Writing Your First Book Second

I mentioned before that I’m reading the novels of a bestselling author, trying to figure out why she is so popular. Yikes, what a chore! If she’s anything to go by, being a bestselling author has nothing to do with being a good writer. I’ve seen much better writing posted on the Internet by unpublished authors. Apparently, however, once an author has established herself on the bestseller list, she no longer needs to concern herself with the tenets of good writing.

The story I am currently struggling to read is about identical twins. I am on page 250, but if I were to edit the book and take out every single explanation of how the twins looked alike, how no one could tell them apart, how no one could tell which twin was which, how it was like looking at the same person, how it was like looking in the mirror, how they were the same age, how there was no difference between them, those 250 pages would be whittled down to about 100.

So, this is what I’ve learned: you, me, and everyone else who have written a book and tried to get it published have written our second book, the one that will be accepted for publishing after the first one sells. I’ve written three novels (to see the first chapters, click on “My First Chapters” under “links”) but they are all second books. Which isn’t a bad thing. Only by writing can a person learn how to write. I hope to get good enough so that one day I can write my first book, a novel with such a flash of brilliance that it will capture the minds and money of publishers and agents.

Like Andrew Vasch and his series character Burke. In the first novel, Burke was a total loner who lived off the grid. I’m not sure if the book was brilliant, but that character certainly captured my imagination. So I looked forward to the second book, and ho-hum. B-o-o-oring. Burke became like every other series character, only we were supposed to pretend that he was different. Suddenly he had friends galore, everyone knew him, and almost everyone knew where to find him.

See what I mean? Once you’ve established yourself, you can make your own rules. You don’t even have to write well. Your name becomes a brand, and that’s all that counts.

So how do you become a brand? How do you write that first, brilliant novel? Don’t ask me. If I knew, I’d be writing bestselling novels. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this blog.

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