Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing and Pulling Teeth

It's personal topic week at the Wicked Writer's blog and it couldn't have come at a better time for me. Boy. Yeah. Okay. So I somehow convinced myself that Book 2 would be easier to write than Book 1. You know, I'm wiser now. Book 1 was hard because I was new to writing novels. I was still learning. But I know exactly what I'm doing now.

So why does writing the dang sequel feel like pulling teeth? And why am I still using cliches like "pulling teeth"?!?!

*Facepalm followed by headdesk*

When you're a writer looking up at all the published authors sitting on their pedestals, all shiny and important, you might think "man, life must be so easy for them, with their fancy royalty checks." Truth is, we're all just writers. We all make peanuts for a living. And when all is said and done, each new manuscript still begins with two words:  Chapter One.

....Followed by a good ripping of the hair, lots of caffeine, and a hefty dose of insanity....

What's a writer to do?

Remember the reasons why you started writing the first place. Yeah, remember those? The good ol' days when it was fun and magical and every word felt like a roller-coaster ride on a gold-tinted rainbow? When you were an artist and every scene came from the heart. You didn't care about grammar or point-of-view or if all your characters' names started with the same letter because to you it was perfect. Every flaw was somehow right. You did that, you made that, and it was awesome.

Remember that feeling. Hold it close. Bathe in it. Eat it for breakfast. Sit down at your computer and say to yourself "Today I am writing for me, and I don't care if no one likes what I write because I love it and that is all that matters!".

J.D. Brown
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  1. Some good advice. Each novel has its own difficulties. I haven't written a sequel to a book in a series yet but will soon and I've written a few different books but they don't seem easier.

    Good advice and I hope things go well for you and your books. :-)

  2. I hear you, J.D.

    And C.J. wonders why I'm lining up first-time novels. I've been ruminating on sequels for "Hunters" and "Land of the Blind," but drawing blanks. Even the sequel for "They Call the Wind Muryah" has hit a roadblock.

    I think maybe the answer is to create an entire storyline and then divide it into separate books for each phase of the story, like "Lord of the Rings."

    Or we could just ask C.J., Laurell K. Hamilton or Stephenie Meyer how they do it.

  3. Yikes! That picture actually made me saw 'yuck' out loud. LOL And I can't imagine what kind of pressure a sequel must feel like but if you're interested Elizabeth Mueller has a guest post buy Alex J. Cavanaugh about writing a sequel. Glad to have discovered your blog! New follower here:)

  4. I just started a first draft of a sequel. Nope, it's not easy.

  5. HA! I just posted on a similar topic today, that being I just can't find my mojo for book two. Book one was hella easy for me. What the heck happened this time around? Argh!! very frustrating!!

  6. Dawn - It's been a long time, honey, how are you? Thanks and good luck on your books too. You've been doing this much longer than I have, so for YOU to say it doesn't get easier has me a little nervous LOL. Keep in touch!

    Greg - Stand alone novels are sounding better and better my friend. ;-)

    Creepy Query Girl - I debated with myself about posting the teeth pic for a while (too much?) but then decided it just fit so perfectly. LOL. I know Elizabeth and Alex, I will check out that post for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    Mary - Good luck. :)

    Nancy - I hear you. Book One seems like a breeze compaired to Book Two. And funny story - I pantsed through Book One and outlined Book 2. Maybe I need to ditch the outline? LOL.

  7. Ahh... I wish I could say it gets easier... but I'm stumbling on getting my mojo for book three. Too many things to do... it's very easy to go all over the internet, read marketing stuff, throw myself into ad campaigns, start blogging all over the place and then.... sit back and have the gall to wonder why the words aren't spilling on the page.

    Take a deep breath. Relax. Try to clear your mind and find the story parts that come to you when you're sleeping and elude your coherent grasp...

    Okay, I'm going to try it and I'll let you know if it works ;-)

  8. Thanks C.J.

    I think what happened is I expected too much of the first draft and have to keep reminding myself that the first draft is NOT going to be perfect no matter how hard I try. I am my own worst critic. Once I gave myself room to breath and have fun the story again, the scenes started pouring out. They're not great - word choice wise and such - but hey, that's what revisions are for! :D