You’ve done it!

You’ve spent six months polishing, revising, bleeding and crying but you’ve finally finished writing a book. More than that, you’ve written a query letter and got a publishing contract. Your book is due out in a few months and now all you’ve got to do is… write another book!

Book #2

Writing my first book was hard. Writing my second has been torture.

I haven’t always wanted to be an author (I wanted to be a screenwriter), but once I started writing prose I fell in love and decided this is what I wanted to do with my life. I knew nothing about trends when I first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and wrote an Angel Vs Demons story. Of  course I was slammed when querying, but rather than shelve the book I decided to rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it. My first book consumed me, so when it came to signing the book over I had nothing else…

I knew I wanted my book to have a second part. I had ideas, I just hadn’t put any of them down on paper.

I’m not much of a plotter anyways so I went into the sequel guns blazing.  At five hundred words in ten minutes, I was all hair-flick-swag-in-my-step confident about it. At a thousand words it was still going good, but then I had my sister read it and she was all like, “Lou, I hate to piss on your chips, but this reads pretty much like a character manifesto.”

To which I replied, “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”

That’s when it occurred to me that writing a sequel is a whole different ball game. Somehow I had to introduce my characters and plot to non-readers of the first book, without dousing the readers of the first book in all ready discovered detail. But how?

I’ve read many series of books, but I guess I was so invested in the stories that I didn’t even think about taking note of the technical details.  So for the last three weeks I’ve been reading sequels. I’ve taken notes, discovered how to introduce characters to new readers without scaring off old readers, figured out how to introduce book 1 plot elements into book 2 without raking over old ground, and do you know what… I’ve just broken 10k on book two (10k is my safety. I know that if a WIP surpasses the 10k point it’s a keeper.

So this post is dedicated to all the book 2s out there. A great source of inspiration. Your predecessors may have taught me how to write a story, but learning how to construct a seamless sequel, that’s all on you.

Be sure to check out the other blogs in the Thursday’s Children hop :

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About bookishblurb

YA writer. Jedi. Junk food enthusiast. Rumored pink Power Ranger, and avid collector of book boyfriends.

15 responses »

  1. sugaropal says:

    How exciting! I haven’t written a sequel to any of my books yet, though I’ve spent time thinking about possibilities. Does your contract include a sequel? And where would we be without those honest readers, eh? “piss on your chips” lol.

    • bookishblurb says:

      It was much harder than I’d expected. It doesn’t, but I have chatted to my editor about it. Haha! You know all the advice that warns against your friends and family critiquing because they can’t read subjectively, I’ve never had that problem 😉

      • sugaropal says:

        My husband’s pretty honest and he’s always my first reader – good for that gut reaction and the unputdownable quotient. I figure if I can make a middle aged man want to read a YA book with a female protag, well, it’s worth sending on to my regular CPs and betas, lol.

  2. Stacey says:

    Piss on your chips, I’m writing that one down. You’re right, sequels are hard. On the other hand, you already have the chars in your mind so you know what their reactions are going to be in whatever situ you put them in. And you get to stay in that world you created for longer.

    • bookishblurb says:

      Of course you’re right. And I love being back in my little world, poking around inside my characters heads, ruining their lives 😉 I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it until I went back!

  3. Great post! And yeah…I started writing a sequel for a manuscript I have out on sub, but stopped. Partially because I was wanting to pull my own hair out and, well, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, so I started another project. Good luck – I’ll make sure to check in on your progress (and find sneaky ways to pick your brain!).

    • bookishblurb says:

      Thanks, Jessika!I can totally relate. I was terrified starting a sequel would jinx book 1. Thanks, Hun. You can pick my brains anytime. And good luck with the MS you have out on sub. Keeping everything crossed for you 🙂

  4. Oh those tricky sequels! I have a trilogy written, but they are gathering dust as I learn how to do it properly 🙂 Well done!

    • bookishblurb says:

      I applaud your ability to write a trilogy! I can’t even begin to imagine how tricky that was. Well done to you! 🙂

  5. Mia Celeste says:

    Sounds like you’re over the hump, on a roll. Keep going. Keep writing. Believe in yourself. You’ll make it. 🙂

    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2013/04/inspired-by-remarkable-unusual-and-true.html

  6. Eden says:

    You may have hot one of the hardest snags of writing a sequel that I can think of. Keep writing and you’ll get past the hump and come out ahead (with likely more books than just two) The learning curve is always the slowest part… It’s like walking up a mountain with all your daily “stuff” on your back, while trying to figure out what equipment you need. You do eventually get there, and you’re in great shape by the time you reach the top.

  7. EM Castellan says:

    Writing a sequel is very tough, and there are many bad examples out there (especially in YA) so you’ve defnitely done the right thing in reading a lot of them. Happy writing!

  8. Just recently an idea came to me for a sequel, which got me to thinking about exactly what you’ve mentioned. I tried to think back to books I’ve read, and I guess I’ve never noticed how it’s done. I’ll have to read more and take notes this time. hmmm … maybe I’ll even try reading the second book of a series first.
    ((hugs))

    • bookishblurb says:

      I’d never noticed how it was done. It was weird looking back over sequels and discovering tiny details that I’d missed on the first read. Reading the second book first is a great idea!! I’m going to give that a go. Don’t forget to send me your rewrite ((hugs)) 🙂

  9. christineallenriley says:

    “Piss on your chips” is officially my new favorite phrase – thanks for that! 🙂

    I’m embarking on the dreaded sequel as we speak, and it’s so incredibly daunting. Mostly because I’m not a plotter. At all. I think I need to take your advice and read some of my favorite sequels and remind myself of how they’re done.

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