1. Mist Walker
    Offline

    Mist Walker Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sequels and Show not Tell

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mist Walker, Jul 29, 2010.

    How much does it apply? I've started writing the sequel to something I've already written and have found myself completely lost as to how I should be writing the opening chapter(s). Part of me wants to get the catchup over and done with quickly and get back on to the actual plot etc. but it also feels too blunt.

    What have other people found to work well here?
     
  2. eliza490
    Offline

    eliza490 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    In my opinion, if you have already given a lot of details on the character in the first novel you don't need to go through all of that again in the sequel. You should include any details or information that is relevant to the plot or interesting to the reader.
    ~Eliza
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Showing vs telling is always a matter of balance. See my blog entry Show and Tell.

    In terms of back story: Write story, not backstory. Provide elements of the backstory only when they are actually needed, as revelations within the structure of the story.

    That's one of the problems writers, even some experienced ones, have with sequels. They incorrectly assume the reader MUST know what happened in the preceding book before they can proceed into the sequel. Both books must stand oin their own merits.

    Backstory like you describe is still an infodump, and should be avoided at any cost.

    Leave the catchup for the French fries.
     
  4. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    A long re-cap is pointless, unless it pertains to the sequel itself. I infrequently mention my first novel in the (unpublished) sequel, as I saw no point to it, other than for when it actually mattered (for instance, time between the two - mine is about three months), or if certain characters mentioned past events.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    listen to cog... he's right just about all the time!
     
  6. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Except when he's talking about adverbs or semicolons!

    - minstrel (President of the Adverbs and Semicolons Fan Club)
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    now, now!... personal attacks not allowed... stay with the topic, please... ;-)

    -maia (founding member of the cog fan club)
     
  8. TerraIncognita
    Offline

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Texas
    Well, when I read a sequel I really hate when there's a huge recap. Here and there if it's something pertinent is okay but a major "info-dump" is not the way to go. It's annoying.
     
  9. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Hmmm. Having recently started work on a sequel, your question is very timely for me. My approach to sequels is just as Cog pointed out. If it can't stand on its own, it's going to fall. As necessary, I will sprinkle needed bits of 411 throughout but, barely more than one would expect in weaving bits of backstory through a book that is not following a previous storyline. Even the oft-referenced Harry Potter series is a bunch of stand alones that, just coincidentally, happen to be about the same people and general circumstances. An even better example would be Ian Fleming's 007/James Bond books. Each one is self-supporting and all-inclusive. Unless the second book follows the events of the first so tightly that it should be a two-volume single release, there is no point in recovering old ground. Someone should be able to pick up your subsequent volumes in a series and know enough about the character from reading that one book to be able to easily follow the story.

    Come to think of it, if it IS a two-volume single release, there is no point in recovering old ground, either.
     

Share This Page