Sunday, April 22, 2012

After The First Book...

There are steps to the writing journey that have to met, there is no escaping them and they include:

Step 1:  FINISH the book.
Step 2:  Revise the book.
Step 3:  Repeat step two, include edits, minor panic, a possible meltdown, addiction to chocolate, some sobbing, and long conversations with critique partners. Enter contests. Revise again.
Step 4:  Query. Query. Query.

Now comes a critical part of the whole writing process. If you miss this step, it could be detrimental.

Step 5:  Brainstorm and START writing the next book.

Well, I brainstormed. Wrote a synopsis...started writing the second book in the series stopped when I started getting the rejections. Now I am brainstorming a new series.

Step 6: Finish second book.

Step 7:  REPEAT from step one.

I stumbled a bit. I didn't dive into the next series. I let the rejections hit me in the solar plexus. I have to admit, those rejections got to me. I thought they didn't but as I stared at the computer, or blank page of the notebook, my hand froze, my brain stopped working.

I thought. "Am I a one book wonder?"

No.

They say the first book is the hardest to write, but I'm thinking the second book is a leap of faith. The first book is the learning book, the one you just blissfully wandered into like a fly into a web. Now, older, wiser, and more aware of the expectations the second book awaits.

For those of you who have written more than one book, published or unpublished, what is your take on this?  What did you do after you finished the first book? Do you stop for awhile or keep writing onward?

Tell us your second book or even third book story, I'd love to hear it.

Me, I'm stocking up on chocolate, coffee, and wine. Because my second story awaits.

17 comments:

Carla Swafford said...

My first and second books were so long ago and so bad, I guess I just blocked how I felt about those two from my mind. I do know they each took two-three years to complete. (No computer and I had small children to tend to - I don't understand how others did it then.) The third one took only one year and I was rather proud of that. LOL!

I did worry about writing my second published book (Can I finish it in a timely manner? Will it be too different than the first one in the series? Will my editor hate it?) but happily the need to get a story on paper was stronger than my doubts.

Ignorance is bliss.

Chris Bailey said...

Sounds like my process.

I started with a novel writing class and a dream. When I finished that first blockbuster thriller, I knew it didn't work, but I didn't know how to make it better. So I threw all my energy into the day job and quit for about three years.

Like any addict, I couldn't stay quit. I started a historical trilogy, but about the time I finished the first draft of book two, rejections waylaid the entire concept.

On to the next book, with the help of a writing coach. Even with a successful author coaching me, I couldn't put together a story that made me happy. I'd have to describe it as a pantser book with a split seat and holes in the knees, not fit for the public.

The important thing I learned on that book was that I don't have literary aspirations.

The second book in my romantic suspense cozy mystery chick lit trilogy only reached a third of its goal word count before rejections on the first made me realize that a cross-genre mash-up is a waste of time.

So I guess the story I'm working on now is book six. Once again, I have high hopes. I've learned some things that don't work. I'm sure I'll learn more. Who knows?

Lexi said...

I worked on that first book for more than ten years. It didn't sell. It was only when I moved on to PN romance that I broke through the ice. There's a line out of CADDY WOODLAWN that I've never forgotten: If at first you fricassee, fry, fry a hen.

M.V.Freeman said...

Carla,
I like that your need to get the story on paper is stronger than your doubts---that says a lot about perseverence which is necessary in this writing business..Thank you! ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

Ah Chris,
You've waded through the waters of writing..and still you surface. You are AWESOME!!
(By the way there is a publishing outfit--- Soul Mate, that likes genre crossing--I'd encourage you to try them.)

Its the whole thing about never surrending...

M.V.Freeman said...

Lexi--
SO perfect! and I remember that book! Its been sooo long.
You inspire me!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Mary! It was different for me because I realized pretty much right away that my first book was probably not going to sell and I got over it before I got more than a handful of rejections. But was I wiser when I started the second book? Not really. Once again, I wrote in a genre that was totally impossible to sell. But boy, did I have fun writing it. Blissfully naive, I just wrote the thing, enjoying the story and the characters and thinking, If it's a good story, it will sell.

So no, it wasn't hard to write. But it was hard to sell! It took over three years, but it did finally sell--The Healer's Apprentice, very probably the world's first Inspirational Medieval Fairy-Tale Retelling Romance for Young Adults. Only by the grace of God and a very forward-thinking and bold editor is it published today! LOL But it did well--who'd 'a thought?--and now I have two Inspirational Medieval Fairy-Tale Retelling Romances for Young Adults out and two more contracted and coming out soon! :-) :-) :-)

My third book was really hard to write, and I think it was for the same reasons you struggled with your second book, because I was getting rejections on my first book while I was writing it. But hang in there and just plow through!!! You can do it! Never give up!

Suzanne Johnson said...

I wrote the first two books back-to-back and ended selling both at the same time. Then I lollygagged around a while before starting an unrelated book and dawdled on it a year. Then I had another contract book to do, then eventually sold the lollygag book and now have to write number five and six really really (really) fast. So I'm looking back kind of fondly on my dawdling days!

M.V.Freeman said...

Melanie - that is such a wonderful thing- those inspirational. medieval YA's are wonderful. One day I'm going to interview you and find out your writing process-- how does June sound? :-)

M.V.Freeman said...

Suzanne- lol- you are another one I want to interview-- now 5&6 which ones are they about? Are they part of your urban fantasy?
I really appreciate hearing this- it keeps moving forward.

RedPeril said...

My experience probably isn't anything anybody should go by, but I'll share anyway. ^_^

My first book being a pretty lengthy memoir, and me having no idea what I was doing, it took me a full year of writing before I found the RWA in time to save the project and then finish it. 6 months of betas, 2 revisions, and a full professional editing followed. While I've been playing the query-till-they-beg-for-mercy game, I thought I would start out on the sci-fi trilogy I'd wanted to do. And then...I chickened out. I didn't feel ready to tackle something that big, so I settled into this YA concept I thought would be so much easier to pull off. While some aspects have been SO much easier--the structuring, the rhythm, getting over critique devastation--the story itself has only revealed itself in fragments.

Currently, I'm at the halfway point in my second book, and at 6 months in, I -finally- know where it's going. So all in all, yeah, it's easier. I'm not making the rookie mistakes, and I've got some semblance of a support structure in place. But each story is a beast all it's own. And I begin to think that they just don't give up some of their secrets to you until they, and you, are good and ready.

~Angela Blount

Jennifer Echols said...

Like Carla, I'm thinking WOW, the first book was a long time ago. I may be on book 20-something now. I sold book 10.

But I do remember finishing the first book. I turned the page in my notebook (yes, notebook--I didn't own a computer, had to go home and type the pages on a typewriter every day) and started book two. I was addicted to writing, and that was a happy place.

The internet has done wonderful things for writers. Research for books and for submitting them is crazy easy now, and there's so much great advice out there. But it's also a drain on our attention. When I was able to turn the page in my notebook and start book two, it was because it was going to take me a long time to revise book one (on my typewriter) and when I did send out queries, it would take a year or more to hear back. So another hour enjoying the sunshine and starting book two didn't really matter.

ionutzy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melanie Dickerson said...

Sure, Mary! But what's a writing process?

:-)

M.V.Freeman said...

Angela,
I truly believe that...you can have story but the depth of it doesn't show up until you are too far in to go back.

:D But you keep writing and that is AWESOME

M.V.Freeman said...

Jennifer,
I remember those blissful days of just notebooks.

Honestly, If I had to rely on long hand nothing would get written, my penmanship is terrible and my fingers can't keep up with my thoughts.

You also remind me that writing is a humbling experience. I am quite in awe of your accomplishments, You serve as another inspiration.

Speaking of..like Melanie, Carla, Lexie, and Suzanne...I haven't interviewed you yet. You are on my list. (Sounds ominous doesn't it...)

Thank you for reminding me that its the persistence and hard work that is so very important.

M.V.Freeman said...

Melanie...you make me laugh. We'll figure it out..;)