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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Two Years Ago …

Two Years Ago …

InquisitorsMark_revised_finalIn a little less than 2 months, The Inquisitor’s Mark comes out. Traditional publishing is strange in that the gap in time between the writing of the book and the release of the book is SO LONG, I can hardly remember what it was like. In fact, when I sat down to write this post, I had to go back and check the beginning date on the first draft to remember when the heck I even wrote it. I was surprised to discover that I started the first draft exactly 2 years ago today. (I wrote this post on 12/4, btw.)

Then I went through all my blog posts from that time period.  These are the things that I recorded in my blog about the process of writing my first sequel (my blog being the closest thing I have to a diary):

  • Writing the second book in a series presents a new set of issues to be insecure about. Your cool premise is no longer original. Readers are familiar with it from the first book, and they want to know: What else have you got?
  • For each of my characters, there is only one way to go. It may seem as if they have choices, but they don’t. Not if the story is to move forward. They (and I) have to keep following the path that’s open until we all get to the bottom of the hill.
  • My WIP has me by the throat and will not let go. Even at work, I walk around muttering to myself in the voices of my characters, drawing little maps on scraps of paper, and choreographing action scenes.
  • Over the 3-day President’s Weekend, I wrote 9,000 words. My feet finally touched the ground around noon on Monday when I typed THE END on the first draft of THE EIGHTH DAY #2.
  • I started the draft on December 4. Seventy-seven days from beginning to end.  I know that might not seem like a feat to anyone who’s succeeded at NaNo – producing 50,000 words in 30 days.  But this is the fastest I’ve ever written a manuscript.
  • I had an outline for this book. But I realized, right before I hit SEND and zapped the manuscript to my editor, that my favorite parts of Book 2 were never in the outline at all.
  • I had a new character sharing POV with my MC, but I didn’t know anything about his personality and motivation when I started writing. I didn’t discover it until halfway through the first draft, and the revelation, when it came, required the addition of a subplot that wasn’t in the outline.  (PS – I didn’t know it then, but that unplanned sub-plot ended up being crucial for Book 3.)
  • One of my very favorite scenes in the book (involving a garbage chute and a fire ladder) is an event that was never planned.
  • The climactic action scene was plotted out right before I needed to write it – at a restaurant in the Pocono Mountains during a ski trip. “Listen everybody,” I said, commandeering all the forks and knives and a few condiments to make a diagram on the table. “I need to know how these people can fight this creature in this confined space. And since there’s an exit right over here, why don’t they just run away instead?” My husband and daughters were nonplussed by this demand. My daughter’s friend looked kind of surprised, but also vindicated – as if she suspected all along that Gabbey’s writer mom was a nutjob.

Overall, I think the writing of The Inquisitor’s Mark was one of my most intense writing experiences yet. It was fun to look back at how I experienced it at the time, to remember all the really neat things that were never in the original plan for that book.

I hope readers enjoy the finished product!

Dorian & Sloane

Two new characters in THE INQUISITOR’S MARK — Dorian Ambrose and Sloane Dulac. (Character sketches by Rachel Gillespie)

14 Responses to Two Years Ago …

  1. Two months – get excited!
    That’s about how long it took for me to write the first draft of my second book.
    And it’s funny how your favorite scenes and parts usually aren’t the ones that were planned.

  2. Yes, there is a lot of insecurity about second books and can you take the story to a new level. I already read this and you did a great job with this.

  3. Tiana Smith says:

    I love this recap 🙂 And I CAN’T WAIT to read it!!!

  4. Angela Brown says:

    Amazing! I realize that tradional publishing takes a little longer than most other publishing routes, but it’s still exciting to see the whole writing process from your “diary-like” perspective.
    Very cool.

    And I’m so very excited for you, just as excited NOW as I was when The Eighth Day was about to release 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to read the second book. I also love working out plot details with friends and family. Always sound so absurd aloud, though. Like,”How does he thwart a ghost attack?”

  6. Steven Symes says:

    Great cover, and I’m sure a great story! We will be sure to go out and buy a copy (or three).

  7. Robin says:

    I meant to tell you that I finished this ARC before I went on vacation. I loved it!!! Now I am curious about the addition that proved to be pivotal to book three!!!

    As long as it took me to complete my rough draft… I’m impressed by 77 days. Awesome!!!!

  8. No matter how many times I release a story into the world, I’m a nervous wreck. Usually I’m mutter, “Nobody’s going to like this one. Absolutely nobody!” Good luck.

  9. J E Oneil says:

    It sounds like it was a lot of fun to write, which bodes well for your readers. Also, I love the character designs. They’re so perfect.

  10. mshatch says:

    I remember how fast you wrote TIM and that scene in the basement was awesome!

  11. What a totally cool cover! I love that you were able to go back and remember the process because of your blog post! You wrote at an impressive speed. Congratulations! What an exciting time!

  12. I love that an unplanned subplot ended up being crucial to the next book. Outlining in advance definitely helps me to write faster, but those unexpected moments of brilliance are what makes writing so much fun 🙂

  13. Lexa Cain says:

    I love that your blog is your diary! (So is mine.) Thanks for all the tidbits about the new book. I can’t wait, and wish you a huge success with it!! 🙂

  14. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne .. you have been busy – but it must be quite difficult remembering all that went on – I remember the cover reveal, and your work on that .. brilliant that in two months it will be published and then book 3 is on the way … drawn out of book 2 – makes sense. The new characters look amazing .. cheers Hilary