On Writing Book 2

Picture3Second books are supposed to be hard, right? All that expectation to meet. Knowing how hard the sucker can be to finish. Imagining others reading over your shoulder every step of the way. Right?

Well, no, actually. Something rather strange is happening. You may have gathered from my previous post that Hachette Australia are publishing my debut novel, Ryders Ridge, early next year, which is awesome. And so, while the publication process is going on, I’m working on a second book, with the working title Iron Junction. And the project is neither drowned in expectation, nor insurmountably difficult, nor burdened by imagined readers at my shoulder.

How so? Part of it is what I’ll call ‘unexpected genuineness’. In the past, I’ve always written with a kind of steely barrier between myself and the page. I never used writing as catharsis. In fact, I really had to be on the even keel to get any words down. But not this time. I am feeling everything in this book, and I seem to have some kind of bridle on the hyperemotional thought space where it can be directed into word production. These characters are shards of me thrown into some magical supersaturated liquid (a potent brew of wise advice from more experienced writers, my own experiences, and blood from a longing heart). As with Ryders Ridge, I’m writing about things that I actually experienced. Emotionally. And while I have actually experienced the settings of these stories, the emotional part is the key to making it real. I finally understand ‘write what you know’. (An earlier article about this here).

Where has this come from? I have a pretty good idea. The last two years have been incredibly difficult, personally speaking. I may blog about that sometime later (much later). Let’s just say it started with the Brisbane floods, a great watery catalyst, whose effects are still bouncing off every surface like a huge fracking sonar, mostly due to disruption of ‘home’. I wrote an oddly prophetic post about it on what I later learned was a grand watershed day. Life is strange. And wonderful.Encouragement cat

But that is only part of the story. What else is helping? A few things, I think. Firstly is the fact this isn’t really book 2 at all, but book 5. I’m never thinking ‘what if I can’t do this again?’ because I have done it four times before. Combined with this is that I’ve worked on a productive word ethic that doesn’t depend on me feeling like writing (and works despite the amount of YouTube I watch … oh god, just discovered Honest Movie Trailers). So, I can get lots of words down if I need to, which is all clay on the wheel. My goal is to finish the draft by the end of January (which is about 4 working weeks away), to give it a good rest before editing.

Of course, there is plenty of room for it all to go pear-shaped from here. What’s that I hear? Hubris? Nah, it’s alright. I can control what I can (and I think that’s enough to get a decent book finished, and edited) and if nothing else goes to plan, that’s just the biz. And I still love it.

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About Charlotte Nash

Writer and editor, loves Australia

Posted on December 4, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That kitty is HILARIOUS

  2. Hi Charlotte You’re certainly sounding very cool about book 2. Great news about Ryders Ridge and Hachette – you seemed to slip that news in quietly a bit earlier and it almost passed me by. Overtaken by yours and Bek’s news about GenreCom perhaps. These latest books seem to be heading in a new direction for you from where you were at the QWC/Hachette workshop – I can’t detect a whiff of steampunk (which I had to google after I met you 🙂

    • Hi Darryl! Yes, these books are a slightly different tack from where I started writing. They tend to have a core of memoir (inspired by my experiences working in these areas of Australia). I’m still writing spec fic however – I have an urban fantasy romance manuscript out in the world, and working on ideas for a post-cyberpunk and streampunk/cyberpunk crossover to write next year 🙂 I tend not to think of them in terms of genre though … all just stories 🙂

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