Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My illness has a name!

I've been sick since August of 2006. You see, that's when I began "thinking" and "Conceiving" and "brainstorming" about Book #2. In the late summer of 2006, I was fresh off the high of finishing Book #1. I had met an agent at a conference and she had asked for the first 100 pages of my book. Nirvana was had. Visions of many things danced in front of my eyes.

Then, the albatross settled its grimy claws on my shoulders and neck. I had an idea for Book #2. It was pretty decent, I thought. So I started conceiving. And I conceived and conceived and brainstormed and outlined and thought about the story...and nothing came of it. Frustrated, I asked myself: who is this book about? Interestingly, I came up with a different character. Ooookay, the brainstorming commenced. Again.

Long story shorter and to borrow a movie term, Book #2 got mired in development hell. I have written the first Act three times and each time, I've come to a dead end. Finally frustrated, I set it aside last year to concentrate on my blogging and reading and researching the mystery field. I've joked with people that it's taken me longer NOT to write Book #2 than it took to write Book #1. I knew I wasn't the only one who suffered from this affliction. And now we have a name for it:


I read that term this morning over at Murderati. Rob Gregory Browne wrote about being blog-blocked (I kind of share that affliction, too) and he name dropped Harley Jane Kozak who coined the term Secondbookitis. I know my illness. Now, what's the remedy?

For me, it's a new book in a differet genre. For the time being, I've abandoned my old Book #2 for new Book #2A (can't really call the new work #3 since I never finished the original #2). Book 2A is a western, it's a adventure, it's a mystery, it's a pulp book. At least, that's the way I see it now. What I am going to write is a book that will probably mash-up a bunch of genres but should end up being the book I'd love to read. I am, after all, the story's first reader. I just happen also to be its author.

So, with full knowledge of what's I've been suffering from, onward I trek.

Here's where the irony will come in. Kozak's term refers to the second book a new author has to produce *after* the first book is published. I fully expect to suffer from Secondbookitis twice in my writing career. I've lived with it for two years now in trying to *just* write that second book. I suspect I'll also come down with it after I've published my actual first book (I say actual because who knows how many I'll have to write before one sees publication). To that I say one thing: Bring It On.