Second Novel Fears

There’s an irrational fear that some writers face. The fear that their second book in a series won’t match up to the success of their first one. Right now, I’m going through my manuscript trying to make it perfect and that nagging critical voice is whispering doubts about the book.

‘There’s not enough character development.’

‘It moves too fast.’

‘The plot is unclear.’

‘The characters aren’t consistent.’

I had so much fear with my first book, but I published it anyway. And so far the response has been really good. Much better than I ever expected. But I’ve realised now that this second in the series I’m writing is quite different in terms of my focus on the protagonist, Adenine. It’s more action and less character driven, which ironically is what the reviews on my Amazon page call for. But I think I’ve taken away from the character development in order to write so much action, not on purpose of course but I think the second book needs it.

I do write purely for my readers to enjoy the stories. I write hoping for a consistent 4 out of 5 stars. A consistent 80% positive rate of feedback. Why should I lower my standards to 4 out of 5 stars, instead of say working for 5 out of 5 stars? Because I’m a new author. I always try to make my books as perfect as I can, but if I start aiming for true perfection I just run myself into an avoidance rut and fuss over things not worth fussing over. All of this takes time from writing the subsequent pieces.
So here’s to accepting the best I can do. Here’s to accepting that as a writer, there will be faults in my book that I just can’t avoid. And hopefully, as I develop my skills and work hard, I’ll become the best writer I can be. Whether that’s 3 out of 5 stars, or 5 out of 5 stars. šŸ™‚

Comments: 2

  1. Maike June 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I think there are always two different sides of readers. First, there are the ones that love your novel no matter how crazy or not logical a story is, they just love the story.
    And then there are the critcs. No mater how good you constructed your novel, no matter how much time you spent for “designing” that whole thing, they will always find points to criticize. And that is the problem – you canĀ“t satisfy the critics.
    So just donĀ“t worry about it, you canĀ“t make it a 100 %.

    What matters are the readers that loved the first part and are waiting for the second. Because they are the ones that will also love the next installment.

    I for my opinion got to know Adenine in part 1 and now want to get the action. IĀ“m pretty excited about the whole healing thing. Will she continue the HealerĀ“s duty or will she change things as promised in the last sentences of part 1?

    I read a lot of books I really loved, like reading them 3 or 4 times and always find some new things I didnĀ“t catch the first few readings. And they always have a few inconsistencies that doesnĀ“t lower my opinion. But the point why they matter to me is: they are NOT perfect!

    So, thumbs up for your second HealerĀ“s book, I canĀ“t wait to read it!

  2. kjcolt June 16, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Thanks, Maike. As an author I read a lot and observe how readers respond to other different types of authors. Even when I read a book that, as you say, has illogical elements to a story people just love them. And I’ve felt that way about books before where, in the plot, elements of the story were inconsistent, but I absolutely loved it anyway. Honestly, that’s the kind of writer I want to be. First and foremost I want to entertain my readers, keep their eyes glued to the page, have them gobble up the book in one sitting. That’s my main goal.

    As for action in the second book, I hope you’re ready because there’s plenty of it! At the moment I’m going back through and adding in fragments of introspection to still make you feel like there is enough character development on Adenine’s behalf. But so much happens in the second book that poor Adenine hardly has time to catch her breath let alone sit down to reflect on the events.

    My editor has refined much of the novel, and in the process taken out a lot of words, I am putting in more words at the moment to deepen the characters, but honestly, there’s no way this story can be as much about character development as the first one.

    So instead of worrying I’m just going to edit it, publish it and hope for the best! šŸ™‚

    Here’s to the uncertainty of publishing! A thrilling, yet terrifying ride.