Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Second Books Aren't First Books

I've written 3 second books in 3 different series now, and barring FATE FORGOTTEN*, they've all felt impossibly more difficult than the book that came before. First books build relationships, they weave together the tapestry of characters and create the threads of plot and conflict and challenge. First books, it seems for me, are more about character and relationships, rife with internal conflicts more than external -- Arianna and Bolthorn, Eve and Garrit/Eve and Thor/Eve and Adam, Helen and Theseus. For me, that's the easy part. The part I love most. I love bringing these characters together and watching them figure things out, building relationships and finding the support they need to conquer the troubles they're forced to face.

But second books are about the pressures of the outside world upon these characters after they've had their taste of happiness and found their strength. The tension and conflict is less present BETWEEN them, and more focused AGAINST them as a unit. There are still tender moments, still challenges that drive them apart, but the story ultimately isn't about their relationship with one another anymore. It's about how, with the support of one another, they will face the future, and all the challenges and conflict entailed. In second books, my characters aren't saving each other anymore -- they're saving the(ir) world.

For Bolthorn and Arianna, this means turning back. Returning to Gautar to face the growing threat they left behind, to save the friends and family who took grave risks for their sake, and protect both their peoples. For Helen, it means struggling, still, to face her fate without the hope of peace she had thought within her grasp. Bolthorn and Arianna, Theseus and Helen -- they have very different paths to walk, but the struggle of writing the book wasn't much different at all!

For me, writing the external conflict, the world-saving and the battle-scenes -- it's a frustrating challenge. And three books in, it hasn't gotten any easier.

*FATE FORGOTTEN builds a different relationship along side the external conflict, so it was less problematic for me to write. I also originally wrote FORGED BY FATE and FATE FORGOTTEN as one book, which was then belatedly broken into two parts, so it wasn't the same experience at all.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
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  1. As I finish up my first sequel in a trilogy I really...really appreciated this post. Thanks for the insight and confirmation. :)

    1. YES! it is SO different and so challenging in a different way! I'm glad you found it at the right time!


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