Writing Wednesdays: How to start writing your second book

Writing one book is hard enough, so in this post I share some advice on how to start writing your second book.

So you wrote a book! Amazing! I’m so proud of you, and you should be proud of you, too. And hopefully, you’ve already read this Writing Wednesdays post about what to do when you’ve finished your book (I highly recommend editing it!) and are thinking about writing your next one.

And, I mean, that can be really intimidating. I’m gonna call it Second Book Syndrome: when you’re still on that high from finishing Book One, and thinking about starting Book Two, but something’s stopping you.

Part of the trick, the solution, is finding out what’s stopping you, and then getting over that.

Maybe you’re worried that this book won’t be as good.

Now whether you posted Book One online and it got a great reception, or you were just really proud of it, it’s understandable that you might be nervous. I mean, the second novel I posted on Wattpad, Rolling Dice, did nowhere near as well as The Kissing Booth. And hey, it happens. You can’t hit a home run every time.

Maybe you just don’t know where to start.

I hate that feeling when you want to write, but just don’t know what to write. If you’re stuck for new ideas, try reading this guest Writing Wednesdays post by Alice Oseman for help. Try reading some books, watching some movies… See if anything inspires you.

You might also like this post on how to deal with writers’ block.

It can also help to keep notes of any ideas you get when inspiration does strike; for example, if you’re in the middle of writing one book and get the idea for another, jot down some notes to come back to later.

If you’re working on a series:

The first thing to do is read back over Book One. Now as I said, hopefully you’ve already taken my advice from this post and edited it. I don’t mean to read back over to fix up again – and believe me, you’ll be tempted. There are always things you want to change about your book. So save it as a PDF, print it, or whatever. Don’t go back through to edit. Go back through to get back into the story.

Make notes of the main plotlines, so that you don’t forget about any of them, and the subplots. Make notes of any plot holes, or potential plot holes, so you can try to amend them – either in the next book, or that book at a later date. Then work from those notes and jot down ideas. You might like to take this opportunity to plot the whole of Book Two, or maybe not. That’s up to you.

If you want to work on a stand-alone novel:

(Hey, me too!) Again, it’s worth going back through Book One – for inspiration and not for edits. What do you think you did well? What did you like about it most – the characters, the genre, the tone? Have a think about the things you liked/think you did well, and start brainstorming. If it’s the characters and their development and the setting you liked, try something similar in Book Two. If you decide you hated the genre, try something else this time. The world is your oyster, right?

When it comes to your second book, whatever it may be, try and forget about all the pressure you’re putting on yourself. Remember why you wrote that first book – because you love writing, right?

Don’t forget that feeling.

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