Wikipedia defines the sophomore slump as, “an instance in which a second effort fails to live up to the standards of the first effort.”
Like say, the second book of your series, which is about to release in, ohhhhh, maybe TWO DAYS.
Are you afraid of the sophomore slump?
Over a year ago, I talked about the fear of releasing your debut novel (or the demons, in my case, haha) and that was a terror in and of itself. The thing with writing your second novel is now you have a standard—now you have an established world, characters, and rules you have to abide by and hope you can write a sequel to that world as well as the first.
With a first novel, you had plenty of time to sit there, mull it over, rewrite, ponder the arc, motivations, conflicts, etc. The possibilities were endless. Then you pitch it to an agent or editor (or maybe you self-publish and you hire one), they accept it, and it goes through another round of analysis.
With your second, you have a deadline (whether strict or self-imposed) and you move through the story a little faster. You might not analyze it as much since now this fantasy world is very realistic in your mind and your characters are so vivid they’re practically your friends. You suffer, celebrate, weep, and rage with them as you flesh out their experiences. When I try to explain this phenomenon to my husband, I describe it as a trance-like state that becomes stronger and stronger the more you delve into the fantasy world you’ve created.
Frankly, it’s a virtual high.
And for some reason, this ease sparks a wee bit of anxiety in me.
Can the second novel be read as a standalone, so new readers can join the fray?
You hope so, or at least I do.
Can new readers still understand the world, characters, and setting without having to info dump like no tomorrow?
Maybe? *forces confidence into voice* Yes.
Does it have the same energy, passion, and flavor as the first? Did you take it up a notch for your loyal readers and give them something to squee about?
These were the questions I asked myself when I wrote a sequel. It needs to be a standalone, have a smooth transition, and pack a bigger punch—not enough to knock your loyal readers out, but to blow ‘em away a little, and to attract new readers.
And this is what I hope to achieve this week when BLACK BULLET releases. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be riddled with anxiety and checking Amazon and Goodreads a bazillion times a day for a good while afterward, but I hope it’s everything my readers hope for when they one-click that buy button and venture into the dark world I’ve created.
For those who’ve written a sequel, what did you fear most? Were you afraid of a sophomore slump and how did you get past that fear to write another awesome book?
Regardless, it’s on to the next one. And I can’t wait to dive back in. 😀
But in the meantime…
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L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.
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