Author Deanna Cabinian offers three compelling reasons you might want to try writing a sequel to a book you've published, even if you hadn't planned to from the outset.
When I wrote my novel One Night, I had no intention of writing a sequel. Normally, I detest sequels and series except for a select few. For me they often fail to live up to the original. Sometimes authors get tired when writing a series and it shows in their writing (e.g. telling instead of showing, pacing or plot issues), and other times they lack a fresh eye or the inspiration that drove them to those particular characters in the first place. I resisted writing a sequel to One Night—in fact I refused to for the reasons stated above—but in the end I couldn’t stay away from these characters and had to continue the story.
[The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition By The Editors of Writer's Digest]
In no particular order, here are my three good reasons for writing a sequel:
1. Readers want to know what happens next and ask about a follow-up.
For the most part readers enjoyed One Night, and several asked if there was going to be a sequel. They wanted to know what predicaments Thompson would get into next. At first I said no, but then I started to say yes once I realized there was a built-in audience for the follow-up. There is nothing like marketing to an existing customer base.
2. You have ideas for what happens next, and you want to write it (e.g. it’s enjoyable, speaks to you, and does not feel like work).
I started writing sequels to One Night at least four different times. My last idea was the one that stuck. Once I started writing I couldn’t stop and had a ton of fun doing it. Plus, the storyline made sense for the main character.
3. The sequel can live on its own.
When I wrote One Love, the sequel to One Night, it was important to me that the story have a strong narrative arc and that any reader coming in cold would not be confused and/or bombarded with a ton of back story to catch them up on what had happened in the previous installment. I made a conscious effort when writing One Love to leave out as much of what happened in One Night as possible. I wanted the past to not be vitally important to the present. I think that made it a stronger work overall.
What do you think are good reasons for continuing a series? Let us know in the comments.
Deanna Cabinian is the author of One Night,One Love, and One Try, the follow up to One Love, now available for pre-order. She’s worked in radio, television, and magazine publishing, but writing is her first love. Originally from California, she lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their Havanese dog, Cuba. Connect with her online at deannacabinian.com.