Writing Sequels

I’ve written three novels so far, and am about to embark on my fourth. This will be the book after ABOVE WORLD, a continuation of the story that I hope will some day be a trilogy. I’ve never written a sequel before, and I find the new challenge exhilarating and a wee bit terrifying.

Some exciting things about writing a sequel:
– I already know most of the main characters, and I still love them.
– I already know the background for the world and most of its rules.
– I get to explore all sorts of ideas that didn’t fit into book one.
– I get to explore more of the world.
– I get to deepen the characters.
– I get to continue building the bigger story.

Some requirements (imo) for a sequel:
– It should have some of the things readers liked about book 1.
– It should have enough differences from book 1 to keep it fresh.
– I must convey the events of book 1 without too much exposition.
– I must create a satisfying conclusion while simultaneously leaving the door open for book 3.
– I must find new things with which to surprise readers, now that they’re used to the world.
– I must figure out the next steps in each characters’ internal development.

So I’m curious. As a reader, what do you look for in “book 2” of a trilogy? Are you open to drastic changes in tone or subject (think Tombs of Atuan as a follow-up to Wizard of Earthsea)? Do you want the first book all over again? Or are you looking for something else entirely?

If you’re a writer, I’m open to tips and advice. What are you thinking about when you start book 2?


Comments

Bruce R Cordell 7 years ago .

When I wrote City of Torment as a sequel, I had the luxury of knowing it ahead of time. Still, I didn't really have it that well outlined.

On the last day of writing final draft of the one before it, I hit upon a great way to set things in motion for City of Torment, by forcing one character to make a choice that set most of the other character's after him, but from his point of view, he couldn't have done anything different. So, by turning everything on its head, including alliances the reader had come to expect in book one, I think I kept things fresh . . . and allowed for some sort of reconciliation in book 3 ;-)

Good luck!

Comments are closed.