Monday, April 12, 2010
Second Book Syndrome
Less than a week ago, I completed my second historical romance, McShannon's Heart. It's the prequel to my debut novel, McShannon's Chance, which came out from Bluewood Publishing in October.
Which brings me to the topic of this, my first post on this blog: Second Book Syndrome. That oh-so-paralyzing feeling that your first book was a fluke, that you don't have another one in you or at least, not one worth reading.
In her autobiography, Agatha Christie talks about what she calls 'the burden of the professional - to write when one doesn't feel like writing and isn't writing particularly well.' She took up that burden after her painful divorce. Rule 1 about writing: life gets in the way.
There have been a lot of changes in my life over the last couple of years, but for me it's been more a matter of my head getting in the way, and a few more craft lessons learned. My writing process mystifies me at times. I've tried to morph from a pantser to a plotter, without success. My characters don't allow me to stick to a plan. For both my books I've written approximately twice the number of words that ended up in the final manuscript. My first book changed from a time-travel to a straight historical. The plot in my second got rerouted three times. Will I ever learn to be efficient?
Probably not, but I think the next phase of my writing journey will be learning to accept my process as it is and go with it. Once I do that, I'll spend less time getting in my own way and more time writing.