Sequels are supposed to come second, so why in the world am I torn between writing a first and second novel? Shouldn’t I recognize the starting place?
In short, I have an idea for a neat, somewhat heavy Lutheran novel. It would be about a pastor’s wife (because people are oddly interested in that), a new call, and a complex parishioner worth exploring.
However, it also occurred to me that I could write a sequel dealing with stuff I am right now dealing with. I think it’d be therapeutic to write, not as edgy, and generally helpful to society at large.
Now my dad’s teased me a little about this. Is my life really so interesting? And, well, yes. Life is charming, even if it is my own! And bringing out the charm, humor, and insight is a worthy goal. Nobody needs to be like me, or share my experiences, but just maybe I can write it in such a way that people would like to read it.
So, do you have any general thoughts about sequels and ordering? Mostly I’d like a first novel to establish me as a storytellers. I’d like to dive deep and test my metal. I’d like to research but also come up with every day sort of comfort. The sequel, however, could be semi-autobiographical with a lot of my own experiences qualifying as research. It might be easier to write, but it would give my protagonist more kids!
Of course, I could do “stand alones” rather than series. However, I’m not sure the plot lines demand a stand alone kind of thing, and in a series I could develop the characters more.
Maybe you don’t care what I write, but if you have any suggestions or comments I would welcome them. Honestly, I’m not writing much these days (or this summer, sadly). I keep hoping my juices will get flowing. Then there is a large part of me that inversely wants various things to stop flowing, to slow and calm down so I can sit a spell!!
Guess we’ll see what happens. Happy writing (or anything else)!
3 Responses to Sequels
Write them both, together. Or a least build your world and stories with all of them in mind. If you are the protagonist looking back on a life – all the parts knit together, even if you don’t see it at the time.
Series in general are a tricky thing. I think my advice would have to do with your personal writing style. Are you the sort of person that can outline, and stick to an outline, or do you write and see where it goes? If you can stick to an outline, great! Outline as many as you can and then start writing. If not. (And I never could.) I find it works best to keep a notebook with all my ideas in it, and proceed from there. Most importantly, take a break if you get tired of it. Don’t get to Doyle levels of frustration, and decide to just kill your character off to be done with them. It rarely works anyway.
I agree with Lisa and Dangerosa’s comments. If you can outline, do it! It’ll give you structure and a clear path for your story. I use Randy Ingermanson’s snowflake method, which starts with a one-sentence description about what happens, then expands it step-by-step into an outline. Very easy, and you can get as detailed as you like, or keep it general if outlines tend to interfere with your creativity.
Personally, I love having my outline and then diving into the writing with that roadmap.
Also, I wrote Violet’s Daybreak before I wrote Penelope’s Hope; it’s worked out alright, and I really didn’t even know Penelope had a story until I’d written most of Violet. But if you already know you have two ideas, or two phases of one idea, go for it! Write both or one — whichever you feel led to.