Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Second Book Woes

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Dog eating plot outline.

The wonderful thing about writing your first book is that you're clueless. You have no idea what the reception to your book will be, you can write (at least your first draft) with freedom and abandon, you aren't looking to critics or book reviewers to give you better reviews this time around.

Ignorance truly is bliss.

The second book is a little tougher. You have a readership, a publisher, an agent (if you're lucky...or in some cases, unlucky) and some haters. You want to trump your first book. You have to prove your critics wrong. Or do you?

It's a constant battle between sticking to your vision and predicting how your readership/critics will respond.

Over the last few months, I've been trying to write my next book.

I've found that there are some things that can make this process more difficult. I have compiled a list for your amusement and reflection (fictional and non-fictional).


You know you're in trouble when....

1) Your research papers outnumber the pages of your book.

2) Your publisher/agent wants to see your first draft. Your first draft is a sticky note.

3) Your computer crashes. Your external hard drive crashes.

4) You envision the perfect scene between two characters but fall asleep before you can write it down.

5) You accidentally recycle a poem you wrote down after your computer crashed.

6) Your USB key (first draft) is not compatible with your new laptop.

7) You are not compatible with your new laptop.

8) You read reviews of your first book to find out what you did wrong.

9) You refer to your first book to find out what you did right.

10) You tweet more than you write (some would argue that tweeting is writing. See my twitter page for my thoughts on that)

11) You tell your Dad your main protagonist is loosely based on him (he thinks 'loosely' is too strong a word)

12) You spend hours trying to reinvent your autograph.

Autograph pages: 10. Book pages: 1

13) Your dog ate your plot outline.

14) Someone else's dog ate your plot outline.

15) You ate your plot outline.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Sheniz Janmohamed

Sheniz Janmohamed is a spoken word artist, author and graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Guelph. Her first book, Bleeding Light (TSAR) a collection of sufi-inspired English ghazals, was published in 2010.

Go to Sheniz Janmohamed’s Author Page