Are you Writing a Sequel?

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Today I’m talking about writing a sequel! As part of Calling All Critiques I’m also sharing the book cover for Toils and Snares, a YA and up-Apocalyptic Science Fiction novella by Robert L. Slater. If you have some time, stop by and leave your feedback!

 

One of my beta readers said something that got me thinking. After she finished reading one of my novels, she made this comment: “I loved the ending because you left some room there in case you wanted to write a sequel.”

Say what now, sugar?

A sequel? Writing the first one was difficult enough! The thought of a sequel hadn’t even crossed my mind, but soon after she made that comment, I ran across a blog post (I can’t remember where) titled something along the lines of “Why your butt should be writing a sequel.”

The author mentioned it being a smart business move for authors, especially if readers are so invested in the characters that they want to see more stories about them. I have to say that I do agree with that—if an author can successfully write another book with the same characters that is just as good if not better than the first book, then why not?

But let’s talk, folks. Should we be writing a sequel just for the sake of writing a sequel? I have seen—I won’t name books here—unnecessary cliff hangers (or book endings so bad they make you want to slap somebody) just so an author can continue the story in another book. I won’t even mention the book that a close friend of mine read recently where most of the characters died at the end of the story for no apparent reason. The author’s rationale? He was setting up the sequel. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I think if we do write sequels it should be worth the reader’s time and just as entertaining as the first book, right? Or am I romanticizing here?

So recently, I started thinking about one of my own projects. I think that I raised enough questions in the first book to explore another set of characters in a second book, but I would only do that if I felt the story would be satisfying to a reader.

What about others? Are you writing a sequel? Have you read books that had an unsatisfying ending and realized that it was because the author was trying to set up a sequel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


18 thoughts on “Are you Writing a Sequel?

  1. Hi Quanie! I’m so glad you wrote a post on this topic. It’s something I’ve been struggling with. I have a book out there. Readers have asked when the sequel is coming, so I’ve been contemplating one, though I originally planned for my book to stand alone.

    I’ve found a number of comments on this post very helpful, especially the one about outlining both books in one setting (not that my characters ever adhere to outlines).
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  2. Hi, Quanie, I’m returning your visit! I think that, if you’ve genuinely got a follow-up story in you for those characters, you’ve gotta tell it. But it’s got to be genuine, and not an attempt to milk readers emotionally vested in the main characters of the first book, knowhatahmsayin’?
    Mina Lobo recently posted..Melissa Maygrove’s “Come Back”My Profile

  3. Writing a sequel definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. There should be a reason to continue a story and not just because readers ask for it, or an author likes to write sequels. There has to be a story to continue. But not every book needs a sequel. Sometimes the end really is just . . . the end. I originally wrote Hurricane Crimes as a stand alone story. A few people mentioned wanting a sequel and a novel, but I told them Hurricane Crimes was done. Well, I guess I was wrong about that because after their comments sunk in, I realized there was a lot I hadn’t covered at the end of Hurricane Crimes (although it does have a satisfactory ending) and then I got an idea for . . . a series. Yup. lol
    Chrys Fey recently posted..How to Create a Heroine of SteelMy Profile

  4. Everyone keeps asking me if I will write a sequel to my children’s book. But to be honest, there really isn’t much else to say… other than, “Get them kiddies back outside to build tree forts, ride bikes, and play again!”
    I would love to have a plot mapped out with a sequel in mind but I have the tendency to stick with just one story… one book. I guess everyone is different but I definitely agree with you… when a book is done, it is done! And when authors try to force sequels out of stories where it isn’t necessary, it just doesn’t make any sense. I guess this is why I would plot out two books entirely before I right just one and then figure out a sequel for it.
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    • I think plotting out two books initially is a good strategy. And I’m the same way: I’m a one book kind of gal (well, when I actually get deep into a story, that is). I agree with you that you shouldn’t write a sequel to your children’s book if you think the story is truly done. I’ve seen that happen before–when authors write a follow up because the fans want it and the next book just falls flat. No, ma’am!
      Quanie recently posted..Are you Writing a Sequel?My Profile

  5. Yes, I have written a sequel! I read series of books avidly, so I knew I wanted to write a trilogy before I really went too far into the first book. However, I tried, really tried, to get the first book to be a satisfying book all by itself while still leaving a way for the story to continue. It was tough. I think that if you have a stand alone book and characters you might want to explore further, then I think that writing a sequel is a great idea. You already have a stand alone book. That’s great! You don’t have to worry about an unsatisfying ending. The trouble with planning a series is that as a writer I have to constantly remind myself to keep each book it’s own.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!
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    • You knew you wanted to write a trilogy right away? I think it’s great that you had that foresight! Very smart move. And you’re right; if your book stands alone you won’t have to worry about an unsatisfying ending (or upsetting your readers!).
      Quanie recently posted..Are you Writing a Sequel?My Profile

  6. I’m with you Quanie, ain’t nobody got time for a sorry ending in the interest of setting up a sequel! Yet, I absolutely love when authors continue the character’s story in another book…and I stress CONTINUE THE STORY. Meaning: have something worth writing about, or just leave it alone. When sequels are done well, then I’m a fan. When they’re thrown together haphazardly, or when I feel that an author is manipulating me as a reader…let’s just say that’ll be the last piece of change they get from me!
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  7. You’re right about not just writing a sequel to write one and each book needing to be the best it can be, but a sequel doesn’t necessarily have to continue the same story. It can be a companion novel or novella that uses a supporting character or two as the MCs (both books can stand alone). In fact, that’s what’s next on my writing agenda. 😉
    Melissa Maygrove recently posted..Cover Reveal – Secrets of Honor by Carol KilgoreMy Profile

    • I agree with you–it can definitely be a companion piece. And I think that’s great if the author has a whole new world to show us. I also have a series character in mind. The next story won’t rely on the first, so I definitely see what you mean (and I know you’re next book will be super:)
      Quanie recently posted..Are you Writing a Sequel?My Profile

  8. We are in a series-writing world, at the very least a trilogy. I do believe sequels can be a good thing, if they’re done right. I also think the if we’re writing a story with the intent for their to be a sequel, a prequel, a series, or whatever, each book should be able to stand on its on, meaning that book two should depend on the reader having read book one or whatever conflict is going on in book one, it’s resolved at the end of the book.
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