Why is the second novel the hardest to write?
Announcing projects before I finish them is something I don’t do. But since there is magic far away from your comfort zone, I’m willing to go there.
Good Morning! I’m 12,000 amazing words into my sophomore novel.
I haven’t written a Young Adult book in almost four years. The last one I completed was at the end of 2011, and for the next few years, I moseyed over a lot of ideas, sometimes reaching 30,000 words–scrapped them, flipped them, rearranged them, threw them against the wall–but have yet to finish something since completing one four years ago.
I hear a lot of people talk about their first novel being a daunting task. For me, the sophomore has been in progress for almost half a decade while the first was quite easy.
FIRST NOVEL, everything is new. From querying agents to writing your first synopsis, the dreaded (Oh my gaddd) query, and finally having a completed first draft…everything is simply a rush of crazy but exhilarating emotions. Here you have in your hands a solid rock of
gold doo doo that you don’t even realize needs two lifetimes worth of revisions to clean up the vomit all over each page. Yassssssss!
SECOND NOVEL, you know better. You actually have an eye for what works and what doesn’t. For some, it’s the nagging deadlines; for others, it’s that pesky voice reminding you that the beta readers were bored and parts of your manuscript look like your cat wrote it…but either way, your nerves are on fire. If you’re like me, you even had a tombstone in your backyard that read: CONFIDENCE. Throughout all of this, the biggest lesson I learned was to keep writing. I didn’t necessarily write every day but I did write.
And all the rewrites were every gift I needed them to be. Why? Because now my characters are developed, plot’s tight as a virgin and I actually put together some pretty impeccable stuff.
I turned my own garbage into treasure.
Next post, I’ll talk about productive ways to get over second novel syndrome!
Anyone struggling with writers block due to fear or self-criticism?