Writing the Sequel

So my new book Bitter Night came out last week. I’ll indulge in a little bit of Shameless Self Promotion below, but before that, an actual post. I’ve been working on the sequel to this book, and it’s one of the hardest books I’ve written. I know where I’m going, but I’ve rewritten the beginning three times now. It’s possible I’ll do it again. The problem is that I’m having a hard time getting the story moving into high gear as quickly as I want to, and that’s all because of backstory. It slows the pacing and it becomes info-dumpy. How much do I need? How much does a reader coming into this book without reading the first need?

The fact is, I don’t know. I have finally realized (and I’ve written a trilogy and series before this so you think I would have figured it out), that I won’t know what’s necessary until I finish the book and come back with a little bit of mental distance. In the end, I may not be able to tell. I may need beta readers or my editor or agent to tell me. But I have to trust my instincts and experience now and I have to keep writing. I can’t revise an empty page and my deadline is looming closer than I would like. So I’m at the point where I have to stop dithering and just write and let the chips fall where they may, and hope they fall into proper place.

Actually, the good thing is that once I reach the point of no time left, my head usually kicks into high gear and the internal critic is drowned out by the panic stricken voice of the creative side of me shrieking the end is nigh! The end is nigh! Clearly I’m already punchy. Sorry about that. But I’m at last making good forward progress. I keep a sign by my computer that says: Abandon All Standards and Write Fast. To me, that translates into get the draft done. The real writing is in the revision, but i can’t revise if I have nothing written. so the sign tells me to get to work and stop worrying.

And now for the Shameless self Promotion. Today, November 3rd, I’m live blogging over at Bitten By Books, and there is a contest where you can win Amazon gift cards, along with an interview with me. Come on over and ask some questions.It starts at noon central time and runs until midnight central time. I hope to see you there.

And about Bitter Night. Here’s a description the first chapter. I hope you enjoy.

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There are 2 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Elias McClellan

    Ms Francis, I hope to hear more on how you manage this crisis as I steal shamelessly. Oh, I’ll help my self to your good sign as well. I think it works for my current conflict.

  2. 2. Chrissy Wissler

    Isn’t that one of those universal writing questions which never goes away and all writers, regardless of how many books they’ve published, must always ask?

    How much information is too much? When is it not enough?

    I love your answer, though. Write the draft, fix it later. You’re right; it’s what revisions are for and the incredible people behind you who want to see this book shine.

    Thanks for sharing with us the trials even published authors face – and for letting us learn along with you.

    I also truly enjoyed your Path books and have no doubt you’ll find your way to the right beginning.

Author Information

Diana Pharaoh Francis

Diana Pharaoh Francis has written the fantasy novel trilogy that includes Path of Fate, Path of Honor and Path of Blood. Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Recently released was The Turning Tide, third in her Crosspointe Chronicles series (look also for The Cipher and The Black Ship). In October 2009, look for Bitter Night, a contemporary fantasy. Diana teaches in the English Department at the University of Montana Western, and is an avid lover of all things chocolate. Visit site.

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