I've finally settled into a writing routine for Book Two. It took me a few weeks, but as I mentioned in an earlier blog, once I got past the intro chapters, killed off Ashlee's boyfriend, and had Dana start investigating, my writing speed picked up with a clear understanding of where the story is headed.
But I still have a lot of work in those first few chapters. Right now, I'm ignoring that little problem so it doesn't slow down my momentum, but eventually, I won't be able to avoid those rewrites. Since this is a series, the second book has to move forward from the first one, while at the same time providing plenty of information for anyone who didn't read the first book.
In the first couple of chapters, I need to explain the background setting of the series, from the locations, including the spa, Dana's home, and Blossom Valley in general, to the cast of characters, ranging from fellow employees to family members to the love interest. But that info can't seem too repetitive. Already, I'm worried because Dana has helped the cook in the kitchen and served a meal, and then she cleaned the cabins when the maid called in sick. All these things happened in the first book too. Since Dana spends most of her time at the spa, what with it being her day job, these duties are perfectly natural, but somehow I have to make them sound fresh and new for anyone who read the first book. And you can only say so much about bathroom cleaning and vacuuming before people become bored.
And the first three or four chapters are littered with notes to myself to fill in blanks and double-check information from the first book. What kind of couch sits in Dana's living room? What's the freeway exit that leads to the spa? What's the name of the supermarket downtown? All minor details but definitely items that have to be consistent from book to book. People will notice.
Ironing out these details is all part of the writing process. It can be hard work slogging through the same chapters over and over, but as I fill in each blank or correct each note, I'll be that much closer to a decent manuscript. So in the end, it's worth it.