The Writing Life

Am I Cheating On My First Book While Writing A Second?

Hello friends, new and old alike.

The weeks leading up to this weekend have been exciting and busy. My wonderful and brilliant Momma surprised me with a 6-day vacation to Missouri to visit my best friend! We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half and I myself have not traveled since returning from Kansas City almost 4 years ago.

Heather and Moi KC


Currently, I am sitting across my best friend at Starbucks and having a writing session. We’re both updating our blogs, and I’m here today, taking a moment to discuss the other thing that’s been taking up my time these past couple of weeks.

After finishing the draft to the dystopian book I’ve been working on, I had it sent off to the freelance editor I’ve told you all about. She still has my manuscript and is tearing it apart I’m sure with tons of red marks and notes. *gulp* When asking for any feedback on my story’s potential, she emailed me back expressing her honest opinion of the industry’s hesitation on dystopian stories at the moment. Between the ‘Hunger Games’, ‘Divergents’, and ‘Maze Runners’ of the world, the publishing market is taking a break from enthusiastically accepting more from the genre. She suggested that during the Revision process with my Dystopian Manuscript, I may want to work on another manuscript of a different genre so that when the query process begins, I have another options to present.

At first, the thought of starting from scratch, beginning the research process, plotting, outlining, etc, all over again sounded daunting. I just spent the last year going through an emotional rollercoaster. My characters and I have been through one hell of a journey and now, I’m considering doing that all over again? I haven’t even properly recovered from the last experience. I’m still reeling from it all. I can’t even fathom the new emotional wave that will tsunami over me when I get her edits from my current story.


I know it will be difficult reading through her suggestions and criticism. It’s all for the benefit of my story but it’s hard to separate your ‘hurt’ feelings from the bigger picture. Let’s face it, there will be ‘hurt’ feelings. I may pout, cry, and have a ridiculous moment of wanting to give up this crazy venture called, ‘writing a book’. It’s never easy hearing/reading suggestions/criticisms though 9 out of 10 times, they will benefit the overall outcome of your story, making you a better writer. Discouragement attacks and the negative voices start whispering in your ear again.

This will be my first Revision process with a book. Just like writing this draft unto completion was a year long learning experience, I know I will be going through a new level of learning experiences during Revision. I read her email about working on a new project after midnight. I was in bed about to close my eyes when I reached over ‘one last time’ to check my phone for any last call messages of the night. After reading her email, I was wide awake, staring at my ceiling thinking,

“What the hell am I going to write now?”

The idea seemed unfathomable. I couldn’t even think of a new concept I’d want to work on. I searched through the ‘NOTES’ app I have on my phone. There, I jot down any random ideas that come to me throughout the day, then I shelf them for later. I scrolled through all the random ideas I had written in the last year. It’s interesting how I don’t remember most of them. I read a few that night thinking, “I wrote that? Well, what happens next!?” I’d only write ideas/concepts and leave the rest hanging. I’m sure at the moment of the IDEA, I had more figured out.

Long story short, I had an idea. It actually involved combining three random story concepts. The next few days, I spent going back and forth on the ‘What If’ thoughts, slowly building the concept, and seeing all the possibilities. Then, I took a break for a few days. I needed to let my brain breathe. I came back to it the following week and the skeleton started filling out more. Then, it happened. I felt like I was cheating.

I admire authors who work on multiple books at the same time. Most probably don’t have a choice because they’re on a deadline and are required to provide a new best-seller in less than a year’s time. I mean, guys, I have spent the last year falling in love with my characters. I have spent the last year getting invested in their world and problems. I laughed when they laughed. I cried when they cried. I gasped when their antagonist showed up when even I wasn’t expecting it, to ruin my MC’s plans. How dare they? *I wave my fist at them*

Though I’ve finished writing this first draft, I am in no means finished with their story. I have another book to write concluding their journey. Now, I am awkward dating, barely being introduced to these new set of characters. I’m walking in the dark, my hands spread out before me, feeling my way around. Every so often, a small twinkle of light will illuminate a path, unveiling a little bit more of the story.

It feels weird, y’all. I miss my first MC’s who I am not finished with. I feel like I’m sneaking behind their backs, getting to know a new set of people. Granted, once I get my editor’s notes back from the first manuscript, there will be A LOT of work to be done. It’s not like I won’t still be working on my peoples.

The first manuscript writing process taught me A LOT. When I began writing that book, I had NO idea what I was doing. I had an concept but no idea that there were rules. You’re not just jumping in and putting words on a paper that somehow display a story. The publishing world expects certain things anywhere from how you format it on a document to the breakdown of your story from beginning to end.

Going into this new concept and draft, I feel more confident in preparing and putting together the concept. Where I am having trouble is with filling out the IDEA skeleton and I think I know why. I’m holding back, not giving it my all because one, I’m intimidated by the process of starting over again and two…because I feel like I’m cheating on my first MC’s and their story.

I’m not ‘supposed’ to fall in love with new people and their world or story. That’s what my nonsensical mind keeps saying but that’s ridiculous, I know. This story deserves a chance. These characters deserve to be heard. They have a story to tell.

I should take advantage of this time since I can’t move forward with my first story until I get those editing notes back. This is a prime time to delve into a new concept. I need to open my heart to fall for these new characters. I need to breathe life into them.

Today, I will be doing just that. I will keep my first story on the shelf and open this new one. In the end, what makes for a better writer? Writing and writing and writing some more. I believe, by working on this new concept, which is stretching my comfort zones, I am improving my skills and expanding on my creativity. By doing so, this can only help my other stories to come. Even the first concept. When it comes back from edits, stepping away from it for a time and then coming back to it, will only benefit it.

So that’s where I’m at.

Currently, I’m on vacation and it has been a blast. Sad that the days are dwindling but it’s been great catching up with my best friend and this town I once lived in for three years.

KC bridge

But even on vacation, writing is a part of my life. Reading and Writing do not cease because I’m on vacation. They are a part of who I am.

Side Note:

I apologize for the lack of consistency on the blog. I hope to get back to posting more when I return home from this vaca. I have some Book Talks lined up and I’m sure much will come about during this new writing process. I will share all the the ‘specialness’ with you all soon. Happy reading, and writing!

4 thoughts on “Am I Cheating On My First Book While Writing A Second?

  1. Very inspirational and thought-provoking post. I am nearly to that point where I have to begin a new novel, even though I am still wrapping up this latest draft of my first one. The thought of doing this seems daunting and I keep thinking— maybe I can write a sequel? I don’t know right now, but I hear and feel where you are coming from.

    Keep writing 🙂 you have plenty of stories inside you to tell.

    1. Thank you! It’s crazy because i hadn’t even considered writing a new story while still working on my first one. I have a sequel to write for my first story but I was advised to format it but not to start the drafting process until RevisionS for first book is finished due to possible changes in the story. So, I felt stuck not knowing what to work on until my edits from freelance editor came in. Then she suggested working on a new story and I gulped. It felt so weird putting aside my lovelies. haha. Thanks for the encouragement! Back at ya lady! This new story has been stretching me as a writer which is a nice surprise. I’m hoping it’ll benefit the Revision process for the first story. 🙂

  2. I’m still in the “Getting stuff on paper” stage of my writing, so I never really thought of this. I suppose if I ever finish a book and was told to start working on another one, it would feel weird though. I don’t think I’d be able to work on two books at the same time though, especially if both have very different concepts from one another. I’d be afraid that I’d include bits from one piece to another….then again, I need to actually start writing before thinking of these things. :p

    1. That’s awesome though! My first story took a year to finish due to me learning what my writing process was in the first place. Then, I had to write and run into a wall with my first concept draft which taught me a lot, leading to changing my story drastically and starting all over. “Getting stuff on paper” stage is huge! So much goes into pre-planning, then outlining, research, etc, before even starting the drafting process of your story. I’m excited for you! Don’t give up and keep writing! It’s not an easy journey but when the love for it is there, it carries you through the tough, overcritical, self-deprecating times. haha

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