had to take bigger chances, have more to risk and lose. It’s easy to say, but a hard thing for a writer to do. It’s a vulnerable, risky place to be. I knew my story 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 character defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.”

The “brainstorm” factor
The first thing you think of might be good, but chances are the 20th thing will be even better. When I was trying to think of a hidden hideout for my biker witch characters, the first idea that popped into my head was an abandoned biker bar. Kind of neat, right? Instead of going with it, I sat down and brainstormed twenty ideas. The first five or so come easy. The rest really make you stretch and think. One of those twenty ideas became a fun, quirky hideout for my witches – an abandoned riverboat that they’d enchanted years earlier (while drunk on dandelion wine). Now they not only need a safe place, but they need to catch the Choking spells, Lose Your Keys spells, not to mention the Frozen Underwear spells ready to attack from around corners and behind the old jukebox.

The “surprise” factor
Follow your story 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. In fact, I suspect Pirate the dog is my editor’s favorite character. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if Pirate helped talk my editor into buying The Accidental Demon Slayer.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is – make your writing an adventure. Don’t be afraid to step out, take risks and push your story to the next level.

And in the name of fun, I’m going to give away a free copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer. Just click on the What’s Your Biker Witch Name? quiz, tell us your biker witch name and you’re entered to win!


QUIZ LINK:
http://quiz.angiefox.com

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Angie Fox is the author of the award-winning Accidental Demon Slayer series. Critics call it, "fresh, unique and larger than life," Angie simply calls it fun. That's because she gets a kick out of surprising herself, and her readers, with plenty of plot twists, magical moments and sizzling romance. The first book in the series is called The Accidental Demon Slayer. The second, due out in April 2009, is The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. Visit Angie at www.angiefox.com

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6 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

I played this game the other day when I first saw it and got a hoot out of my 'biker' name. But I lost that name so I did it again.


Just call me...

Lusty Lucinda No Brakes

Is that a name or what? :D

Thanks for being with us, Angie and many sales on your book(s)!

Barbara Scott said...

Mantrap Marcie Hard Rider here. Just parking my bike long enough to say how lucky we are to have Angie Fox as a member of our local RWA chapter (MORWA.)
I loved your blog today, Angie. Very helpful with its examples of just how to write bigger.

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Lynda. Or shall we call you Lusty Lucinda?

And, Barbara, you're making me blush. MORWA is a fantastic group, and I'm looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

Angela Verdenius said...

I agree - don't be afraid to take your writing in new directions!

Angela

Savanna Kougar said...

What a fun story to write!
Interesting about the 'make it bigger' ~ I think sometimes I'm told 'make it smaller', which I have done, and been successful.

Savanna Kougar said...

I couldn't resist. I had to give the biker witch name a try -- it's gawdawful!

Rubber Neck Reba Flat Foot

There, I bravely posted!