On writing a sequel

I am 22K words into the sequel to Dark and Deep. I think I’ve said before that the going hasn’t always been easy. Writing a sequel is, without question, harder than writing the original.

For one thing, I wrote Dark and Deep with the door closed tight. At first I didn’t tell anyone, even my husband, that I was writing. I didn’t submit pieces of the partially finished work to friends to critique. It was my own private project, my hobby, something I did only to please myself. Now that the first book is out in the world I am putting pressure on myself to get the next one written. I feel obliged to write at least a thousand words a day. I feel obliged to think up something as exciting as the first book… and frankly, there just isn’t anything else like the crises in Dark and Deep. The sequel needs to be its own book.

That brings me to the second point. I feel an internal pressure to make the sequel “like” Dark and Deep. I have been looking for another crisis “like” the first one. I have been looking for similarly shocking scenes, similar themes, similar problems. This is the wrong way to go about it. The sequel, simply put, has to be its own book. The less I measure it against its predecessor, the better my ideas for it become.

A third thing that is different when writing the second book is my self-imposed regimen of social media meant to promote the first book. Listen: I am an introvert with a strong sense of shame. Promoting myself and my book makes me want to crawl under the bed and curl up in a ball. Unfortunately, that’s what it takes to get ahead, so I am doing it–but after the first couple of (exhausting) weeks I have scaled the effort back. I am tweeting and blogging to please myself. There are a ton of cool things about my books that I want to share with you. I stumble across so many neat things while doing research. That’s how I’m using social media. I love my books. If you think that this blog and my twitter feed are interesting, you might love my books too.

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