Book 2 Diaries: #1 – A New Beginning

Word count: 1322

Working title: Rhymes with Wisteria


Dear readers,

Yesterday, I wrote the first 1000 words of book number 2. Juice of Half a Lemon (I’ll call it JOHAL from now on) is resting on the side while I wait for the last few beta critiques to peter in.

I was hesitant to move on from my JOHAL characters, but with the help of your comments and the excitement of a new idea, I think I’m slowly getting past that hesitation.

I’ve decided to post little updates on Book 2 as I write it, to both document my writing process and help keep me motivated!

Inspiration and Ideas

I’m always interested to hear how other writers get their ideas, so I thought I would share the moment Rhymes with Wisteria happened. It was on a long cold bus ride a few weeks ago. On the bus radio, which was exorbitantly loud, there was a news story about the Wisteria flowers coming back. I misheard it as hysteria coming back, and that was when the story and characters became clear.

For me, the difference between an interesting idea and an idea that I could actually stick with is being able to hear the characters’ voices early on. When I started writing JOHAL, Adele, Edward, and Louise came naturally, as if I had met them all in person. Although I’ve had other story ideas, I haven’t had that same experience with characters until now, with Elsie, Maud, and Ólafur.

This story is taking me back to Iceland, and part of it is set in the town where I stayed during my writing residency. I think that’s part of the reason why I feel so connected to this project.

What am I doing differently this time around?

Outlining. If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I wrote JOHAL without an outline until around the 55 000-word mark. After eight rounds of structural editing, I realised that I didn’t want to do that again. I also discovered that the 20 000 words I wrote after I knew how the book would end were probably the best and least-messy 20 000 words in the whole messy draft.

I’m not going to write an in-depth outline—I don’t think I am capable of that—but I do want a rough road map and an idea of the ending.

I am so looking forward to writing this story and taking you along with me. Outlining is extremely difficult for me—I would appreciate any helpful hints! What are you all working on at the moment? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for reading.

Warm regards,


24 thoughts on “Book 2 Diaries: #1 – A New Beginning

  1. I didn’t outline my first novel and it took 2 years to write. My second novel only took 4 months to write, I think it’s because I outlined it first. I work with 1000 words a day. It’s an achievable goal.
    I love your novel name. I just need a bit of motivation to finish outlining the third novel. ✍️ writer problems 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Love the title. Please share more. Your journey is fascinating. Here’s a thought: Try doing a chapters outline instead of a scene outline. It’s a bit different and a lot easier. With a chapter outline you write a paragraph about the current chapter your writing.

    Think mini synopsis. It will guide you. E-mail me if you want more info. I just read this in a book and it has helped me out a lot.

    For most of us our first novel is our classroom. We are so much better in terms of writing and being mentally prepared when book two rolls around. I compare it to parenthood. We had a better grasp on things with daughter number two.

    I’m really happy you’re sharing this with us. We are all in this together. Don’t ever feel you’re alone. We live in a great time where many people are ready to assist.

    As for me I am in the same boat as you. Book one is making the rounds to agents. No bites yet. A bit sad but that goes with the territory. Book two is in the early stages but I have the idea down.

    Good stuff. Thanks!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Bryan! Your comments are always so helpful and I’m so grateful!

      The chapter outline is a brilliant idea. It seems like it would make for the perfect balance between structure and creative freedom. I will definitely give that a try!

      I’m looking forward to sharing more about this story and my writing process. Thank you again so so much!


  3. You are welcome. Writing a novel is a journey and a tough one at that. But us writers are a determined bunch and we always find a way. Be sure to make time for yourself. Nothing wrong with a day off. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Tamara! Thanks for the follow! I love that the whole idea stems from what you misheard in the radio. 🙂 Also, I find the idea of hysteria coming back both mentally stimulating and funny, so I hope your novel will be both! If parts of the novel will be set in Iceland, will other parts be set in Australia?

    As for outlining, there’s a ton of advice out there from people more qualified than I. 🙂 But the one thing that’s helped me is this: don’t be too detailed in your outlines. Leave the actual text breathing room. Whenever I write an outline that doesn’t allow for surprises, it kills the text for me.

    I hope things go as smoothly as they can for you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Alice, Thank you so much for this insightful comment! The novel comprises two stories which weave into one another–one set in a fictional small town Iceland, the other in a fictional small town in Australia.

      I agree with the idea of letting the text surprise you. I love the feeling of being surprised by my story, which is one of the reasons why I am struggling to let go of my ‘pantser’ identity! I definitely need to give my story the breathing room it needs to grow.

      Thanks again so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting! I like that duality – a stereotypically cold place (Iceland) contrasted with a stereotypically hot place (Australia). Let us know how you progress! 🙂

        Oh, don’t ever let go of your lovely pantser identity! Pantsing is a crucial skill, especially for plotters. Just like plotting is a crucial skill for pantsers. 🙂 I prefer having it both ways. 🙂

        You’re welcome! Thanks to you for such a thought-provoking post!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Alice, Thank you so much for this insightful comment! The novel comprises two stories which weave into one another–one set in a fictional small town Iceland, the other in a fictional small town in Australia.

    I agree with the idea of letting the text surprise you. I love the feeling of being surprised by my story, which is one of the reasons why I am struggling to let go of my ‘pantser’ identity! I definitely need to give my story the breathing room it needs to grow.

    Thanks again so much!


    1. Thanks so much Philip! How have you been? I recently decided to make a couple more big changes to JOHAL, so it’s still going to be a while! What are you working on at the moment? I hope you’re well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a chapbook of short fiction coming out in 3 weeks from a publisher here in Toronto where I now live that’s available for preorder at my website (, and I have just started a novel, although I’m so busy with Into the Void and trying to pay my bills that it’s going to be an excruciatingly long process in writing it!

        Hope you’re doing well too! Keep writing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s incredible news! Congratulations! I just bought myself a copy 🙂 Are you loving Toronto? It’s so incredible to see Into the Void thriving–I’m constantly recommending it to my writerly friends over here in Aus. You’re doing such an incredible job!

        I know the feeling–bills just get in the way, don’t they? I’ve started a new job as a creative writing teacher for kids! I absolutely love it, but I’m still trying to figure out the balance between working and writing. I’ve been aching to start writing my second novel, but I’m still in the outlining stage.

        Best of luck with your novel!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Tamara! You’re the best! Thank you so much for buying that. So few people buy books these days, every sale means the world. Really hope you enjoy it.

        That’s so awesome you’re teaching Creative Writing. To kids and everything. That sounds amazing. So great you get to do what you love for money. I’m trying my best to pay the rent every month with Freelance Editing and living very frugally. It’s a grind, and every day feels like it’ll end momentarily, but I keep pushing on, so far.

        Best of luck with your novel too (both of them!) I can be awful at keeping up with people, so please contact me immediately once JoHaL is ready to go!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Of course! I cannot wait to read it 🙂

        I feel so lucky to have gotten this job! It’s something I enjoy even more than I thought I would. I know the stress that comes with freelance life all too well. I wish you all the best of luck with it! Keep pushing on! Have you ever thought about giving some creative writing workshops? Approaching local libraries would be a good way to start!

        Thanks so much! JoHaL is at a bit of a standstill. I think I’ve taken it as far as I can! If you’d like to beta-read, I’d be happy (and so thankful!) to send it through! I totally understand if you don’t have the time though–I know how busy life can get!


      5. Oh and thanks for the lovely compliment on Into the Void. It’s a hell of a lot of work, too much sometimes, but I a deeply, deeply passionate about it and love it very much.

        And yes, Toronto is absolutely fantastic. I love it. Still a little jealous of your weather when I’m in sub-zero for 6 months, but our springs and summers are pretty great so I’ll take it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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