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Writing That Dreaded 2nd MS After THE ONE

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you are all doing fabulously ;o)


I’ve recently completed my 2nd MS since THE ONE. You know, the one that got me my amazing agent, the one that made me feel like *maybe* I’m not a total hack (jury’s still out on that one). Yeah. That one.

The one that makes you feel like this.


BUT. I was SO paranoid that my 2nd MS would not be as good as THE ONE. In fact, I completely switched sub-genres so I wouldn’t have to compare them. So there was THAT. Did I mention I also had a few half-finished drafts looming in the background? I felt guilty about leaving them behind, but I had this idea. It was emotional and wretchedly beautiful. And I was obsessed, just like I was with THE ONE.

My journey to MS #2 was fast.

I literally started it at 1:30am on a Thursday (a work night) and the words just FLOWED. I mean it was like I opened a vein and the blood was the words and they were dripping onto the computer without my brain getting involved at all.

Ew. That sounds weird. Moving on.

As I bled words onto the page, I wondered… will my agent like it? Will anyone like it? How did I write THE ONE the first time? Oh, man. It took me 2 years to get THE ONE into shape, how am I going to do this again? Someone put me out of my misery. Okay, that’s dramatic. But in my defense I was writing a depressing story, listening to The Fray and Florence + The Machine on repeat.

I wrote the first draft in 1 week. YES. 1 week. My first drafts are short, so don’t think it was like 80k or anything, more like 40k. I received a new job and had a week between the old one and the new one and it just worked out. The stars aligned, Saturn was in my house–yeah, you get the picture.

This is what I looked like at the end of my 1 week sprint o’ blood.

Kidding. I just wanted an excuse to show Ryan Gosling. Actually, it was more like this.

Bua ha ha ha. Okay. Seriously.

Do I love this new MS as much as THE ONE? That’s the real question. YES, I do. I know how crazy that sounds. But I really do. THE ONE will always be THE ONE. But you can have more than one THE ONE. Uh, what?

Don’t let the fear get to you. Just keep doing what you love. WRITING. I have no pearls of wisdom to get you to love that dreaded second MS. But one of them has to be the second. It’s inevitable. I think my best advice would be not to compare your second MS to THE ONE. We have it in our heads that that first MS is our baby. At least I did. But once I left her in the capable hands of my agent, I was free to write. Did I have some failed 2nd MS’s Yes. All those half drafts I was talking about? They took a backseat to my new idea. Will I go back to the half drafts? Maybe. That’s yet to be determined.

I have no regrets. I knew when I started writing this MS that it was going to be #2 officially.

Okay, how many times did I type THE ONE? LOL!

Have you written MS #2? How did YOU feel?

Have a great week, everyone!!


30 Responses to “Writing That Dreaded 2nd MS After THE ONE”

  1. Erica, I love this post!!

    I’m in the tail-end of MS #2 and-YES-it has been a struggle and a challenge to get here. There’s so many things people say to get past MS #1 and start MS #2 and, at the time, when you’re in the thick of panic, none of it seemed to help me.

    The only advice I can give is that writing takes time. Writers tell stories. And sometimes stories need to find us when we’re ready.

  2. Leigh Ann says:

    Huh. Well, my second MS after THE ONE was just meant to be a brain-break. I don’t love it as hard as THE ONE – I don’t think I’ll ever love anything that much – but I have a certain warm, creeping affection for it, and deep attachment to its themes, that’s very special.

    Also – my agent CERTAINLY thinks the one after THE ONE is the really golden one. So there’s that. 😉

    Great post – and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  3. Not there yet ~ still (hopefully) writing the one … but I like this post and think many writers struggle with this issue. As for your metaphor, equating bleeding with writing, it reminds me of what Hemingway said about writing: “there’s nothing to writing, you just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

  4. I really needed to hear this. I’ve been stalling starting MS 2 because I don’t know if I have it in me again. But I just need to write. Thanks. 🙂

  5. Stephsco says:

    I wrote a draft of #2 for Nanowrimo last November, and I’ve been letting it sit. I really like it so far. I’d thought of the characters many months prior to Nano and wrote out a few scenes, so I had something to work with. I’m still working THE ONE (editing), so getting on with something else for awhile was really refreshing, and helped me focus back on my WIP. I have a few other false start novels i’ve worked on in the past. One in particular I’d love to return to and turn it into a short story.

    Good luck with your writing!

  6. AngiNicole says:

    Great post. I love how you put your writing because that’s what happened with my Nano book. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  7. I don’t have a THE ONE yet, but I’m working on my 9th novel now and like every book before it, it’s THE ONE for me. I fall head over heels about every project when I’m writing it. It’s only later that I realize maybe it’s not really all I thought it might be….

  8. LindaBudz says:

    Congratulations on finishing! For a manuscript to seem to write itself like that (and within one week! one week!!!), it must have something special to it.

  9. I love this post. I just started MS #2 and I LOVE doing something different after working on one MS so long. I’m not sure where it will stand when I’m done, but so far, it is fun.
    Also glad to find out that there are other writers who do short first drafts like I do! I keep reading about writers who are like “my first draft was 80,000 words” and I’m like AAAAH.

  10. This is a great post. Although I don’t know if I have written THE ONE manuscript yet as I’ve just started querying, I am definitely finding the next manuscript difficult to write. I think some of it stems from the fact that every manuscript comes with a new set of challenges. While I love the idea for both manuscripts, the current WIP doesn’t feel as good presently because I’m still drafting and I know have a long road of writing and revising ahead of me. And maybe once I get through that, the WIP will be as good as the completed manuscript 🙂

  11. I’m sort of a funny in this way because the ms that’s THE ONE for me is one I’m well aware isn’t my best. My mss are also really, really different from one another – different tenses, numbers of POVs, places on the light-dark spectrum – so it helps me not to compare. Right now I’m working on one I hope will both be the new THE ONE for me AND be more technically sound than my original “baby,” and if that’s the case, I can only pray it won’t hold me back from working on the one after!

  12. I’m on manuscript… um… a lot. And I still go through this. Way to be brave and bleed those words out and keep moving forward!!

  13. Hmmmm.
    My internal jury is still out on both “The One” and “The One Before That.” Because “The One” is the one that is getting me somewhere and “The One Before That” is still waiting for me to be brave enough to pull it out and work on it again.
    So very complicated. And my picture is less about tears of blood or Ryan Gosling, and more like Opie on Sons of Anarchy after he got his head bashed in.

  14. GAH. I’m dying over really digging into MS #2.

    I’m so afraid MS #1 will have been a fluke!

  15. I’m late to this post, but I’m dealing with this right now too, and I am having such a hard time! I’m glad to know I’m not alone! (And btw, I’m reading your MS#2 right now and loving it!!) 🙂

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