Second Book Syndrome

So I've started writing the sequel to Crow's Rest, tentatively entitled No Man's Land. Hooray for getting to spend more time in Avery's cluttered headspace!

But, like every book I've written, before I even started with the writing I was assaulted by doubts (which can all be boiled down to the fear "What if I've lost my mojo? Or what if I never had mojo and was able to delude myself up to this point???") and anxiety.

I've been able to quiet most of those with Plotting: I start with a 2-page synopsis, and then expand it into a more detailed outline (about 10 pages) from there. Then, if I've done the plotting correctly, writing the actual first draft feels like filling in the blanks.

That's overly simplified, of course, but it worked like a charm for Crow's Rest! The only new part in the equation is that No Man's Land will need to have its own arc, as well as fitting into the series arc.

It's kind of a pet peeve of mine if the middle book in a trilogy (though my books aren't a trilogy) feels more like a "to be continued" episode than a book that can stand on its own merits, so I'd really like to avoid that!

The best recent example I can think of for a 2nd book that stood on its own is The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson--loved how the main character continued to develop and grow, and the story did too. Any recommendations for other titles that fit the bill?


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