PDA

View Full Version : Books about sequels?



Madison
05-11-2009, 08:15 PM
I'm planning a nice little trilogy and I want to get a book (or two or five) on the art of writing sequels. I've never written a series before so I want to do it right the first time around.

Any good books on sequels/series that anyone can recommend?

*thanks*

Sargentodiaz
05-11-2009, 10:51 PM
I know this may sound stupid, but try a Google search on sequels.

seun
05-11-2009, 11:05 PM
Before you go looking for books about sequels or start writing, bear in mind a couple of things.

Do you have enough story to write a trilogy's worth? Would each book stand alone as well as developing the overall story? Or would you be filling parts to take up space before the climax?

And as for getting it right first time, forget that idea. Nobody gets it right first time. Write your first draft (of the first book if you're still going to do a trilogy) and get that one as close to perfect as you can before you start the second. In fact, forget about the second or third until the first is totally done.

ChaosTitan
05-12-2009, 03:14 AM
I honestly can't say I've ever seen a writing book specifically about sequels.

I have a print out of sequel hints that I found on a website a few years ago. I wish I could remember which site it was, but alas. Like lvcabbie said, do a Google search. You'll likely find better information that way, than in a book.

Matera the Mad
05-12-2009, 06:56 AM
I don't think most trilogies/zilogies/whatever are planned, they just grow. The characters and their world continue to provide inspiration (and reader enthusiasm), and the writing goes on. Trilogizing from the beginning is common among pretentious beginners. No point in it if the first book flops.

emilycross
05-12-2009, 12:03 PM
I don't think most trilogies/zilogies/whatever are planned, they just grow. The characters and their world continue to provide inspiration (and reader enthusiasm), and the writing goes on. Trilogizing from the beginning is common among pretentious beginners. No point in it if the first book flops.

I agree with that the fact that i wouldn't put 'too much effort' in a trilogy if the first book is going to flop/hasn't gotten sold to a publisher/L.Agent.

but, i disagree about most trilogies not being planned (i know in some instances, eg. twilight and its sequels = not planned) - Many fantasy novels are sold in trilogies, and publishers expect sequels which interconnect and are not standalone.

So, just to tag on a question to the OP's question, but is it essential that if you're writing a fantasy, which you plan to tell in three parts, that each part be a standalone (or at least the first part?) if your seeking to get it published? Or what is the protocol in this instance?

- LOTRs, and the Pellinor books, Trudi Canavan's Books wouldn't be able to 'standalone' IMHO as they often foreshadow and link to the rest of the series, and often leave a cliff hanger with no resolution, e.g. ending of 'the gift' .

Mr Flibble
05-12-2009, 05:05 PM
So, just to tag on a question to the OP's question, but is it essential that if you're writing a fantasy, which you plan to tell in three parts, that each part be a standalone (or at least the first part?) if your seeking to get it published? Or what is the protocol in this instance?

- LOTRs, and the Pellinor books, Trudi Canavan's Books wouldn't be able to 'standalone' IMHO as they often foreshadow and link to the rest of the series, and often leave a cliff hanger with no resolution, e.g. ending of 'the gift' .

Probably depends on where you plan to sub it.

For me, I like at least some resolution of a major arc at the end of each book, even if it's not the resolution of THE arc, if you know what I mean. Even in LOTR you had that, in fact I can only think of a couple of trilogies that didn't wrap at least one arc in each book. Books that have no resolution at all just feel like I've read a book-long prologue and I rarely buy the second.

But that's just me.

Unless your writing is superb, you're maybe better off subbing the first as 'This book can stand alone but has series potential'
At least that way the agent / pub might not think it such a risk.

Sargentodiaz
05-12-2009, 08:07 PM
I don't think Clancey thought about a series using Jack Ryan. His first book was so well-accepted that it was determined a market existed for more.
As soneone else said, make the first book so good that it sells. Sequels will follow.

Little Bird
05-12-2009, 09:17 PM
The first book must be able to stand alone, with no dangling threads; the reader must have a satisfying experience or there will be no sequels. This is more true for unpublished authors.

I don't regret writing my sequels, because that's where all my story energy wanted to go, and I was able to write other things once I got it out of my head. I didn't write sequels to two of my other stories, which I also hope to make a series, because I knew it didn't make any sense to do that, and I didn't feel that compulsion to write them. Also, I know my characters and their world inside and out now, and I find it reassuring that even if much of the actual writing in the sequel doesn't get used, I know that there's plenty of story left to tell. If the first book sells and sells well, I have plenty more to say.

Madison
05-13-2009, 12:56 AM
Good advice - the first one definitely needs to stand alone. I didn't plan for a trilogy - it just exploded into one :) I'll google sequel stuff - and maybe amazon will have some ideas...

Emily Winslow
05-14-2009, 12:58 PM
I'm working on a sequel now (the first book comes out in January and the second one is already under contract). So I've been thinking about this a lot as well.

I find that comparisons outside my field help me more than comparisons too close to what I'm writing. I've been looking at TV (Desperate Housewives' five year jump was brilliant), and the comic strip "For Better or For Worse" (which isn't dealing with a sequel, per se, but has kept the story going for a very long time and recently went back to "redo" classic material. This progression has not been entirely successful, and there is lots of online discussion about what worked well and what didn't.).

My son has just gotten into Star Wars, and I find myself looking to Empire Strikes Back for sequel inspiration.

NeuroFizz
05-14-2009, 04:11 PM
I'll echo what others have said upstream, but I'll put some stank on it.

Trilogyitis can morph into trilogy authorship if the author realizes that within the greater arc of the triumvirate, each story has to have it's own strong story arc that does give the reader a concrete resolution or set of resolutions rather than just serve as a lead-in to the next book. The latter tack is not playing fair with the reader, who just shelled out hard-earned cash to read a story, only to find out the book was just an advertisement for him/her to buy the next two books. Damned if I'll buy books two and three under those circumstances, and double damned if I'll ever buy anything by that author again.

I just wonder why it's always a trilogy (hence trilogyitis) with new/developing writers? Is there something magical about the number three that steers writers to aim for that number of pieces? I'm a fan of sequels growing from previous stories as those stories are being told through a complete story arc. This makes the sequel decision more of an evolutionary thing than a pre-planned breakout. That pre-packaging strategy can place too much emphasis on the greater story arc from the beginning, when in that beginning, the proximal story arc of the singular book under construction should be the primary focus. There is too much temptation to hold things back from that first story when the author should "let it all hang out" within that proximal story arc. As others have said, unless book one sells, books two and three are just going to join book one in taking up trunk space.

Emily Winslow
05-15-2009, 02:12 PM
Yes! I agree. Don't hold anything back. Be profligate. Throw everything you have into the current book. You'll come up with more later for the next one. I need to remind myself of that from time to time.

Then again, I can imagine specific writers for whom this advice would not be good. Trying to cram too much plot into a single book can result in thin handling for all of them.

Like so much writing advice, not all of it is what all writers need to hear.


That pre-packaging strategy can place too much emphasis on the greater story arc from the beginning, when in that beginning, the proximal story arc of the singular book under construction should be the primary focus. There is too much temptation to hold things back from that first story when the author should "let it all hang out" within that proximal story arc. As others have said, unless book one sells, books two and three are just going to join book one in taking up trunk space.