Monday, July 2, 2012

Second Time Around

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? 


  1. I'm in the same boat. I'm querying Porcelain Wings now but in the midst of doing major revisions on my second project, Children of the Gods.

    I think having a group of CPs this time around really helped me when I was drafting. They'd clamor for scenes, send me emails telling me how much they wanted to take my MC into a dark closet and do wholly inappropriate things to him, PLUS I was also getting to read snippets of their work, too.

    So it made the whole experience fun this time around. Well, *more* fun than writing PW by myself was. I feel like I do have a little village helping me raise my newest baby.

  2. Second MS as in second in a series, or a completely new baby?

    MS 1 for me was a wash. I didn't bother querying it as I knew it wasn't up to snuff.

    MS 2 was my baby. I've put it to bed after realizing that as is, it will be a hard sell.

    MS 3. The first time I've had a crit partner. This is the one I feel like can actually become something real. A real book that people might love, and care about the characters. I'm querying it now. I've had beta readers for this baby.

    MS 4 WIP. This is a book two, partner to MS 3. I've NEVER written a sequel to anything before. I'm finding it's a delicate balance to explain things from book one without making the mistake I see other writer make, of rewriting book one IN book two. I am trying not to over explain the events in book one. It's scary. I feel like maybe people won't love book one enough to justify a second book, but this is what I'm called to write right now.

    I have other WIP's, but this is the one nagging at my brain.

    I think that's what you've got to go with. I lived inside of MS 2 for over two years. Writing it, changing it, editing it, then querying. It was strange to let those characters go... Not spending every day with them was strange.

    But we have to make new characters. I think that's what we have to do. Take those skills we've learned with our previous MS and write something new. MS's 3 & 4 are Urban Fantasy. I've never written anything like that before. I wasn't sure I had it in me. But you know what? It felt damn good to stretch myself.

    If you're wondering where to go for the second go around, I suggest going in a completely different direction. Because why the hell not? ;)



    I'm so happy you're excited about writing this new (amazing, fabulous, voicey-but-just-as-gorgeous) manuscript. That's how I felt about One - totally exciting, but a completely different animal.

    The only way I finished was people hounding me for it every step of the way. So....we'll do the same?

    CAN'T WAIT!!!

  4. I know exactly what you mean with this. Starting something new always kind of opens me up and helps me feel this sort of fresh hope about the world, you know? It's like, "This is it. Here we go." And you know you can make it better than the last because you have the experience of writing the last one to build on.

    (And yeah, I'm there with you and L... I think I'm going to need people hounding me about this one to get it done in any reasonable amount of time. >.<)

  5. Hi Jenny, I stopped by from Leigh Ann's blog. :-) I am currently revising my 2nd completed piece/novel. I think the way I wrote was a little off the beat and track to be honest so I'm not sure how helpful my advice will be. LOL! I wrote my first novel in my freshman year of college and the beginning of sophomore year as well. I began to edit ASAP. I hated editing. So instead I wrote my second novel. Then I sent it off to betas and CPs, etc. They gave me feedback. Again I didn't know HOW to edit so I sent it off to agents, who. LOL all rejected it. I then took a step back after a final full request from an agent, and realized this novel needed SO much work. I've since then revised it about 3 times and gotten the word count up significantly. I don't think I have any advice for writing *another* manuscript except......write it :-)

  6. Hey there! This is my first time posting on your blog but...I'm 10K away from finishing my first novel and it's such a surreal feeling. I remember starting it months ago and thinking that I would NEVER see the end, now here I am, approaching the end of a story that I've been working on for more than a year. I don't really have any advice for writing a second manuscript because I haven't gotten to that stage yet, but I hope what I've learned and will learn from working on/almost finishing my first novel will teach me something about the way I write, so that I can do write an even better novel than my first one, if that makes sense. I just can't wait to have one novel under my belt so I can move on to the next one. Good luck with your wip. Really love the teaser you posted. :)

  7. I will probably start writing my second "serious" MS sometime this year. It already feels a little daunting... There's a voice in my head that says things like, "Can you actually DO this a second time? Maybe the first real thing you wrote was a fluke." But I'm sure I'll get through it. And you will too! Go, go, go!

  8. I'm in the same boat when it comes to starting on a new WIP. MM (the one I was querying when you were originally querying TA) was my third finished novel (in the same sense as yours) and I've spent three years in terms of planning/writing/revising/and being on submissions with it. Although I'd rolled around basic inspirations for Point Blank in my mind for a while, the characters/plot/world itself, I developed from scratch.

    I've found myself facing the same doubts/expectations/pressures as you in terms of developing everything about the novel and about whether or not this one is as good as MM. (Sometimes, it gets so bad that I intentionally procrastinate on the WIP). Here's wishing both of us good luck in our brand new, exciting but scary WIP! :)