Friday, February 13, 2009

Another round of revisions....

My writing pal, Maggie, is a saint. She has spent the last three weekends plowing through Greenwood Girls with red pen in hand. We've been meeting each week to discuss her feelings on how the book is progressing. I've been incorporating her suggestions and I have to say, the book feels ready. Once I get through this round of revisions, that is.
I'm happy with the plot.
I feel satisfied that I have done my best writing.
But is there room to improve?
Absolutely.
It's this knowledge that a manuscript can always be better that makes it so hard to submit.
But I need to bite the bullet, finish this round and then let it go.

Big sigh.

Next Step...Book II???
I've heard many editors say, "Never mention that you have a sequel." Why do they say this exactly? Is it a bad thing to want to write a series? That's exactly what I want to do. I love my characters in Greenwood Girls believe me, they have stories to tell! In fact, I dream about them all the time.I've begun a Greenwood Girls Book II, but used some of the plot lines in Book I, so I'll have to scrap my ideas and come up with new ones. The very idea of beginning another book is so tantalizing, I get giddy.

So to all you series writers out there...
When were you "allowed" to dream up book II?
Did you know it would be a series when you wrote the first one?
Did you intentionally lay down the plot lines in the first book, in hopes there might be a second? Is it expected that the second book be a stand alone?
...so many questions...

Have a great long weekend everyone!

11 comments:

  1. Go ahead and write it - but remember that any changes you end up making in book 1 will most likely affect book 2 - so be ready to make changes as needed.

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  2. I normally write plot lines for book two into book one after having written a draft of it first.

    Yes - I normally plan on sequels. How do people wrap something up in one book anyway :)

    Have fun!

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  3. Thanks, Christine. Making changes is definitely something I'm used to.

    PJ. That's clever. So, does this mean there is a sequel to the m/s we're reading now? Hope so!

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  4. I think the reason it's not recommended to mention a sequel when you're querying is to avoid giving off the I-have-15-unpublished-masterpieces-stored-under-my-bed vibe. But if you're able to sell someone on the first book and already have a second one ready to go, that's just a bonus!

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  5. Yes, Sarah, I suppose it does come down to hyping oneself without merit. Although, wouldn't it be great to have a stack of m/s under the bed?!

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  6. One thing I've learned is there isn't anything "usual" about publishing. What works for one writer didn't work for another. I think if you follow your heart and your passion it will oooze through your prose and make any agent/editor excited to represent/publish your stories. Go for it. And, congrats on being, oh, so close to finishing. A BIG hello to Maggie, too! I can't wait to say "I knew you when..."

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  7. Maggie is an awesome editor -- I've experienced it :^)

    I love series books. When you fall in love with a character, you want to read more about them. The book I have with a publisher right now has a sequel waiting in the wings.

    Good luck!

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  8. That's how I feel as well, Sherrie. I never want the feeling to end...
    Laura: So close, baby! Book one is almost a wrap up.

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  9. All I know is that I tied up so many things in my first book (including the death of the protagonist's love) that there was no room at all for a sequel, and when I wanted to write one I couldn't. I say go for it all! And get Book One in the mail!

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  10. Thanks, Val. Your words are golden.

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  11. It depends on the book and the project.

    HEX BREAKER, my first Jain Lazarus book, was supposed to be a one-off, but while it was going through production, the characters kept at me and now it's a six book series (second book slated to come out this spring).

    Several of my pieces have been developed with an eye to the series, although I think it's important (as a reader speaking) for each book to stand alone somewhat, while fitting into the overall mythology of the series.

    Go with your gut. The success of the first book will have a lot to do with whether or not any other book in the series is picked up, so concentrate on that book. If it's meant to be a series, it will be pretty clear within the book, even if the book can stand alone.

    I'm sure you'll get lots of different advice as to whether or not to mention it in the query. Go with your gut. Your gut will always lead you true.

    I think it's best to be as upfront as possible with your potential agent or editor, because you don't just want to be published, you want to find the RIGHT publisher, someone who believes in your work, not just a single piece.

    My two cents.

    The YA that's coming out this summer was written as a stand-alone, too, but I let my editor know that, if readers want to see more from these characters, I'd consider another book. Or, we might keep it as a stand-alone.

    Meanwhile, I'm working on a YA series, where I'm sketching out the whole series before I submit the first book, and I'll be very upfront about it in the query.

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