Mark the date and time

Today I finally fell in love with the sequel.

Ye gods that took a shockingly long time!

You’ve noticed me struggling (remember when I dropped 70 pages?). I like to bring my difficulties out into the light and examine them, partly because doing so can jostle new ideas loose, partly because I think it’s instructive for aspiring writers to see me struggle. Then you can say to yourself, Wow, if a chronic bumbler like that can write a novel and get published, maybe there’s hope for me after all!

There was something I wasn’t saying, though, because it was deeply embarrassing to me: I did not love this book. However many interesting ideas I had, however much I talked to my characters and made them real, the work still left me cold. I knew why (no love) but I didn’t know how to fix it.

This sequel has been a bit like an arranged marriage for me. It’s politically important – people expect it, I’m under contract, I’m uniting feuding kingdoms, etc. – but I’ve had many days where “write on and think of England” was the only way I was making it through. I held my nose, followed my outline, and forged ahead for the good of the nation. Old ladies told me I would learn to love this book eventually, but I kept wondering when?

It turns out there was a tiny little scene at about page 65 that I’d decided was too difficult to write. I skipped it in the interest of forward progress. Yesterday, when all forward progress had once again ground to a halt, I went back to look at it. There seemed to be no other course of action left.

The scene was difficult indeed – harrowing and honest and exposed. I solved it inelegantly, but I solved it

Today I went back and solved it better.

All of a sudden we have ourselves a novel, a proper novel, built on love. And that is an unfathomable relief.

3 thoughts on “Mark the date and time

  1. Sequel blues. I think they’re the hardest to love, the hardest to balance. For me, it’s choosing how much information from previous books to share and how to share them. I’m nowhere near finished, but mine is so emotionally taxing. I’m so glad to hear you’re in a better place with yours.

    • It’s a whole different kind of stress, isn’t it? Because you can’t just do ANYTHING in the world to solve your problems. There are already events in place, characters, continuity, to say nothing of the expectations of readers.

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