You’ve written a book but now what? Where to go next?
The thought of beginning the process again can be a daunting task, particularly if the first book has yet to become a commercial success. Marketing the finished product can be a grind on the creative spirit. Then there’s the nagging voice of self-doubt whispering that maybe you only had one book in you. But writer’s write. If there’s one story in you then there will be more. I’ve yet to meet a writer who was capable of putting the pen & paper/keyboard away indefinitely.
People need stories and stories need people. A form of symbiosis where the writer and the story itself are capable of evolving. By the time book two rolls around the writer should be more evolved, more skilled, and more prepared for what the writing process entails. This personal and professional experience should hopefully lead to a better story.
I’ve been diligently chipping away at the sequel to Daughter of Shadow and recently completed the first draft. This initial incarnation is now in the hands of some trusted beta readers. I cannot overstate how important quality testers are to churning out the best possible story (at least for me). The different opinions allow me to see the material with new eyes, which stimulates new ideas about something I supposedly knew intimately. A fresh burst of energy to go back and fix what needs fixin’. The hope is that this book will require significantly less edits than the first. My gut tells me this will be the case.
I felt more comfortable in the driver’s seat when writing the sequel—the ride was much smoother, the speed bumps smaller and the stalling moments less frequent. This car analogy doing anything for you? Traversing the mountain was more of an enjoyable hike rather than a climbing expedition. How about one more? Less work and more work.
The experience of writing the first book has been invaluable to establishing and improving my “voice.” The style and delivery that is crucial to catching a reader’s attention. I’m going to return to the first book with this awareness to give it another edit and really get the voice consistent. The fact that I’m already excited about starting book three has to be a good sign (or an unconscious obsessive tendency).
What are your thoughts about writing the next book? I’d love to hear from experienced writers as well as newbies.