Writing a Sequel

pantser [pant-ser] 

–noun

1. One who writes a novel by the seat-of-their-pants, without an outline, character sheets, or any semblance of pre-novel planning.
2. Crazy person.
See also: clever, humorous, and downright lovable.

Yup, that’s me. I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer. A total pantser. And proud of it.
Wondering what I've been up to when I'm not spouting nonsense on Twitter?


Well, I've been editing my online vampire/romance novel, THIRSTY and mostly rewriting scenes to the sequel of my debut novel, and worrying that it won't be as clever as the first book. There is always pressure for writers to make their next story, just as good or better. Ugh. I suppose all writers feel this way at times. I guess it keeps a writer humble. No big heads here! lol

The ability to properly rebuild the tension and excitement found in the first book can make or break a writers’ efforts to continue a series. To succeed, the main character needs to face even more increasingly difficult challenges than were written into the first tale. A writer must tie up any loose ends from the first novel. Consider all the elements that made the first book remarkable and enhance them in the next book. New story-lines and characters must be introduced. And the main plotline should progress from the initial murmurs of suspicion to MC participation to a terrible, gut-wrenching conflict, to end with a resolution of some kind or a cliffhanger. 

The hardest part for me as a writer is to include backstory into the sequel. (Great post on this subject at Sherry's Fiction Writing Tools )

How much is enough to refresh the reader’s memory? 
Yeah, I realize there should be some references to events from the previous book, but I need to figure out how to add it without a full blown recap aka info-dump. Which is boring. Most people read books in sequence, so clearing up any confusion or dangling questions from the first book should be addressed and answered while creating new unanswered questions in the second book...right?

Unless someone picks up my book and hasn't read the first...

I try not to be lazy. I try not to rely solely on my editors to help me weed out long blocks of backstory. 
 
Now as I read over my mostly finished WIP. It’s unpolished, but I believe the ideas are fleshed out and all there. I really like the direction the story took. I am pleased with the first (5) drafts. My crit partner thinks I’m on the right path. 

Now I heave a sigh, prepared to start the endless revising that will make the story even better. I tell myself to 'cowboy up'—I can do this. I will listen to the entire manuscript read out loud on my computer. I will finish editing those unevenly paced sections. I will lace a few descriptive tags into certain scenes that always help a story come to life for the reader. I will move around scenes and chapters for better flow. I will trim wordy sentences and delete any unnecessary details that can bog down a draft. And I will make my MC suffer than ease her pain...

Then I can turn the story over to my editors and...you guessed it. 

Start all over again.

2 comments

  1. Hi, Sherry! This is Kelley from YAtopia. I just wanted to let you know, since you were having problems signing up for the Dark YA blogfest, that your link DID go through and it's on the list. :)

    ReplyDelete

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