Struggling…

I’m really struggling with this proposal for the sequel to Do You Know the Monkey Man. All I need to do is turn in three chapters and a synopsis and I will probably have a contract…the publisher is definitely interested in doing a sequel. But I just can’t seem to get it together and GET IT DONE!!!

I sit down with my document every single day and all I ever do is rewrite chapter one. Chapter one isn’t right, and I just can’t move on until it IS right. The main character’s voice isn’t right…it’s getting closer, but it’s still not there.

I’m also not entirely sure what the book is about. I think back to that last day of my Belin Center class a couple months ago when my students wanted so badly to hear the beginning of whatever-this-book-is-going-to-be-called (they saw a file labeled “Monkey Man Sequel” on my flash drive and went nuts). But I wasn’t happy enough with what I had to read it to them. So the one girl who REALLY wanted to hear it said, “Well, just tell us the main plot. What does the main character want? What stands in her way? How does she change by the end of the book?” (Yeah, I taught them well…) She made it sound so easy. “Just tell us the main plot…” If I could do that, I probably wouldn’t still be rewriting chapter one every day.

I do have a general idea of what the book is about. I have a general idea of what T.J. wants, what stands in her way and how the book is going to end. But I think the problem is right now this new book looks like it’s going to be much more of an emotional journey than any other book I’ve ever written, and I’m not sure I’m up to the task. I’m not even sure this book should be such an emotional journey…

Do You Know the Monkey Man is a page turner. There’s a lot of action…things are happening…the main character is doing things (sometimes dangerous things)…and I’m guessing the reason kids like the book is because there’s a big question at the heart of the story…there’s a reason to keep turning those pages. They want to find out what happened and they want to find out what WILL happen. There’s no huge bombshell in this new story yet (and I’m not sure there ever will be one)…it’s more the fall-out of what happened in the first book. And I have a feeling readers will be looking for a new bombshell. I’ve thought of a couple things I COULD HAVE done…a couple of big twists/turns this story could’ve taken…if I’d written Do You Know the Monkey Man differently. But the thing about sequels is you’re limited by what you’ve already written.

Maybe that’s the problem? Maybe I’m just not content to let this simply be a fall-out story/emotional journey sort of story…I want a new bombshell…and I’m not sure there is one…

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