1. Dreek Lass
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    Dreek Lass New Member

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    How Do I Go about Writing A Sequel?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dreek Lass, May 31, 2013.

    I have only ever really finished one story to my satisfaction, and that was years ago. Since then I don't seem to be able to finish anything. I start out great at the beginning. All of the passion is there and the words just spill from me, but then it becomes harder and harder, like the more I invest in the characters and plot, the more I have to consider when writing every next word, because I have to write according to what has happened before. This never used to be a problem for me, but it seems to be these days - for the last four years in fact.

    But I have that one story that I have finished to my own satisfaction, and I had tried to write a sequel to it. You should see the folder for it - it is a complete and utter mess lol. I have written SO many different versions of the sequel, because nothing that I ever wrote quite sat right with me. Now I suspect that it is because I have no idea how to go about writing a sequel.

    Like at the beginning on the story, I wasn't sure whether or not to go over certain character and plot points that happened in the first story, or how much information to reiterate, because if you are going to write a sequel, then you want it to be a standalone right, so that people can buy just that book and not be confused?

    Any input would be fabulous :)
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Writing a sequel can be tricky, so remember that your frustration is not in vain; not everybody can do it.

    First of all, you must contemplate over whether your book needs a sequel. Do you simply want to get the first one published and have another book, just in case its sales go through the roof? If so, you may want to rethink. Or do you just love the world that you've created and can't stand letting it go? Whilst this is a half-valid reason, it's not the be all and end all of writing a sequel - if there's no more story to be told of a character or characters, then you've got a problem. Only write a sequel if there's a story to tell, something for the character/characters to learn.

    Next, I believe you must think about what you want your character to learn. Once this has been achieved you can begin to build plot and story around it, and it should be easier.

    Third, you plan it. It could take weeks of mind-simmering before you even put a word onto paper. That's fine. It means that you want your story to work and you're not just rushing into it and banging a story out. As for how to plan it, for convenience's sake plan it the way you planned the first. But of course if you didn't like planning it that way, find a new way to outline your story.

    As to how much information to give readers in the sequel, this is a much debated issue and varies from writer to writer. For example, I think that reiterating too much of the previous story for the sake of people who didn't buy the first is a ridiculous thing, as you're going to bore the reader who has read past instalments. And if someone bought the second book without reading the first, why should the writer compensate for them? They're obviously too lazy to work out that it's a sequel, and therefore will have continuity. Anyway, rant over. ;) Seriously though, it depends on the sequel you're trying to make. Some series work well as stand-alone type novels anyway, and if this is your work, then do it that way. But if you feel regurgitating the previous book isn't for you and won't make the story flow properly, then don't do it. Writers have been successful either way, so it's up to you here.

    Final advice would be to remember what happened to your characters before the sequel, because you don't want something contradicting. Also, remember that a sequel doesn't have to involve the same character; look at Anne Mcaffrey's Pern series for evidence of this. And remember to have fun, because that's what writing is all about! :D
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand why you'd want to write a sequel, unless the story just cried out for one, or you had a great idea for a story involving the same characters. It should be easier to write a sequel because you already know your characters so well. What is it about the story you completed that makes you want to write more of it -- did you really like the plot? The characters? Is your plot the type that lends itself easily to a series or sequel -- i.e. are you character detectives or lawyers or something where they worked on one case brought on by another character, and they can run into a new character with a similar but different problem to solve? Or is your story more character based, in which case, maybe you can focus more on a different character. That is, make one of the side characters the MC in your next story.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm just in the process of starting this very thing myself, and I'm nervous about it.

    While mine will contain some of the same characters as the first book, and it's a direct sequel, following the events of the first closely, I'm moving the setting completely. It will also have a completely different focus and feel. This one will be a quieter story, as regards events, but maybe a stronger story as regards character. It will be fun to see how this goes.

    I left a couple of 'elephants in the room' at the end of the first story (although it came to an end, with loose ends tied up) but there are still two big secrets which have not yet been told. So I've got these to work with. Because of the change of venue, I'm losing several of my secondary characters, though. Two of these were strong characters, and they'll be hard to replace. So I'm working on creating a few new ones, with new subplots.

    To help keep things on track (mine is in a historical setting, about 150 years ago) I've created a calendar. An ordinary day-to-day calendar, only for the years I'm working with. I filled in all the details from the first book, and am fitting the plot points for the second into the calendar. That way, I can keep track, see how long things take, etc. It always helps to develop an ongoing timeline, too ...not an outline, but a day-to-day diary, in which you record what is happening to characters. That makes it easy if you start adding in stuff later on. You won't end up clashing with other events.

    I hope a few other people weigh into this thread. People who HAVE written sequels. It would be great to get some tips. Anyway, good luck with yours, Dreek Lass. And as Thomas Kitchen says, have fun!

    I suppose a lot depends on how much your sequel depends upon the original. Is it a direct followup, or will it be a completely new story, using the same characters, but in a different way?
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm just wondering how you got away with this? Will your readers finish the book and think, "What about those 2 big fat elephants?" Or won't they notice till Part 2 when they have that big "Ahhh Yeah" moment, "I wondered about that... very clever!"
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    sounds like you're writing a sequel for the sake of just writing something in the hopes that you'd actually finish this one. That's not a good reason for writing a sequel at all!

    Maybe you should learn to plan your novels? If it's already planned, you know what you're writing, and that's half the problem in the first place - for me, at least.

    Another thing is just turn off your inner critic. Just right for fun - don't think of it as a project, just write. If you haven't finished anything in 4 years, maybe you're a little rusty right now. Write a few short stories or snippets, have fun with it, don't plan on taking it anywhere and just write, get your wheels turning again first. I haven't written in 3 months and I feel well rusty - I can't imagine what not writing in 4 years must feel!
     

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