I had everything lined up as I approached my second book: the skills, the schedule, the mindset, the story. I thought after writing one book, a second book would be a walk in the park. However, as I came to the end of my three-year project of writing the sequel to Junkland, I began to reflect on why this book, The Lost Soul, was such a monster.
Below are my reasons why this book was so difficult to write.
I Wrote Three Books in One
Although Junkland had four point of view characters, the overall story followed a linear line; one chapter fed into the next. However, The Lost Soul was a different beast; this time I only had three point of view characters, but no linear line. As the story progresses from beginning to end, each point of view character spreads farther and farther into his or her own thread. So overall, I had to write three stories in one, each being the length of its own novel.
I Moved Abroad
After writing Junkland, I made it my goal to quit my full-time engineering job and move to Spain to teach English. By doing this, I thought I’d have a lot more time to write with the slow Mediterranean lifestyle.
I was wrong.
Almost every weekday in Washington, D.C. I woke up at 6 A.M. to write. However, in Spain, the sun sometimes doesn’t rise until 9 A.M. Also, the apartments I lived in never had any heating. So imagine when it’s forty-five degrees outside. Well, yes…it’s going to be forty-five degrees in your apartment. Now picture waking up to a cold, dark tundra at six in the morning with frozen fingers.
“No, thank you,” my body said.
I also sacrificed a lot by moving abroad. I no longer had money. I no longer had family and friends close by. I no longer had security. Instead, I had a world of beauty I never knew had existed. My mind felt like I was a baby again, relearning everything. Suddenly my mind was filled from exploring new music, languages, books, movies, television series, culture, women. All of this was positive change; however, it had slowed my writing down as my brain was preoccupied with new, filling experiences.
My Writing Business Expanded
While writing Junkland I had one focus: to write Junkland. However, after the book was published, my writing business grew. Projects popped up left and right from managing the creation of the Junkland audiobook, to creating my poetry series, A Poetry Collection of Growing Up. I also began managing my own literary magazine, The Kraken’s Spire, and working as a freelance copywriter. All this, plus teaching English and writing the sequel…My poor brain.
My Writing Has Improved
Someone once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I feel that applies to my writing power. As my writing skills grow, so does the responsibility of tackling bigger projects. My dialogue is more in depth, the setting more descriptive, the narration more dramatic, the story more complex. All of these add up to a larger page count. And the longer the book, the more time spent reading and editing.
On average, reading and editing a chapter of my final draft of my sequel took anywhere from one to two hours. Now, multiply that by 80 chapters. That’s 80 to 160 hours of work just for one single read through.
The Book Grew Beyond What I Had Imagined
At one point, I was tackling a 300,000-word document. A document filled with hundreds of comments made by myself, my beta readers, and my editor. There was even a notes section long enough to be its own short story. Every time I opened this document, I was hit with anxiety. It seemed the more the file size grew, the more the stress grew with it.
Overall, writing a sequel is difficult. I learned that each book is different and should be tackled in its own way. But if you are aware of this, and have a solid plan in mind, you will be ready. Now, I can only pray that book three will be a walk in the park…lol…
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