Writing Book 2

Katherine Longshore 9 Tuesday, January 10, 2012
If you look carefully, you'll notice something strange about this post.  It's a tiny thing.  Minor.  But to me, it indicates a lot.

Posting time.  Normally, I write my post the night before -- or even the weekend before -- it goes up, and schedule it.  For whatever reason, I schedule it for four in the morning -- I think my original plan was to catch east coasters before work.  So I start my Tuesdays like any other day -- e-mail, read the blog, Twitter, school run, and then I have a long period of work time.  Call me a creature of habit.

Not this week.  This week I've been putting off my blog post.  I noticed that Donna neatly side-stepped our topic with her brilliant post-party run-down (a much needed addition, so I certainly don't blame her!).  Why?  Because this week's topic is "Writing Book 2".  Not an easy task, either the topic or the work itself.

I'm sure if you ask any published author about the sophomore novel, he will cringe or laugh hysterically or roll his eyes or start to gag and sweat.  It doesn't seem to matter if it's a second stand-alone, the second in a trilogy, a companion novel or the second in a five-book series.  That Book 2 is like the monster in the closet.

The crazy thing is, Book 2 is not my second book.  It's my fourth.  I believe Donna and Veronica can say something similar.  And Talia?  Well, I can't wait to read her post this week.

I suppose there is something about the second book for publication that gets the inner editor working overtime.  It certainly gives my inner procrastinator a full-time job (thus the late post this morning).  Because there is a large degree of fear that accompanies the sophomore novel.

Fear of failure (Book 1 was a fluke. I'm going to disappoint my agent/editor/readers.)
Fear of deadlines (I'll never make it. If I squeeze all the work in, it will be hackneyed and rushed.)
Fear of self. (I'm procrastinating like crazy!)
Fear for characters (I won't do them justice.)
Fear of the business (What if the first book doesn't do well?  What if the series is cancelled? What if I never sell another book and die unloved and alone hugging my single venture to my chest with chocolate-stained hands?)

Fear can be immobilizing. It certainly gives my inner procrastinator a lot of tools to work with.  So every day, I have to move to the edge, look over, cross my fingers and start.  I can't tell you how it will end.  I still don't know.  At some point in 2013, when Book 2 is on the shelves, you'll have to come tell me.  But until then, I have to give my inner procrastinator a run for its money.


I've already had a few "sophomore" moments...the second book I ever wrote (a sequel), the second stand alone book, the second book my agent read...eek, the same fears at every turn.

It's just such magic when things click...at the heart of it (for me, at least) is fear that the magic won't come again...but then I get into the next book, and the fears go away.

This is something I'd have to say "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

I'm still working on book 1 and I've heard there's so much pressure with book 2 for the same reason there's pressure with movie sequels--will it be just as good as the first?

Seems there's always something to look forward to in the writing realm.

You know how people compare publishing a book to having a child? Would it help if you looked at them like different babies? Sure, comparison is inevitable, but they're totally different beasts...I mean, babies. And each will be successful in his/her own ways.

I'm laughing at: "What if I never sell another book and die unloved and alone hugging my single venture to my chest with chocolate-stained hands?"

Well said, all of you! And thanks for the pep talks and words of wisdom.

Angela, you're right, there's always something to look forward to.

Jennifer, so true -- when the magic comes, it's still magic, and can always conquer fear.

And Beth, you're brilliant. I can't compare my kids, why compare novels? What's interesting is, I get the same cravings. Though my husband won't go out at 10pm for ice cream anymore...

Love this post, and couldn't have said it any better. Book twos are tough but we will be victorious!

Ahhh, Katy. You know me so well! I had a great reason to avoid the post topic this week, but avoid it I did :)(BOOKTWOBOOKTWOBOOKTWO)

I'm just taking my first faltering steps beginning Book 2. It's screamingly terrifying - but in a good way.

Good luck, Elspeth! It's all part of the roller coaster, isn't it? I'm screaming right along with you.

My first time here. In a workshop long ago, on procrastination, of all things, one writer commented, you have your whole life to write book one. After that, you are on deadline.' That line has stuck with me. But my past accomplishment--I've done this once so I can do it again--gives me a sense of validation. And when validation doesn't work, I have my peeps to kick me in the keister and tell me to get a move on.

Enjoyed the post, will come again, will bring friends.

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