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Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Two Anxiety

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know what I’ve been doing lately— writing my butt off.

Thanks to a discussion with fellow Apocalypsies members, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience while writing the follow-up to a series. It’s not easy and it usually results in tears, self-loathing, and panic. So, I’ll give you the rundown of what I went through:

• Wrote a 5-page outline from beginning to end on what I wanted in my story.

• Called all my friends and explained the story in great detail, just in case they cared.

• Divided the outline to where each paragraph equaled a chapter. (30 chapters/ 30 paragraphs)

• Played around on the internet, read a really bad romance novel, and felt better about my writing abilities.

• Reread book 1 and listed character traits for continuity purposes.

• Expanded each paragraph to a page worth of information, backstory, and descriptions, etc. (30 paragraphs/ 30 pages.)

• Cried and called my family for encouragement.

• Read more trashy books.

• Expanded the outline by adding 3 more pages to each section. (30 pages x 3 = 90 pages)

• Did happy dance with my cat.

• Called everyone I knew and told them how awesome I was, just in case they cared.

• Reread all my prep work and HATED it.

• Cried myself to sleep, unsure if I could top the previous book.

• Slept for two days.

• Consulted agent for wisdom and weekly pep talk.

• Read books from good authors and wished them bodily harm. Took notes.

• Read book 1 again with newfound awe as to how I actually finished it.

• Reexamined my outline, going chapter by chapter and spent 3 days on each section. (12-15 pages each)

• Spent 30 days rewriting the first 5 chapters because it was to info dumpy and I hate recapping stuff from the previous book.

• Questioned my writing ability and fished for compliments from my friends.

• Got a spark of inspiration halfway through the story and wrote incessantly for 3 weeks.

• Spent 3 more weeks debating on how the book should end.

• Cried some more.

• Ended the story with a cliffhanger, causing my agent to squeal in girlish delight and having friends cuss me out after reading it.

• Rewrote the original outline because it was completely different from what I actually wrote.

• Passed out for a week and dreamt of how book 3 should start.

And there you have it—how I survived the journey through the dark wilderness known as book 2. It was pure torture, but BOY was it worth it. That’s something every writer can look forward to, the big payoff of seeing your project through ‘till the end. I hope this helps those who are also writing a series. You’re not alone.

Happy Writing!


  1. lol! Hilarious. Congrats!

    I'm not an outliner, thank goodness. That cuts out half the steps, but probably multiplies the tears.

  2. Normally, I'm not an outline person, but for this series I HAD to be to keep organized and to keep my world and the events consistent. It's not like the first book where I just did whatever. That "whatever” is now and established a rule now and cannot contradict itself without proper cause and effect. That's what makes it soooo hard: upholding the rules according to my own decree. But yeah OUTLINES SUCK ASS.

  3. Inspiring! And funny. Thanks for sharing your Book 2 journey!

  4. Whoa...that's a LOT of work. Now I'm even MORE excited to read book 2--can't wait to see where Sam's journey takes her next. :)

  5. This was an amazing and hilarious post, and I'm so impressed by your work ethic! (And also perhaps dreading my upcoming second book a bit more...)

    Also, this? "Read books from good authors and wished them bodily harm. Took notes." << SO THIS. I both love and hate reading really incredible books.

    I can't wait for BURNING EMERALD!

  6. "Played around on the internet, read a really bad romance novel, and felt better about my writing abilities."

    Sounds like a definite add to my list. I'm in this situation right now. Writing a sequel that is. My first is in submissions. But you know what they say, while waiting, keep writing.

    Awesome post!

    Thanks for sharing!



  7. oh god, this cracked me up. And yes, I have felt so many of these things as I've fought with writing my second book. I want to whine: this is too hard, actually, it's IMPOSSIBLE!!! And then I put on my big girl pants and keep working on it.

  8. So funny, so true, and so eerily similar to where I am at the moment with my Book Two. Thanks for the laugh.

  9. I think you should dance with the cat more often while writing the third book.

  10. Wow, I got anxious just reading this ! It looks like it was quite a journey !

  11. This post was both inspiring and frightening. One always hopes that writing will get easier with each book, but anecdotal evidence does not support that hope.

    Thanks for sharing, and good job!

  12. This looks like it was a terrifying journey, but one with a great outcome. Interesting that you could spend a lot of time on the outline, but the book itself still takes you in different directions.




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