I’m about halfway through editing the second book in the series I’ve been working on for a few years now. And I’m finding myself in the inexplicable situation of hating the thing.
With my first book, I was surprised during the editing stages, because I found myself really loving the manuscript. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but I am very content with it overall.
Yet again I’m finding myself surprised, but with the opposite emotion: I’ve never felt so much negativity towards a novel I’ve written. Frustration, sure. Annoyance that I could have written certain things better, definitely. But not this.
And I’m not sure where it’s coming from, either.
I’m worried it is because I started reading this AMAZING series, by an author who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Her world-building capability is… astounding. The way she weaves physical world differences alongside cultural differences alongside language… I’m blown away. And I’m learning a lot, though I’m not quite sure how to implement it yet.
But the point is, I’m starting to see how much improvement could be done to my second book in the realm of world-building. The first book started building the world I’ve created, but because it was the first book, and I was setting up characters more-so, there was some pieces of world-building that needed to take a back-burner.
For the second book I do not have that excuse. This is where I really should pull out more intricacies of my world and hammer home some of the things I touched upon in the first. Use my characters I’ve set up so well to pull out those interesting threads, further explore the social and political commentary that I talk about so much.
Yet I feel like none of this is happening. It is too similar in feel and structure as the first; I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for, but I know it needs to be different enough to stand on its own power. And I don’t get that feeling.
I should have known better, actually; writing this book was too easy. The first in the series actually felt like work; amazing, challenging, thrilling work, but work all the same. The second book was a little more like putting scenes together until I said done. It didn’t feel like it was progressing or inducing more skillful lessons. And each book is supposed to teach you something, right?
Taking a moment to be easy on myself, however, this could all just be a reaction to immersing myself in this book for too long. I left it alone the bare minimum amount of time before editing, and I probably should have let it sit much longer (maybe until I start to pick apart how my new favorite author does things, and implement what I learn). For sure I need to take another break before I try anything extreme with this manuscript.
Have any of you felt this way about something you’ve written before? What did you do? Just leave it alone for longer? Did you have to re-write the whole thing, or were you able to save yourself some work?