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6 Things Writing a Second Novel Taught Me

1. One novel written does not an expert make. It might be my second novel but, to quote a friend, it's the first time I've written that particular book. There are new characters to develop. New plot problems to sort through. New settings to describe. In short, the experience you thought you got from writing that first novel can quickly fade away in the face of this new set of issues. 2. Being published will not solve all your problems and give your life meaning. It's only as you labor to write that second novel that you realize that's like telling a married person "Oh you're married now. All your problems are over..." Nope. On the contrary. Publishing—like marriage—isn't the ending of something. It's just the beginning.

1. One novel written does not an expert make. It might be my second novel but, to quote a friend, it's the first time I've written that particular book. There are new characters to develop. New plot problems to sort through. New settings to describe. In short, the experience you thought you got from writing that first novel can quickly fade away in the face of this new set of issues.

Marybeth is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before. (Update: Baird won.)

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Guest column by Marybeth Whalen, author of
She Makes It Look Easy (June 2011, DCC Books).
Her first novel, The Mailbox, was released in 2010.
Additionally, she is a member of the Proverbs 31
Ministries writing team, a nationwide speaker to
women’s groups, a wife, and mother of six children.
See her website here or her blogs on
www.southernbelleview.com.


2. Being published will not solve all your problems and give your life meaning. It's only as you labor to write that second novel that you realize that's like telling a married person "Oh you're married now. All your problems are over..." Nope. On the contrary. Publishing—like marriage—isn't the ending of something. It's just the beginning.

3. This novel-writing adventure can take you to some amazing places and introduce you to some inspiring people. What a difference to be writing the second novel while having some of those experiences and associating with those people. The second novel taught me that writing the first novel alone—while necessary—wasn't nearly as fun as writing in community.

4. You still want to find the nearest tall building to leap off when your edits come back. And you will still go to your spouse and ask if there's any way possible to give that advance back. You don't outgrow that with experience. You can still feel just as incompetent as you did with your first novel.

5. You actually know some stuff. You're better than you were when you wrote that first novel. Maybe not at everything you want to be better at. But you've made progress. And you're going to keep learning with every book you write.

6. This writing thing really is a whole lot of fun.
Pursuing your dream never gets old.

Marybeth is excited to give
away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week;
winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You
can win a blog contest even if you've won before. (Update: Baird won.)

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Agent Donald Maass's books on writing
novels have sold tens of thousands of
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