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reality: n. something to be tampered with only after several cups of coffee.

Road to Writing
When I first started, I thought all you had to do is write a book. Can you say *naive*, boys and girls? Join me on my journey as a pre- published writer looking to see my name on the cover of a book. I'll talk about all the bumps, bruises, joys and frustrations I encounter along the way.

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Second Book Blues

I hear it's a condition many authors deal with. They finish that first book, but when they move on to the second, the ideas don't flow as quickly. Writing is more of a struggle. And they begin to wonder if finishing that first book was a fluke, if they're a "One Book Wonder" (a term somebody on one of the writing lists recently used), if they'll ever finish another story again.

This is the condition I'm facing this week. Was Irresistible Harmony an oddity? Do I really have it in me to finish another one? Am I just wasting my time?

I blame this week's BIAW for the onset of this condition. I signed on with a pretty low goal--30 pages. And I started out with a bang--12 pages that first day. But it's been downhill from there. The last two days (not including today) I wrote a whopping 2 pages, and even that was like squeezing blood from a stone.

IH had been so easy for me. The story flowed like white water rapids. But I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall with BMO and SR. What changed?

Knowledge. That's what changed. When I penned the first draft of IH, I knew absolutely nothing about the craft of writing. And I cranked that first draft out with all the enthusiasm of a child faced with a mountain of gifts. I couldn't wait to dig in. But I did so without concern for the "rules" (more like guidelines). No thoughts to POV, scene & structure, GMC, or any of the other things that are pounded into writers' heads through workshops, books, and articles.

But then I learned. And often, knowledge is a dangerous thing. Because now, as I write, I'm continuously asking myself questions. Will this scene advance the plot? Is this action/dialogue in character for this person? Am I writing this scene in the right POV? Have I started the story too early? Used a good enough hook? Did that scene have an action and reaction and end with a question? Should I have really eaten that bag of Hershey's Kisses?

And all the wonderful things I've learned, all the techniques I've garnered that should make me a better writer, they all seem to be stifling me now. It's too much. And it's frustrating. Pull-my-hair-out-and-scream-at-the-top-of-my-lungs frustrating.

So what's a writer to do?

The most popular advice is to plug away. Write. Daily. And turn off that internal editor. Ignore the devil on my shoulder whispering, just like Carrie's mother, "They're all gonna laugh at you."

I'm trying, but it ain't easy. Today, I decided to work out of order again. Instead of the next scene in SR, I'm working on a scene that I'd visualized and outlined. The setup for the Black Moment. The good news is I've so far written 6 pages, and I'm not finished.

My muse has drop kicked that devil off my shoulder, and has been whispering in my ear non-stop. And I won't stop writing until she stops talking.


MOOD: Really flockin' frustrated
MUSIC: "Bad Water" by Vaughn
PROGRESS: 1/2 page yesterday, 6 so far today


  • I think each book is different and demands to be told in the way that's best for it. For example, I wrote almost nothing but dialogue today. And that's been on LP. The last time I opened LOD it was all introspection. So write it as it needs to be written.

    Oh, ice creams here. Gotta go.

    By Blogger Teresa, at 8:32 PM  

  • Oh, I hear ya! I think part of my block comes from the "rules" - do's and don't's. They sure get on the way. *sighs* And it's like an internal editor kicks whenever you write and you can't turn it off. It's a matter of regaining that "inner writing child."

    Hey, don't blame the Muse! Just 'coz he is cute doesn't mean he has to have a brain too. Besides, you wrote 6 pages. Congrats on that! *vbg*

    And do what Teresa said about the ice cream. Rocky road is perfect when one is stuck. *grins*

    By Blogger Silma, at 10:58 PM  

  • Silma's right--and so are you. I think at some point every writer finds themselves crippled by the rules. I think I went through this more in my first ms because I had cp's who were focusing on category. NOthing against category but those CP's had alot of rules.
    With the second I said "F$ck it" and wrote what I wanted. And how I wanted. Same with the third and fourth. I've started six, finished three (I dont count the novella-it's a mess).
    But here I am on #6 (7?) and I do believe that the rules are a part of what's crippling me (along with the doubt demons Linda recently blogged about).
    What makes it all so hysterical is that this is a mainstream book (we have relationships but no "romance"), but I just can't seem to get a handle on it.

    By Blogger Amie Stuart, at 11:39 AM  

  • Thanks for the commiseration, y'all! It has helped tremendously that I've worked on a different part of the book. But in the back of my mind, I know there's still trouble in that early section, and sooner or later, I'm going to have to go back and figure out what caused the block.

    Silma--Cute and a brain? Shoot, the perfect man! *g*

    Cece--Most of my mss are the result of a f$ck the rules attitude, which is why I think they'll be hard to sell. I wish you luck on your mainstream!

    By Blogger Lynn, at 9:17 AM  

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Location: Atlanta-ish, Georgia, United States

I'm a wife, a mom, an operating room nurse, a writer, a hobby photographer, and a music lover who knits and crochets. And I'm fairly certain I've lost my mind.

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