When’s your next book coming out? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. Well, a few people anyway. It’s in the pipeline I tell them. What’s it about, is the next question. I tell them it’s about them. Keeps the reader happy. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Keeping the reader happy.
The truth is, I wish I knew the answer to that question myself? You see, I used up all my material in the first book. Few people have a life that’s eventful enough for a few books. I was lucky to have material for one. My second book will require me to look beyond myself. Which is a pity, because that’s our favourite subject, isn’t it? Whether we admit it or not.
What to Say
I read a blog post which said that writing a second novel was like learning a new language. You start from scratch. You feel your way. And you have to gather new material, outside your own experience. You have to ask yourself the question: What is it like to live someone else’s life?
I wrote my first book because I had something I wanted to say. I spent quite a long time saying it and I finally ran out of things to say. I’d exhausted the mine. Now it’s time for me to find a new mine, to dig for new gold. In other words, to find something new to say.
There are outside factors holding me back too. I’ve seen how challenging and daunting the publishing world is. I’ve realised how hard it is to make any real impact on readers. It’s tempting at this stage to try and create a story that readers will like. After all, what’s the point in slaving over work that no-one ultimately wants to read.
And I expect more from my own writing. I feel the weight of that expectation on me. To create more sizzling conflict, to create settings that add a real 3D effect to my writing, to be more meticulous in the language that I choose and to pace my work in a way that will engage readers, without alienating them.
In spite of all that, I’m longing to get stuck in. This is a chance for me to start creating a whole new world, with new characters to meet and new themes to explore. I can’t say when this epic tale will emerge, but I’m confident that it will. And while you do write for yourself, my goal this time is to create a story with more universal appeal, that will create wider ripples.
If anyone does have a cure for the second novel blues, be sure to drop me a line.