The second novel is calling me. I love and fear it in equal measure. There’s no escaping that pesky thing. This story isn’t over.
The First Novel Hangover
Writing a novel is bloody hard work. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like it was nothing.
After months of writing, revising, and editing, I slumped in a corner. My brain was addled and I wondered if I could ever word again.
I took a break. And then some more. Then a bit more… You get the gist.
I needed it. I felt no guilt.
Everything involved in creating a novel takes over your life. You sleep and breathe the thing. When it’s done, it’s never really done. It stays with you, particularly your first. We all remember our firsts: first love, first kiss, first win, first loss…
The first novel is powerful because it was the beginning, either because it’s the first in a series or the first you ever wrote. Can the second ever match up?
I never intended to write a series. I didn’t even know I was going to write the first novel until the sneaky little thing wheedled its way into my mind.
I’d written a novel prior to the first in this series. I wondered if it ended there but this mystery novel with comedic and thriller elements lured me in.
The characters became more than just vehicles for a plot. Their stories expanded and more mysteries were there to be solved. Before I knew it, I had three more novels in mind.
Then came The Fear.
I have a great fondness for my first novel and its main characters, Jen and Claire. I am not one of those writers who go to another plane and view their characters as lifelike beings but these two got under my skin. I owe them because they came up trumps for me.
The Fear is that I may not be able to write another novel. Ridiculous, I know.
I can write. I wrote this post (although if you think it’s crap, please don’t base all my writing on it). I’ve written two novels, several short stories, and weekly blog posts. I can write but ask any writer if they think they can write another novel and you’ll see I’m not so weird.
Doubt is a git but also a writer’s fuel. Doubt sometimes paralyses me but it also motivates. I’m stubborn. I will eventually rise up and retaliate. I will write the next novel.
When you’ve got a novel to research, outline, and write, suddenly everything else that you’ve put off becomes urgent.
I have never ironed, cleaned, baked, contemplated my navel, and caned social media so much.
If only books were written by telepathy. I’d have the whole series wrapped up by now.
I’m one of those people who puts things off for a while and then suddenly, BOOM! The fuse gets lit under my arse and away I go. Thankfully it is finally ignited. No backsides are scorched.
I don’t know where that burst of inspiration comes from. I’m not one for muses, unless chocolate counts as inspiration. My brain just sparks and I then start working.
I’m a crap writing role model for this writing every day, bleed all over the keyboard, business. That’s not to say I don’t write regularly or that I’m lolling around on a chaise longue waiting for inspiration to strike. Nothing would get done as I’m rather partial to a cheeky nap.
I try to be disciplined sometimes. Some days I’m on fire, other days writing is torture.
The Second Novel in a Series
It’s both comforting and complex writing the second novel in a series.
It’s great that I know my protagonists and can pick up where I left off. It’s also difficult that I know my protagonists and have to pick up where I left off.
The advantages are that I know Jen and Claire, although already I can see they have so much more to reveal from this strange little mind of mine. I love them both.
Claire’s cheekiness and sarcasm makes me laugh. I know it’s not cool to laugh at your own jokes but this is my world so it’s okay.
Jen is a mixture of people I know and a little bit of me. She is complex and trying to be a better person. I admire her for it.
This duo has lived with me for over a year now. This is where a sense of responsibility lays heavy. I need to stay true to who they are and not annoy the eventual readers of the first book by making these characters behave in ways unlike their true natures.
I have to also remember all the little bits and bobs in the first novel that eagle-eyed readers pick up. I’ve been there and read novel series, finding myself nit-picking at inconsistencies.
I’ve compiled a list of every scar, cough, spit, and anything else important from the first novel. Plot holes are a bugger to try and crawl out of.
Will it Match Up?
I asked myself this question when I began formulating ideas for a second novel.
I’m not being an egotist and saying my first novel is so wonderful that it would be difficult to match it. I am saying that I’m proud of that novel and how hard I worked on it so it deserves a great follow-up.
In a similar vein to ‘first world problems’, this is ‘second novel problems’. It’s trivial and inconsequential.
I’m just going to get on with it and write. The proof is in the pudding, after all, especially if it’s chocolate cheesecake.
So, here I am, planning the second novel. I’ve submitted the first one to agents and will see how that goes. It will be in your hands, whether it’s traditionally or self-published. I wrote it so you can read it. How that happens is down to fate, kismet, destiny, appeal, whether the agent had a good or bad day, if the heavens are aligned, or some other kind of hocus pocus.
I’m firing up the laptop, getting out my highlighters, researching dubious topics that could get me arrested, and I’m going in.
Do not disturb, unless you’ve invented a machine that writes directly from wiring up to your brain or you have a consignment of Dairy Milk.
Over to You
Do you enjoy reading novel series? What appeals to you about them?
Have you written or are you writing a novel series? What are your thoughts?