Lately I’ve been feeling pretty ‘bleh’. I’ve been motoring along on my second novel–thirty thousand words in three weeks is a pretty good average. I haven’t skipped a single day, but I’ve whined a lot inside my head. I’ve whined and I’ve worried and I’ve doubted myself, and it’s making me a total crank.
They say the second novel is always the hardest, whoever ‘they’ are. But I believe them. SEED has been doing pretty well for a debut release. It’s only been on the market for a little over two weeks and it’s held a steady place on the Kindle Top 100 Occult list, only falling off once or twice before jumping right back on again. Overall I’m thrilled with the response I’ve been getting… so why the sour face?
My second book is tentatively called The Neighbors–that may change, it may hold. Honestly, I really like the title. If you know it’s horror, you immediately get a feel of what’s to come. But there are things that worry me, things that I’ve been shoving to the side because if I let them get to me, I’ll probably abandon the entire project (definitely not an option).
SEED starts off very in-your-face. You’re on edge from the the very first page. The Neighbors has a gradual lead-up, it has a lot more backstory… in essence, it feels a lot more like a Stephen King novel; lots of character development, lots of history, a slower pace. And while I’m actually okay with the change, it makes me wonder whether my audience will be.
My fears: What if it’s slow? What if it sucks? What if it’s boring? What if it won’t compare? None of this should be in my head right now, but it is… because now there’s expectation. Now, there’s this other book that’s gaining an audience and what if I let them down?
It’s enough to make a girl, well, moody.
Right now there’s absolutely nothing to do about this little problem. The way I work, I don’t discuss what I’m writing, I don’t ask people for input… so until the damn thing is finished, which will take another six weeks, I’m going to have to suck it up and stop being such a dumb baby.
Because that’s what I am, a dumb baby. Look at me and my dumb baby face.
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12 thoughts on “Ania The Grouch: The 2nd Novel Blues”
What if it’s your greatest work? What if it’s the life changer we’re all hoping for when we start writing? What if it makes you the next Stephen King? What if’s don’t always HAVE to be bad….
I know it’s frustrating and sometimes even scary, but you have something that a lot of writers don’t…..so don’t hide it. You deserve for the world to clammer for you and the world deserves to read your work.
Sorry again for the lecture.
I think I’m going to make you my official cheering squad. 🙂
I felt the same way trying to get the third book in my “I Zombie” trilogy going. The first two came out of me like a lightning storm and then the third hit and I stumbled and stuttered — until I finally got it going. Fret not, it’ll come. Loving Seed by the way!
Self-doubting is a fairly normal occurance in everyday life, I think.
I wouldn’t worry about the specifics of what you write about here regarding the next book (Of course, I haven’t read anything from The Neighbours, so if it blows up in your face, feel free to say you told me so :P)..
But I would love to read something of yours with a more leisurely pace towards the horror. I liked your character work and general ambience in Seed. More chances for you to show off your skills is all good in my book 😉
Thanks Mikkel. That’s very reassuring. I’ll keep that in mind as I push through. 🙂
This post was encouraging, however, I also feel you pain. I am yet to finish a novel. I have recently started, again, after my 3rd or 4th start. But this time i feel i really have something as it is a story that i have played and replayed in my mind 1000’s of times over the last few years. Please carry on as you sound like you have a lot to offer.
Thank you, Adam. 🙂
Ania, I wish I read as often as I would like to, but I can’t due to my 11 hour day job, not to mention all of the PR stuff that we have to engage in. I started reading “Seed” the other day. I’m only 20% in at the moment, but I really like it. If your readers end up loving your book, they’ll come back for another offering and give you the benefit of the doubt. Trust them!
Good luck to you.
Thanks, Jimmy. That’s good advice. I’ll try to push all these worries aside and trust my readers (and my gut)… and we’ll see how it goes. 🙂
Be true to yourself, and your writing. Ania, you are amazingly talented – I don’t know how anyone who has read SEED can pass up your next work, so just WRITE IT ALREADY! And furthermore, to compare yourself to Stephen King with your long drawn out character development and pacing, and think that will somehow work against you.. you’re crazy. Keep writing. We’ll read it, we promise!
Second-novel doubt is a common phenomenon, even more so if the first has done well, because for every Dennis Lehane or Michael Connolly who consistently come out guns blazing, you have an Alice Sebold, whose second novel was a commercial and critical disaster.
It is, quite simply, something you cannot afford to worry about. The self-doubt (which, unfortunately, will show up with every novel, not just the second) is something that, like negative reviews, you just have to learn to ignore. Shut the door on it, and lose yourself in the story, in the characters. Trust them to tell their own story with you along for the ride. Remember what you love about writing, and don’t write solely with the readers in mind. If you write for their expectations alone, you’ll fail. Write for you. It’s your world you’re creating. The readers will love it if you’ve been true to it, and yourself.
And good luck!
Kealan Patrick Burke
p.s. And from one author to another, SEED was fantastic. You’ve got the goods, lady.