I did not have a terrific writing day today, in terms of word count. I only progressed a few hundred words on my new manuscript… but in those few hundred words, I think I found the exact reason I need to write this particular story.
My current work-in-progress is the yet-untitled sequel to my debut novel, Latasha and the Little Red Tornado. It’s been tough to get the engine going for a few reasons. First, it feels odd — maybe even hubristic — to be writing a sequel to a book that hasn’t even been released yet. To be more honest, though, I think I’m a little intimidated by the very concept of writing a sequel.
I’ve never written a sequel, not really. My plays and screenplays have all been standalone works, as have my short fiction. My Midlandia picture books are a series, all set in the same world — but they’re essentially independent. While the reader’s experience is enriched by reading all of the books, they can basically be read in any order.
I’ve done a lot of handwringing over the past few weeks over what it means to be writing a sequel — what are the rules, if any? how much can I expand the world I’ve created? how much weight can it hold? what do I hope to add by writing another entry? where the heck do I begin?
Tonight, at the very least, I’ve solved that “where to begin” question. The spark I had this evening reminded me of that initial afternoon of free writing at the 61C Cafe where, over an oatmeal raisin cookie and large light roast, I first discovered Latasha’s voice. And wouldn’t you know it — now that I know how to start, I finally feel free to write the book I want to write. It is a great day.
I should also mention a couple of other things that have perked me up this week. First, I got a lovely mention from the Carnegie Mellon English Department — Alum Michael Scotto Makes 40 Under 40 List. Second, my company put out a press release with a lot of the same data, plus a majorly ego-stroking list of some of my previous accolades — Press Release.
(By the way, you might see a mention of a second novel in that press release. That one is not a Latasha book. It’s something else altogether! This sequel I’m gnashing my teeth about is months away from deadline, and over a year from a print date.)