I'm taking a break from rewriting old stuff to write something new. Well, I keep trying to anyway, and then another editor or agent says, "Hey, can you rewrite this manuscript you sent me?" and then I have to stop my new novel and go back to the old one again. This has happened to me three times this year. And sure enough, just today, after writing about 1,000 new words, I get an email from my editor at Fire and Ice with all her edits for my upcoming novella Passing Notes (due out in January, 2015).
But I'm determined. I will have this new novel completed before the year is out. What is it that I'm writing? The sequel to Cry of the Sea. Only, it's not just the interruptions to work on other projects that keeps me from finishing it. The problem I'm having is that I never intended Cry of the Sea to have a sequel or be a series. It ends where I planned it to end. However, the people who've reviewed the book have unanimously declared that the book requires a sequel. My publisher has requested a sequel. My readers keep asking me what happens next. A sequel must happen.
I'm not sure what all of these people want to happen next, and it frightens me a bit to tell the wrong story. If you've been following this blog, you know how long it took me to get Cry of the Sea right in the first place, and the idea of quickly producing a sequel of the same quality is daunting. Many of my readers love Juniper's boyfriend Carter. Can I capture his voice again and make him as charming and adorable as he was before? Reviewers have commented again and again on how strong and admirable Juniper is. Can I keep her that way? And... well... what happens if my sequel isn't exactly about mermaids? Are people expecting it to still be about mermaids? So many doubts plague me as I write and discard and then write and discard some more.
Plus, (and let's be frank here) it's not like Cry of the Sea has been a runaway bestseller. If I write this sequel, will anyone buy it? Is it worth doing? Or should I just move on to a new project?
I am on chapter five now. It is slowly coming together. Some hints: it still has an environmental theme; it has more ties to American Indian mythology, and it has a lot to do with an old growth tree. This book should be a lot scarier than the first by the time it's done, and I'm pretty sure it will lead to (dare I say?) a third book. To keep me motivated, I've invited some writers to come visit the blog over the next couple months and tell their stories about writing sequels and series books. I hope you enjoy what they have to say. If you've got any encouraging words for me, I'd love to read them.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.