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.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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