The Page a Day Writers Group

The Sophomore Curse

Posted on: December 12, 2009

Last night I confessed my fear of the sophomore curse to my very lovely and wonderfully encouraging friend, Gayle. It’s a nagging little anxiety, about the size of dust bunny, that’s been blowing around in my brain for a while now.

OK, I get that that the sophomore curse/slump hinges on the precedent that your freshman effort was wildly successful. Still, the fear haunts nearly every artist. Can I do it again? Am I a one-hit wonder?

It typically applies to bands, sports rookies and sometimes movie sequels, but the follow up effort can carry with it potent ju-ju. Sure, we read “Cold Mountain” or “A Million Little Pieces” but can you name the books the authors wrote in the wake of their big, splashy debuts? Here’s Bee Season author Myla Goldberg talking about the sophomore slump.

Ice Song received some really wonderful praise, and some rather not-nice critiques, all par for the course, of course. But overall, I feel fairly happy with the outcome. I can only imagine that the next book, Tattoo, will do even better because it will incorporate all the lessons learned from my virgin foray into publishing.

Instead of riding the downward slope from a glorious pinnacle of success, I’m still making the trek upwards to the top, so the pressure is much less than it would be had my first book been a bestseller. Mostly I’m just trying not to think about it. All those outside voices simply obscure the ones that really matter, the voices of my characters, and the gentle guidance of my muse.

Kirsten Imani Kasai

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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