The Trials of the Follow-up

As I mentioned to you guys at the beginning of the year, Siri and I are working on the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin. Or, more accurately, trying to work on the sequel to CoHaR. We’ve been trying to hammer out a plot now for about three months.

And we’re having the worst time. We can’t figure anything out. There’s so many options available that we can’t get anything to gel. What are the character arcs? What is the main plot? How many viewpoint characters do we want/need?

Who knows?

This is a new issue for me. I tend to either write standalones (ala Hidden Worlds or Shards) or planned series where I have an idea of the entire arc of the series. But because the Fractured World is supposed to be a shared universe, Siri and I purposefully left as much open as possible at the end of CoHaR, with the thought that maybe someone else would write a novel in between it and whenever we came back to it.

But no one did, and our own inventiveness has stymied us.

This kind of falls into the “Trap of Success” that you hear talked about sometimes, or the fear of success. Essentially, because you were successful the first time, you have to live up to said success.

(For example, CoHaR has been getting some praise, including being listed on lists of best diverse fiction, like this one, so, you know, things to live up to.)

I have a friend whose first novel did amazing–it was a bestseller, got great reviewers, was optioned for a TV show (which was happening last I spoke with him)–and he’s been having the worst time with the sequel.

The success. Sometimes it gets you in the end.

But anyway.

Hopefully we can get the basics laid down soon so we can get onto the writing (and, let’s be honest, rewriting) of the book. It’s due in its finished form to Turtleduck Press at the beginning of December. So wish us luck!

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