#Writing a Sequel - What to do, What not to do, and everything inbetween...
So, it's been a long time coming, but, YES, I am in fact writing a sequel to WAITING FOR PAINT TO DRY. I'll wait while you cheer, "Yah!" and then scream, "It's about time!"
I know. I know. It is about time. But to be honest, it wasn't a book I was planning on writing. I thought I had wrapped up the ending of WAITING FOR PAINT TO DRY in a nice little bow. Some readers agreed! Some. But...
Most, however, did not. And reading through the reviews on Amazon, some readers really, really wanted a sequel right away. Some even left reviews stating, "I would have given this book 5 stars if the author had more books to read... 4 stars until there's a sequel!"
Seriously. I had no clue readers would blackmail me...
But, even with the withheld stars and angry mob of readers emailing and PM'ing and tweeting me for one, I didn't want to write the sequel. Even when my publisher assured me that, "If the reader wants it, you write it!" I still didn't want to write it.
This is, of course, until the demand is so demanding - from readers and publisher alike - that a story presents itself. And finally, thankfully, it did. The mob can calm down now.
So, the sequel has been underway and, because of a recent layoff (thank you, previous employer...) I have had some 'quality' time with my manuscript. And it's going great! I anticipate being done with the first draft by end of April.
Oh, spoiler alert... writer's have jobs. I know most of you know this, but you'd be SURPRISED how many people are astonished that I have (or had) a fulltime job.
But I digress.
This post is about HOW to write a sequel! Well, it wouldn't be blogging if I didn't add in a ramble preamble! Have you read a cooking blog lately! There's so much babble the recipe is at the tail end as if it were only a second thought to the inspiration of a blog post.
Okay, digress part two...
So, you've written a story that people are clamoring for you to continue.
We writers should be so blessed (and never, ever reluctant) to have a demand for our writing. And it should be easier to write this sequel, since you already have the characters developed, the story's backstory is superbly laid out, and you have people waiting to read it (aka, buy it). THIS is a feat. THIS is huge. THIS is the motivation to get started and keep going until the job is done.
And although, yes, writing a sequel is far easier than writing a novel novel, there are just a few things to keep in mind. Otherwise, you readers - and publisher - will not be too happy to pick up any future books. They love these characters, this storyline, this premise, so you need to ensure you do your part to keep things right.... hence... you need to:
KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING
Before you start, you need to know where you're headed. Where is the story going to go from the end of book one? Will there be a deviation, big or small, from the original goal? Meaning, will there be an entirely new goal for book #2? Or will this be a continuation of the primary goal?
Lay down some groundwork, no matter than you're a panster or a whatever... I'm not married to those 'writer types' at all... and just do it. You need at least a sense of the direction you're going to take. Then remember. Because you need to:
KNOW WHERE YOU'VE BEEN
This might seem obvious, but I'm sure there are writers out there that have forgotten a few key elements from book #1 that ought to be in book #2! My suggestion is to re-read your first book and take notes. Either before you begin writing the sequel or while you're in the works of writing your first draft, read it.
Chances are, you've forgotten a few things, both big and small. Secondary characters. Secondary plot lines! Things that your heroine may have just thought once and then never mentioned again. These are things that your readers WILL remember! For them, this is a world that's full of people they can't wait to see again. And you can bet your bottom they're waiting with braced anticipation (not like an angry mob at all... no...) to see what happens to so and so, and such and such.
Don't leave your readers high and dry! Do your homework. Then...
PUT THE TWO TOGETHER
Again, this might seem frivolous to mention, but guess what? I'm mentioning it. Why? Because you might be on the verge of fatigue with this idea, this storyline, these characters and you just want it done and over with. Or you might be so super freaking super excited to get to continue on this story and can't wait for it to get into your reader's hands!
Either way, you NEED to pay attention to detail here. You need to ensure those research points from re-reading your first book get into your second book. You need to maintain the proper trajectory of the story that needs to be told in book #2 that'll make sense that it goes with book #1. You're readers - and characters - are counting on you!
So, do the work. Do the research. Do your homework.
And have fun!!
It's not every day that you have a mob of readers breathing down your neck, anxiously anticipating your next publication.
And write it.