Tuesday, 28 October 2008

On Writing Sequels

So as I'm getting slowly back into my life, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my sequel to Possum Summer. AE has already said she likes the concept, so I take that as tacit approval of the book and have been thinking about it, as I said. I've made some lists of what I want to look up for the new book, who I want to contact, and all that good stuff. I've read the books that have info on sequels, and found some great stuff on them online that I thought you all might like to have, too.

  • David Edelman and Karen Lee Field list a great group of watchits, one of the most important? Readers. Some have finished the book when it came out, some have never read it, some haven't read it for over a year or so. You have to make sure that all these guys are covered when it comes to backstory...not too much, not too little.

I found a really nice quote I want to share from a great blog entry...

Act like there is no second book to make this book the best possible

...and he has some great advice for people still on their first book.

  • Concerning backstory: Should NOT be at the first of the book (ie., first chapter) according to Maya. Looks like she did well with introducing brief references throughout for interesting information. 

  • Concerning plotlines: Absolutely. In the first book I've devoted lotsa time to setting up Oklahoma, and the environs that P finds herself in. Luckily, the new location is close to this area, and I (again) have personal experience with it, so I won't have to spend soo much time with explaining all that. I need to make sure the loose ends from PS are filled in while making sure to include hints and foreshadowing for BK 3 (oh yes Victoria, P has made at least four known to me). I think a very telling sentence in this article was "Build, don't replace."

  • Geoff Hart said "A good writer will usually (there are exceptions) make the development of an important character's personality a central feature of the story, even in an adventure yarn—most readers like to be able to identify with the protagonist of the book, and a good job of characterization makes this easier." which is definitely the case in TF...P's personality and character grow and change as she continues her path in the world, touching everyone she meets. I'm also looking forward to developing Gran's character and interaction with P as it progresses. 

Mum and Dad are delegated to the outskirts of the story for very relevant reasons. (You'll see. Trust me).  He also talks about formulaic writing, which I will do my damndest to avoid. I'm kind of documenting P's life as she grows up, and hopefully, through that, I can ignore/escape the formulaic crapword. I hope.

  • Jo Whittemore brings up a good point: reader expectation. You have to juggle the fine line of having your characters develop without completely turning off your core readership...as Stephenie Meyer might have had to deal with (poor thing) because evidently the fans got all sorts of rabid on her about the last book, Breaking Dawn. Reader expectation is a tough tough thing. 

Note to self: I shall have to ruminate on this once I have a readership. ;)


Kerri said...

You're always pushing me to think ahead--thank goodness. It's great stuff!

Brit said...

Jen - man, you are inspirational, that's for sure! Sounds like you are going about it the right way.

Heidi said...

That's a lot of thinking for a sick girl!

Wow, this post has some really great stuff. I've been thinking about that backstory part. You know, basically my entire first chapter is back story. Up until when Ashley fall over. I didn't think of this when I wrote it, but no one has mentioned it yet. It's short and funny, so I'm hoping no one will notice!

I'd think the second book would be hard trying to balance the need for backstory. It may or may not be the first book people read of yours, so you don't want them to start off in the dark.

Rowling introduced each of the character and the wizarding world in every book. Which is why when my nieces started to read them, they didn't notice they started on the wrong book! It's a tricky balance.Although with P, I'm not sure how much you'd need to know right off the bat. P is pretty self-explanatory! :)

I'm off to look up some of your references! Glad to see you back - and hard at work on that next book!