I've just gone and re-read everyone's posts, and I want to say that despite having an easier time on LIAR'S MOON, I went through EVERYTHING you guys are describing with STARCROSSED, and I'm wondering if a lot of what we're talking about here is issues with *second books in general,* and not specifically Book 2 in a Series. I know some of us (like Deva and I) wrote standalones as our first books, before diving into Seriesworld, but it sounds like a lot of you are writing sequels to debut novels, and I wonder if it's just that second book that kicks everybody's butt. The first book you sell has to be *so perfect,* but with the second book... there's all this pressure to live up to the first book, and you don't get years to polish the thing to perfection, and it feels like you somehow forgot everything you knew about plot/character/pacing/etc when you wrote the first one... ugh.
There's no wisdom there; it's just an observation! It comes with cupcakes.
The series I'm working on is (probably/hopefully!
) technically a trilogy, but each individual book has a wholly standalone plot. There really isn't a overriding series plot arc like Brennan described (Set Up/Makeout/Defeat Evil)--there *is* an arc, but it's secondary to the individual plots in each book. I would compare it to the BEKA COOPER books by Tamora Pierce (which are fantastic, btw, and over the second of which Pierce apparently struggled a bit!); same MC, same world, same thematic struggles... totally new adventure each time.
I like Kristen's advice on middle books, and it's something my husband comments on a lot, as well (using "Empire Strikes Back" as his example
). The story has to be every bit as compelling as the beginning and end... and who really likes middles, anyway?
Maybe Sequel Strife is simply a related condition to Middle Muddles!
Somebody recently posted a link to Jim Butcher's blog entry on The Great Swampy Middle, which I thought was brilliant, so I'm going to post it again:http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/1865.html
There might be some wisdom there for sequels, as well.