Thursday, February 8, 2007

Reinventing The Wheel

I'll never forget the amount of accomplishment, the overwhelming emotions, and pure excitement of finishing my first book. To date, I can't think of a single thing that compares to that moment. As I said before -- I pulled a complete "Joan Wilder." After finishing, all I could think about was starting the next project and how this was validation I could actually complete it.

So, why all the trouble with the second book? LOL.

When I finished Narc 1, I almost immediately started dabbling around with book 2. I got a ways in, then had a moment of pure panic after I began getting a few rejections. What IF I couldn't sell book 1? Would it make sense to have book 2...3...4.. completed without having sold someone on the first one? Would it be more logical to start a completely different book/series instead? So, that's what I did. I decided to return to an old YA idea I had when I was younger (of course, it seemed SO cheesy when I rehashed it -- so I let it "mutate" somewhat) and work on that instead. That one came linearly for me, which was completely weird. So, I get about a third of the way through that and then my "linear" method dried up on me and I returned to chunks.

Meanwhile, I'm getting some requests for partials, I turn my attention back to Narc 1. Then another YA pops up out of nowhere. I have all of these balls up in the air, and nothing is getting finished.

Quite frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if lightning can strike twice for this girl. (Oh, I forgot to mention my historical! LOL.)

So -- to any of you who have written multiple books -- is this normal? Is it something you had to deal with? And how did you manage it?

I feel like I know my characters from the Narc series very well -- yet, at the same time I feel they're holding out on me on some levels. Perhaps I'm nervous to discover what their secrets are...perhaps I'm scared people will grow tired of them and find the next book uninventive and indistinguishable from the first. Perhaps I'm nervous the subject matter I'm attempting to tackle is too much for the overall tone I hoped to achieve with the books. Or perhaps I fear the first book was just a fluke.

I'm trying to work my way through these insecurities, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think they were at the root of my lack of progress -- or why so many WIP's are materializing all of a sudden. After all, it's always a good excuse to never _really_ move forward with one wip.

Anyway, just some thoughts -- feel free to jump in.


Cindy said...

Hi Jen:
After Baby Girl was born I got Fed Up with my WIP, JUNIPER. I posted in the forum, wondering about how people choose between different ideas when they want to know where and how best to invest temselves.

It'd be helpful if I could give you some good tips, but actually nobody talked about that. They all just wondered why I'd give up on my WIP after so long.

I've thought it over since, and I don't think there is an external answer. It's all what you make it. If you're invested in Narc, then I think you should carry on. Look at our dear kickass Vicki, with two coming out all at once! Could be you, but not if you give up.

I just read my first Kim Harrison book, which was actually her book 5. One thing it highlighted was how good she was at moving the various conflicts through the series. Problems from Book two don't disappear, they create layers and foundation for the next books. (Just a sort of-pertinent thought.)

Jen said...


Thanks for jumping in. :) Sorry I'm late in responding, but I think you made some very valid points. The Kim Harrison thing is something I'm definitely working into the Narc series -- lots of carry over from book to book -- there are the same main set of characters, after all. Hopefully people won't tire of them. LOL.

Hope your writing is going well.