image border bottom

Ding Novel is Done

December 20, 2009  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Plot, Setting, The Craft   4 Comments

I finished my work in progress in the wee hours of the morning, The Wælcyries Murders.

What a fun novel!

The novel, according to conventional wisdom, should not be—it’s a sequel to a book I haven’t sold yet, which, according to some, isn’t a good idea.

Like much of the advice written on the Interwebs, a person has to be very careful not only consider the source, but also the context.

One reason it’s not a good idea is that your first book may never sell. Your agent or editor may also suggest changes to the first novel that render the second one invalid. Thus you’ve wasted your time.

Or have you?

I learned so much writing this novel. It took me six months to write. What did I learn in six months?

  • I learned that there are tricks and techniques to writing your first novel so the second novel in the series gels and flows with the first
  • I leaned about advanced characterization beyond a self-contained novel
  • I learned how to write a sequel
  • I learned new things about world-building and continuity
  • I learned that even well respected writers and industry can over-generalize

Out of all of these points, the most valuable to me is the characterization I learned. What’s my main character’s motive, beyond solving the mystery? How does she grow? Where do the other characters fit?

This is my fourth novel I have written; with the caveat the first novel was a pure writing exercise with no basis in publishing reality. So, it’s more novel number three. I will repeat this to myself until it is true. Heh.

The first book in the series could never sell.

I can guarantee that if I do sell a book, and my publisher asks for a sequel, the process of producing that creative work will be much better. I learn by thinking about things and doing in an iterative process.

Next post I talk about the wok itself and the other things I learned.

4 comments on: Ding Novel is Done

  1. Gary Corby December 26, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Congratulations! That’s a big achievement.

    I don’t see a problem with writing a sequel before you’ve sold the first, as long as you have a relaxed attitude to major revisions. Knowing your long term story arc is a definite plus.

    • Anthony December 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks Gary!

  2. Alex Moore January 12, 2010 at 11:23 am

    woo hoo!! congrats dear friend. do ignore the fact that this is coming some 35 days late… but such is the lag in my life-line atm:)

    i especially enjoy this aspect of writing that you mention: not only is each book better written, but the planning and focus and interweaving…well, the process…is just easier/better/more wonderful.

    So, this makes me wonder at the ones who are “old hats” — those whose many subsequent books are …for lack of a better word, substandard. Is there a plateau point (ok. i can’t remember the word. help me. you know, that point where everything actually becomes worse instead of improving…ack.)???

    anyone, kudos to you!!!

    • Anthony January 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you Alex.

      I believe thee are many variables involved with novels in a series turning out to be less than stellar efforts than the ones before it.

      I have to point a finger at egos, editors and agents. What’s and agent and editor to do when a name, guaranteed to generate income, falls short on a different scale?

      If I ever get published, I want my editor to give it to me with both barrels. Sophomore efforts that fail hurt the career. I want to be in for the long haul.

%d bloggers like this: