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Fighting "second-novel syndrome"

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Is it harder to write that second novel – particularly if you hit it big the first time around? Many writers think so.

In last month's Telegraph, several novelists discussed the struggle to produce the second novel.  It's all about time and motivation, says Stephen Fry, whose first novel was "The Liar."

"The first took 23 years, and contains all the experience, pain, stored-up artistry, anger, love, hope, comic invention and despair of that lifetime," Fry told the Telegraph. "The second is an act of professional writing. That is why it is so much more difficult."

To reward those who do succeed that second time around, Britain's Society of Authors sponsors the Encore Award , with £7,500 going to the author they decide has penned the best second novel. The 2008 prize will be awarded this May.

Meanwhile, however, to remind us all that, sometimes, the second is the best, the Times Online has published its list of "10 spectacular second novels."

These include:

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

"Ulysses" by James Joyce

"Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie

"Vile Bodies" by Evelyn Waugh

"Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens

"Girl With a Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier

"The Golden Notebook" by Doris Lessing

"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel

"The Beautiful and Damned" by F.Scott Fitzgerald

"The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot

You can see the list with commentary here.

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