Words by Daniel Smith
I've spent the last month diving back into the sequel of my novel. In so doing, I've had little brain space for tweets and blogs - I'm sure you understand what that's like. The nature of the sequel is/will be quite different from its predecessor, as well, and I've had to acquaint myself with a totally different narrative personality (male and intense, as opposed to female and a bit naive) and backstory. It is an intricate process not only familiarizing myself with the new voice but building the vector, or plot line, on which the novel will be going. It's like juggling. Or trying to pat your head while rubbing your stomach.
The hard part isn't so much writing from the point of view of a man, mercurial and deeply wounded, but keeping the outside world (and my worry over my place in that world) decidedly OUT of my writing. Reading Jeanne Kisacky's post on "What Not to Think About When Your Writing" on Writer Unboxed this weekend definitely helped me on that score: don't think about your life; don't think about the industry. She says "the fastest way to end creativity and lose the tenuous hold you might have on the gorgeous will-o-the-wisp which is your perfectly told story: think about the state of the industry and how it is all crashing down (in some form or another) while you write." Yup. Been there. Done that. Not pretty.
It is difficult to ignore the fact that my first novel is still on submission and that I'm still waiting for someone (anyone!) to request a partial manuscript. (Come on! Just one! Please! Do you ever get to the point where you think you're annoying God with all of your prayers?) Logic would dictate - hey, should you be writing the sequel before the first novel is, you know, "out there"? Logic is wrong. Writing, in fact, has very little to do with logic or common sense or whatever it is. The fact is, I've long come to terms with the fact that this story demands to be told: Dorian's story and Sive's story. This is my vector, and I know it's right, even if the outside world makes me want to "cry havoc" or curl up in a ball under my desk.
The important thing is that I'm writing and learning how to handle this purgatorial agent search. In a few years time, I'll look back on this as just part of my education.