Conquering The Beast, An IWSG Post
Posted on March 7, 2018
The ugly first draft. Every writer knows it. Every writer hates and loves it.

I think I've conquered the journey to arriving at the first draft, and I've learned to celebrate its horrific language and those devious little plot holes. Sometimes I think my psyche is playing with me, putting in plot holes that I catch upon the first round of revisions. Kind of like saying, "Ha ha, just kidding!" Those little buggers.

Editing, the next step in this writing journey. Again, love it and hate it. It is like exercising. You know there is a huge benefit, both to your physical and mental health. You know you have to do it, but you drag your feet to the gym/workout/run/class, fighting off every excuse under the sun. But afterwards, you feel strong and accomplished. You feel victorious.

And then... there's the sequel. That's a whole other beast I wasn't prepared for.

The Box of Souls is the first book in the Family Relics series. It took me about 3-4 months to get to the first draft.

The Onyx Ring is the second book and it will be out in the next few months. It took 2 years to get the first draft of the sequel.

Two Years!!! Not one, two!!!

So, while I'm nearing the end of the editing phase for The Onyx Ring, I've been reflecting upon this phenomena. I've come to acknowledge that I knowingly looked for excuses to push off writing the sequel to The Box Of Souls. I had the outline. I had my characters, most of them. I had the ending. I had everything I needed. So why did I delay?

The answer is FEAR.

I was scared it wasn't going to be as good as the first. I was scared that the first book took all my novel ideas about the story, all the themes I touched, all the histories and rules of magic I created, and that the sequel was just going to be more of the same. Fear that I wasn't good enough.

So, instead of tackling these fears, I didn't try at all.

So what was the trigger that changed it all?

One - my brother. After he read The Box Of Souls, he wanted to read the next book right away, but I told him I hadn't written it yet. Every few months our so he would nudge again, and I'd give him a non-concrete day in the 6-month future. No pressure. Just my brother trying to be supportive.

Then, in December of 2016, more than a year since the first book's release, he's asked about the sequel again. I gave him another six months and told him I wasn't done with the first draft yet. Then he gave me that look. You know the look. The I-can't-understand-why-you're-having-so-much-trouble look, and said, "What the hell are you waiting for?"

I really had no excuse. So, off I went to try and rekindle the dozen or so pages of the first draft. It was slow moving, but I pressed on. I declared 2017 was the year I would, at the very least, finish the first draft.

But, I tell ya, the pen was heavy, and my fears still lingered.

Then, in the Spring of 2017, a couple of things happened that changed my attitude.

I met a screen writer at a movie preview for an actor friend, and she had bought my book and loved it. She asked me when the sequel was coming out, and told me that she can't wait to see what happens.

I glowed. Before then, I hadn't met anyone in person, other than my brother and a couple of life-long friends, who loved my story. I mean, family and friends are awesome, but their opinions are biased. Do they truly love the story, or do they love the story because I wrote it? And would they ever tell me if they didn't like it? Hmm...

But meeting someone who I had no personal ties to, who loved my book, changed my perspective. This happened a couple of times in the Spring. At another occasion, I bumped into a friend who was having lunch with her co-worker, and guess what they were talking about during lunch? My book!!! Her co-worker asked about the sequel, and she told me she loved the main character and all the suffering she went through. My daughter was with me at the time, and knowing that she saw someone, who I didn't know, comment so positively on my book was a huge high for me. She even said, "Mom, you have a fan!"

At another occasion, my husband's co-worker loved my book so much he raffled off 5 copies during a BBQ at his home. I was taken completely by surprise. I'm sure my face was as red as my face could get. His guests asked me all sorts of questions, like I was a "real author", and three of the winners even asked me to sign their copy. I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day. Possibly the week.

All of that gave me a boost. By June I restarted the sequel and finished the first ugly draft in 3 months. It wouldn't be until November, after a few revisions, that I would have it ready for an editor.  And now it's looking like a May 2018 release.

I've learned something new with every book I write. This time around, I learned that sequels are beasts I can control!

On to writing book 3!!

 ~ * ~

This post is part of the 

Don't forget to visit other writers,
and tell them how much you love their writing.
It does wonders!!!


  1. It does help when fans are asking about the next book and have enjoyed the first. The fear is still there, but we can do it. :)

  2. What a great post! I especially love the friend auctioning your book leading to an impromptu author's meet and greet. Carry that momentum forward with book #3!

    1. Thanks Lee! I'll ride the wave as much as I can! :-D

  3. Greetings from your co-host. How wonderful that you got such positive feed-back to help push towards writing the sequel! Congratulations.

    1. Thanks Bish. It has definitely helped. Cheers! :-D

  4. Sometimes it does take that confirmation from outside sources to move us. Glad the sequel is on its way.

    1. It's just another part of writing I both love and hate! :-D

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. That first draft can be grueling. For me, the sequel came naturally. I wrote book one as an origin story, so the sequel let me really get into the action. Now the third book in the series has been haunting me for going on three years now, plus I'm doing a rewrite. I like the sound of your series and enjoyed reading your fan experience. Keep it up.

    1. Thanks Toi! For me, the 3rd book is coming along much more easily than the 2nd. How funny that our experiences, though similar, can differ so much. :-D


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