I am doing that thing that submitting writers always pontificate about ad nauseum, until the day when the rubber meets the road and we have to blindly walk forward. I am writing a second book in a series (Ron’s face pretty much encapsulates my feelings at this point).
No one teaches about this phase of the game at beginning writers conferences or workshop collectives. And if they do, it’s few and far between. Because at that point you’re worried more about selling Book #1 than writing Book #2 (or #3 for that matter – GAH!).
I have many friends who’ve gone down this road before me, and I’m attempting to glean from what they’ve learned. But mostly I feel as if I’m blindly walking forward, praying everything in these pages makes up an interesting story. Several questions haunt me as I go . . .
1. What are the reader’s expectations? Book #1 still hasn’t leapt into the world yet, so other than critique buddies I’m not able to gage on a larger scale what those might be.
2. Is there enough “cool stuff”? A lot of Book #1 is taken up with character and world development. You introduce the reader to a whole new set of ideas and trinkets and you attempt to hook them in by dazzling them with mysteries and sparkly magic thingies. But by the end, it’s all figured out and now you need all new mysteries and magical trinkets to uncover for another adventure. My problem is, I have too many ideas now, so I have to spread them out better (yes, evil thing yet to be uncovered, I’m talking to you). But some writers might have the opposite problem. Either way, you’re trying to place it all and make it just as mysterious and interesting as Book #1. You don’t want to let your readers down, but it’s not like you can take a vote.
3. Moving relationships forward while keeping tension! Especially if you have a romantic element you’re wanting to keep the reader hooked, while not frustrating them too much. Some writers choose “kidnapped”—or the separated against my will and all I can think about is getting back to you and smooching route. While others choose the “Betrayal”—but not really betrayed, more the befuddled misunderstanding that’ll all be worked out in the end so no one actually gets their heads ripped off by angry vampire empires rout (did someone say, New Moon?). Then there’s the “Not Again”—or the other sexy person is super sexier than I thought they were, oh my! route. Of all things, I really don’t want my relationships to be a cliché in my books. I want them to feel real. So, basically I may be choosing the sometimes we argue and magical stuff gets between us, but I’m not going to stop feeling this way just because you didn’t put the lid on the demon box right, sort of route. We’ll see. I’m still mulling. I may just get someone kidnapped 😉
Whatever comes of this second installment, I feel like the best thing I can do right now is read, read, read, and write, write, write (also, deadlines—!!!). I want to learn how to do this. Not just because I have to but because it’s a part of this journey of writing, and each book should be its own adventure. For me and for the reader. These characters are a part of my life and I (like a loon who thinks the voices in her head are real) care about them. And I’m hoping that in the next two months I’ll have a lot more people standing behind me, waiting to see what happens to Aidan and Ava and the gang. Hopefully I won’t disappoint them.
*hands out candy to soften the blow*