Now that my first book, Toonopolis: Gemini, is out in the public sphere and has been getting good reviews (4.2 ave at Amazon, 4.23 ave at Goodreads, and 4.5 ave at Smashwords), I am experiencing second-novel jitters while working on my two current works in progress, Toonopolis: Chi Lin (Book 2 of the Toonopolis Files) and Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo (short story/novella back-story of Anchihiiroo/Han’Eiyuu from Toonopolis: Gemini).
I have spoken to other author friends and this seems like a common occurrence amongst my colleagues. For some, they worry that the story won’t be as compelling as their debut novel. For others, they fear that people who connected with the characters in the first book may not connect as well with the follow-up. This is especially true for authors that don’t write in a series with the same characters.
For me, I am fearing that the biggest thing that seems to be enjoyed by readers of my debut novel is the humor. What if my follow up works aren’t as funny? I feel like I’ve been overthinking the humor while writing. When I wrote Gemini, the humor was not my primary focus. I told a story in a world of my own creation that is very well-defined in my head. The pithy dialogue came naturally to me and the wordplay and sarcasm were just my natural humor pouring onto the page. If I overthink it, I know it will invariably be not funny and come across as stale jokes.
This is why, as much as I enjoy comedy and analyzing stand-up, I could never be a stand-up comedian. My humor is reactionary. I am funny when I just respond to situations that I am placed in. I have a quick wit (or so I’ve been told) and use it for evil (so I’ve also been told). When I was writing Gemini, I had well-defined characters that I could place in a situation and see how they reacted. Chi Lin‘s main characters are not yet as well-defined so I think that is why I am still struggling early in the manuscript.
Ultimately, I know I need to just push through and write the way I know I should write. I need to not worry about whether or not my second book is as ‘funny’ as my debut. I know my story. I know my world. I know my characters and am learning more about them. I need to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb… or something like that.
Any of you fellow writers out there have similar second-novel doubt stories? Please share!