Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writing Book Two

The latest guest post in my second-book series is by M. Flagg, who discusses growth and challenge in the sophomore-book process:

Writing Book Two
by M. Flagg

I write paranormal romance, which gets a bit spicy at times. But when I started my first novel, I didn’t know what genre it would fall into. I also didn’t know it’d be the beginning of a trilogy, which meant these characters would have to grow, change, and then grow again. Each book would stand alone, yet the arc of the story had to be told with the same dark tone. Author voice had to be distinct, yet remain cohesive for over a thousand pages.

Every book ever written comes from someplace deep within the author. Although you nourish the creative process, your characters will speak to you. They often have lots to say. Sometimes, like unwrapping a gift, you have no idea what’s really inside each of them, but nevertheless, you can’t help but peel away the layers. For me, writing the second novel was easier than writing the first. It’s also true that when doing something a second time, one tends to avoid many of the pitfalls you muddled through the first time. By the time I started the second novel, I knew much more about fiction writing and storytelling. Formatting, point of view, character development and writing style made more sense— after having been a stubborn novice about all these things when I started Retribution! And although I queried my first novel like a madwoman, it was rejected. Many times. By many big houses.

Those rejections played a huge part in writing Consequences, the follow-up to Retribution! My author voice had grown stronger. I knew, more or less, where I wanted to take my characters, what challenges would string out my hero and force my heroine to fall deeper in love with him. I had already complicated the mystically enhanced vampire’s path with a human teenage son. The troubled child had issues, which in turn gave the main character more reason to seek redemption, but it wouldn’t be easy.

For six months, I wrote furiously. After two months of editing, I sent Consequences out to four small pub houses that offered e-book and print publication. I had a better understanding of the paranormal romance genre, and targeted four reputable houses. Then, I waited for four rejections. I received only two, along with two offers to publish Consequences. I signed with The Wild Rose Press, and then my editor requested Retribution! I signed another contract and promised her a third novel. She gave the series a name: The Champion Chronicles. Book Three, His Soul to Keep, released in July.

The reason to write book two is this: Never give up; never give in. Believe in yourself. Write the second book and then a third! Learn everything you can about writing, your genre, and the publishing industry itself. Join a supportive critique group with published and unpublished authors. Share your work and listen for ways to make it better. Above all, polish that catchy query letter and locate the right market for your work. The way you approach writing a second book is important. Keep your author voice strong and imbed the mood in every sentence. If you write a series, make each book flow like a seamless ribbon. Write as passionately as when you wrote the first book and you’ll achieve success.

M. Flagg’s back-story about how she came to write three paranormal novels is quite possibly more compelling than any fantasy she has written. For more info on her and her books, please visit

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me on your blog, Jenn. Writing a series is an awesome challenge, a special joy as well. ~ Mickey Flagg