Help! Which Way Do I Go?

Fork in the roadI’ve come to that proverbial fork in the road and I don’t know which way to go.

When Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not (Book 1) was published in September 2013,  I immediately started work on the sequel.  But by January, 2014, Britney and Michael had popped in my head.  Their story took over and in July, 2014, The Reason’s Why (e-book) was published.   The paperback followed in September.   The Wretched Life of Maxine J Mattocks, a novelette, is being published in episodes on Wattpad and my blog.

My dilemma:

  • It is now December – 15 months since the first book was published.
  • I’ve written about 12,000 words of sequel.
  • Writing the sequel feels like a chore.
  • Part of me wants to stop working on it and maybe get a new cover for Dreams (taking off the Forget Me Not: Book 1)
  • The first book could have been a stand alone story.  At this point, I wish I had decided to do just that…

It’s frustrating. 

In the past, I’ve been a “pantzer”.   I like the spontaneity and the creative flow that happens between the characters and myself.   With the sequel, I decided to be a “planner” – to use an outline.  Is it possible that’s the problem? It didn’t seem so at the time.  In fact, I thought it was helping.   Maybe my problem has less to do with my writing process and more to do with my emotional connection to the story.  It’s not that I don’t love the characters.  It feels more like I’ve outgrown them – if that makes any sense at all.

Is it possible to rekindle the flame for Book 2?

writer's blockI know the importance of having sequels follow as quickly as possible especially with the whole marketing thing.  I get that I’m behind the power curve and honestly, that just adds on another layer of frustration.  And then, when I get the chance to write, I sit in front of my laptop – I type, delete, type, delete… It’s amazing that I’ve managed to move forward at all.

And then there’s other distractions…

Like the new characters who have stopped by to introduce themselves.  They want their stories told.  But the longer I ask them to hold on, the less often they visit and that worries me.

So now you know… 

When I talked to my husband about this, he got that “deer in the headlights” look.   I got a lot of hemming and hawing and nothing else.  And that is why I’ve turned to you – because maybe you’ve been in this same spot or know someone who has.  Even if you haven’t, maybe a fresh set of eyes can see the better path. Either way, your  thoughts and experiences would be so appreciated.

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2 comments

  1. I would ask have you had anyone really beg for a sequel? I originally set out to make Surviving the Stillness a stand alone, too. Then the more I talked about it, the more people wanted to know what happens next and I realized there was no way I could tell the story I wanted to tell and what would happen afterward in 400 pages. So I started plotting a sequel then I realized the time frame issue that the main character needed to be a few years older and there was a need for seeing some of the growth of the relationship along the way and before I knew it I was up to 3 books and now 4 books spread over a decade of time. Two secondary characters have become POV’s alongside their 2 main leads and are as strong and deep characters as the other two in their own right.

    I say all this to say that there are many reasons to write a sequel. Is there more story to be told? Are there other characters vying for a story of their own that the reader could continue to see the aftermath and character development of the main characters from the first book? Changing POV’s really helped mine develop the depth and interest I needed to spread the story out (b/c honestly the main leads story is kind of slow, deep and taxing on the reader). If I had to focus only through her eyes for 4 books, the reader would tire of her. However, seeing how she has an effect on the POV of Book 2 makes her changes and struggles move and change and the reader gets a new character to invest in and watch struggle and change.

    Don’t feel you HAVE to. Some of my favorite books could have had a sequel but didn’t. As long as you didn’t leave any loose ends that leave the reader hanging and thus unsatisfied, you aren’t going to lose readers on the account of moving on to writing bigger, better stories. There is nothing worse than authors in publishing contracts who crank out a 2 or 3 book because of a contract and it just piddles and you can tell their heart wasn’t in it. If you don’t have the passion the reader knows. I hope this helps. No matter what keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your point about a reader being able to tell that a writer’s heart isn’t in the story is exactly what I’ve been concerned about. Changing POV – my story was evolving – having other characters take center stage a bit more – but the MC was still the star. Just thinking about changing the POV really opens the story to greater possibilities. I think I might try to start over. Forget the 12K words and the outline. Hopefully, a “new story” will rekindle the love. Thanks so much for helping me to see a possible new story!
    .

    Like

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