Saturday, March 21, 2009
The dreaded second novel
I am currently employed writing my second novel, and we all know the curse of the second novel. Many great writers, among whose company I cannot be included, have come to grief at this point in their careers. I came across a fascinating list of disappointing second novel s that followed bestsellers, while perusing the Times .
Here we go:
Barbary Shore , Norman Mailer, following The Naked and the Dead
Marabou Stalk Nightmares, Irvine Welsh, following Trainspotting
Shirly, Charlotte Bronte, following Jane Eyre
Something Happened, Joseph Heller, following Catch 22
Thirteen Moons, Charles Frazier, following Cold Mountain
Valperga, Mary Shelly, following Frankenstein
Walking on Glass, Iain Banks, following The Wasp Factory
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray), Boris Pasternak (Dr Zhivago), Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind), Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights) and Anna Sewell (Black Beauty) never did get round to writing another one.
I am trying to decide whether I should feel encouraged that even great writers can come to grief or utterly demoralised because if these guys can’t do it then what hope do I have?
On another note, here is a picture taken a couple of months ago of Bleak House, above Broadstair's Harbour. Dickens used to write in a study with a window overlooking the English Channel. The jetty on the right is Eagles Landing, where the captured French Eagles were brought ashore after the Battle of Waterloo, bringing the first news of Wellington's Great Victory.