Saturday, November 1, 2014

And So The Sequel Begins...

As you may have guessed from the title, I've finally taken the plunge. I've started the scariest, most dreaded project I've ever worked on. The second book in my Human series is officially under way.

After my initial 'finish' of Only Human last December (if you've been reading my blog, you'll know why I put quotation marks around it), I started right into my sequel. Burned out from far too many late nights writing but eager to strike while the iron was still hot, I got excited a few pages in only to crash and burn two weeks later. None of it seemed to be working. I couldn't stop following the story line I'd laid out for the first one. Continuations of the characters were flat, time didn't feel like it'd passed at all and I was introduced to a new fear as a writer.

Continuing a story.

I'd heard talk of this before on various blogs or author profiles but I'd never been afraid to start a project before. I scrapped it and started over, only to scrap the second one and start over. By June, I'd started three different drafts and stopped. Mid June found me with writers block and the good sense to stop trying to salvage and just delete them all. My writer's block disappeared after a few weeks nursing myself along and concentrating on other projects, but the lingering fact was a book I couldn't get out of writing weighed on me. In September, I made a resolution. Stop trying to force the sequel, finish up the edits for OH, and concentrate on the sequel in November, known to new and veteran writers alike as NaNoWriMo. National November Writers Month is a period of time in which we as writers attempt to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. Breaking it down, it's 1,666 words a day. Not too bad on a day by day basis but skip a day and you end up having to write a whopping 3332.

In the last few weeks, I've been mulling over tons of ideas for Human Nature. I'm so grateful I deleted the other drafts since it was months ago I wrote them and without a reminder, all my previous writing has almost been forgotten to me, giving me a chance for a clean slate. Last week, a light bulb came on in my head for a different setting which made half my hardships easier and it was followed by several more light bulbs on other problems I'd been going over.

Needless to say, I felt a lot of fear sitting down at my laptop and seven o'clock this evening and opening the blank word document. People liked my first book (even in its unedited, immature form :)) but what if they hate the second one? I pushed every negative thought away and starting in the middle of a scene I'd thought up seconds earlier. It's not perfect and quite possibly in six months, won't exist anymore, but the 1731 words I wrote tonight gave me courage I haven't had all year. The courage that people will like it (I hope!) and that I can do an even better job now than I could a year ago and certainly a better job than when I carelessly started pounding Only Human out when I was sixteen.

I want to be a writer and tonight, I took another step close to that dream.

-Anna Leigh

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