I recently finished the revision of my first novel and hope to send it back to the editor next month.   But the second novel is in a bad shape, I think.  I read about two thirds of it this evening and found I didn’t want to continue reading  – a very bad sign for a writer.

The story, a psychological thriller set in the UK, addresses what happens when two adults meet for the first time in twenty-five years.  As children, both characters ran from a murder.  The central character, a web designer recently separated from his American wife, has no recollection of the events in his past.  As he renews his friendship with his childhood friend, flashbacks of the murder return to haunt him, leading to confusion and danger.

Sounds like a good story, so what has gone wrong?   Too much cut and pasting scenes, I think.  The potential for truly spine chilling drama is never really developed, although a couple of the scenes scared me a bit. Attempts to improve on some of the previous drafts have had the opposite effect and interrupted the original flow of the story, causing it to become  disjointed.   Neither the present nor the past is ever really developed.  Nor is any viewpoint – a serious sign.

Maybe I’m judging the manuscript too harshly, but I plan to work on the novel away from the main computer file, concentrating on scenes rather than chapters.  I still think the overall story and plot could work. Like before, I will use the open source free novel writing software, Storybook.

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6 thoughts on “My Second Novel

  1. It sounds like an interesting premise, which is always the first step. The fact that your are willing to rework it indicates that you do sense something worthwhile. I hope you regain persepctive on it and can weed through the detrituts.

  2. Thanks very much, tikiman. I’ve reset it in the north of England, Lancashire, and it seems to be moving in an entirely different direction now, one with shape and purpose. Much of it is new material. I’m really enjoying it.

    Thanks again.

  3. Ouch… that’s the worst feeling in the world when you want to stop reading during a revision. Could be you need a break. You just went through an awful lot of revising for your other book. That takes it’s toll. Take a step back, forget about it for a few days if you can. Thanks

  4. Thanks, Adam. I’ve been revising parts of the second novel from an entirely new perspective, placing it in a different location with a distinct history and atmosphere. Also dealing with issues I have strong views on rather than allowing the text to meander like previously. I have a feeling that I’ve finally addressed the issue that never really made sense from the start of the earlier drafts. Too soon to tell, but I’m dealilng with many of the scenes from scratch.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence

  5. Sounds like your completely re-writing. Amazing how time away can change everything, isn’t it? Yet, it also sounds like you clearly see the problems with the novel. I hope it goes great!

    3 months on a revision is not a long time at all. At least not in my life. I hope the editor responds to you quickly this time.

    (I too cannot write in a linear fashion. It needs to be more complex for me.)

  6. Hi Jennifer, thanks. I think a lot of what’s already there could be used in the story; it’s a question of getting the structure right, plus developing the main character (this problem arose in the first novel).

    Hope all your writing is going well,

    lawrence

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