I am in the midst of edits on the sequel to XVI – TRUTH. I have been, for the most part, writing on this book since my agent search began, way back in 2008.
It wasn’t until after I gained representation and XVI went out in the world looking for a home, that I realized I needed to STOP writing the sequel. Why? Because I had no idea what a potential editor might want. It would’ve been a shame to have written an entire book that I would need to scrap if my vision and the editor’s vision didn’t mesh.
Was that a good idea? Uh… yes.
After XVI (and the unwritten sequel) sold and the edits on XVI were done – I started writing in earnest. Well, as in earnest as I could, considering I was wrapped up in pre-publication promotional activities.
Did things change from my original XVI to the final product? Most definitely. Which made me uber-glad that I waited to finish the sequel. As it was – I pretty much threw out everything I’d written earlier and started fresh.
The challenges to sequel-writing (as I am learning) are many. Let me note a few:
1. You can’t change horses (or space-ships) in mid-stream. If you don’t have certain slang or technology in book 1, it had better not show up in book 2! Unless, of course, your characters are scientists and are inventing new technology (not so much new slang! Lol)
2. How much time needs to elapse between the end of book 1 and the start of book 2? This going to be dependent upon your editor’s vision (and, of course, yours!) – but, you have to be sure to allow enough time to pass for things to happen that can (and probably should) happen “off-camera.”
3. Then there is possibly the biggest challenge of all – not info-dumping on your readers! Many will, hopefully, have read your first book but they will need a bit of a refresher. But dousing them with a blow-by-blow of previous events is not the way to go. It is a very fine line to tread – including enough, but not too much.
Sequel-writing is definitely not for the faint of heart. You have to tell a new story – you can’t just rehash the same thing with a different villain or someone new to be saved. The story should be able to stand on its own – while inviting the reader to seek out other books from your same created world.
Enough said on this for now – since only my editor and my readers will be able to tell me if I’m successful in practicing what I preach. And… since I’m busy editing TRUTH, I’d best get back to it!
Oh – I did want to ask though… what do you feel are some really good multiple books? What sequels worked for you?