Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a Hard Working Writer...

  • Roger Colby

5 Ways to Start Working on a Sequel


terminarch plot cover reveal

Everyone likes a series, and when we writers hit on an idea for a viable series with several books planned it is sometimes difficult to remember that excitement that we had when we first thought it up.  Hanging up on a series after writing and publishing the first book is the worst thing a writer could do, and will ruin any credibility that writer has for the dear people who read the first one.

After much deliberation, and even a couple of mad and foolish moments where I thought seriously about hanging it up, I have hit on a few methods by which I was able to kick myself in gear toward writing it.

Here they are:

  1. Go back to the beginning – Re-read your first novel or the last novel in the series to get back into the world you created.  Go back and read all the notes you took and planning you jotted down when making the first book or the latest book.  When you read it, read as if you have never read any of it before.  Read like a reader.  You will find yourself thrown back into the characters and world that got you so excited in the first place.

  2. Brainstorm Possible Outcomes – Think of three ways that the original novel could have ended that are different than the way it ended.  This will kickstart your brain into thinking about the sequel.

  3. Talk to Your Readers – I happen to have some beta-readers who read the first novel.  Not only are they local or a phone call away, but they are a valuable resource in the planning of the next book.  When asked, they will give details about how the story should continue, and what they most want to see happen in the sequel.

  4. Deep Plot Changes – Think about each of the major characters who survived the first novel (Yeah, some of them die.  It happens.)  Which characters could be tragically killed off in the sequel?  Which characters would you like to send toward an unexpected plot twist?  Which characters might actually become evil or good in the next novel?  How much has your main character grown since the last novel?

  5. Thematic Progression – What was the theme of the last novel, and how can you add to or modify that theme for an idea about what the next novel might be trying to express?  Think of ways to develop the themes of the previous novel to express a new theme in the latest offering.

If you have any more tips to share about kick-starting the next novel in your series, post below!

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