Friday, July 15, 2011

Writing Sequels

By YA fantasy author Andrea Buginsky

I never would have imagined that writing a sequel could be harder than writing the first book. I figured once you wrote your first book, it was all downhill from there. Boy, was I wrong! I learned a lot about writing working on the second book in “The Chosen” series:

1) Keep Lists: if you’re going to write a series, you have to keep lists of your characters and their attributes, the places your characters frequent in the stories, the bad guys, a timeline of events, and anything else that will carry from book to book in the series. The last thing you want is to change a character trait or event date that you had in book one to something totally different in book three. You WILL have readers who notice.

2) Draw a map: If your stories are involved in a world unlike ours, you will be doing yourself a huge favor by drawing some kind of map to remind you of where everything is. Even if you can’t draw, put together some kind of map/grid showing you where everything in your story is. Make a list of the different areas, towns, villages, etc., and where they’re located. Again, this will help you keep track of where the different areas are from book to book.

3) As you continue to write more books in the series, you may start to run out of ideas. Keep a list of ideas for new adventures your heroes can go on, and add to it any time you think of another one. You can even use ideas you receive from your fans. If you receive fan mail with questions about why they haven’t done this, or why don’t they do this, add it to the list! The fan who had the idea will be flattered when he or she sees their idea in print.

4) Remember to write little “reminders” of previous adventures in the newer books, especially in the second and third ones. Newer readers may not have read the first or even the second book in your series yet, and you’ll want them to understand what’s going on. It will also entice them to go back and read the entire adventure in your earlier books.

5) When you start a story-within-the-story, be sure to continue it throughout the series. You may wish to make notes about the events to remind you of them, so you’ll be sure to include them in future books.

These are just some suggestions to help you keep track of the different attributes of your book. You may want to start a notebook or journal to help you keep track of everything. As you continue to write more books in your series, you’ll begin to remember most of these attributes without having to look at your notes. But they’ll be a great reminder of all of the hard work you did to create your babies, and a treasure you’ll want to keep always.

Andrea Buginsky is the author of "The Chosen," available from Solstice Publishing.

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