Contemplating this, the question I've been asking myself the most is...how do I know? How do I know if my idea is sequel worthy?
Right now, books being a series almost seems like the default position. What isn't a series these days, right? But as a writer, choosing to write a sequel means another couple years, or more, of being totally immersed in a set of characters and their world. If you're going to do it you better be pretty darn sure it's the right thing to do.
Now, I'm still figuring this out. I don't have the answers, but here are some questions I've been asking myself as I contemplate heading to sequelville.
- Do I have more story ideas? Simply put, can I think of new and compelling challenges for the characters? Even more simply put, can I think of neat stuff I want to see happen? In some ways plot points are, or should be, like a big toys. You should be excited about the idea of playing with a scene where character X finally meets character Y, or joins a revolution, or--as is possible in the case of my book-becomes a cyborg.
- Does this world still interest me? Is the world of the book big enough and rich enough to stand up to further exploration? Did the world change in an interesting way at the end of book 1? Is it continuing to change? Do you still want to play in that world?
- Are there new places to go with the characters and relationships? To me, this is the key question. You can think of all the clever story ideas you want, but if they aren't anchored in a strong, and fresh, emotional journey for your characters then they don't matter. Do your characters still have unresolved issues they need to work on, or did the end of book 1 throw them into such a different place in their life that there are entirely new internal and external conflicts to explore?
For me, the answer to all these questions needs to be a very emphatic yes. If not, then no matter what the market wants, a sequel or sequels probably isn't a great idea.
What do you guys think? What other things should a writer be asking themselves when contemplating writing a sequel or a series? How would you make the decision?