Help Writing a Sequel

I can quite easily embark on a new project with  little or no encouragement, in fact the first two people to have read Vantastic France asking me when the sequel was coming out as they were dying to know what was going to happen next, was all that I needed to make a start on it.

I do not think it was because I had a poor ending, it wasn’t a cliff hanger.  I think it was more that they got to like the characters and wanted to carry on following their adventures. They warmed to the perceived villain, realising that they were actually human and kind, despite the initial image they  had portrayed.

The million dollar questions are; how do I make the new book stand alone, for those who might not have read Vantastic France and how do I subtly introduce the old characters, without going over too much old ground. Which could make the sequel less interesting for those that have read the previous book.

I did manage to dig up this snippet of advice

When it is necessary to include things mentioned in the first novel do them as briefly as you can and where possible in a way that sheds a new light on them. For example, by introducing them from the perspective of a new character or in light of information that wasn’t in the previous book […] Try to find ways to reward readers from of the first novel without losing the interest of new readers.

Which sort of summed up my initial worries.

What I also dug up was not to start your sequel before you have published the first book. Well that’s OK as I published 12 days ago.

Plus this other titbit of information from Literary agent Nathan Bransford who wrote an interesting article about writing sequels. He said:

“Sometimes authors get so connected to a world they’ve created they develop symptoms of a disease I’ve previously diagnosed as acute sequelitis. 

Do you really need a sequel, because you could be suffering from Acute sequelitis which is characterized by an aversion to starting fresh with a completely new project even after being unable to place the first book in a series. Authors suffering from acute sequelitis then write a sequel, then the third in a trilogy, and pretty soon have six or ten or a dozen interconnected books, the fourth of which might actually be publishable… if it didn’t need the three before it in order to make sense.

If, however, your goal is to be published, writing a sequel to an unpublished, self-published, or under-published book is probably not your best strategy. Placing a book these days is really really hard. Placing a sequel to an un/self/under-published novel is virtually impossible, no matter how good it is.

Unless, of course, the sequel can stand on its own. And I don’t mean squint your eyes, fudge some plot lines, and nudge nudge sure thing it can stand alone. I mean it can completely and utterly stand alone and you can credibly pitch it as the first book in a possible series. In that case, well, just pitch it as the first book in a possible series and don’t mention the one in the drawer. “

I could be showing early signs of Sequelitis and I presume they have not found a cure yet, so I will just have to grin and bare it.

At least if I start Vantastic Encore, well that’s the code name for the sequel, then it will cure my other disease, common to new authors on Kindle and that is ‘statitis’,  which is logging into Kindle Direct Publishing stats every hours to check if you have sold another book.

Any comments  from sequel authors will be very well received, as will advice on statitis.

About Steve Bichard

I run French Classified and Property
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