I just received my first round of notes on Book 2 from my editor, which means, while it was nice seeing the light of day up here on the sunny surface for a few weeks, now I've got to dive down again. Back to the cave. And, like with my revisions of Unearthly, there are wrecking balls crashing through the carefully-constructed house that is my book, which is painful but necessary, even more necessary than last time.
Because this book has to be wonderful.
Here's why: This is a sequel. In my lovely editor's words, it has to be fabulous, in some ways even more fabulous, than Book 1.
Something that has kept me up nights is Richelle Mead saying, after she read my book and gave me that wonderful blurb, that she was laying awake at nights wondering what would happen next. As in Book 2. A few days ago, Melissa Marr tweeted that she was definitely going to read my Book 2. Melissa. Marr. These people, in my world, are rock stars. And they are waiting for my Book 2. As are the tons of readers who have read Unearthly and then promptly bombarded me with emails about how there has to be a Book 2, where's Book 2?, when's Book 2 coming out?, we can't wait for Book 2!!
No pressure or anything. :) It's a nice problem to have, my dad keeps reminding me. Yep. It's the kind of problem you dream about, as a young writer. And Unearthly leaves some definitely unresolved issues. Yes, I'm aware. Let me tell you about the first draft, which ended on the line, "Come with me." on page 427. Talk about cliffhangers.
So. Back to the writing I go. I've found that I always go through a seriously emotional process when I get notes back: first, I mourn. I wallow. I cry and feel stupendously sorry for myself. Then I rage. I contemplate killing off characters just because I can't think of how to deal with them anymore. I doubt everything. I seethe with anger, because my book, which I worked so hard on, is not perfect. Not even close to perfect.
And then I get over it. I accept that the book is flawed, that I, as a writer, even with all my fancy degrees and know-how, am deeply flawed. I tell myself what I tell my students: real, gut-wrenching, wrecking-ball revision is what separates the amateurs from the professionals. I remind myself that I trust my editor. I look back over the notes. I see the wisdom in what she's telling me. And then I get cracking.
Right now I am still cracking on Chapter 1, which is slow progress, but the book is shaping itself up in my mind and the first chapter of a sequel is a very tricky thing, dangit!
This whole revision process is complicated, this time around, by the fact that Unearthly hits bookshelves in 2 WEEKS!!! And I still have my website to finalize, swag to get organized, a gazillion interviews to do and a tour to prepare for. ( I am still stoked, so freakishly excited, about going back to my hometown of Idaho Falls for the launch! Not to mention the Dark Days tour!) Plus there's Christmas and family and finals week at Pepperdine.
This takes the word BUSY to a whole new level. There have been times over this past week where I've wanted to scream, to no one in particular: Just. Let. Me. Write!!!!!!!
Again, nice problems to have. This is also the part where my dad says something like "houses are built by putting in one nail at a time," and everybody in my life, my husband, my parents, my friends, all start chanting, "You can do it!" (Thanks, everybody in my life.), except my son.
He just wants to know why he can't have a candy cane for breakfast.