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  1. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Existing Characgters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Reggie, Nov 10, 2010.

    Existing Characters

    Hello, I am trying to write a sequel to my first novel, but I’m not sure if I should use the same characters and the same supporting ones. If I don’t, will the second version lose originality to the first one, or is it better to have all of the different ones? Another thing, I don’t want the narrator to be the protagonist of the novel. I want him to be the antagonist of it. Will this make it harder for the readers to identify the main character and the “bad” character? I appreciate the suggestions if anyone has any.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Make sure you introduce some new characters - also if you are telling from the point of view of someone different remember that character will react differently to the characters.

    That was my biggest pitfall with keeping same characters but my work is mostly first person - I realised my seventeen year old narrator of the first book knew the other people differently to his twenty nine year old (or hundred and thirty year old in my latest book) brother. I had to get to know my characters all over again.

    It depends how you tell it personally I have to have a likeable main character and narrator that I can invest in - but others don't mind there are famous books with unlikeable MCs like Dorian Gray and Perfume.
     
  3. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    If your work is to be a sequel, then it should at least pick up where the previous book left off, or continue the tale of some part of the first book (either the tale of a significant character or significant object or a significant location).

    As for the narrator being the antagonist making it harder for the readers to identify the main character, well, it all depends on how you write it. Your main character doesn't necessarily have to be the good guy, after all.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can be really interesting to pick up a sequel and find it has the opposing view point to the first book - really interesting to read the main character from a different point of view. :) Just... My opinion on finding the next book was written from the villain's POV. :p
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I think it depends on the story. If it's something like Harry Potter, readers would be POd if the 7th book randomly had Ron as the main protag or something. On the other hand, you've got authors like Sharon Draper who will write about the same group of friends and write different, yet related, books about each one (it doesn't matter the order you read them, but they all deal with the same characters and sometimes one book will briefly reference the events of another).

    Even if you keep the main POV character(s) consistent throughout the series, you'll stilll want to add some new supporting characters in each installment to spice things up.
     
  6. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    Stephen R. Lawhead writes many of his books that are sequels in different character points of view... He did this in his King Raven series as well as his Songs of Albion... He is one of my fav authors, but if your going to check into this I would recommend the King Raven series. Three books, and all a great different take on Robin Hood.
     
  7. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    If you are unsure, the best idea is to examine the flow of your previous manuscript. Examine where the previous manuscript left off, what loose ends need to be tied up, and where the characters are in terms of location and what they are doing. You do not have to start your sequel right where the previous left off or make it seem like an obvious sequel right away. You just have to find a way to seamlessly tie in the two in such a way that you do not have any loose ends.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    In fact it's usually better to distance yourself from the first book instead of jumping right in. As a chronic reader of out-of-order series, I can't name many that I started reading in the correct order. Very annoying would be picking up a book that was so obviously a sequel from the get-go, I wouldn't know what was going on if there weren't recaps crammed in between paragraphs in the opening. Best to start with an immersive scene that re-introduces characters or settings or even just starts with a new one, so that when you find the old characters milling about, the new character has to be introduced to them himself, lessening the temptation to write the old guys as if you know them like your best buddies.



    (On that note, one of my worst problems when I was obsessively re-writing a novel back in the day, was that I got so bored of introducing the characters is pretty much read like an awful sequel, even though nothing came before it. :p I was pretty much waving in the characters with a "yeah, yeah, you know the score...")
     
  9. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    It's purely dependent on what your sequel is meant to be! Obvious, but sometimes a sequel may intend to further explore the world, rather than the characters, or a theme. In which case, new characters (within the same world of the old ones) is suitable - as long as the world is compelling.
     
  10. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    Just as long as you don't write something like the Mask 2: the son of the mask:cool:
     
  11. erader2
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    erader2 Member

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    In A Song of Fire and Ice, George RR Martin has a different character perspective every CHAPTER. People I thought were gonna be MC's end up dying (in fact Martin has a rep for never letting anything good happen to the good guys).

    If people cared about you're character in the first novel, then they will definitely want to know what he/she has been up to. Martin's 4th book in the series completely ignored the most interesting characters from book 3, b/c he's waiting til book 5 for them, and it ended up making the 4th book really frustrating and I still haven't finished it, despite the fact he's a great writer
     
  12. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    I enjoy reading books from a series way more than a stand alone. For me, I hate the fact that I become attached to a character(s) only to find that they don't appear anywhere else in literature...lol These days I tend to steer clear of standalones.

    Anyway, that wasn't what you were asking. Personally, I've never read books in a series that changes perspective like that, whith the exception of the last few Sue Grafton books, but even then, the POV switched between Kinsey Millhone (the heroine in the alphabet series) and the antagonist. I don't know how I would like a book in which the characters that I've grown to like are not the focus.
     
  13. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is your sequel absolutely dependent on the first novel or is it somewhat standalone as well?

    The only advice I can give is personal experience. I am currently on book 3 of a series. I have the same main protagonists each time but I also introduce sort of "guest" protagonists as well for each book, and a new antagonist each time so far.

    So my advice is that it's okay to have the same characters, but try to add something to make it feel fresh and not just a retread of the first book. I'd also recommend making it something that can stand by itself rather than be absolutely dependent on the previous book.
     
  14. Legacy1306
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    Legacy1306 Senior Member

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    i agree here. Take the movies "Inside Man", "Law Abiding Citizen", and "Pirates of the Caribean".

    I don't know about you, but I was rooting for the "bad guy" in each of these movies. Note that Pirates of the Caribean is actually sort of borderline here; in history the East India Trading Company was the good guy, whilst the Pirates were the bad guys (with a notable exception of Francis Drake, who was knighted for for his daring raids of Spanish ships)

    The trick here is what is known in the movie biz as a "Save the Cat" scene. This is where an otherwise unlikeable character does something or has something happen to him that makes the readers feel sorry for him, or at least feel a connection with him. An example of this is in "Law Abiding Citizen", when Gerard Butler's character's daughter dies. In "Inside Man", the antagonist left a ring in the bank, which led the detective to a war criminal, and landed him a big promotion. This made us realize that even though Clive Owen's character robbed thousands of dollars worth of diamonds from the bank and got away with it, he's still a good guy in some ways. Even for younger audiences, such as the television show "Avatar: The Last Airbender", we can feel sorry for Prince Zuko because the only reason he hunts the avatar is to make his father respect him.

    If the antagonist is your narrator, be sure to include a save the cat scene. If not, you might as well forget it.
     
  15. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    I read that book.
     
  16. Legacy1306
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    Legacy1306 Senior Member

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    And it was amazing, wasn't it? I have the whole series, there are three. xD really good, I especially loved his view of genres. Really excellent guy, it helped my writing alot lol
     
  17. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    Oh, I didn't know there were more - are they worth the read?
     
  18. Legacy1306
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    Legacy1306 Senior Member

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    I'm not sure lol I haven't gotten around to finishing the first one xD The next two are as follows, though:
    "Save the Cat Strikes Back"
    and
    "Save the Cat Goes to the Movies"

    Apparently the third one takes popular movies and analyzes them, pulls apart the different pieces and how they work and fit together. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, however. I've been using the first one alot for a script I've been working on that I hope will eventually make it as a film in the Virginia Film Festival next year :D one can dream lol
     
  19. Klogg
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    Klogg Member

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    If it's a sequel, I tend to think the MC's should be brought back. Just the main ones though. Don't bring back your entire cast of characters. New and fresh characters are vital to making a sequel work. You'll notice this in virtually any sequel in any series in existence. The MC is there to give the reader a sense of familiarity and emotional connection right off the bat. They know them. They may even like them. The new characters bring in the unknown. Are they good? Do they have ulterior motives? Can this person be trusted? Do I like them? The new characters and their personalities are like throwing in a few different spices into the soup. It didn't taste like the old soup, but I like these new spices.
     

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