Second Book Angst

I’m busy revising Mik Murdoch: The Power Within for my publisher. After a bit of a shaky start, I think I’m hitting my stride…I think.

The problem is, when I wrote this book, I knew it needed more of a continuous storyline than the previous one. The previous book, Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero is very much an origin story. It is comprised of many little mini-stories that follow a larger plot. This one is more of a big-picture story that has mini-stories in it.

I wrote the second book the way I did because I think it needs it. But, when I was writing it, I was concerned that the people who liked the first one would like it less because it isn’t exactly the same. I still believe it is the book it needs to be, but I also wondered if it started a bit slow.

I’ve read it many times and that concern went away. Well, it mostly went away. Stuff does happen in the beginning, but it isn’t car chases and explosions happening. It is building up with problems showing up that are of a more personal nature. Maybe not as exciting, but still important.

Then, last night I came upon an editorial comment that said essentially, “20% into the book and nothing has happened. Will readers be able to stay engaged?”

Queue feelings of uncertainty once again.

Still, I have done a lot of work on the book and there is more going on than in the first version. I have dropped several new plot threads that I think will pay off big dividends. But, will people still LIKE what I am writing?

I still think so. I may insert one little mini-story in earlier; I have a few ideas that might work.

I just can’t get past my concerns that those people who liked the first will HATE the second. Or, if not hate, then be disgruntled that it isn’t the same book. Unfortunately, those concerns won’t be answered until the book is finished and people are reading it and commenting (or not) on it.



  1. I think you have a handle on the issues. I like the early mini-story idea, but you and the editor know the book better so trust the instincts.

    And yes, when all is said and done the book will be great! 🙂

  2. I understand what you’re going through. I’m going through some of the same issues with my sequel. I know I’m setting things up for an exciting story, but it might not matter if I lose the reader in the first chapters. It all takes time… and a lot of feedback. I’m sure you’ll get it worked out. 🙂

  3. I’m sure I will too. As I have been told, it’s simply writer’s paranoia which I don’t think is entirely a bad thing. It makes us bring our ‘A’ game to whatever we’re writing. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Maybe on top of the paranoia I’m also delusional. 😉

  4. Hi Michell
    I was a professional stand-up comedian for eight years (only stopped because of divorce). The nice thing was that when you tried original material and everyone laughed, you had instant feedback. There was no editor/publisher telling you it wasn’t funny. I’ve written three funny novels (just published as e-books) and I know what you’re going through. I miss the instant confirmation that what I’m doing is working. I’ve got some good reviews (nearly 20!) so I’m feeling a little better. I would just get on with it and send copies to a few friends as you go along, just to make sure they like what you’re doing. I distrust publishers’ opinions – especially after JK Rowling’s experience!! Good luck. Stan

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