Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Guest post by J. A. Campbell (aka phoenixfirewolf

Welcome to Decadent Publishing’s Blog Stomp Young Adult book tour. This is also a stop on my blog tour for the release of my first novel, Senior Year Bites. Jon thanks so much for letting me post here today. Stick around at the end for the contest details.
On Writing Sequels
These days the stand-alone novel is very rare. Sure, agents always want the first novel to stand alone, but if it sells everyone knows the publishers and the readers are going to want more. So how do you go about writing sequels? Obviously the process is going to vary for everyone, but there are things that you need to keep in mind.

Consistency. Make sure that your characters’ eye colors, speech patterns, habits, the car they drive, etc, stay the same from the first book to the second. Unless, of course, you happen to wreck your character’s car and they need to get another one. If you do make a major change, your readers will catch it. You need to explain it. You also have to make sure your world rules, and everything about your settings stay consistent as well. This can be easy, or hard, depending on how complicated your world is. To help with this I suggest rereading the first novel and taking really good notes. This can be the beginning of a series bible, which is a whole different blog post.

Plot threads. Are there any plot threads from the first book that you want to tie up, expand upon, or further? If you were planning on a series, there is a good chance that you threw some plot elements in the first novel that you’ll need to carry on into the second novel. Make sure you make notes of these and weave them in (with consistency) to the second book.

Notes are your friend. It’s really hard, or at least time consuming, to go back and find things when you have to look through an entire novel for one little detail. (or big detail).

Characters. If you killed a character in the first novel, make sure they don’t show back up in the second one, alive and kicking, unless it’s explained. Little things like that. Make sure they stay left handed, if that is a detail that is important. Again with the consistency. Pretty much the theme of writing sequels is keep it consistent with the first.

Anyway, those are some of the mechanics. Writing a sequel, to me, is both a lot easier than writing the first book, and a lot harder. A lot of doubt comes in to play. Will it be as good as the first one? Will my story be engaging? Do I have enough desire to carry these characters through an entire new novel? You also have to start thinking about the bigger picture. With your first stand-alone novel, you probably mostly tied everything up at the end. Now you have the potential for a series. How many books is it going to be? How much planning are you going to do ahead of time? What is the bigger picture? All of this needs to be taken into account.

However, it’s also easier. You already know your world, your characters, a lot of the frustrating details, like names, are already worked out. You’ll continue to develop your world and your characters, but you already have the basics worked out, and to me that makes sequels easier than the first book.

Writing a sequel is a totally different experience than writing the first book, except… it’s still a book. You write them the same way, there’s just more to keep track of.

I hope that answers some questions. If you have any more, feel free to leave them in comments. I know Jon is working on a sequel and I bet he has some good insight too.

And now for the fun stuff. The contest.

Everyone who comments today will be entered to win a Decadent title of their choice. You can go to http://www.decadentpublishing.com to look around. Please leave us a way to contact you so we can let you know you won. The winner will be announced tomorrow. Also, all commenters will be entered into the grand prize drawing. You can check out the details here.

Check out the blog stop tomorrow at http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/blog for another chance at a Decadent title and entries into the big contest.

Julie Campbell writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side. www.writerjacampbell.com.
Senior Year Bites
by J. A. Campbell

Senior year is supposed to be fun: boys, dances and graduation.
It’s significantly harder to enjoy it when you’re dead

Truth or Dare is supposed to be fun too. It’s not even close to dangerous, so playing at Steph’s house didn’t seem like a bad idea. My dare? Spend the rest of the night in
the graveyard next to her house. It was only a couple of hours until false dawn,
my proscribed return time, so no big deal right? Right.

I survived the attack, but it took me a few days to figure out what was going on. I mean
vampires might stalk pop culture, but they’re just myths. Yeah. Not so much. School
is a lot more difficult when you’re a nocturnal creature of the night. I was managing,
but I couldn’t keep it hidden from my friends for long. After I managed to accidentally
save one of our cheerleaders from her drunk and ill-intentioned boyfriend. Steph
decided that we should be cool, like superheroes, and fight crime. Only I’m a vampire,
not a hero, and we live in a sleepy New England town, so crime’s a little harder to come by. At least it is until a serial killer moves into the area. He’s got the authorities stumped, but then again, the cops don’t have a teenage, blood-sucking, non-hero on their team.

ETA: And the contest winner is...

Congratulations, Elena Gray! You've won an eBook.
Check out
 to choose the title and format you would like.
Julie will be in touch soon to find out which book you picked. 


Site Meter


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
I would add that control-f (or apple-f) is also your friend.
Keep copies on your hard drive for future reference.

And as a writer much wiser than I is known to have said,
if it's free, it's for me.
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Ctl F, ctl S and many backup copies are certainly our friends.

Jul. 19th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Writing a sequel is a totally different experience than writing the first book, except… it’s still a book. You write them the same way, there’s just more to keep track of.

I think this line sums it up well! As you say, we do have to think of it as a book on its own in that it needs to spark us in the same way, carry the same desires, have its own themes, but there are already established rules of characters and environments that need to be consistent.

Thanks for that reminder. In writing my own sequel, I need to write it first as a book, on its own, because I want it to be a new exploration despite being a sequel; however, then I intend to go back to the first novel and treat it as a copy edit, with a style sheet where I note all those details you mention--of place, dates, names, colors, time frames--and then make sure the second consistently follows the style sheet!

Good luck with your new release!
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, good ideas :) Thanks for sharing. And thank you!

Jul. 19th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I've read of some authors who have assistants who keep track of the worlds they've built so that they don't make mistakes in series. There's nothing worse than a super fan who kows everything about everything and spots an error. I think I only noticed one error like that in all the years I've been reading and I just ignore it.

Nice to meet a new to me author. Senior Year Bites sounds like a fun read.

Jul. 19th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Nice to meet you too. An assistant... LOL. I'd keep one to keep up with my social networking so I could concentrate on the writing.

Jul. 19th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Love this post Julie! When I began writing I knew my book would be a trilogy. I had secondary characters that bugged me until I told them they could have their own book.

Jul. 19th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
I am usually convinced my stories will be more than one novel long. I always come up with more ideas.

Have fun with the trilogy!

Jul. 19th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Great stuff, Julie! Don't enter me (I don't have an e-reader of any kind. :( I know, I know--very lame) but good luck to all those entered!
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by Terri! Alas for the lack of ereader. However you should still be entered into the grand prize drawing by Decadent... You could win an ereader. ^.^

Jul. 20th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
Oh, wow! I have to learn to read more carefully. Woohoo! Enter me!
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
You are entered in the main contest :) That one is up at the end of the month. If you happen to win the Kindle I'll make sure you get a copy of SYB too. LOL.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
You are too fabulous for words.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Jul. 19th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
My big question: when do you write the sequel?

Many of us with dreams of being published aren't going to be. Is it better to launch into book two as soon as the first has been revised, or should we work on something else entirely in case there's no industry interest in what we've sent out?

Jul. 19th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
I have heard two sides to that coin. One, work on the project that you love and work with it while it's still fresh in your mind. Two, work on something else in case the first one isn't accepted.

My personal opinion is... it depends. If your heart is set on being published and that is your only goal, then work on a new project instead of the sequel. If you love the world, have a ton of ideas and it won't let you go, write the sequel. Look at it this way. If/when you do get published you'll need to write a sequel (most likely) anyway, so why not practice a few times before you get there.

Thanks for dropping in Avang.
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
excellen post!
Great blog topic Julie, really enjoyed it. One day I hope to have to worry about a book two. lol! ;) Write happy!
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: excellen post!
Thanks Tammy! You'll get there :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Chocolate allergy pills!

Oh wait, wrong conversation. :d

Verily, as a reader, I love sequels. I enjoy seeing characters again and exploring plot threads. That said, there should be a reason or purpose for the sequel or I lose interest.
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Makes perfect sense to me. :) thanks for dropping in. Yes, chocolate anything really.

Jul. 20th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
I agree with goddesssaint. Sequels are great - and I like spinoffs just as much. But sometimes a sequel feels like a bridge between 1 & 3 and not like a story of it's own - like they draw it out just to have more books in the series. The entire story suffers for it.
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
the second book in a true Trilogy is often more of a bridge. That's the structure of a trilogy, but it has to be done right.

However a longer series with books like that bugs me.

Thanks for dropping in!

Decadent Publishing
Jul. 20th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Great post, Julie
Great job, Julie!
Thanks for hosting our blog stomp, Jon!

Heather Bennett
Decadent Publishing
www decadentpublishing com
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Great post, Julie
Thanks for dropping in Heather!
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Great post, Julie
My pleasure, Heather :)
Jul. 21st, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
I hope I didn't miss out!
Great stuff I have a deep love for sequels. sallyawolf@gmail.com
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed


Latest Month

October 2019
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Paulina Bozek