Monday, January 30, 2012

Facing the Fear

This image is dedicated to my dear friend Turtle,
 who is facing some fears of her own.
We're in this together!
It has taken some serious force of will, but I have finally jumped back into working on the sequel to Finding Angel.

"Right now?" you ask. "Seriously? Isn't it due out later this year?"

Yes, yes, and yes.

But hang on. I started scribbling ideas for this book waaaaaaay back when I was writing Finding Angel. We're talking 2007, folks. And in between bouts of editing Finding Angel and writing short stories, I worked on it bit by bit. A chapter here and there. So when I say "finally jumped back" I mean into a manuscript sporting 58,000 words.

Okay, it's less than that now. I've been editing what I've written so far.

Still, you are right. It's been months (many, many of them) since I last looked at the manuscript. I should have jumped back in the day Finding Angel released. I could give you a whole list of excuses right now. Most of them legitimate. But I won't, because I know deep down the reason was fear.

It sounds ridiculous to me, but it's true. I know, I've already proven I can finish a novel. But there is still this odd fear that I can't do it again. That I'll get partway through and my creativity and talent will just dissipate. Gone. Never to return.

Even more ridiculous sounding is my fear of disappointing my "fans." All four of them! Okay, there are more than four :P, but I'm nowhere near NYT bestseller, so let's be honest--it's not like a sucky second novel will be disappointing masses of people. But the ones it would disappoint mean SO much to me.

There has also been the fear that I've mis-remembered what I've written so far. In other words, I'd open up my document and find mindless drivel rather than the brilliance I thought it was when I was writing it. This is nothing to snicker at. We writers all look back on early drafts and wonder what we were thinking. I expect a certain amount of that, but my fear has been that the amount would be daunting.

Fortunately, so far, that has not been the case. I've had a few "eye roll" moments, and a "cringe" here and there, but for the most part, the story and writing are pretty well what I want them to be.

(Aside: A new point of view is added to this novel. Finding Angel is all in Angel's pov, except for a few blurbs from the villain. This one, however, toggles back and forth between Angel and Someone Else. Someone I loooooove writing.)

Lastly, there is fear of the critique and editing process. Yes, I've been through this. Yes, my skin has thickened. Still, this is my heart and soul we're talking about. Bared to someone with a bloodthirsty knife--er, red pen. I know critique will only make this book stronger. But it does so through torture.

It took a while for me to admit to myself that fear was the culprit here. But admitting it allowed me to face it, and move past it. I spent all day Saturday editing. Pages and pages. The fire for this story was still there, and it's now burning even more brightly, I'm happy to say.

I'd heard many times that the second book is the hardest to write. I've seen blog posts by other authors attesting to this fact, and maybe that added to my fear. I now understand where they were coming from. I also know it probably won't stop with this book, but I believe it will get a little easier (otherwise they'd all be saying it's the third book and fourth book and twenty-seventh book that is the hardest). If nothing else, next time I'll know it's fear, I'll know what its ugly face looks like because I've seen it before. No more excuses.


Caprice Hokstad said...

The second book was a little harder than the first, but for me, the third was by far the hardest to START. Maybe I am just mincing words here, but my experience wasn't so much "fear" as utter discouragement. I wasn't afraid when all I had to go on was dreams and illusions. It's when those illusions were shattered by reality that I had problems.

May your reality be better or may you have better skill with the mental gymnastics needed to ignore it.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Actually, I can relate to that, too. I mention disappointing fans, but the other side of that coin is the fact that there aren't all that many as of yet. So I've totally had moments of "why bother?" But, I know I want this series finished, at some point, even if for no one but myself.

And I'm very glad you got over your speed hump, Caprice!

Kessie said...

I'm so glad you're working on the second one! Scared or not, it'll be better than the first and here's why:

1. Your characters are established.
2. Your setting is established.
3. You get to explore all the fun stuff you didn't get to touch on in the first book (like how far Angel's powers go and how important her foster-brother will be).

I know I'm looking forward to reading it! :-)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Aww, Kessie, thanks! Very good points, too :). I do get to play a bit with stuff that I couldn't touch on last time. And reveal some consequences I couldn't go into with Finding Angel.

Oh, and we've got some cool cover ideas in the works...:D

Jeff Chapman said...

So what frightens you more? The unfinished manuscript or the upcoming speaking engagements? At least the public speaking occupies a finite time frame. Manuscripts tend to linger, and linger, and linger....

Kat Heckenbach said...

Jeff, it depends on the moment...