Monday, 23 January 2017

The Witch Tears - Second Book Syndrome

Today is the first stop on the The Witch's Tears blog tour (check out the side to see the rest of the stops!). And so, because of this, The Pewter Wolf is thrilled to welcome sister writing duo, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

The Witch's Tears is the sequel to The Witch's Kiss that came out last year and follows almost immediately after. Merry is juggling textbooks, being a witch and rules of the coven and trying to heal herself from the events of Witch's Kiss. Her brother, Leo, is falling apart and Merry doesn't know what to do. And all this make her ache for revenge. So when strangers offer both her and Leo not only friendship but another way to the lives their leading, they wouldn't be foolish not to take it, right...? Be careful what you wish for, for you never know where they will take you...

As a nice way to kick off the tour, Katharine and Elizabeth wrote a piece about the dreaded second book (aka SECOND BOOK SYNDROME!). Insert tense dramatic music here! So, before I hand you over to Katharine and Elizabeth, I would like to thank them both for finding time to write this (know how busy they must be!) and a big thank you to Jess at HarperCollins for asking if I wanted to take part in the tour!

If you wanna check Katharine and Elizabeth out, follow the tour for the rest of the week or check out their website - - or check them out on Twitter (@lizcorr_writes@katharinecorr).  With that all said and done, over to you guys!!!

Ah, the dreaded second novel. It’s a well-known hurdle for writers. The saying goes that everyone has one novel in them, but how do you know if you’ve got more than that?
Our second novel, The Witch’s Tears, is a sequel. Most of the characters were established in the first book: for book two, we didn’t have to talk about their appearance, or their basic characteristics. The key for the existing characters was to keep them developing. There wasn’t a lot of time at the end of The Witch’s Kiss for Merry (our protagonist) and her brother Leo to process what they’d been through, so we needed to explore that properly in the sequel. But there are only two new major characters in The Witch’s Tears, so it was relatively easy to drop in enough satisfying hints about their backgrounds without (we hope) slowing down the pace. 
Much of the world building is also taken care of if you’re writing a sequel. We described in The Witch’s Kiss the coven that Merry is supposed to be a part of, the blending of magic and music the witches use for their spells, the ordinary town where Merry and Leo live. New characters can then provide an opportunity to fill in more of the interesting details. Introducing Finn, a wizard, allowed us to explore the fraught relationship between witches and wizards in our fictional universe.
So far, so straightforward. But – there’s always a but – the second book IS hard, for two reasons.
First, the blank page. You’re back at the beginning again (with characters you know, and a chapter outline in our case, but still). There’s that nagging doubt about whether you can pull it off a second time, whether you can get your word count from zero to (approximately) eighty thousand and still produce something coherent, exciting and fun to read. When you’re starting the first line of the first page, the end of that first draft seems about as accessible as the moon. Oh, and this time round (unlike your first book, written without an agent or a book deal), there’s probably a deadline to worry about too.

No pressure.

Second, you have readers. Obviously, this is wonderful and cause for celebration. People are buying your book! And most of them enjoy it! But this also gives you the opportunity to fret about letting your readers down. What if they don’t like the direction you’ve taken the story? What if they hate the new character that you may or may not have fallen in love with? 
However, we suspect that worrying about your ability and whether people will like your stuff is perfectly normal (and inevitable) for every writer ever, no matter how many books she’s written.
So, is it harder to write a sequel than the first book? Yes. 
And then again, no.
Maybe ask us again in, say, six books time? The one thing we can say for certain is that we love our characters. So harder or not, it’s been a lot of fun. 

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