Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The story of the sequel

The sequel did not at all go like I planned.

For starters, I had to do a major rewrite - scrapping 60K words I'd written before we finished the plot edits on Moonlit, because part of those edits was cutting a character who didn't play a big part in Moonlit, but was spotlighted in the sequel. Oops.

So I began again, and somewhere in there, I got lost inside Tanzy's head and forgot her feet. In Moonlit, Tanzy comes face to face with some of the darkest places of her soul. She even shocked me, and I know she scared herself. So I think we had to acclimate to each other again, who we both were, emerging battle-scarred from the grenade dropped at the end of Moonlit. In the process, we wandered over the choices she made without moving forward. I wasn't really inspired. I was just sad, and more than a little despondent.

Around the time I sent a draft of the sequel to beta readers, Moonlit was making the rounds on a couple of blog tours. I read a couple of feverish posts, new members of the Moonlit tribe who understood Moonlit and Tanzy, and were eager to dive into the sequel, and I started to panic. The sequel isn't right. It's wrong. WRONG. But how? Why? What is missing?? My beta readers felt the same way. They loved the plot I'd crafted, but the fire that lit the "explosion in reverse" fuse of Moonlit hadn't carried over into the sequel. It was a hard truth, but it was the truth.

Then I read a couple more posts from other new fans, and several mentioned how they thought the coming war would play out. ...... war? what war? there's a war? ..... HOLY $#*%! There's a WAR!!! Inspiration struck like a freight train. That night, I gutted the sequel again, saving only about 20K of the original words, and started over.

This pushed my self-imposed May 31st deadline back A LOT. A war between a few people would be boring and over in a paragraph or two (maybe a couple of pages if there's a lot of witty dialogue exchanged between the blows.) So I had to explore all the sides of this war, this brand new, breathtaking, crystal clear moment in my head when all sides converge on the veil. It's a spectacular sight, and I can't wait to write it. But not yet... when you have a WAR on your hands, you have to thoroughly understand each side's motivation, the complexities of alliances and traitors, the gray that exists between good and evil.

I'm so excited to introduce you to this growing cast of new characters. I wrote the first book for myself - to get the story out of my head and to explore Tanzy's voice. But this second book is for my tribe, for those readers who took a leap of faith and dove head first into Tanzy's life and saw the shifting world through her eyes. I want it to be perfect for my tribe. I want to give them what they're hungry for.

Years of working mostly alone around horses inspired Moonlit. But my readers - my tribe - inspired the sequel. I think it's the coolest thing to happen to me since becoming published. I submitted it to my publisher a few days ago, and I'm eager to see what my fantastic editors think. They loved Moonlit as much as I did - even though they helped me work on Moonlit, I also consider them members of the Moonlit tribe. Their opinion means everything to me, both professionally, and as readers. I'll know I did right by my readers if my acquisitions editor gives me the green light. You better believe I'll let you know as soon as I hear back - either way.

Until then, I'll do my best not to stalk my inbox. To keep myself occupied, I'm drafting a scene to add where Tanzy and readers alike will be able to see exactly what Lucas is capable of when someone he loves is in jeopardy...

Enough about me. What are you up to? :)


  1. That's cool, Jadie! The sequel to my first book was inspired by fans. They enjoyed the first, but wanted a female character. I didn't plan ahead, so I started writing it after the first one came out - and I gave them what they wanted, a female lead.
    Your book is going to be so much stronger for listening!
    And I'm just counting down the days to the release of my third and final book.

    1. Alex - I love that you give them exactly what they wanted! It's so interesting and bizarre how our motivation shifts. I never thought about "fans" when I wrote Moonlit, and now I'm determined to honor the faith they have in Tanzy and me. I'm excited to start your series!

  2. Congrats! It's got to feel good to finally get a hold on the story your readers want. I had hoped to have my sequel finished by now as well but have some similar struggles. I've written 60k of exploration and lost my inspiration. I too have decided to scrap what I'd planned and start all over but Talia isn't cooperating. For the most part I've left Sendek to brood while I explore other options. Hopefully something will "click" into place as I let my creative side free again with what I'm calling pressure free projects.

    Good luck and hope things go well with the sequel!

    1. I totally get that! For a while I was just writing to write. I thought as long as the story moved forward it was okay, but I knew it wasn't THE path. I wasn't inspired. It was a terrible feeling. Now I know how to tell the difference. Hopefully next time it happens I'll heed your example and take some time to regroup instead of attempting to force it out.

  3. Sequels are hard! but it sounds to me like you really went all out with this one. Those moments when inspiration strikes are magic.


    1. Hi Jai! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Moonlit is so different and quirky. The fans that it has gained deserve something a little different for the sequel, too. It just took me looking outside of my own mind to find it. Thank the stars for readers. They keep us honest!


Ramble on, y'all.