Saturday, 15 March 2014

Second Book Block - Fact or Fiction?

I am sitting in front of a box of books, MY books, in awe. I can't believe I did it. I really, really did it.

The feeling is indescribable. Joy, elation, stunned silence, disbelief, immense self achievement.  There is nothing like holding a copy of your own book in your hands.

So that is all well and good. But I don't think I'll be able to retire on the sales of one book alone.  I need to write another one.

I've heard other writers say they struggle with second book block and that subsequent books are much harder to write. I wondered how that could be, I was of the assumption the second book should be easier. Up until now.

Of Fire & Roses came fast. The first draft was done in about 6 weeks. I was full of ideas, plot twists and creativity. But now it comes to writing the second book in the Erlanis Chronicles and I find myself stumped at every turn and have to think outside the square to avoid repeating scenes, predictable plots and duplicated phrases.

It is difficult, really difficult. With your first manuscript you could write whatever you wanted. With the second, you have to make sure it matches up with the first. Throwaway lines that you think nothing of, now have to be justified and in some cases, this can be incredibly difficult.

How do you avoid the dreaded second book block? Here are a few things I wish I had known while writing the first book of a series:

  • When choosing dates or time frames, eras etc do a bit of research to find out if it will be difficult to back up what you've send in the first book. e.g. perhaps rethink creating something such as the witch hunts of 200AD when there is limited reference material to be able to do the story line justice. In hindsight, I would have perhaps picked something a little closer to present day so I didn't have to write 2000 years of ancestry. It takes a long, long time.
  • When writing the first book, think ahead to your subsequent books in the series and perhaps draft up a basic arc so you know where things are going and don't use all the best twists and turns for one book. 
  • Think about your character's motivations. Once you get past the initial hero and heroine's primary motivation of falling in love and hopefully living happily ever after, what do they want next?

The main thing, in my opinion, is to think ahead. Think about how something would work in subsequent books, and how difficult it might be to go in to more detail or find research material.

I myself, have started yet another project, whether it is because of having too many ideas or if I'm just putting off writing the second book!

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