The Second Novel Mambo: It Begins!

So I’ve started writing my second book, which is a sequel to We Could Be Villains.

It definitely isn’t easier to write a second book after you’ve written a first. You still have to do an absolute crap-ton of research, and outlining, and prepping. (Unless you aren’t the outlining type. But I’ve discovered that I totally am.) So I guess right now, it seems like it’s just as hard as the first.

I kept a list of general ideas for a month or so. (I’ve discovered that notebook apps like Evernote and such just don’t work for me; instead, I keep an email in draft, addressed to nobody, and write in that.) The idea-gathering period is a strange one. Sometimes I’ll just follow a link and find something I like, whether it’s an article about a new technology or a strange news story. Other times, I’ll be hit during the day with an idea, so I’ll jot something down in that draft email.

But what happens most of all is that I’ll have an idea, or a thought, or come up with a snippet of dialog, just as I’m trying to get to sleep. There have been nights where I’ve had to grab my tablet a half-dozen times off the nightstand so I could tap out an awkwardly-worded and usually-misspelled thought with my hammy thumbs. Scott usually laughs at me, and it disturbs the cats.

Once I get enough ideas, I start building my outline. I should really take a look at one of Scott’s outlines, because I bet they’re totally different than mine. I build mine with one paragraph per chapter, with a bunch of short sentences about what things/actions/discussions I want to tackle in that chapter. As I ask myself questions or have places that need to be filled in, I highlight them. And at first, there are a LOT of highlighted things. But I stew over those, and usually come up with answers to those questions, again, as I’m trying to drift off to sleep.

You’re probably seeing the theme to my creativity, which can be kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve come up with entire conversations in my head, and had to get up out of bed to go type them out at the computer, because it’s just too much for my tippy-tappy thumbs. If I could live my life in that twilight of just-about-to-fall-asleep, I’d be more prolific than Stephen King.

I’ve actually started writing with a couple of highlighted questions left on my outline. But they aren’t until late in the book, and I have high hopes that some sleepy-time thoughts will occur between now and when it’s time to actually write those chapters. There’s also the possibility that something I come up with earlier in the book will present itself as a perfect thing to call back later on, and that can take the place of one of those remaining questions.

So, outline in hand, I’m diving in. Last time, I averaged over 2,700 words per day, which meant that I pretty much didn’t do anything in the evenings besides eat, write, then sleep for a month. (Good thing it was June, when there were slim pickings for good TV.) Not sure if I’m going to hit those same kind of numbers this time, but if it takes me more than 30 days to write the first draft, so be it.

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