Guest Post: The Challenges of Writing a Series by Debbie Dee

Written By: Kellie - May• 03•13

undergroundWhen I was about seven years old my friends and I decided to put on a play for our parents. We set out lawn chairs, gathered props and costumes, and came up with a script we thought was pretty amazing. We had a packed house on opening night (all 10 lawn chairs were filled!) and the crowd eagerly watched as our play unfolded before their eyes. I’m pretty sure we rocked it. In fact, I was so certain of our awesomeness that near the end of the play I pulled my friends aside and suggested we do another one. Right then. I was so sure of our amazing seven-year-old improvisational skills that I had no doubt we would continue dazzling our captive audience with whatever we came up with. My friends agreed and we continued on, shouting out whatever popped into our minds. We even expanded our “stage area” to include the sides of the house and behind the porch. Never mind that our audience couldn’t see us in these locations, we were actors and we were putting on the best play EVER!

I’m not sure how long this lasted, but I remember my mother pulling me aside and, after kneeling down to my level, saying, “I think it’s time to finish the show. You started out great, but things are getting out of hand.”

She was so kind, and her voice was gentle, but I was devastated. How could they not love the second play when they loved the first one so much? Didn’t they see how much passion I was putting into my acting? (I had just completed a drama scene with a stray cat and I was pretty sure I was on the road to the Academy Awards.)

My friends and I took our bows, our parents clapped, and then the chairs were put away and the “curtain” closed. I forgot about that day until I sat down to write the sequel to The Last Witch. My mother’s words flooded back to me. “You started out great, but things are getting out of hand.” Fresh waves of terror washed over me as I recalled my younger humiliation. What if people didn’t like my second effort? What if they packed up their chairs and left in the middle of my most heartfelt endeavor? Granted, I knew I would put in a little more planning for a second book than my younger self had put into a second play, but doubt still hung over me.

Fortunately, while writing The Underground Witch, I was swept away into the story. My mind had no room for doubt because it was having too much fun with all the action, love, and adventure! When I finished the first draft of The Underground Witch, I was on a creative high, one that had me skipping through my house with glee. I’d done it! I’d written the best sequel EVER!

And then the editing started.

Without my imagination to carry me off into new lands, self-doubt crept in. Every sentence sounded like complete crap, ever paragraph a total waste of space. I wanted to toss the entire manuscript out a dozen times, or at least throw my computer across the room. Instead, I worked hard and went over the manuscript until I was sick of it. And then I went over it again. There were days when I never thought I’d be able to get it right, and then I’d have days where everything seemed to fall into place. And somewhere along the way I fell in love with it again.

I’m glad I didn’t give in to my self-doubt, or throw my computer across the room (phew!), but I’m especially glad I didn’t give up on Emmeline’s story. Not only because she had barely begun to discover her power in the first book, but because she totally kicks butt in The Underground Witch and I loved writing every second of it!!

debbie dee

About Debbie Dee

Debbie Dee recently moved to southern Idaho with her husband and three children where

In addition to writing, she plays the piano, harp, violin, and gets in frequent fights with her cello. She loves to read and play board games – when she is winning. she is learning how to be a country girl in her favorite pair of blue heels. She adores fairy tales and happy endings, but secretly crushes on the bad guy now and then.

Debbie is the author of young adult novels, The Last Witch and The Underground Witch. Her first middle-grade novel, Tiy and the Prince of Egypt, is due out Fall 2013.

You can visit Debbie online, on her website.

Purchase The Last Witch@Amazon, @Barnes & Noble

Already read The Last Witch? Purchase The Underground Witch@Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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