Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been putting my house in order as far as Little Somerby book 2 is concerned. It’s been on my hard drive in various incarnations for quite a while, mainly unfinished and definitely in the wrong order! I don’t write chronologically, so Scrivener is the most useful thing ever for sorting out the right order for all of the jumbled scenes and chapters I’ve written.
I basically started book 2 as soon as I’d finished book 1, The Second Chance Tea Shop. I knew I wanted to write more about the characters, and I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to them, so I cracked on and wrote about half the story. Then came the submission of book 1, its subsequent acceptance by an agent and then a publisher, and so book 2 ended up being put on the backburner for a bit. However, when I signed the contract for three books with Aria, I then realised I had to get it into some kind of shape, so at the start of 2017 I set myself a 3rd April deadline to get the story finished. As it happened, I took a couple of weeks longer than that, but after a good lot of time at the desk, I eventually felt it was in good enough shape to send to my agent, which I’ve done this week.
So now, here I am, biting my nails again. There seems to be a lot of that in the writing business! Waiting for feedback from my agent for book 2 is a completely different experience from waiting for her feedback on book 1. For book 1, I knew she liked it enough to offer me representation, and so the editing she did felt like refinements, and things to make the book as good as it could possibly be. With book 2, there’s a whole new level of worry for me – will my agent enjoy it? Is it as good as book 1? Is the tone right? Have I written the characters so that they’re consistent with book 1 but have I also moved their stories on enough to sustain another book about them? Have I underwritten? Overwritten? Have I made any glaring continuity errors? And while I’ve tried to make sure I’ve eradicated as many of them as I can see, there are bound to be things I’ve missed.
However, there are also benefits to having had the feedback first time round. I feel as though I can anticipate what some of her comments might be, and also what my publisher’s comments might be, so there have been quite a few occasions during my own first round of edits that I’ve been able to iron out potential issues before they arise. For example, swapping points of view too quickly, or laying the ground work early on for a later event. I’ve no doubt that there is plenty more to do, but I feel like, having been through the process once, I’ve learned lots that I can apply this time.
In the mean time, I’m already starting to think about possible ideas for book 3. There are some nebulous thoughts running through my head, and characters I haven’t quite put names to yet, but I’m sure, just like all the other names, they’ll come to me as I write. And if they don’t, well, I’m giving myself permission to cut loose and go back to fanfiction land for a few days. I still hang out there from time to time when the original fiction needs a bit of space, and I’ve got an idea or two for a vignette or three that might have to be written (hence the gorgeous pic of Theo and Shailene at the top of this post!). One thing’s for certain, being an author (calling myself that will never get old!) can, at times, involves nerves of steel, and think I might well be fortifying myself with a lot of chocolate and Prosecco while I wait for the feedback for book 2. Fingers crossed it’s a keeper, and I won’t be weeping too heavily into my wine glass when it does ping back into my inbox! Wish me luck…