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Old 15th January 2013, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
Brian G. Turner
 
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The challenge of writing a sequel

This morning I've been reading a lot about authors and their challenges when writing their second novel after being signed.

Douglas Hullick posts his challenges here:
http://www.staffersbookreview.com/20...-trenches.html

but there are more to be found on this page:
http://www.staffersbookreview.com/2012/07

Point is, I know some of us are kind of split between writing a sequel regardless, and waiting until contracted before starting.

I just thought it would be interesting to use as reference thoughts on newly signed writers on how they felt dealing with the second novel.

The general consensus appears to be: with difficulty. Even with a significant body of the sequel written, adapting to life under deadline and having to stay organised doesn't look like too much fun!
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

Ah, yes - Doug and I both did the Debut Authorpalooza last year. Lots of different perspectives on the trials of writing your second novel under contract!
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I was lucky in that I was already very organised. It's not really a problem for an author if you dot the i's and cross the t's.

These days, with the biz in the state that it is, I'd never write volume 2 or further of a work unless I had a definite deal for the opener.

The work I'm putting together at the moment, the Green Trilogy, is a bit different as it's one long novel split into three approx. 100,000 word books.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne Lyle View Post
Ah, yes - Doug and I both did the Debut Authorpalooza last year. Lots of different perspectives on the trials of writing your second novel under contract!
Yep, it was a link on your blog that led me to it.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I think Kindle, too, changes things. I have in the back of my mind that if Abendau doesn't sell - and it's not a particularly easy book to market, given genre limitations and what not - then if I put it on Kindle, then the model changes. Then, it's in my interest to have the sequel, and indeed the third, completed so that I can keep up the momentum. But that is only if you're happy with that decision.

I won't, for instance, write a sequel to Inish unless it sells and am happy to trunk it, but I wouldn't be happy to do that with Abendau. (Partly because I believe in it, and want to have it out there, one way or another.)
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Point is, I know some of us are kind of split between writing a sequel regardless, and waiting until contracted before starting.

The general consensus appears to be: with difficulty. Even with a significant body of the sequel written, adapting to life under deadline and having to stay organised doesn't look like too much fun!
All of the agents and editors' sites I've read have suggested writers start on their next book - whether that be the second in a series or something else - while submitting their first MS.

That's good advice, I feel. And you only improve by writing and reading more.

Also, back in 2008*, when I hired JJ to critique my novel, he said that I had "many, many hanging storylines" at the end of book one, but that it was "not a problem". He didn't say I wouldn't stand a chance at a deal, or that I wouldn't get taken on one day because I wasn't writing standalones set in the same world. So, I assume if you seem a competent enough writer and your first book is a success, you'll get book two out - especially if you sign a contact for X amount of books. So, the sooner you start writing book two, the better - especially if you are pressured to write a book a year... or less. And, as you say, the pressured writing doesn't sound like too much fun.


*Contrary to what this looks like, I haven't been time wasting since then. I'm still working on that novel, writing it again and again until I feel it's perfect. My first book needs to be bigger and better than ever if I'm to get published one day... EEP!




Edit: Whoa! That's pretty! A row of 3 "you"s at the start of sentences in the text above, and 3 "if"s at the end!
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I've got mine completed to first draft and written the last in the series. I'm working on the second one whilst submitting the first. With having ME I figured a book or two ahead wouldn't be a bad thing. I'll work on the third during the pre-editing break.

Like Springs the worst that happens is Mayhem and its sequel get self published to Kindle. I can then turn my attention to other works.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisha View Post
All of the agents and editors' sites I've read have suggested writers start on their next book - whether that be the second in a series or something else - while submitting their first MS.
That's what I've read, but other people on chrons have read advise to hold back. From what I've read in the above links, I feel more like starting the 2nd before I've finished the 1st!!

A little more on writing sequels in this discussion between Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...cId=1000661941
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

My first sequel (i.e. book two) is very different to the first book - only one named character continues into that sequel, and the setting is completely different - so if the first doesn't sell, perhaps the second might.

Coming up with a direct sequel to what is now book two would be a problem, though, as the third book returns to the direct consequences of what happened in book one, and the character present in both books one and two doesn't reappear until book four.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I think the "don't write the sequel" advice is aimed at folks who dream of publishing a humungous series a la ASOIAF/Malazan/Wheel of Time - which is indeed a tough sell for a debut author. Plus, if you write all those books and then the publisher wants significant changes to the first, that's a lot of rewriting to do!

That's a whole different issue from "start a new book as soon as you've finished the first", which makes solid sense if you want a career as a writer. It doesn't have to be a sequel if the first book doesn't have sequel potential, but an agent is going to want to know you have more books in you, otherwise you're not much of a business investment! (And of course if you're self-publishing, you need multiple books out to warrant serious interest.)
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Old 15th January 2013, 01:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I think the challenges of a sequel will differ with every writer, depending on the sort of writer you are etc. (And I didn't start writing the sequel until I'd signed - I wrote something else while I was waiting. Bonus is, now I have something almost ready to sub, and the first series isn't out yet)

For me it was/is three fold.

a) I'm a panster. But when we subbed book 1, we also subbed (very broad) outlines for books 2 & 3. So I kind of had to stick with them....which was hard because of how I write. But we managed.

b) I wrote the first pretty much for fun. Now I'd been paid, and I had to write the book to earn it (never sold a book I hadn't written before)....and it's got to be in the same vein as the first, the character has to still be recognisably him oh, yeah, and it's got to be as good too. Eeek!

c) Because I tend to worldbuild on the fly, the first book no huge infodumping was easy because I only built the world as and when I needed it, so that's where it went in teh book. Only book 2, ofc, I know the world, the character's backstory (figured that out as I went in book 1 too) and the temptation to dump, or to recap too much was overwhelming.

Then again, other things were easier, so I suspect it balances out.
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Old 15th January 2013, 07:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

If anything my problem is focusing on my current book and getting it finished before I start on anything new. Although for me writing isn't about getting published so much. I have a field of work I love, and intend to remain in, so it's not my ambition to make writing my main source of income, and even if my first book were to be released and be totally panned, I'd keep writing purely for my own enjoyment.

The second volume of my series is already written, and I have another stand-alone novel set in the same world that's half written as well. Then there's an ever-growing list of novel ideas that have grown out of my worldbuilding efforts. I've probably already got enough material lined up to keep me busy for the rest of my life.
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Old 15th January 2013, 07:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I always wondered about this. One thought that kept going through my mind is what if you sell the first book and the editors advise changes that would alter what happens in the second book - or do they not do that? Do they just let you handle the story, and they just make sure the grammar and spelling is correct?

I've held off writing the sequel when submitting because I worry I might be wasting my time by writing it before the first book is confirmed to be staying exactly as it is.
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Old 15th January 2013, 08:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

I've decided I'm not going to write a sequel for mine, unless by some miracle I do get published and the publishers ask for one. I am trying to start something new though, while I get it ready for submission. (Which is taking longer than I hoped).
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Old 15th January 2013, 08:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The challenge of writing a sequel

deleted, brain is broken, misunderstood the post!
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