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#150771 09/22/04 04:26 PM
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Hi writers/readers

Is there anybody here who has written/published a novel and for some reason has troubles writing a second one?
That's the case with me. I published my first novel in June, started writing a second novel, but for the life of me, I can't get into the story or the characters. I deeply involved with the characters in my first novel, you could say, I got up with them, and I went to bed with them, they became part of me and my life.
That is not the case with the second book.
Can anybody offer me some advice?


Conny Manero
author of
Waiting for Silverbird
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#150772 09/23/04 01:32 PM
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Ah Conny, I'm afraid writers all suffer this sort of block from time to time. As a writer myself, I find the more I write, the more I publish, the louder and nastier my inner critic becomes. It's a lifelong battle of working for constant improvement, and while I wrote my first novel with joyous abandon (perhaps it was indeed a case of "ignorance is bliss"), my second is much slower in taking shape. I've come a long way since then, but so has that inner critic, forever whispering in my ear and cramping my style. Knowing what lies ahead while improving on what has been is not always easier.

Have you any local writers' groups you might join? I belong to several in my area, and my main purpose for participating is not the crits we share so much, as socializing with kindred spirits, networking, and simply the inspiration we get from each other. It's not a bad way to make oneself feel accountable, too, working to get the next few pages done, so that we have something to share during the next meeting.

What is your new novel about?

Zee

#150773 09/23/04 02:18 PM
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Hi Conny,
I agree with Zee that,as writers, we all face "the wall" from time to time. But when you get so involved with your characters they leave a lasting impression on your inner soul. It's like a friend that you've just met and really click with and sudden;y after a few months they're gone.

If your second novel does not have reminants of the first characters perhaps you might: think about how they would react or deal with a situation proposed in your second novel (even though they are not in it). Don't worry....it's not a psychotic thing...it's simply using what your brain is already comfortable with. Another method is: take a notepad, find an open space in a park, sit down on the grass away from other people and close your eyes. Free associate images in your mind (what you see when your eyes are closed). It takes a while to clear your mind visually so be patient. After a while open your eyes and write down some of the images.

There are different techniques for different people. Some depend upon whether you are a non-fiction writer or a fiction writer. What was your motivation behind your first novel? Why did you write it?

Ladyhawke

#150774 09/23/04 08:57 PM
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Well thank you ladies (Ladyhawke and Zee), I certainly appreciate your encouragement.
Let me provide both of you with an answer.
I don�t have to go sit in a park and be alone with myself to get inspiration. With the first book, my inspiration came at the most inopportune times. I was actually at work one day, hammering something out on the computer, when I suddenly got this idea for a book. It was like somebody was whispering it in my ear. I typed up the sentence, then another one, and another one, and before I knew it, I had the first chapter. From there on, I got inspiration at the weirdest times: while I was ironing; washing the windows; eating; or watching tv. The words would just come and come.
Then, like I said in my original message, I got up with the characters of my book and went to bed with them. They all become so dear to me.
I don�t have that connection with the characters in my second book. They are just characters, nothing more.
You, Zee, asked what the second book was about. Well, it�s nothing like the first one, that�s for sure. Waiting for Silverbird is about Broadway, friendship, etc. The second book, which has the working title Voice of an Angel, has nothing to do with show business and friendship, but ordinary people and struggling against the system.
You said, Zee, that the more you write and the more you publish the nastier your inner critics become. Have you written and published that much? Could it be that I have read something from you? Are you a fiction writer?
Oh and speaking of nasty � I got a very nasty comment yesterday. Someone who had read the prologue and first three chapter of my book and said it was done to death. Baloney, I wrote back to her, the first three chapters are just an introduction. They don�t even begin to scratch the surface of what is to come.
Strange isn�t it, I had so many people complimenting me on the story, but that one nasty comment knocked me sideways and completely took away my zest for writing.
What was my motivation for the first book, you asked Ladyhawke � didn�t have one really, the story just sort of happened.
Anyway, that�s enough for now. Let me know what you think.
Oh and the park doesn�t do it for me, too uncomfortable sitting. I coffee shop , yes, but a park or anywhere else outdoors � no, doesn�t work for me.
As for a writing group � no, unfortunately there is no such thing where I live. Maybe downtown Toronto, but not in my area. Where are you ladies from?

Talk to you later.


Conny Manero
author of
Waiting for Silverbird
#150775 09/24/04 04:43 PM
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Conny, hello! I enjoyed reading more about you and your work. I make my living as a writer and editor for a magazine, but I also freelance a great deal for many publications. I have three published books on the bookshelf, and my love is certainly fiction. But,when it comes to making my paycheck, I find non fiction is easier to market and sell. The bulk of my time at the keyboard is spent on articles, essays, reviews for various magazines, and periodicals.

When I wrote my first novel (which I later ended up using for bonfire kindling, as I came to feel the six years I spent on it were my "school" of writing, not meant for public consumption), I wrote much as you describe here. Every waking moment, seemingly most every sleeping one as well. I woke each day running for my notebook. I was raising two children at that time, and one of the moments I realized how much of my life was spent on spinning words was when my toddler daughter waddled up to me in the morning holding out my pencil to me. If she saw a pencil anywhere, her thought was that it quite naturally belonged in her mamma's hand.

When I write today (and the children are grown and gone), I find that as my knowledge of writing deepens, I seem to try more and more to perfect what I've done before, my standards for myself keep rising. I can be quite the taskmaster for myself. Not always the most conducive way to be, believe me, when it comes to being creative. The struggle with the blank page (or screen) never ends.

Try not to let the critiques get you down. Everyone gets them. Listen for what might be helpful to you, might be an improvement to your work (even if it hurts), and discard the rest. No one can please everyone.

Why not start a writing group? All it takes is two or three to begin...

Zee

#150776 09/24/04 08:17 PM
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Hi Zee,

It must be wonderful to write for a magazine. I wish I could do that. I'm unemployed at the moment, actively looking for a job, but I've basically ruined it for myself. The situation is as follows:
When I first came to Canada and applied for a job, I was almost laughed out of the employment agency. The consultant there told me that no emigrant was going to land a job just like that. I was too new to the country and to inexperienced in Canadian ways. She advised me to do some temporary work first. I did this, very successfully I might ad, and I basically rolled from one assignment into another. When I thought I had sufficient Canadian experience I again applied for a permanent job, but still no luck. Now I was told that all those temporary jobs didn't look good on my resume, that it gave the impression that I was a job-hopper. She said if I was serious about a job I never should have done temp-work.
So now this is the situation ... I have some experience as an executive assistant and some experience as a legal assistant, but not enough of either to actually get a job. Plus none of the companies I worked for want to give me a reference because I wasn't there long enough. And my references from working in South Africa don�t carry any weight.
So maybe I should go into freelance writing like you, is it hard to get into?

And no, usually critique doesn't affect me all that much, I'm pretty thick skinned when it comes to that, but with everything that�s been going on in my life, criticizing my book doesn't go down very well. If nothing else works out, I do believe in my writing, it is (I believe) what I was born to do.


Conny Manero
author of
Waiting for Silverbird
#150777 09/28/04 12:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
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Amoeba
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Hi Conny.

I had to smile when I read that first sentence... "it must be wonderful..." because I've started today with my hair standing on end, with ragged nerves, jumpy as a splot of hot oil on a pan of steaming water... argh! It's deadline week, and before I get into the meat of writing a new article, I work up to a pinpoint of tension, just short of explosion, before the words finally start to attach to paper. Never fails.

Here's how it is for me: I hate to write. I hate this part especially, just before I start to write. It is absolute agony, and the more I do it, the more keen that statement. So why do I do it? Because I can't imagine doing anything else. Because when it is all said and done, last period applied to the end of last sentence, nothing is sweeter.

I suppose it's as hard to get into as anything that you want to do well, pushing yourself to your personal best. One becomes an overnight success by preparing for a lifetime to get to that one night, no?

But it does sound like you've walked a frustrating path with your job hunt! I suppose you should stop listening to others and do what you want to do, keep knocking on doors until someone will let you. They have you going in circles, don't they?

As for writing, perhaps you can start by thinking about what topics you know most about and write about them... and check on publications in your area... see if you can make a match? If you can network with other writers where you live, maybe someone will have a contact for you that works for a publication in the town/city where you live.

Zee

#150778 09/28/04 04:15 PM
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What I hate most about this job hunt Zee, is the waiting. I applied with this one firm on July 24. They had me tested in Ms-Word, Exel, Powerpoint, Access, Outlook and Internet. All my scores were in the 90%, except Excel and PowerPoint. If I wanted a job in that firm I had to score in the 90% there too. So I bought the manuals from Excel and PowerPoint and studied, then I took the test again and, bingo ... 93% each.
Next I got an actual interview with a partner in the firm. They let me know that I was one of the top three candidates. After several days of waiting I heard ... someone else got the job.
I got another interview with another partner, this time I was in the top two, but again the job went to someone else.
My latest interview with the firm took place last week Monday, with a technical writer within the firm. I wanted that job like I want the sun to shine on the 4th of July. And it looked good, within half an hour they came back to me that they wanted to do reference checks. Unfortunately, there starts the problem. Two of the people I listed as references couldn't be reached, and the third ... well she recently lost her husband to a tall, blond woman with a size 7, and now she hates all tall, blond women with a size 7. You guessed it, I am tall, blond and a size 7. I feel like taking her to court for such unprofessional treatment, but she's a lawyer working for a big lawfirm. My chances of winning as such are very, very slim.
So, that's the long and the short of it.
In the meantime I'm waiting and hoping to get this job. I can't sleep, I can't eat and my mood resembles a roller coaster.


Conny Manero
author of
Waiting for Silverbird
#150779 10/11/04 09:52 PM
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Conny said: "I don�t have that connection with the characters in my second book. They are just characters, nothing more."

If you feel you don't have a connection with them then why waste your time on them. Put them in a folder and set them aside for some future date. Something else will come to you. Take the pressure off yourself to produce soemthing with these characters.

#150780 10/15/04 09:46 PM
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Hi administrators,

Just a quick question ... what is that awful spider doing in the forum? Who's bright idea was that? I don't even like coming here anymore, because the sight of that eight-legged freak gives me the creeps. Sorry.


Conny Manero
author of
Waiting for Silverbird
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