To Write Book Two, Or Not To Write Book Two

That is the question, i miei amici.

So, when I wrote the first draft of the original incarnation of FRACTURED RADIANCE, my plan was not to write the second unless it got picked up for publication. The idea behind it was, if the novel didn’t get picked up, I wouldn’t “waste my time” (oh, naive Kris!) writing the second one.

However, part of me still likes that plan, but not because I consider it a waste to write the second book of a series that might not ever get published. Rather, it’s due to the fact that I have so many dang book ideas that are just clamoring to be written. And if I decide to write Book Numero Dos (which TOTALLY has a title, and did before Book One even did), I might not get to draft that Book TBA this year, the one I mentioned in my Schmesolutions post. And I have been sitting on that idea for over a year now. So yeah, I really want to get to it.

So the answer sounds simple, right? Just wait to right Book Two until (IF) I get a publishing contract. But Book One and Book Two are now connected in so many ways. I’ve had to juggle what to reveal in Book One, while planning on what to reveal in Book Two. But I know if I wrote Book Two before Book One is completely ready, I would have a better idea of what to reveal in Book One. I wish I could explain how this all works, but I can’t because that’s part of the fun of this series. (I hope that wasn’t confusing as all get out! It’s early … ish … ) So now I have a big draw to write Book Two.

Plus it’s going to be a really fun book.

But I’m soooo excited for Book TBA!


(Also, I can’t work on two novels simultaneously. It’s not shifting voices that trips me up. It’s the emotions. I have a hard time unplugging my emotions and mind from one set of chars, and then connecting as deeply with another, and then back and forth. I get the best results when I draft or revise one book at a time.)

SO! Now I want to hear from y’all: If you are writing or have written a series, did you go ahead and plow to future books without a publishing contract? Why or why not?

Help a sista out, yo!

I mean, please. :)

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I write speculative fiction inspired by mythos from around the world, complex family dynamics, and my own experiences living with mental illness. After earning my BA in Linguistics from Brigham Young University in 2008, I received my MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in 2012. I live in Denver, where my husband and I spend countless hours chasing our three young sons (and sometimes catching them!). I collect tarot decks, dye my hair mermaid colors, and procrastinate by decorating my home. My debut novel, Feathers Sharp as Knives, releases on May 2, 2023.

8 thoughts on “To Write Book Two, Or Not To Write Book Two

  1. Well, I wrote 2.5 manuscripts before even sending out queries on Obviously-Not-Ready-for-Publishing-Prime-Time Book Number Uno, so what do I know? Maybe you should ask So-Crates.

  2. My legit response is: some stories you have to write when they come to you. You cannot wait and you cannot worry about publishing or no publishing. When a story pounds on your door (or in your head), demanding that you write, who are you to refuse? It was seven years before Because of Winn Dixie finally got off some editor’s desk and onto the printing presses. It was a great story before the first letter was typed and a great book the minute the last word was written.

  3. I have no experience with the whole series thing, but in my inexperience, I’d say stick to the series and try to get those same emotions and plot points out in one go. You’ll still have your characters fresh in your mind and that will probably help you get deeper into their stories.

    If you think of things for your new WIP, jot them down and come back to it later when you can give your full attention! I’m sure it’s hard to wait, but I’d bet that your series would feel more cohesive if you worked on them as a unit.

  4. Actually, I’m in the same boat. I’m about to finish Book One and I was going to go ahead and finish my NaNo but…I’ve got all these IDEAS for Book Two and I have the MOMENTUM.

    I’m just going to go ahead and write Book Two. Like you said, it’s helpful to have the story arc in mind so when we’re revising our respective Book Ones, we know what we need to include.

    Anyway. I haven’t written a series (yet), but my vote is WRITE BOOK TWO.

    Besides, if that’s where your heart is, you’re just going to end up doing it, anyway =)

  5. I just finished Book 1 and technically there could be a Book 2…but I have this GREAT (I mean I think it´s great) idea for another book and I have scenes writing themselves out in my head while Book 2 is not at that stage in my mind yet…
    Sounds a tad complicated :D
    Bottom line: I´m going with what is developing in my head and in my hear. As Stephanie said, that´s what we end up doing anyway :D

  6. I have plans of making my current WIP into a trilogy, but don’t plan to write the second or third book until I have a contract. But I will likely write an outline of the second and third books, because having an outline of later books in a series is usually required for multiple book contracts anyway.

    That being said, if you want to write your second book, I say follow your muse. I have written some complete and total crap in the past because I thought it was what I was “supposed” to be writing. If you want to write this book and know it can’t sell unless you first sell your earlier book, so what. Writing is fun, and it should be fun. If you can find a way to get paid to do it that’s just an added bonus. For now, don’t be afraid to write what you feel called to write.

    Oh, and just to make this answer even longer and more confusing, if it were me and I had two books that I wanted to write as you have indicated, I’d hold back on the revisions. Polishing and revising a book can easily take two or three times longer than writing the original draft. At least it does for me, but you’ve seen how crappy my first drafts can be. So if you need to write the first draft of your book two before you move onto the other project you’re pondering do it. You can go back always go back and revise your book two after you get a contract for book one.

  7. I was in the same dilemma with my first book and suspect it is rather common. I’d recommend writing an outline, or at least jotting down your ideas, for the second book, but hold off on writing it unless there’s some way you could make it a standalone if the first one didn’t sell. But, when querying for the first one, you could tell your agent that the book has series potential and you have an outline already prepared for the second!

    Of course, my second and third books were part of a series, so I haven’t always followed this advice. On the other hand, my second and third books definitely suffered from sophomore slump and would need a total rehaul to even approach being decent…

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