1. danielperson75
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    danielperson75 Member

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    Originals for the sake of sequels...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by danielperson75, Feb 7, 2011.

    I've read a lot on here in my first couple days back on here about sequels, I've got to question the credibility of the original work if it's soul purpose is to introduce another sequel. What are your thoughts everyone? I've enjoyed hearing each and every one of you. Please feel free to deposit your thoughts, I love reading your contributions!

    -Daniel
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think I've ever read a book which had the sole purpose of setting up a sequel.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I somewhat agree with you. I mentioned somewhere on here recently that it's best to not put the cart before the horse, so to speak.

    It's good to have ambition and vision of course, but I think it's best to concentrate on making the 'original' as best as you can first off.

    I just fear sometimes it's easy for (new?) writers to make lofty plans, and end up not finishing anything.
     
  4. Kevin B
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    Kevin B Member

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    Same here. Besides, most sequels aren't as good as the original.
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I agree with that.

    Maybe the OP can correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood his post to relate to writers' ambitions expressed in this forum, rather than being about published works.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dunno. I tend to write with series in mind - but that's different as it's about one story told over a long time with specific problems that fill one novel on the way to the next, all the time slowly revealing the grand plan.

    Any original novel I've written, liked too much, and sequelled, has always had a terrible second book, and I've ended up hating the original more. But that's the order it works in for me, since the stories never occur to me and then I think "I must write this so I can write that!" -- I would just write whatever "that" is if it's so amazing.

    I do have a habit of starting a lot of stories in the middle, though. Middle of events, that is. not in an arty farty way - the kind of stuff that happened before COULD have been a whole novel, except I see it as just a series of events leading up to the point where I start telling, which I see as the beginning of the emotional journey. So in effect I skip over the blah and get right to the "sequel" and then just release small bits of information that's REALLY important as I go... It saves a lot of page space and time, and makes for better novels. :p

    With my serieses, I do start with an original idea for one novel, but usually I get a few chapters in and realise there's a lot more to tell... At that point I start dropping hints to this bigger thing I have in mind, but I will keep focussing on the plot of the first novel, and just steadily work my way through...
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    never heard of that being done... why do you think it has, daniel?
     
  8. Terri
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    Terri Senior Member

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    I haven't ever heard of that either. However, I know that some stories are too big to contain in 1 novel & therefore a trilogy is planned. That doesn't mean that the 1st of the series is solely to set up for the 2nd. It's all part of a long, involved story.
    Personally, my favorite two fantasy writers had HUGE series. Goodkind & Jordan. 13+ books in Sword of Truth & Wheel of Time series.
     
  9. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    I think that sequels can be something to think about while writing, but should never be the main focus of why one is writing something.

    If the opportunity for a sequel presents itself naturally in the flow of your writing, then it is something to consider. If it feels like you're forcing it, then you probably are.
     
  10. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the interesting stuff is going to start in the sequel, then you starting the story at the wrong place. Then you should skip writing the first book, make it backstory, and start off where the interesting stuff starts happening.
     
  11. Terri
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    Terri Senior Member

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    oooooo well said. WELL said!
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If that first book is your first book, you'll probably never sell it. Only if you are an established writer and a lucrative cash cow are you likely to get such a book published - and your readers will make their distaste known, quite loudly.

    For mere mortals, each book is sold (or not) on its own merits. Don't even think in terms of series until you have that first sale. Then, and only then, consider a sequel if it makes sense to follow up the original.

    Now maybe you do have a grand vision from the outset that extends beyond that first volume. In that case, you are handicapped, unless you can work on that first volume with the tunnel vision that allows you to ignore the Master Plan and focus on making a story that stands on its own.
     
  13. danielperson75
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    Mommamaia, I've seen it a million times already on here in the passing, I don't know...

    People just mention sequels and not their originals a lot and I read somewhere on here

    where the person wrote that they couldn't wait to be done with their original because

    they couldn't wait to pound out the sequels, to me, that just sounded fundamentally

    wrong, wrong, wrong!!! I hope you're doing well, I am so happy all of you have replied to

    this post, please, keep posting, I think this is a fascinating topic. It really concerns me,

    I think maybe mentalities like this could be why we have so much garbage coming out

    of Hollywood...
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    In past year I have actually written several short stories, three books (at various draft stages) and a novella set in the same world with the same characters. My third book is I think by far the best in terms of story, I do wonder if once I have that perfect if I will ever be capable of surpassing it though.

    My first book is good, I still adore the story, and the characters and have been rewriting it to enter it into a competition based on what I have learned about writing this year. If you are going to worldbuild and write fantasy looking ahead and having a vague idea of where it is going is a good idea. You need to be flexible, but the world needs to be able to sustain those stories.

    Mine aren't really sequels not even really a series, they are three stories using some of the same characters and world. However my first book has been completed twice and then rewritten as a result of the world growing etc Part of this is my own obsesssion with getting a story that flows right and is visually correct (I rewrote 20,000 words because my brown peregrine falcon became The Great White Falcon - I wanted to change the appearance of the town, and the beach to work with the falcon and it was able to become more of a symbol, I have needed to go back and resurrect characters or change their role to help with the second story - in the process of writing my second story I discovered the brother of my MC in the first had been abused as a child, I felt the first story needed to reflect that more etc). If anything the later stories (and the novella which was a bit of a prequel) have enriched the first novel rather than taken away from it.

    The world I have created has the potential to sustain at least four series of novel length stories, Two YA, a spy series, and a time travel series. I also have things I want to explore with short stories - like I have an older gay couple and would love to find out where they came from.

    If my books ever get published then I will no longer have the luxury of going back and rewriting to get it perfect.

    I have a new series planned involving paranormal investigators which will be easy to sustain several stories with.
     
  15. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    I do have a master plan at this point for a three book series with each book picking up where the last left off. However, I intend to write it all as one massive novel, and then split it up into segments after I have it all done. I may stick it all into one book and leave it at that, I'm really not sure at this point.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ah, so you were not alluding to actual books, but only to unpublished beginners' plans or in-the-works ones!... your post didn't make that clear, which is why i questioned your evidence... you're right, of course, it makes no sense... but that's the thing about beginners... they have a lot to learn... and we do our best here to provide the facts of life...

    i'm doing fine, thanks!...
    well, not all of that garbage is the result of the problem you bring up here... don't know if much at all is, as a matter of fact... and some that did start out that way didn't do all that badly... 'star wars' anyone!? ;-)

    love and hugs, maia
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    An exception to the idea that a first-time novelist shouldn't try to sell a series seems to be in the fantasy genre, where a lot of first time novelists get published with book one in a series. Some editors who work in this genre will tell you publishers want series when it comes to Fantasy. The last six or seven first novels I read in Fantasy were the first installment in a series.
     
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  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    After writing fantasy I understand why - you can't just churn out sequels without thought because the world has to be in place and work for all of them. Also it deepens the world creation when you are thinking ahead, and helps with the twists and ideas.

    I think it would be very difficult for me to successfully world build and to grow the kind of characters needed if I didn't know the extra information the additional stories give me.

    Having said that my more normal detective/paranormal stories lend themselves very neatly to having several stories written about them, all it needs is new plots based round various archaeology sites.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sp...

    just because series are common in sci-fi doesn't mean that first-time authors of same submitted a query for more than one stand alone ms... that first stand alone novel almost always must sell well before a publisher will offer a contract for a series...

    there may be an exception here and there, but the rule still holds that a new and unknown writer should not try to sell a series, only query for a single stand alone book, if s/he wants to maximize chances of a sale...
     
  20. danielperson75
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    danielperson75 Member

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    To VM80

    Thank you!!! That is EXACTLY Why I posted this ...I don't think anyone else got it as much as you, I wasn't trying to be that literal, I was trying to relate...I did read people saying many times about writing for the sake of setting up sequels, to me it just seems, I don't know, unprofessional or something to that effect, Just not right. I appreciate your being able to see something as impersonal and uninterpreted as a thread post for what it was, just me trying to pick your minds, because I have learned SO much from you all, I love engaging you!!!
     
  21. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I am right now planning a sequel to a book I am currently in the process of publishing, and I certainly did not have this in mind when I wrote the original. The first one, I wrote as a fun story that I thought up over several weeks/months. When that was finished, I began getting ideas for a sequel, but the first ideas I had were pretty bad. Now, I am starting to get much better ideas for a sequel (I simply know it will sell), and recognise that there is very strong potential for a series. There are still some holes in the plot I have in mind for the sequel, but I think I will be able to fill them reasonably soon, and then I will start writing.

    So, briefly, no, I would never ever write a book just to start on a series. But if you think there is potential, why not go for it?
     
  22. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surely the story has more of a purpose than just to introduce the sequel?

    I started planning a novel in September and began writing it in November, only to discover 75,000 words into it that the love interest, Lu's, back-story would be too distracting from the main focus. However, people who have read excerpts have said they're still interested in learning about how Lu came to be the way he is. So, now there is a prequel in the planning stages. It does introduce characters (with some of the more minor characters in the sequel being main in this) but it's also a novel capable of standing alone without a need to read the sequel to feel complete. It has it's own storyline that is separate from the sequel, so it's not just introducing ideas that'll be explored next time around.
     
  23. Mxxpower
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    What you mention sort of happenned to me, but it wasn't my intention to write a series, it is just how the story had to be told.

    I started writing my story and had to stop about 30k words in because it was somewhat stale with all the backstory written into it. Then I realized I needed to start the book at an earlier point in time to make it flow better, and fill in some blanks.

    So I started over, and finished that novel at around 100k words, and I still haven't quite gotten to the point in time where the original idea and story started...which is the one I really want to write...

    So yes, I wrote a book specificly to have a starting point for the story I want to tell.

    Grantid, I still wrote the novel as a stand alone in case I never write a sequel.
     

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