Author Corner: Double Helix, Book 2 in Production!

I’m happy to announce that book two in the Double Helix series is currently being written. Or should I say, re-re-re-written.

I have never struggled harder with a concept than I have for the sequel to Never Mind the Genetics. Not because I couldn’t think of a plot for it. It was because I thought of every single plot possible.

When I settled on my final concept for book two (which has gone through literally five different titles), it had already traveled all across the literary universe. It buzzed with the gadgetry of science-fiction. It donned a suspense-drama uniform. It oozed with the sappiness of illness-related tragedy. It flaunted bright comedy colors. Book two in the Double Helix series has touched almost every genre imaginable, and all of them terrible, and didn’t match at all what I wanted to get across in terms of Kevin and Andrew’s relationship. The truth was, I had no damn clue what I was going to do.

My point is, I was being pretty foolish about what I was doing. Hell, I’m still kind of shambling about, wondering if I should even bother making this a “series” at all. With all of the failed concepts, signs are pointing to “maybe you should have held out on calling this a ‘series’ until you figured yourself out”. When one of my ideas was no more complicated than “they were birds in another life,” I knew I was dead in the water.

Yeah, birds. No, I don’t take any recreational drugs, but man, imagine what kind of stuff I’d write about them if I had.

The funny thing is, I revealed these ideas to those who support me. None of them stopped me and said, “That’s a terrible idea, Mel.” I mean, I’m kind of (very) sensitive, so I don’t blame them for going easy on me. I’m only glad I snapped out of it and was honest with myself, and said, “Hey, these ideas are kind of terrible, man.”

So, naturally, going from idea to idea and back again has delayed this book terribly. I wrote about three or four (I lost count) rough first drafts that went nowhere. The first book’s concept was so easy. “A father and son fall in love”. Oh, okay, I can do that. Then I had the audacity to ask “now what?” once the first book was over.

A lot of people tell me that you have to have sequel concepts already  planned out before publishing the first if you’re doing a series. Well, that’s the thing– I did have ideas. They were just all bad, and I realized a bit late that they wouldn’t work. I had to come up with something new, immediately. It was only recently that I was able to do so. It is, so far, the closest thing to being substantial. I have a feeling that I’ll reach the end of the manuscript, say “this isn’t working” and toss that out with the others. It, like all other ideas, is definitely flawed at this point, but it still follows the same formula I was originally going for, as well as the same tone. After some intense storyboarding, I’ll be able to figure out what I can throw away and what I can keep, and polish it up before starting a whole new first draft.

Book two will feature the same characters– namely Kevin, Andrew, and Kyle. No, Ben doesn’t make a reappearance (because I don’t even like him, to be honest about it– and I never did. Note to self: don’t write characters that annoy the crap out of me). Kyle has a role other than “background jealousy machine” this time, and his development is based around about a year of me writing backstory for him, something I didn’t even do when I wrote the first book. Kyle has become more of a personal character for me now.

In the first book, Kevin and Andrew lacked the conflict I enjoy in a romance story. Though they did end up having some conflict at the end of the book, it didn’t last very long, and therefore, their reconciliation didn’t feel as satisfying to me. Because Kevin and Andrew have such a tight bond, breaking it would require something pretty serious. That was another struggle of mine: finding something strong enough to break the glue that stuck them to one another. In my mind, I always think, “They’d survive that. It’s not enough. Their relationship is too unique.” It wasn’t until recently that I realized what the “deal-breaker” could be– the thing so jarring that they might not be able to carry on afterwards– and when it hit me, I felt both elated and nauseated. Now I just have to  get the poor boys through the ordeal.

With this plan in mind, I can only hope that it’s the last one. I’ve already begun to storyboard in Scrivener. I’ve been writing down tons of notes. An ending to the story is even coming into view. It’s looking like this latest concept might truly be the final one.  Part of me can’t wait to go on this emotional roller coaster ride, while another part has a box of tissues, ice cream and Josh Groban ready while he chants, “LET’S DO THIS, GENTLEMEN!”

 

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