1. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Prequel and Sequel ideas-Why can't I stop?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by tomwritstuff, Sep 15, 2012.

    Its been a while since my last post so be gentle please?

    Having slightly more time to polish my manuscript and being rejected by a couple of publishing companies, I've decided that Self-Publishing is for me! When I can afford the best company and package anyway!

    My Story is about a chosen Dhampir and it is informative about his and the existence of Vampires. Before anyone says 'Not another,' I have been writing the story for many years but have had to put it down and then pick it up again. Personal circumstances have scuppered my completion throughout the last decade.

    It's not another Twilight love story either, I only have a small bit here and there on forbidden love. I would say, I've taken an idea of a Vampire from here and there also, thrown it into a hat to jumble it all up and then brought it into line to explain my tale. I'm trying to keep the idea of a vampire the same as its been throughout years and not turn it into a mockery!

    How many people have taken the idea of Bram Stoker's Dracula or the role of the Van Helsings and written themselves a new tale for both the bookshelf or the Big Screen?

    My research has come from the Internet, films and only a small amount from written literature. Some may even say its blasphemous but I've tried not to offend too much. Its not aimed towards that market of reader anyway! In my opinion, Vampire novels aren't exactly aimed at church goers anyway!

    Although Christened as a baby, I'm not religious, yet I've found myself looking through the bible and other religious media to help with my research.

    While I'm trawling the web and Writers Guide books to find the best and save up my money towards Self-Publishing, my ideas of expansion keep taking over. However, I don't want to be bombarding the reader with too much, too soon in the almost finished manuscript!

    I know where I'm going to take the sequel and from my research I now know where I want to go with a prequel. My Prologue for the current story has so much information, I'd like to explain it more in another tale, to answer some of the questions from the original story. It is all based around 1 main family and 1 main building.

    Am I wise to start my Epic from the middle? ​

    I feel like George Lucas, starting with A New Hope before following with the sequels and then the prequels.

    I only intend to write 3 (and no more than 3) in the Genre type before I look into my other simmering ideas in the pipeline!

    Maybe its because I'm the middle of 3 siblings and I like to do things to confuse people to stand out! Maybe thats why I'm writing the way I am!

    What are your thoughts on starting in the middle? Have you been in a similar predicament with your manuscripts? It would be interesting to know I'm not the only one!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And that's why you're giving up in favor of self-publishing?

    Patience is essential for a writer. And self-publishing is no magic bullet.

    If your manuscript is part of a series, that won't help you get accepted. Publishers do not want a series installment from an unpublished writer. The business risk is too high. You'll have much better luck with a stand alone novel.

    But you won't sell your novel on the first try. Or the second. You'll be rejected again and again before you get accepted. If your post is any indication, you'll have to work out some writing issues first, including when and when not to capitalize. But even with flawless spelling, punctuation, and grammar, you'll go through your share of rejections.

    Starting a novel in the middle of the story isn't a bad idea. In fact, it's advisable, and even has its own name: in media res, which is Latin for "in the middle of the thing." Instead of a long slow buildup, you begin in a point of crisis. You don't go back and fill the reader in on everything that took place beforehand, just enough details (in dribs and drabs later) so the reader grasps the bare essentials.

    And again, cultivate patience. Tend it carefully and let it grow. You will need it.
     
  3. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Cheers for the advice.
    Granted, I've only submitted to publishing companies within driving distance of a few hours to where I live. I wouldn't know where to begin with publishing companies or Agents that purely or partially have Vampire genre books on their lists. I got told, my manuscript wasn't 'right for their list' so I feel like avoiding further rejection altogether! Was it just a polite way for them to tell me that my submission was crap?
    I do have a lot of information crammed into the story and to explain it in a way of ease, it's like Anne Rice's Louis in Interview with the Vampire, reading Charles Darwins Origin of the Species to a crowded room.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    too many to count!

    doesn't matter where you start it, if you can write it well enough to make that work...

    that makes no sense at all... authors don't have to appear at the offices of their publisher, so why did you set that limit?... and what if you lived where there were no publishing houses within driving distance?...

    what do you mean by that?... one begins the same way with any publisher... one first gets an agent and the agent does the shopping around to publishers... or, if you want to try small niche presses that will accept unagented writers on your own, you query them and hope they'll request the ms...

    in many cases, that is the case... but it could also be that they don't handle your genre, or a variety of other reasons, including exactly what that stock response said--that it doesn't fit what they're looking for...
     
  5. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    It's fine to plan for a series of novels, but what you submit MUST be good as one standalone novel, and you might be better off to not even mention the series until you have one book published.

    You need to research agents and publishers a lot further. Perhaps sites like Duotrope and QueryTracker would help.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What you're describing sounds like the dreaded infodump, guaranteed to be good bedtime reading for insomniacs - a miracle cure. Almost any other means of conveying information to the reader is better. But best of all is drastically pruning back on what you probably believe is essential background information for the reader to follow the story.

    It rarely is that essential. And it is invariably boring, especially when fed to the reader like beer through a funnel into a frat boy's mouth.
     
  7. AJ Oatsvall
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    AJ Oatsvall New Member

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    I think its quite alright to have written one story and then decide to create a sequel and a prequel, thus making the first book the second part of a trilogy. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. It technically doesn't matter until you publish them. Then again, nothing wrong with publishing the first story and then the prequel after it; that's why it would be called a prequel (its not uncommon for prequels to come out after the first story). You'd only be George Lucas if you published this trilogy and then redid them completely and published them all over again, making changes every 5-10 years!

    I've got the first book of my "planned" series already written and I've got plans for a prequel and then three sequels. In a chronological order, my first book is actually the middle of the series, but I intend to have it published first, etc. Nothing wrong with coming up with a story and then later coming up with more for it that later it ends up being in the middle of a trilogy or series of books. Sometimes, you can use that to your advantage in how you tell your story.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of recycling a story's settings and characters in a prequel or sequel, strongly consider creating something completely new. First off, potential publishers will be far more impressed with evidence that your imagination isn't sharply limited. Furthermore, you will be unfettered by the restrictions and outright mistakes in your first story's framework, especially if it truly is your first published story.
     
  9. DannyA
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    DannyA Member

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    I've been involved in adapting a few books into plays, and the one piece of advice I would give in respect of your 'info-dump' (and to anyone else who needs to prune a manuscript), is to only include information that is essential to driving your story and plot forward. When Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson wrote the screenplay for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the criteria they used was simply that the ring was the main character, and anything in the book that didn't have a direct impact on driving the ring's story was removed. From the remains, they created the screenplay.

    Pretty simple really, but as writers we all have favourite moments or dialogue that we want to keep purely because we have an attachment to them. We must learn to be critical and non-biased when fine tuning our work.
     

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