|pen by FlorianMecl on deviantART|
The Alterae is my third finished writing project. Finished in terms of having a beginning, middle and end. My first two are short, they have all kinds of PoV issues and they were really more for practice than anything else. TA is the first thing I finished that I thought might have potential beyond amusing my friends and family.
Throughout the drafting process, I didn't share TA with anyone. I'd already revised four times before I showed it to a soul. But in the time since I started sending it out into the world, I've built a community around myself and my writing. I've developed friendships and critique partnerships. I've joined other writers on their journeys toward publication - through first manuscripts, second manuscripts, the query trenches, contest after contest and signing with dream agents.
So here I am now, halfway through my next projects (I posted an excerpt here) and it's completely different from writing TA. There's a level of excitement and, to some degree, expectation. I've sent various scenes around to my CPs, asking for feedback and validation. I'm less sure of myself and my story, even though I have positive reinforcement everywhere I turn. My CPs are actually excited to get their hands of this thing! I even have a few requests from agents to see my next project. I want to finish it NOW!
At the same time, it's starting over. I've developed the world of the Altered over years. I wrote the very first scene (posted here) ten years ago during a summer micro econ class in college. For this story, I'm making it up from scratch. It's a vague idea I've had kicking around since junior high, but I wrote the first scene for this project in mid-January. Coming up with a new story, a new world, new characters (and getting into their heads) is a lot of pressure, especially because I have something else out there. I've developed a style and a voice through TA. What if this one isn't as good? What if I let people down?
With a first attempt, there's no expectations, but it's the same kind of cheerleading either. So good and bad, it's a totally different journey the second time around. Kind of like having a second kid...
Do you have any tips for writing a second manuscript?