Surviving the Second Novel

I’m not sure how real authors do it. I’ve been trying for ages to figure out why writing the second novel is so much harder than writing the first.

I know my characters better than I know most of my family, and I worked out the major kinks in the plot a long time ago. So it’s not that.

There is a lot more going on in my life now than there was when I was writing Sanchin but, if I’m honest, lack of time is just a convenient excuse. So what is it then?

Today I had an epiphany. It’s the expectations!

When I started writing Sanchin I didn’t expect to get beyond the first draft. Actually, I didn’t expect to even complete the first draft.

Writing a novel was somewhere between leaping, stark naked, off the Eiffel Tower and winning a lifetime supply of custom made shoes on my list of things to do.

But I did it, and I loved doing it. And people read it – real people, not just my granny. Not that I’m suggesting my granny’s not a real person, but you know what I mean. Well, I do anyway.

Now I get emails from people I don’t even know asking me when the next one will be available. I should be excited, right? That must mean they liked the first one.

The truth is, I’m terrified. Not just of my readers’ expectations, but of my own. What if I only had one book in me? What if the people who enjoyed Sanchin are disappointed by Yantsu? What if they expect Yantsu to be better than Sanchin and it’s not?

Well, now I know what the problem is I can face my fears and say knaters! (It’s Afrikaans – Google translate might tell you what it means.)

Yantsu should be a better novel than Sanchin. I’ve learned from my mistakes – and there were many – so I should know what I’m doing this time.

I’ll probably come close to a nervous breakdown several more times before this one hits Amazon, but I’m going to do it.

I’m going to make it the best book I can write, and then I’m going to write another one. Move over JK Rowling!

Okay, maybe not.