Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The DREADED sequel - Tuesday Twaddle

Writing a book is fun, exciting, and above all gives you such a sense of accomplishment that only one can really feel when they've done it.  Getting an agent... WOW.  Getting a publishing contract... FREAK OUT!!
Then comes... dun dun dun... the sequel or the next book.
I've just passed the 'dun dun dun' stage and I'm in the throes of writing the second book in the Carrier series.  Writing a sequel is NOTHING like writing your first book.  I admit, I was gasping to get back into the lives of my characters and take their story to the next level, but with writing a sequel there are handcuffs tying you to certain elements.  You have to try and kick off a story which ended on a humdinger in the last book and build it up again, all the while re-capping on the shenanigans that happened in the last one to either a) remind people, or b) surmise the first books story for those who haven't read it.  And you must do all this with similar pacing while really kicking the story into gear so as not bore people.
Striking the balance is surprisingly tough.  There's a natural arc to a story and I'm trying to be careful not to interrupt with this ARC while giving the story a firm footing.  Some days I want to park the sequel and indulge in writing a standalone novel, one that is free of such constraints, and the sickener  is, I have just that, and that book calls to me night a day, but I'm forcing myself to park it so I can face the complexities of the sequel full on. No distractions, except for perhaps coffee, and chocolate, oh and Divergent that I just bought yesterday, oh and look at the pretty dragonfly...
Where was I? Oh yeah distractions.  Absolutely no distractions.  Now I'm off to finish that sequel.
What are your thoughts on sequels?  Like them, loathe them? Do you like a little reminder of the first book, or do you just want the story to pick up where it left off and plough ahead? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and while you do that, I'll make myself a coffee and read a few chapters of Divergent.  What? I'm not getting distracted... its emmm research. Yes that's it... research.
Talk later my lovelies.


  1. I like sequels, but I've been disappointed by some of them lately. If I love a book, particularly one with wonderful characters, I always hope the author will revisit that world.

    Two authors who never disappoint are Terry Pratchett and Juliet Marillier.

  2. To be honest, I HATE when there's a ton of recap in a sequel. I think people who start with book 2 should expect to be confused. A little recap is necessary to refresh readers since there's a year plus between book publications, but I've read some where there are three chapters of recap before new stuff starts and I'm like, UGH!
    Keep at it, Leigh! You're almost done, right?

  3. I've attempted to write sequels in the past, but I just can't. Stand-alones only! Luckily I write contemporary, where there are far fewer sequels.

  4. Sequels are good things, even though I hate waiting for them as a reader - I'm too impatient! As a writer, my manuscript insisted it needed two more to follow it because my characters weren't quite finished yet ;)

    Have fun!

  5. I'm writing my sequel now even though I don't have an agent or publisher for book one yet. I know, I know, it's a waste of time. But I had the story in my head and just needed to get it out. And I love writing it! I won't worry about editing it though unless book one actually gets somewhere.

  6. It seems that there are nothing but trilogies out these days. I'd love to see some stand alones, but at the same time, I often fall in love with the characters and want more of them. As long as I don't have to wait years between books, I'm okay, but there are a few series that are so complex that I need to read the last book over again or I need that big reminder in the sequel so I can remember what is going on. I'd name them, but then you'd have to kill me so... And then there are the books where the author gives you a small rehash, just enough to remind you what happened at the end of the last book and you pick up where the book left off. That's the kind of reminder I like unless it was a 700page book with a cast of twenty or thirty and constant scene or world changes. Harry Potter excluded of course.

    Since you're getting right on it and your book isn't due to release for a while, I'd say a slight rehash of the ending and then on with the book. I can see how sequels would be hard to write. So many constraints now that your world is built. Good luck!


  7. I've worked on a few sequels and one "related" novel, and I have to say, I like them. I feel like the heavy lifting of knowing your characters is done, the setting's established, now it's just a matter of making them act... but now I'm sure I've just jinxed my whole process--LOL! :D good luck w/yours~

  8. I've never gotten to the sequel point with any stories, but I feel like, with the exception of Ghosts sequel, they'll mostly be stand-alones with characters and settings from previous books.

  9. I hate recap in books. Brief recaps are fine, but I mean brief. My opinion is if someone didn't read the first book, that's their problem. I don't want to be bogged down with info of things I already know.