Here I go with my whining again. Line up to smack me if you want. I'll start.
What am I whining about now, you ask? Same old. Same old.
I'm on deadline and I'm stuck.
I've confessed that I don't write a lot of introspection or descriptions. I wish I did because I sure could use the words. I like to write action, multiple plots, and a lot of dialogue. The problem is..that leaves me worrying about word count in every single book I've written.
Some people complain about having to cut out 5000 or more words to get their word count down. I seriously want to hurt them!
Back to my whining. Here I am living out my dream with a three book contract writing about characters I absolutely adore. Did I mention my editor loves them, too?
So what's the problem?
First off, let me say I've discussed this with a friend who is also a debut author writing book 2 of the series. And I got this absolutely giddy feeling when she said she is experiencing the same kind of problems. Misery does love company. Anyway, you'd think the sequel would be easier to write than the first book since I have character profiles and know the players like the back of my hand. My clueless-in-the-kitchen main character who is addicted to Hostess HoHos is already so adorable that no reader will walk away without feeling like they know her personally.
And therein lies the problem!
A big chunk of book one went into molding all my characters and fine-tuning their personalities so they would be memorable. Now how am I supposed to make them different?
While I watched my Cowboys lose to the Eagles tonight, I thought about this... even researched it and this is what I discovered. Once an avid reader finds an author they love they will probably buy the whole backlist and then wait expectantly for the next book.
Sheesh! Like I'm not already under enough pressure!
Okay, I think I've got it. Each book must be able to stand alone. The protagonist must be recognizable throughout all the books yet somehow change for each one. Is that right?
How many Hostess HoHos can one girl eat?
That brings me to my next point. You can't bore the reader with repetitive details of earlier events.
That's what I'm fussing about! How do you keep your characters fresh from book to book?
I'm beginning to believe you have to approach each book as a different episode of your favorite TV show. The characters are the same, but the situations change. Everyone knows it's a series so you can't kill off any of the main characters, but you still have to build suspense to keep them turning the pages. Adding new characters can help do that.
I feel better about this already.
With that problem solved, I've come to another unhappy conclusion about myself. I am a plotter in trouble. I'm going to have to do what I did in book 1 and that's jump to the scenes that I know will be coming. I can always go back and write the connector chapters later, but I have to get words on the page. The deadline, remember?
I came across this cute little video about Shakespeare and writer's block. Check it out.
I'm waiting for my characters to show me what they want to do next. In the meantime, any suggestions on how to make that happen?