Second Novel Syndrome, The Difficult Second Novel…

I decided to circumvent the problem of the so-called difficult second novel by finishing off a novel I began writing four years ago instead. I got 42,000 words into this original novel before beginning to flounder, unsure of where to take it.

Now, with my considerable (ahem) experience of having written and published an entire one novel I am confident I can return to this original one and shape it, and have even gone so far as to write a plan for it (and that is certainly a first.)

I do have one slight problem, how on earth am I going to write the bombshell ending? I am rather stumped at the moment. I could easily write a rather ridiculous, all singing, all dancing, OTT, flamboyant ending which would ensure any reader deigning to pick it up to throw it back down in disgust. But I don’t want to do that.ย There are no doubt books on the market which tell me how to write a good explosive ending, but I guess I’m a little protective and want my work to only be mine and come only from me.

But I’m sure it will write itself in the end. Characters tend to take the story wherever they want it to go by themselves.

So all that remains is for me to sit my backside down and actually get on with it.

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12 thoughts on “Second Novel Syndrome, The Difficult Second Novel…

    1. It’s the worst part of writing isn’t it, Ron? Waiting for the will to write to kick in. Sometimes it disappears for months on end and then the excitement begins to bubble. It sometimes takes a few weeks worth of excitement bubbling to get me sat in front of that MS though ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. For me, it’s this looming fear that ‘m going to sail into the high seas of some glorious narrative with the patch over the good eye, and then forget my sextant. Committing to thousands of words and then not knowing how I’m going to resolve something is the worst part. The writing faucet. for me–is always on, though.

        I’m glad I read your book, and your subsequent thoughts about another one. You make this more real to me, and I appreciate it.

  1. It’s sometimes said the next novel lurks under the last one. That’s pretty much been my experience.
    As for a bombshell ending, keep yourself open to a quiet alternative. Some of my favorite symphonies and concertos end that way, rather than with a bang. Do we want to start a list of fiction that does the same?

  2. I’m writing the second book in a three part series, and I’m struggling…I read Kristen Lambs blog -which is crazy good- and she recommended Jack Bickhams ‘scene and structure’ book, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough, lets just say I’m back on track!

  3. Yes: I agree with the quiet ending guy above. I ended up using that for the last book (The Labyrinth Year) – and alternative solution for a series, as a question can always be left trailing. Read the MS, think about the characters. Your ending will present itself.:-) I am deliberating on book number 3: should I go with my first idea, or the one my daughter said would be hot for today?!

  4. I hope you manage to come up with a way to write the ending, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic however you write it! Maybe consider a cliffhanger to lead into a sequel?! That’ll get the book-thrower-downers picking the next one up ๐Ÿ˜‰ x

    Stephanie | ouistephanie.com

  5. Congrats on finishing the first and good luck on the second. I personally thought my second novel was harder than my first to write. I knew I could but I suddenly had a standard that my work had to be measured against. Kinda scary.

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