The day I got The Call, I started writing the second book in my series. I knew they would want more—no one wants to be a one-hit wonder, after all. So I plotted, I planned, I pounded out 73,000 words in 5 months. I wrote a synopsis. I pitched. I submitted.
The proposal (and the third book, which I had already started) was rejected.
I stared gut-wrenching, pizza-and-whiskey-binge-style failure in the face once more. How could this be? I'd just sold a book. Surely all those lessons I learned the first time around could only make me better! Surely I was destined to write something even more brilliant!
I wallowed. I put my completed MS aside and put the kibbosh on my third book. There was no point in continuing—it wasn't going to sell as it was. I had to purge the ideas, scrub the stories completely from my brain. (Whiskey and Red Dead Redemption helped a lot in this stage). I had to come up with something new. I was terrified.
Once I'd gotten over the despair, I went back and read my lovely and brilliant editor's extensive notes. The thoroughness and articulation of her thoughts reminded me of why she is a damn good editor. She wasn't wrong in her assessment: there were some rough spots, some contrivances, some areas where the story became predictable and, frankly, boring. I was trying too hard to give the reader what they want. I wasn't being true.
But once I understood this, how could I go about writing something new? Something not predictable? Something that would capture the imagination?
Hell, if I had the answers, I'd already be doing it instead of blogging right now...
If I have any iota of wisdom to share out of thie SYWTBAW bit, it's this: don't get complacent. Don't despair. I've said it before, I'll say it again—Keep moving forward. Just keep swimming.
Now, back to the idea cave...
Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.