1. Night Queen
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    Night Queen New Member

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    Sequel help!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Night Queen, Aug 23, 2012.

    Recently I finished the first book in a trilogythat I have been working on for a long time. Now that I've started writing the second I've run into a bit of a problem, how do I reintroduce all the imformation from the first book into the second? At the moment all I have is the main character explaining everthing in the begining but its ended up being around three pages. Is this too much? It's sort of a fantasy book so i feel like i should explain that they aren't in the normal human world pretty early on. Sugestions please!
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    avoid starting with an info dump at all costs!

    you need to read/study well-written, bestselling sequels, to see how it's done by the best writers of the genre...
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I remember in Part 2 of LOTR, someone or Tolkien himself (not sure) included a 1-page synopsis of Part 1 right at the beginning of the book. It wasn't included as part of a story, but literally a synopsis that'd been inserted before the story started. And when I say 1 page, I really mean less because this is a printed book. Can you imagine summarising Tolkien's entire Fellow of the Rings into like, 500 words? :D It was a very good synopsis.
     
  4. Branwyn
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    Branwyn New Member

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    I have to agree with mammamaia. Reading and studying well written/best selling sequels is the way to go. For me, there is nothing worst, then opening up a book to an info dump of the previous book.
     
  5. NuttyStuff
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    NuttyStuff Member

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    Make a scene heavy in fantasy at the start of the book; shock them to your fantasy world. I would reintroduce the characters by giving the headlines of what has happened since the end of the first book. Do whatever you think is best; you know your book better than anyone.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Mammamaia said. It took me a year of studying how other authors did it and then applied what I learned to my own writing style and story. There isn't a short answer on how to do it, and do it right.

    Also, there is a difference between a sequel and the second book in a trilogy (structure wise), so it would be best to know/define what you're writing.

    I wrote an article that provides more detail on your dilemma and how to solve it. PM me and I can send you the link, as I am not sure if I posted it here, it would be approved.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sequels are tricky to write, but they're possible. Like a lot of others have said: don't start with and info dump..you can spread it around, hint at events before, expose your readers if they haven't read the first one, how the character is the way he/she is. Other then that, let the second story stand on it's own, even if it's an extension to your first one.
     
  8. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    You don't have to add a lot of previous detail. Just explain a long the way. Even if I haven't read the first novel, I don't want to read a chapter just explain what happen in the last book.
     
  9. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm trying to write a fanfic sequel to someone else's (well known author's) book.

    I start with a dream, that fits together previous bits of information but also "revises" an important new event that happens in the time between the original novel's end and the sequel's start.

    I'm not a writer and am having trouble with the story in general. But, I'm very happy with the dream. Particularly since it's a dream and I'm not limited by physical possibility or impossibility. So in the dream the MC flies over the landscape, allowing me to describe it, and stands beside his previous self as past events are quickly and briefly replayed.
     
  10. tiffanylyn
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    tiffanylyn Member

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    Dialogue is a good way to trickle out information. And it's okay to learn about what happened in book one in chapter two or three.
     
  11. Zuther
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    Zuther Member

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    A lot of sequels I have read explain the events of the previous book along the story—when the protagonists encounter some, for example, broken building, and he will retell how that happened. But not too long, because it will bore some readers. Obviously, sequel readers have read the first book, so don't retell a lot.
     
  12. ...
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    ... Member

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    Just wondering how many words are in your first book?

    As you ask whether 3 pages is a lot for an explanation, it strikes me as a little odd. 3 pages is nothing. Make it a prologue.
     
  13. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    To me there seems to be two choices: 1. summarise what's important from the first novel or 2. skip that because you either think the book can stand on its own or you want your book to be read only by those who read the first book. Either way you would probably need some sort of "introduction", as most books have in some form. But if you do choose to add a summary of what has happened or more generally the situation as the story of the second book begins you should try to fit it as well as possible into the story by both not making it an infodump and at the same time making sure it doesn't extend far into the novel itself.

    As an example I'd like to use Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth novel or seven in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. The first few chapters (well, this actually not the very first chapter at all, but that's a rather long and funny story) explain a lot of the things that are important to know, but by connecting them to things that happen in the story etc. For newcomers to the series I imagine it's both funny and informative. As a huge Harry Potter fan I see it as both funny and annoying. But what can you do, eh? I strongly urge you to read at least the second (or reread) chapter of Goblet of Fire and see for yourself. In fact I urge to to read the entirety of the book and the series in general, but that's a different matter.

    I merely used GoF as an example as I started rereading it recently, and both the other Potter books (except, of course, the first) and at least very many sequels in general employ this very technique (if it can be called that), logically in both good and bad ways. It's vital for these "summaries" to be good, but I also know they are hard to do, and they should not be skipped just for the sake of ease, so you have a difficult time ahead of you, but hopefully also a fun one.
     
  14. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    I myself am in a similar predicament. I've started my Vampire trilogy with the middle Story and have bombarded the reader with heaps of information(maybe too much!). I've got my sequel idea planned out and also my prequel, I'm planning on explaining the prologue of the middle story in more detail! Why didn't I have the information for the prequel sooner, it'd be less hassle?

    Good luck with yours?
     
  15. DannyA
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    DannyA Member

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    As has already been suggested, you need to be clear if you're writing a sequel or a trilogy. A sequel can normally stand as a book in it's own right, and you would only need to 'brief' the reader on details from the first book that specifically helps them understand a character's behaviour or continuing theme/plot. The best way to do this is on an 'as and when' basis rather than an 'info dump' at the beginning.

    The second and third books in a trilogy rarely stand as an individual book in their own rights and require knowledge of the first book. To better understand this, just refer to movie sequels and trilogies. The 'Back to the Future' and 'Men in Black' series of films requires the viewer to have a basic knowledge of the theme in order to watch the 2nd and 3rd installments. The Lord of the Rings series however, requires a greater degree of knowledge from the viewer in order to appreciate the 2nd and 3rd films.

    Therefore, if it's a trilogy, I personally wouldn't worry about briefing the reader on previous details.
     

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