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.
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 http://www.decadentpublishing.com to choose the title and format you would like.
Julie will be in touch soon to find out which book you picked.