Monday, August 15, 2011

Sequel Slushee

Okay, this is a post for all you sequel geniuses out there. Even if you've only written one sequel, I consider you a master, so don't go away!

I've recently sent an email plea to a bloggie friend of mine asking him on sequel-writing. Mind you, I am a 100% bonafide  true blue through and through pantser. Well, this friend of mine has never written a sequel, yet due to popular demand, he's written a sequel! He mentioned to me that parts are easier--which I can see how that happens--and that parts are more difficult, and I believe I've hit that rut!

I've had another friend say that I can pants my sequel like I did the first.

Here's the thing: The infamous 2 word stinker all writers despise has hit me: Writer's block! My muse is sending me conflicting messages. Keep writing what comes to your heart and make this book refreshingly different from the first. The second notion is daunting because I'm not sure just how different to make the book from the first.

I'm big for stand-alone novels and this is my challenge as a writer. I find this confusing because I'm not sure how to create another facet to the romance behind it.

So I have a question for the romance writers: How do you keep the romance interesting between the two MCs into the 2nd book, and 3rd? How would you handle it if the boy already "got the girl" in book one? 

and a general question:
How do you approach writing your sequels?


  1. Just about to start my first sequel, found it hard, then realised if I began it in similar vein to the original it worked! :0)

  2. Well I tend to think in terms of a series rather than standalone novels, so any romantic sub-plots are usually worked into the over-arcing story in advance. The issue is that a plot, or sub-plot, without conflict is no longer interesting to the reader. So if the hero got their love interest in Book 1, you need a new conflict in Book 2. Typically, this means challenging the relationship on an emotional or physical level.

    Emotionally, perhaps the couple are trying to have children and having difficulty, or their "happy ever after" isn't quite so happy as they deal with the day to day problems once the "honeymoon period" has worn off and normal routine sets in. You could also introduce infidelity or the suspicion of it, though you need to be careful not to turn your characters into incommunicative morons for the sake of drama, and decide whether you want to take the chance of undoing the emotional challenges the couple overcame to get together in the first place.

    In terms of a physical challenge to the relationship, the two usual ways to do this are to kill off one of the characters (boring) or separate them somehow. Kidnapping, an accident or natural disaster can work well, as can one character actively choosing to leave their partner for a while, such as a soldier choosing to re-enlist to fight in a war.

  3. Good luck finding your romantic muse to carry on with your sequel!! I have absolutely no idea but looks like there are commenters here who do! Yay!! Take care!

  4. Usually you have to split the couple up, either through a misunderstanding, an old flame, a disagreement, a financial/career issue etc. Most of these are pretty familiar and can seem contrived, so I also think you need to add your own twist on it.

    Or you could focus on secondary characters from the first book, or have other related characters as your main ones this time.

    Moody Writing

  5. I throw something at the couple that has the potential to break them up. Mood gave some good examples there. There are always challenges to relationships. It could be something small and it explodes. Real life is a great inspiration for relationship troubles. Daytime television can tell you that!

  6. I'm currently writing the second book in a trilogy. The first, Fire's Daughter, is already published. All three books are going to be different from one another and I am doing my utmost to make each one a stand-alone so if someone picks up the second book first, it all still makes sense.

    The main characters in the first book will not be the main characters in the second book and same with the third. I plot when I have to, but not very often. Just the act of writing once scene usually gives way to another. And don't be afraid of writing out of sequence. If you think of a great ending - even if you don't know how your characters are getting there - then write it. Write it or lose it forever. If your muse has left you, write something else. I usually get flashes of genius when I'm nowhere near pen and paper.

    I'm primarily a pantster, it just works better for me that way. I'm also muddying up a few genres, but I don't think that matters if you write a good story.

  7. I don't know if this will help you or not ... but I have a friend who writes romance & her sequels are based on the same world, but not the same characters. Sometimes her previous hero and heroine will show up, but they become background characters. Something to think about. :)

  8. Carole, I am so happy for your success! I'm happy that it is working for you. I'll see what I can cook up, too. Thank you for dropping by! *hugs*

    Paul, whoa! Thank you, you're fantastic! Do you have a writing buddy? ;)

    Jennifer, yay! Thank you for being my friend. <3

    Moody, thank you so much! I feel so cushioned by everyone's help here. I doubt I'll go wrong. :)

    Christine, so true! I also should just join RWA!

    Alex, hooray! I can't wait to see what you write. :P

    Wendy, I'm intrigued! I'd love to see what your muddy genres look like. *sigh*

    Mary, that's a great idea! I need to "get out more" and read sequels. Strange, but I can see it clearly when I read it but I have a hard time applying it to myself. Ugh... Xoxox

  9. I have a couple of writing buddies, but I'm always happy to have more ;-)

  10. happy to visit your blog,
    very interesting.

    Whether you're a writer...

  11. Paul, thank you! :)

    Riva'i, thank you! Going to visit yours, too! :)

  12. Gosh... good questions... I'm stumped. If the guy already go the girl than perhaps the romance could involve a separation of sorts. Physical or emotional...

  13. Crystal, this is what I get for not planning ahead of time, hu? Thanks for your help! I think I have exactly what I need to get this puppy out the door. Lol <3

  14. Yeah, that can be tricky. But no relationship is ever perfect and they always require effort to maintain. I think it's interesting to explore those situations where things aren't really happily-ever-after. How does your couple deal with those things?

  15. Angie, hi! It's confusing as well because of involving elements as well. How to make it fresh, yet relate it to the first so it still has that atmosphere of likeness. This surely is a growing experience for me! :)

  16. It's easier if you plot for the whole series at once.

  17. Amber, what an experience I'm learning here! I'll do better next time! :)


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