Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why is Writing a Sequel so Hard?

Over the years I've heard writer friends bemoan the horrors of writing sequels. At the time, I was completely underwhelmed by their complaints, blinded by the belief that having multiple books under contract would make everything in the world better and more worthwhile. And while having multiple books under contract DID make the world better and more worthwhile...sort of like this...

Or maybe like this....

You will never hear me complain about writing my books. I feel lucky to be able to write, lucky that some people out there are crazy enough to love and want to read the weird stuff that makes my brain happy. And while not complaining, let me explain that in 2012 I've done the most difficult thing (writing wise) that I've ever done. Writing a sequel.

Maybe it was particularly hard because I didn't believe it would be so hard. So I got frustrated when I wrote 2 pages in the amount of time I used to write 10. At periods of intense writer's block that I didn't think I should have. Maybe it was difficult because I'd never planned to do a series/write a sequel. Really, it wasn't until Masque was halfway written that I realized I wasn't possibly going to get to the masked ball in volume one, that I'd need a volume two...and that, ladies and gentleman is what we call a sequel. Something I hadn't really thought of writing before. Not only that, the sequel had to finish the story/series. And because of the way the books split it was difficult to give it a conventional story arc.

I don't know...I just know that it felt nearly impossible. I love the story, love the characters love the scenes, and yet somehow they resisted gelling together, and making everything work took more effort than...well, anything ever?

Maybe it was where I was in my life...putting my house up for sale made things very difficult...going on book tour this summer for book one (while awesome) took my brain power for several weeks, the week of the tour, the week beforehand, resting up the week afterwards...maybe I spent too much time clicking on reviews for book one. Oh, maybe choosing a new house, going through the mortgage process, changing my kids' schools, and moving all of my stuff, maybe that made it even harder, I don't know?

All I know is that I've come out the other side, I've turned in the second round of revisions, and while I'm sure I have more work to do, I am so proud of book two, and also so glad to have a bit of a reprieve from working on it (though I should be working on a short story in the same world...and I will be as soon as I finish my blog obligations for today :D)

So, tell me about your sequel experiences. Difficult? Easy? Fantastic? Terrible? Wonderful? 

I'll tell you what really got me excited about my sequel...seeing the awesome cover. How about you guys? 


sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books said...

I can't imagine how difficult it is to make sure all of your characters and information match from book to book. As a reader, I never really thought about it before but it makes a lot of sense.

I look forward to the sequel's cover too. :)

~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

Katie McGarry said...

I haven't had to write a sequel since mine is a series using secondary characters, but I also struggled with writing the next in line. I had writer's block that about killed me.

Kristin Lenz said...

What a challenge - the writing and the rest of life going on at the same time. Interesting, from reading book one, I assumed it was part of a larger work you had already written, but that it was too long and needed to be divided. Congrats!

Kurt Hampe said...

I wrote the Sequel section in two programming books. (rimshot)

Actually, bad database puns aside, a lot of the computer books I worked on in my technical writing past were sorta sequels in an odd, geeky way. Some of the books were continuing adventures of a software application, while others were retellings. In most cases, there was a definite continuity and growth from book to book, and I had to crank them out at a furious pace because the software kept getting updated.

As you said of your work, I was happy for the chance to show what was in my head and honored to have an audience (mine was probably more awkward in social situations). But it was also exhausting.

I can’t wait to see the final version of Book 2 and see the results of all your hard work. Congrats on seeing the process through.