Getting back into the second book

Getting back into a book you’ve left half completed is always interesting. Especially one we’ve left half-way through a draft, which we don’t normally do.

After we delivered the edits on book one we took a few days break and then it was back to book two. When we left it we were 104,000 words and 90% of the way through the story. The last thing we did before we stopped to work on book one was to outline what was going to happen at the end of book two.

Naturally, the first thing we did was read through it again.

It was bad. So very, very bad.

People say the second book is harder to write. I would agree. There’s a different sort of pressure, most of which you put on yourself. You want to deliver a book that’s as good as the first, so you’re trying to write a story like the first one instead of letting the second story fly alone. You have less time to write it in. We started writing Linesman in 2010. It is 2014 now. Linesman 2 has to be delivered in May 2015. That’s four years for the first book, one for the second. We are also trying to match the tone of book one—light-hearted—and it’s a tone you can’t force. Not only that, we provided a synopsis for book two which our editor accepted. We have to write to that basic story. That’s a constraint we’ve never had before.

Our reread showed that we struggled with all these things. The first half was literally a telling of what happened. It was so bad we were starting to think we’d have to rewrite the whole book. Especially those parts involving the main protagonist, which turned out to be one massive info dump after another.

Then, halfway through, the story picked up. It took half a book but we’d found the rhythm.

There were even moments when we went, “Oh, this is fun. I like this story.”

So we’re going to have to rewrite the first half of the book, but there’s a good story in there. One that we’re enjoying coming back to.

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