The Difficult Second Novel

The first was difficult enough. Now I’ve embarked upon the second. Normally, a writer will crack on with their second novel immediately after the first; in my case, I’m starting a second novel almost two years after I finished the first draft of Deja Vu. Why the delay? Basically, I wanted to get Deja Vu published. I knew it was good; a work of literature, no. It’s a straight genre piece. But I knew that the story was compelling and, even if I had to swap every badly-chosen word for a well-chosen one, I would eventually arrive at a piece of work that I could be proud of. So instead of writing a second novel, I did another draft of Deja Vu. Then I did another, then another, and another. I was still fiddling with it on the day I sent the final proof to my publisher for printing.

As a part-time writer, this squeezed my time so much that I had none left for a new novel. I contented myself with short fiction and other journalistic or scholarly pieces. But now that Deja Vu is out the door, there is no excuse!

I’m trying to keep to a schedule: 500 words a day, seven days a week. This means I’ll have a first draft complete by July. Things have been running fairly smoothly, but the spanner in the works is the genre: humour. I’ve written a number of humorous pieces in the past and they’ve worked out OK (i.e. they raised a smile). Writing a humorous novel, though – cripes. It’s bloody hard work. We’ll see how it goes, but this one could take even longer. God knows how much humour I’ll have left in me after a day’s teaching. However it turns out, I’ll make progress reports on this blog.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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