Thursday 30th April 2020
I’ve now progressed to the stage where I need to start editing book 2, and this stage always seems difficult.
First of all there’s that transition, where I move from planning to actually editing and rewriting. It’s a slightly different mindset – switching from thinking about theme and character to words and sentences. But I also think there’s a little fear as well.
I feel good about this book. I’ve put a lot more work into the planning and I think my approach to this second draft has been the most comprehensive I’ve done on any novel. I’ve looked at character, I’ve looked at theme. In my gut, I feel like this has the potential to be a good book.
I’m not sure how true this is, but I’ve always had a feeling that series (and authors) are made on second books. First books have the time to be developed and made perfect. The ideas are fresh and unconstrained. Second books have to build on that foundation.
Good second books take a ridiculous amount of work, and even subconsciously I think authors can fall into the trap of thinking that they’ve stepped up to a publishable level and now no longer need to work as hard. I worry that even being conscious of it, I’m not aware of how much work a second book is.
And with that comes the fear. It’s the fear of stepping from concept to actual prose. It’s the fear caused by having worked with the material over the last month such that the ideas and plots are no longer fresh. I have to fight my inner brain telling me that perhaps this book isn’t as good as I thought it was.
As a result, progress is slow at this part. It’ll pick up and then slow down again when the book reaches the second and third act. That’s just me. The more I work on my process the more I understand how I work as a writer.
So for now, I’m this weird mix of wanting to get stuck in a bit more, as well as irrational fear that the prose isn’t good enough. In years gone past, I’d have chucked the first chapter out and rewritten it continuously. The Four Realms had its first chapter rewritten more times than I can remember. If I said 50, I probably would be exaggerating.
I’ve since learnt to be kind to myself and allow the progress initially to be slow and slightly sporadic. It’ll pick up as I find my confidence with this book, but will certainly dip again along the way.
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