Friends, I need to chat for a moment about edits.
I heard a lot about the dreaded second book. How hard it is to write. The worries about if it be as good as your first book. The pressures of writing to a deadline if you have a contract.
I believed all those warnings, I did. But I don’t think I was prepared for just how hard it would be.
It didn’t help that on top of a deadline and performance pressure we were hit with a deadly global pandemic. A fraught presidential election and insurrection. Countless examples of racial injustice. Writing fiction at times felt both pointless and frivolous when so many others were suffering so badly.
But write I did. I crafted an outline, with the help of my agent and editor, and went for it. I thought it would be so much easier this time with a road map. I knocked out 70,000 words and a rough first draft in about six months.
And then we figured out that the book wasn’t working at all. I tried to resist it at first, but alas, it just wasn’t fixable. I cried. I threw things. I said some mean and snotty things about myself.
And then I sucked it up and tossed it all out and started again.
But now I was severely behind in my timeline. No one else seemed to think this was a problem. My agent and editor were like, “Oh, you got this. No worries.” My husband was like, “You’ll be fine.” I was like: “HOLY SHIT I’M DOOMED THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK I’M MOVING TO A REMOTE ISLAND AND HIDING UNDER A BLANKET FOR FOREVER.”
But then I sucked it up and started writing. Again. And again I got about 10,000 words in and realized I needed to change the point of view.
I cried. I threw things. I said mean and nasty things about myself.
You can sense the cycle here. Needless to say, it never really got easier. I did finally find the POV I needed. The story got tighter and tenser and more suspenseful. I threw in some crazy stuff that I love–like Halloween, like creepy urban legends, like cultish friend groups. I cursed some more and cried some more and all through it my editor, my agent, my husband, my friends were like, “You’ve got this.”
(Moral of the story here: Surround yourself with some good people.)
I wrote another 70,000 words. More than that, if you count all the scenes I threw out. I edited those words. I edited it more. And again and again. My eyeballs fell out of my head a few times. I had to start PT for my shoulder and neck issues. I haven’t watched much TV in a year unless you count Murder, She Wrote (and you should always count Murder, She Wrote.)
And this morning I finally turned in the book for galleys. It will still go through copy editing and proof reading, and yes, I’ll have more edits to do. But it’s there, it’s done. People will read it. (Hopefully some will like it).
I. Did. It.
But yeah, what they say is true. Writing the second book really sucks.