1. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Sequel or Stand-Alone story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by indy5live, May 15, 2012.

    Congratulations, you finally got published! Now what?

    In almost every article I've read concerning first novels they always recommend writing it as a stand-alone story, but that doesn't mean the story has to end there. But here is my question:
    Let's say, hypothetically speaking, my first book was a physiological thriller where the main character is left in a coma and in the second book I plan to build a fantasy novel that's completely in the mind of the main character as he battles to free himself from the coma, or something like that. Is it frowned upon to have sequels change genres? Should I just write the second story as a stand-alone novel because of the genre difference and hope my author's name is enough to sell the next book or is using the characters in a different story (but still slightly related to the first novel) the better decision, because I know I have characters in the story that my audience already knows and loves?

    Just curious what other writers think, perhaps you can come up with an example of a book series that changes from a romance genre to an action adventure genre in the sequel or something drastically different from the original story.
     
  2. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    If, say, your first part is a romantic novel bought and enjoyed by lovers of the genre they might be a bit miffed when they buy the second instalment only to find Our Hero picking Orc arrows out of his backside.

    On the other hand, anything is possible if done with skill and the proper structure and if your MC is the sort people would follow.
     
  3. GillySoose
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    GillySoose Member

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    I think it'd be really risky since your first book will have established itself with a certain audience. Chances are it will be mostly this audience who gets the sequel hoping for more of the same... only to get something drastically different. I'm sure if it's well-written they could enjoy both, but still sounds like a very dicey move.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't try to make it a sequel, not if it swings to a different genre. Use a new character and setting.

    This is a situation where you might even want to publish under a different name, to avoid getting "type cast" as being obsessed with coma in your writing, regardless of genre. Either that, or publish something else in between.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not aware of many sequels/series that genre-hop from one book to the next.
     
  6. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    I think it could work. Mainly because most people think it can't. :D

    What you need to do, if you were going to do that, is not reveal what's going on in the beginning. Have the person go by a new name in their head, and go on completely unrelated adventures. Every so often, have something remind them of their wakened life, but not so obvious as to alert your readers right away. Have them half-sort of remember that they were someone else in the past, maybe with a wise fairy creature or something giving odd hints.

    Then, near the climax of the story, reveal what's going on, and also reveal that something really bad is happening in the wakened world that your MC really needs to address. Then, the climax of the character within your dude's head will somehow force your MC to wake up, and your MC, emboldened by his inner hero (I think it would work better if the coma-character was more noble than the MC -- very ironic), would somehow find a way to solve his awake problem, even though he's still pretty weak from the coma.

    Make sure you look up stuff that happens to people who wake up out of comas. Y'know, muscular atrophy and all that stuff. I once knew someone who didn't talk for a year, and his voice was pretty weak as a result.
     
  7. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I would have to say avoid genre hopping -- it would be weird of Stephen King suddenly wrote a harlequin romance as a sequel to The Thing (obviously a ludicrous example, but you get the drift...) It sounds like you have a great idea that would make a great new story.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    James Patterson writes in multiple genres. To be fair though, I have suspected for some time now that he gets first billing on a lot of collaborations by providing guidance to the collaborator and not much more. I could be wrong, but that's the impression I get.

    For a new writer, gender hopping may come across as unfocused, where it would be tolerated more with a seasoned writer.
     

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