I've got a problem, but in the grand scheme of things, I've come to realize it's not a bad one to have.
The Tin Box, my debut novel, was my first attempt at writing a novel and now I look at it with pride, realizing how fortunate I was to get my foot in the door early. The Penny Tree followed and it was hard, because I ran face first into 'second novel syndrome', which can be debilitating. This is where you feel you're under a spotlight and your confidence gets shaken as you second guess what you did so naturally with the first one. Still, after writing and rewriting The Penny Tree too many times to count, I was pleased with the end result.
Then along came The Silver Compass , which offered up a whole other set of difficulties I won't get into here. I knew the main gist of the story, but much of the magic happened during the writing of it and now that it's in production, I'm excited about holding the finished product and seeing how readers react.
Up next is novel four and herein lies the dilemna...
For the better part of a year, I was sure it would be Penguin Hill. However, last week my agent pointed something out that pulled me up short.
You see, there's this other novel I've been talking about for years called The Keeper of the Pond and when I initially pitched it to her, she got tears in her eyes (a good sign). Until Penguin Hill elbowed its way into my mind, The Keeper of the Pond was always going to be novel number four.
Both novels will be told in 1st person, from a man's point of view. These men aren't alike (one is old, one is young) but what they do have in common is that their stories won't let me go and they feel magical before I begin writing them (another good sign, as this has never happened to me before -- not like this).
Both also tackle serious issues with broad appeal for women and men, although these issues are also very different. I've written 5-6 chapters for both novels, which I carefully revisited last week, and when I was done, I realized my agent was right.
I need to write The Keeper of the Pond first.
It's a strategic choice from a career standpoint because the story is stylistically closer to the other novels I've written so far, and therefore less of a jump for readers to take with me as I grow as an author. And the good thing? Novel number five isn't going anywhere. I just need to dig deep for patience and write them in the order they should be written.
P.S. Yes, the main character is the old guy noted in the post below, so I'll use John's recommendation of Legal Seafoods
as his favorite restaurant!