I recently came across a post by K.M. Weiland about How To Write A Sequel That’s BETTER Than The First Book.
It was a timely find. You see, I’ve been pondering how to proceed with the second book in a series. I knew in advance the characters and supporting cast would lend themselves to a series, but (and this is a big “but”) I may have gotten the nature of the series wrong. Here’s why:
I previously thought it best to do a series based around a location and related characters with each book in the series being a stand-alone story with a different hero and heroine. The characters from each previous book would remain involved in the later stories, but they would be supporting characters not main.
Now, I’m toying with the idea of creating a sequel to my first book (Counselor Undone) and not simply a second book in an overall series. Sequels are all the rage currently. Yet, sequels are known to be notoriously bad in comparison to the original. This is not a fate I’m thrilled to possibly face with my own writing. Thus, the reason I’m still simply “pondering” the idea.
Yet, readers keep asking me what happens next in the story of Michael Remington and Jordis Morgan. Where’s the plane going? (I can’t be more specific regarding this question without revealing spoilers.) What happens with the case? Et cetera.
The thing is, I know where the plane is going and what happens next in the underlying plotline that’s separate from the love story that developed during the novel. I have story and plot ideas I originally created for these two characters but excluded from their original story because it would have made this first book too long.
I‘ve been massaging these plot ideas to make them work with secondary characters (one introduced in Counselor Undone and one simply alluded to during that story). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to work out the storylines and new character involvement to my satisfaction. I’m beginning to wonder if this is because my inner Muse is trying to tell me the storyline is meant to stay with my original characters.
I love these characters. Michael Remington and Jordis Morgan were extremely fun to write, fit each other well, and make me want to revisit with them. While this alone does not make writing a sequel a good idea, I’d say I have the three main reasons Ms. Weiland recommends for even considering it:
- passion for the characters and story;
- reader interest; and
- “a shut-the-front-door awesome idea for a new story.”
So, what do you think? Should I go sequel or stay series à la stand-alone titles?
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