Thoughts About Second Novels

As an author, “cherries are popped” when it comes to the first two novels in their career. With the first novel, the cherry that is popped is when you have a book published for the first time in your life. With the second novel, your title as “debut author” is the cherry that is popped, for you now officially have more than one work under your belt. The newness is gone, and any possible doubts you may have had a long time ago about whether or not you’d even be able to write a novel have been long since shattered. This can be both thrilling yet also terrifying.

They say the first novel is the easiest to write, because you’re drawing upon thoughts, ideas and experiences that have come about from the first however many years of your life. The second novel can be more difficult, for you just may be dealing with much more limited resources. Though of course, I believe this is mostly applicable if your second novel is a standalone. If the second novel is part of a series on the other hand, I would hope that deciding how to drive the plot forward would be a little easier to do, with the story already established in the predecessor.

With the fact that this is the second novel that you’re dealing with, your mind has already been through the aftermath of the release of the first novel, and that has somehow had an impact on your approach to this new venture. Say for instance that the first novel was unsuccessful in sales and capturing audience’s attention. With the second novel, you’re likely to have a much more firm determination to make sure this one does way better. On the other hand, if you’re one of a handful of authors who had a successful first novel (first of all, congrats to you!), then you may have a heap of pressure – whether put upon yourself or by others – to make sure the second time around is not only just as good, but also better. Either way, the second novel is an entryway to being either a little or sh*#less scared. There’s a reason why there’s something called Second Novel Syndrome, for the struggle can be real.

Of course, the experience of writing a novel, whether if it’s your second or your twentieth, is what you make of it through it all, and now that I myself have been through the experience of writing a second novel, taking on this challenge does open the opportunities that you can pursue now that you’ve had experience. Any lessons that you have learned from your first experience can be adapted and applied this time around. You can explore new ways of developing the characters and the plot, for you are not obligated to do it exactly as how you did the first one (especially if the first one didn’t turn out too good). Mix it up; experiment with methodologies. Above all else, while it’s good to keep your audience and potential audience in mind, remember to tell the story that you want to tell, for the passion will show through when you put all of it in.

Obviously I am thinking deeply of this landmark in an author’s career, as my second novel is near ready for the world to read. While I haven’t had too difficult of a time with developing the story, I most certainly can relate to the struggle of wanting this one to do better than A Moment’s Worth. At the same time, I’m also quite excited, for I hope audiences will be able to see the growth and change in my writing since my debut.

Anyone who has been keeping up on here knows how it’s been in the works for quite sometime and that through it all, I’ve been pretty quiet about what it’s about. Appropriately, this is where I want to say to you all to keep an eye on this space, for this coming Tuesday, I will finally be revealing the title, synopsis, and release date for my second novel!

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 12 reviews so I’m already just past the halfway point to my goal). Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.


2 Replies to “Thoughts About Second Novels”

  1. Great post! Am in this bracket at the moment, as am mid-way-heading towards the end of book 2 and yes, am terrimified!!!! First book I didn’t plan enough and so with book two I planned and planned and got so carried away with knowing what was going to happen, the backgrounds of all the characters, places that I became very stuck very quickly. It didn’t feel fresh or exciting and I’ve had to stop a number of times and try to let go of some pre conceived notions and I’m worried as to the end result and how much I’m going to have to work on for draft 2. Conclusion: I’ve decided I just need to find a happy medium next time. Should be easy, eh?;)

    1. I can see your struggle. It’s good to plan what the story is about. Actually, it’s wise to do some amount of planning period, because you don’t want to go into a story not knowing what’s going to happen. But yes, it’s also wise to maintain a balance. You want to plan what happens, but you also want to allow flexibility for new ideas and thought experiments to emerge. I wish you luck as you go forth with your second novel.

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