Friday, October 24, 2014

The Dreaded Sequel

So last year I got myself an agent for my Steampunk Fantasy MS HOUR OF MISCHIEF. Now I’m writing the sequel, SEASON OF WIND, because you know, it might be important down the line.

My thoughts on the matter? Sequels aren’t easy. You have to properly continue the story while still developing an original arc, expanding the universe and adding in new characters. And not only does the sequel serve as a follow up to the first book, but it usually has to make the story much bigger.

Because readers? They always want bigger and better. Give a reader an awesome thing? They want MORE of the awesome thing. They want it bigger and better and awesomer. 

Proper representation of myself when I finish a book and the sequel isn't out yet.

That's the difficulty a lot of writers face when they write a good first book. They have to then live up to the expectations of the fans. I mean, imagine JK Rowling's fear when writing the seventh Harry Potter book. Most of the world was watching and dreaming up all the possibilities. And readers, especially huge fans, have very high standards. Its a tall order to fill. And then of course it completely lived up to those expecations (And I will fight anyone who disagrees.)

So how does one make things bigger and better and awesomer?

Well, let's think about Hunger Games. In theory, it does everything right. The series started out as a small conflict. Katniss’ conflict. But as it expands to Mocking Jay, it involves the fate of all of Panem. A lot of speculative fiction novels take this approach by making things bigger and better with each novel. And for a lot of people, this worked. They loved the series more and more as it went on.

And now the movie is coming out so yaaay

Some succeed. Harry Potter, for instance, grew in quality and scope throughout the series, ending with the best book in my opinion. Others struggle. For instance, I did not like Mocking Jay. It felt rushed and slow at the same time and I didn’t like the execution of a lot of key moments. But, you know, I'm still hopeful about the movie.

But what is the true secret to the amazing sequel? Honestly, it’s hard to say. Its kind of an elusive task. I think the best way to live up to the first book of any series is to expand upon the things that made the novel work as well as add new elements to keep the story fresh. Whatever the case, don’t lose the initial spark of your story. Because that’s what will make the sequel shine. 

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