1. mcjagger45
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    mcjagger45 New Member

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    Does anyone else ever write a story with sequels in mind?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mcjagger45, Apr 15, 2012.

    Everytime I go to write my story I always think how i would expand my plot in a sequel. Is this a thing i should do when I write? I always write down ideas i get for a story or a follow up.
     
  2. Just Jon
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    Just Jon Member

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    I write down other side story ideas I get along the way, including sequels. But I'm still struggling to get the first one finished so I can't really spend too much time chasing those butterflies till I'm done with this one. :)
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Forget sequels until you are published. Thinking of sequels will corrupt your writing, if you start leaving loose ends to carry into a sequel.

    Publishers balk at any mention of series or sequels by unpublished writers. They want to see writers with more than one idea, not ones trying to capitalize on the same characters and setting. And if you leave little coupling points in your story, they WILL notice. It makes your story look ragged.
     
  4. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I was just thinking the other day how everyone who posts on this board seems to be writing a series or planning sequels already. Including me :D I would almost say it is the rule, as those who only want to write a standalone novel seem to be the exception. I don't think it's a bad thing because agents and publishers are looking to invest in someone who will keep providing them with marketable MS - these days a writer only really starts to make decent money after their 3rd or 4th book. One hit wonders are rarer than hens teeth in the publishing industry.

    The only way I could see it being a bad thing is if it distracts your focus from the one you're writing. I have a cousin who is constantly coming up with story concepts, and has planned out 2 or 3 series of books in very fine detail. But so far he hasn't even finished one of them, because as soon as he starts to write one he gets another brilliant concept and goes off chasing it down rabbits holes. That's the way to never get published, unfortunately.
     
  5. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I hate to say this Cog, but my agent disagrees with you. She is very happy about the fact that I see my novel as having series potential - if the first book is a good enough standalone, but there is still more story to tell, that's exactly what gets an agent very excited. The fact that every wannabe novelist and their gran has a 14 book fantasy series planned out does tend to make them groan, but if they like the book you're currently offering, there is nothing they love better than hearing there's more mileage in the story and characters.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's bad for two reasons. First, every novel must be complete in itself. Leaving dangly bits for a sequel must be carefully managed to not break the completeness of each novel. Frankly, a new writer has enough on his or her plate without having to juggle that too.

    Second, no publisher will commit to a series straight out of the gate. The publisher doesn't know if the public will take to the writer's work. The publisher also doesn't know if you will follow through after the first sale. Something which is clearly a series opener, incomplete in itself is just too big a risk.

    Publishers do not want one-trick ponies. They would much rather hear you have another, unrelated novel in the works. That tells them you aren't stuck trying to capitalize on a single idea.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I concur! This is how I see it:

    Publishers love the idea that you have multiple non-related stories. It shows that you aren't obsessed with just one idea that may not sell well.

    If it's intended to be a series, then just write the first book as a stand-alone. If it succeeds, do a sequel. If not, then it's fine the way it is. Just don't make the loose ends very obvious.
     
  8. mcjagger45
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    mcjagger45 New Member

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    Well right now i am only doing this as a hobbie and just for fun not trying to get published haha >< I am only in High school and the story i am writing I just write down Ideas and if ever wanted to do a sequel I could The ideas dont take from the main story at all. I dont see that as a bad thing or causing any harm to the main story
     
  9. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I wasn't suggesting you leave 'dangly bits' - the key word is 'potential'. If you can potentially write a sequel it's better than a novel where there's no potential.

    Of course not. But you're not selling them 2 or 3 novels. You're selling them a debut novel, with a possible sequel/series.

    Yes, but there's no reason why having the intention of writing more about your current characters should preclude you having ideas for other stories too. Honestly Cog, you are one of the most pessimistic people I have encountered on these boards.
     
  10. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Wait, I'm an exception? Score. Honestly, none of my currents works in progress lend themselves to being a series or have sequels, and that might be why its never crossed my mind. I like my stand alone novels.

    I'm going to go with Cog here. Each novel should be able to stand on it's own. So, if you are thinking about sequels or a series, you must ensure that your first one is able to hold it's own weight.

    Edit: For clarity, I opened this reply before there was a few ahead of it...
     
  11. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Yes, completely. Standalone in terms of being a self contained story in it's own right. But there's no harm in PLANNING or HOPING to write a sequel, is there?

    I would seriously caution against mentioning it in a query letter though - it does look like you're trying to stretch out an overblown story, or that your first one will leave loose ends. Just show them how great your current novel is before you go mentioning the other 5 lurking on your hard drive ;)
     
  12. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    No, I don't see a problem with it as long as one has the self control to stop themselves from leaving loose ends to fix in the sequel.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never think in these terms. I don't like sequels and don't believe in writing one for any of my stories, and I hope no one will ever ask me to do it. Except for my mom, who has already requested a sequel of my first story :D
     
  14. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    When I started working on my current story I had no thoughts about a sequel. Accordingly my story is intended to stand alone and it does. However, I purposely leave a few aspects unresolved because I want the reader to go "hmmm" at the end and wonder about how things might go forward. I've started to wonder that myself and I have spent a little time sketching out what a sequel might look like. I am very aware of the danger of distracting myself from my current work and I've tried to not let that happen.

    Anyway it seems to me that thinking about a sequel is a reasonable thing to do. I think it can help put one's current work into perspective. On the other hand I can see how time spent thinking about a sequel could be just time wasted. In my case at least I see it as something I can only afford to do in moderation.
     
  15. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    Most of the stories I'm working on at the moment also have some sort of sequel, prequel, or whatever else planned. This would be pretty terrible if I was planning on taking any of this to a publisher, but I'm almost positive I will never bring anything to a publisher, so I don't have to worry about making my books more marketable by avoiding sequels.

    I do plan these sequels to act more like individual stories that just take place in the same universe as each other. There are very few, if any characters who will be in the first and second books. The reason for this is that I normally enjoy the worlds I create more than the characters I create. So the series I create are more about the worlds the series take place in. My standalone books are much more about the characters and/or themes.

    Write what you feel your story can fill. If you think you have a good idea for a series, just remember to develop each book so that they are well-rounded and not just half books. And if you aren't trying to get published, don't be afraid to experiment, and do what is fun.
     
  16. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I have one series I am writing that is a Mystery series. I left the main characters alive so I can continue writing a series if I want to. But, I have just started a new book idea where I want to have two sequels in mind. This is the first time I have ever done this. I may try to write down notes. It all depends how I feel at the end of this novel. My theory is, I write what I want. If the novel requires another one to follow it then I will write it. Just do what makes you happy. No need to think of writing a sequel as the way to make money. Do it for the love of writing. No need to argue, it's just a simple question. I do hope I can write a sequel. It will be a nice accomplishment.
     
  17. Jethelin
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    Jethelin Member

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    I just recently finished the first book in what I hope will be a series. But I plan on having at least the first draft of the second book written before I submit the finished first to publishers. If that makes any difference. I'm sure they would be slightly more accepting of it if you can show them a guarantee of continued work on the project. I also agree with not leaving things hanging. My current story line ends with this first book, but easily has the potential (in my eyes of course) to be carried on without pause in a second.
     
  18. John R. Gambit
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    John R. Gambit New Member

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    If you intend to write a sequel, I recommend drawing up an outline for overall plot for the series as long as you have it planned out. Then you can include hints with underdeveloped plot lines before the proper story is fully told. At least, that's how I do it. I like complete epic stories planned out in advance of the writing. Knowing where you will take the character allows you to end it dramatically, well.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no!
    listen to cog and link... their advice and info is sound, should be taken seriously... it's what i would have said if they hadn't gotten here before me...
     
  20. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I won't argue with the people who have a vast reputation... I do often think about sequels... but I try not to.
     
  21. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Would be best if the first few novels were stand-alone. That is how I will go about it, although I will leave something in them for possible future sequels if one day I should feel like creating a new story in the given world.
     
  22. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    True, except I think about writing sequels and it doesn't bother me that I do. If you truely enjoy hanging out with your characters, they will often tell you more than one story; just make sure you finish listening to the first story before you move on to the second.

    Oh wait, by saying that was I arguing? :)
     
  23. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I only write sequels if the story needs to be continued. My longest novel I am writing has too many pages and ideas to fit into one story. I stay with one or two story lines in one novel and I leave the rest in a pool of possibilities.
     

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