Thursday, June 6, 2013

Writing A Sequel: With Laura Anderson Kurk

Laura Kurk Natalie
by Laura Anderson Kurk
Laura Anderson Kurk writes unconventional and bittersweet books for young adults. She created Writing for Young Adults  as a place 
for YA and teen readers to connect and talk about the issues in their lives. Her first title with Playlist Fiction is GLASS GIRL, and its sequel PERFECT GLASS will be available in June. You can find Laura at laurakurk.comFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.
Writing a Sequel: Raise your hand if you think it’s a good idea

When I wrote “The End” on Glass Girl, I thought the story was complete. I really never considered writing a sequel. Ever. In fact, I’m not a big fan of sequels. I like stand-alones with definite beginnings, middles, and endings. I even like softer endings when the author lets me continue the story in my head, but she says, “I’m done. Talk amongst yourselves.”

Then the strangest thing happened. I began to receive emails, tweets, and handwritten letters in my actual mailbox from readers who didn’t just ask for a sequel, they demanded a sequel. Imagine my surprise! At first, I simply smiled and responded with something like—“How wonderful of you to want more! I think the story is done, though. How would you continue it?”

They had advice. Boy, did they have advice.

They had Henry running all over the country doing crazy things.  They had a wedding planned out in detail, sending me pictures of possible wedding dresses for Meg. They had, tragically, a pregnancy for the married Henry and Meg that ended abruptly. Yeah . . . they had a lot of ideas. One or two of them, in various forms, made it into Perfect Glass.

I read through them all and sat with them for a few weeks, never really taking a sequel seriously. I even started a completely different manuscript and spun around in circles on it. And then, one night, I had an epiphany.

Sequels are nothing to be afraid of.

And they’re not necessarily the sign of a writer who doesn’t know how to end a story. Sure, sequels are usually reserved for fantasy/adventure writers, and those of us who write contemporary rarely consider them. But if there’s enough love for your characters that readers want to hang on for a while longer, then there’s something larger happening.

I decided that, in this case, what readers wanted was to see more of the way of life that Henry and Meg had begun to model in Glass Girl. The do-hard-things-and-live-deeply way of life that we find so few examples of in our culture.

So I started playing with the idea and, almost immediately, it came to me. I knew where my sequel should start and end. The nod I had given to Nicaragua in Glass Girl was there because I had friends working with orphanages in that country. They’d just gone through a horrendously difficult time and it was on my heart. I wanted Henry to help them. And that was my story, my sequel. The heartbreak behind Programa Amor in Nicaragua—a government-run closing of private orphanages.

Henry, the all-American boy who could do no wrong, had to go there and see that sometimes we just aren’t in control and things don’t go well. Sometimes we have to look for beauty in strange places and love people who are unlovable. Sometimes we have to fail in order to know what we’re made of. And while Henry was learning these lessons, Meg was learning them, too, back home in Wyoming with a cantankerous aging artist. Loving the unlovable. Failing. And trying to find beauty.

The sequel that I’d been so afraid of became the book of my heart—the one I’m most proud of. It felt so right that I wondered why I had ever doubted it.

Do I think sequels are always a good idea? No, I don’t. Especially in contemporary realism. But they can be exactly right. If you’re toying with the idea of taking the sequel plunge, here are some things to keep in mind---

1. It’s probably best if you plan your sequel while you write the first novel.
Okay, I’m starting the list with my own mistake. Since I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel, I played fast and loose with some details in the first book that made my life difficult in the second book. Remember that any promises you make in your first book will have to be dealt with in a sequel.

Most writers who are fantastic at writing sequels and series will tell you to outline each book before you even begin the first. Not only that, they will recommend that you write a synopsis for each book ahead of time. I know, I know . . . the dreaded synopsis. It’s important, though.

2. Keep characters (and their voices) consistent.
Your readers may remember more details about your characters than you do, believe it or not. While writing your first book, keep a detailed character notebook with relevant dates, hair and eye color, clothing types, accents, places they’ve traveled, hobbies and interests. Sure characters grow and mature just like we do. They’re older in the sequel. They’re maybe a bit wiser because they experienced all the great things you wrote for them in the first book. But they can’t become someone else between books.

3. Don’t treat the sequel as twenty new final chapters of the first book.
This is a new book and it needs its own plot to carry it. In fact, perhaps the plot of the second book will need to be more complex than the first book. Readers have lived in your world a while and they’re ready to take some risks with your characters. Anything less would bore them and make them wonder why you didn’t stop with the first book.

4. Respect the intelligence of your readers and don’t retell the first book.
They were there. They know what happened. It’s why they’re picking up your sequel. It’s fine to remind readers of major plot points and characterization that’s not obvious, but make it seamless. You’re telling a new story here.

It’s just like when you tell your best friend a story that she can only understand because she knows all your stories that led up to it. You might say to your friend, “Remember how Garrett always wears that blue shirt on Wednesdays?” She nods, and you start in on a story about Garrett coming to school with a mustard stain on the blue shirt on Wednesday. She knows how significant that is—he wore the stained shirt because he had to! It was Wednesday! Poor Garrett!

You pepper the new story with clues and reminders, but you don’t retell her the original stories. The heart carries through.

Final Thoughts on Sequels

Regardless of how you feel about Twilight (I have some opinions I’ll withhold), Stephenie Meyer has interesting things to say about sequels and series. She talks a lot in interviews about how she never planned on writing any sequels. Twilight began as a way she could entertain herself with stories. When she realized she might have a novel on her hands, she gave Twilight a definite ending.

But . . . she found herself writing multiple epilogues. Staying up at night writing one after another because she kept thinking of new things Edward and Bella needed to know or experience. Finally she realized she had more than one book that needed out. There was an annoying little question that her brain kept posing—“What if?” And suddenly a SERIES was born.

If your manuscript begs the “What if” questions even after you’ve typed “The End,” it’s possible you should consider a sequel. Study the authors who’ve done it best in your genre, make copious notes and outlines, and then dive in. It’s great fun to hang out with your favorite characters a while longer!

Laura writes beautiful books, and if you'd like the chance to win a free download of either Glass Girl or Perfect Glass, here's how you can get entered:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

121 comments:

  1. I'm pretty certain my book won't have a sequel. Sometimes it's nice to have an unsequeled What If at the end of a book, but I looove going back into a favourite world for a second time. :) Sequels are awesome! Good luck with yours!

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    1. Thanks so much! I thought I was sure, too. No sequel for me... And then I sequeled. :) I wish you the very best on your book!

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  2. I was kind of scared I'd only write one book (ha. Ha. Haha.) and that I'd never think of sequels. But they kind of rolled out. Which was fun. I'm also a big fan of leaving the "what if" totally unanswered. But some books I'd really, really, really like to have a sequel are: Replication by Jill Williamson (hi Jill! Awesome book. It needsneedsneeds a sequel.) Oh! And Preloved by Shirely Marr. That one could use a sequel too.
    Great post, Laura! Your books look awesome!

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    1. Oh my gosh! "Replication" totally needs a sequel!

      -Abby

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    2. And Jill Williamson's other book, Captives? Oh, man, if that didn't have a sequel coming out, I think I'd go visit her personally and demand one. I'm absolutely dying to read it.

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    3. Jill? I hope you're listening... :)

      Thanks, Cait, for stopping by. That's the way of sequels, I think. If they're right, they just kind of roll out. I really never saw myself as a "sequeler" but I'm really glad I pulled that thread because I love how the story veered and ended. All my best to you!

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    4. And to Abigail and Allison - Jill definitely needs to write more Replication and the Captives continuation will be just as awesome! Glad you stopped by today!

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    5. You guys are so sweet. You're making me all teary-eyed! I'm so glad you love Marty. I would love to write my sequels to Replication. (I'll talk to my agent next week about it again and see what we can work out.) And Captives book two is done! Comes out in November. Here's a link to the Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17679367-outcasts

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  3. First of all, I REALLY NEED TO READ THESE!!! Love the orphanage idea, and already really like Henry before reading a single word he says, lol.

    My WIP definitely won't have a sequel. It's a horror, and I think it's pretty hard to sequel horror anyway, but it would be impossible under the circumstances the books ends to have a sequel unless we go to a completely new location, but then it wouldn't be a sequel so much as "episode two" and really unrelated. I was kind of disappointed when I realised this, actually, because I'm one of those readers who ADORES a long series (if the plot is still good, obviously). I get way too emotionally attached to the characters, hahaha.

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    1. Hannah - oohhh I never thought about horror sequels. Kind of a difficult sell, but what if???? You could be the first to make horror sequels something. hmmm.... I do like a good long series if it's high adventure and I'm in love with the characters. Realism is difficult to write a long series with because you can only put your real characters through so many situations until it starts feeling ludicrous. Best wishes on your writing, Hannah!

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  4. With my novel "Brick Walls" I have been asked by a lot of friends if it will become a sequel. Honestly, I never fit into a mold when I write and the way I write this one, it would be extremely difficult and inconsistent with the first. With two first person POVs that follow different stories (overlapping in almost secret ways) you can get a lot more suspense about the main character that you couldn't normally get with one. The one POV dies in the end, so I only have the other. yeah, that's confusing, but trust me it all makes sense : )

    However, another story that I'm working on has some very good sequel possibilities that I'm thinking through,

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    1. I'm intrigued by Brick Walls. I love two first person POVs whose stories fit together in secret ways. Really cool. Great movies have been done that way and I love those. All my best to you and your writing, Alyson!

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    2. I'm so glad you like the idea! I have 8k left in the my second draft, and I'm planning on pitching it to agents at a writer's conference this summer.

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    3. Good luck with the pitching!!!! :)

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  5. Thanks for the advice! :D I write sequels to pretty much EVERY book I write. Even some novels that I thought were stand-alone novels, I've written a sequel for it. I have only one book left that I thought at one point was going to be a stand-alone novel, but now I'm having doubts about it. I just fall in love with my characters every time I create a new one and I just can't bear to leave them behind!

    Your covers really are something. :) You've intrigued me. ;)

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    1. Your screen name intrigues me.... :) My daughter plays violin, but there's nothing magical about it yet. Maybe we'll get there??

      I love that you can't give up your characters! It's a very natural thing to be so deeply invested in them that you want to continue their story. You must be an amazingly creative, prolific writer. I'd love to see an MRI of your brain - probably lights up all over the place!

      Thanks for stopping by today!

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    2. Ha ha, my friend thought of my name. Fantasy is my favorite genre and I've played the violin for six years now. It doesn't take too long to get the magic working. ;)

      What can I say? I'm a very inspired person. Sometimes it's a problem, though, because I have too many ideas floating around my brain to focus on one! I'm a jumper. I jump from story to story constantly.

      No problem! :D I loved your advice!

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  6. I haven't even considered writing a sequel for my novel yet. I absolutely adore reading sequels and series, but so far, I don't really feel like that is the direction that my novel is going. Who knows, maybe when I get to the end I'll suddenly realize that the story isn't over yet, but for now I'm trying to stick with writing a stand alone novel. :)
    I really really really need to read your books! They've been on my list for a while, and every time that I see the cover of "Glass Girl" I think to myself, "Hey, I should read that book." Plus, this post makes me want to learn more about Henry. :)
    Wonderful post, Laura!

    -Abby

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    1. Thanks, Abby! I'm glad my covers are pulling at you. I think the designer did a fantastic job. And Henry really is someone you should know... ;)

      I guess what I would say to you is that standalones are actually really perfect. I prefer them. Sometimes, though, a book has enough of a plot thread / character arc that a sequel flows naturally. I'm getting the sense from your short message that you might have a true standalone. That's perfectly fine! All my best to you and yours!

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    2. Thanks! Yeah, I'm kind of seeing it as a stand alone novel right now, but I'm pansting it, so who knows where it will end up. :)

      -Abby

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  7. And I have efficiently broken the first suggestion multiple times. Usually I get an idea for a sequel while I'm halfway through the first book. (I try not to start things thinking I'll be writing a sequel, since then I sometimes get more excited about the sequel than the current novel/story.)

    Thanks for the advice!

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    1. Haha, Sarah! Well . . . I started the list with my own worst mistake so . . .

      I chuckled when you said you get excited about your sequel ideas - even more than the current WIP. That's enthusiasm to the power of 10 and it speaks volumes about how your mind works. I say if you're that excited, plan on writing some sequels in your lifetime!

      All my best!

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  8. Laura, I just finished Glass Girl last week, and Stephanie nailed it--it's BEAUTIFUL! Looking forward to the sequel!!

    As for those...I'm a historical writer, and series are usually the name of the game. =) But for my books, personally, I like the stand-alone sequel idea. Where new characters are introduced into the same world. Largely because I'm always ready to move on, LOL. The series I'm wrapping up now was actually generational, so definitely new plots for each one.

    But I do love continuation series about those characters that just won't let go! Really looking forward to Perfect Glass. =)

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    1. Hi Roseanne! I'm so glad you read it! That makes me happy. I know it's outside your usual favorites. Oh, I love when new characters are introduced into the setting and that becomes the sequel. I don't read a lot of historicals, but I've noticed I'm drawn to those that keep the setting and add new people/situations. Clever writers. Can I just say how gorgeous your covers always are? I linger over them when I see them...

      Thanks so much for reading GG!

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  9. Glad you could stop by today, Laura! Great post.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey, there, friend! It was my pleasure. I love talking transparently about writing and admitting my weaknesses. :) Glad you're here!

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  10. What a cool post! Thank you! It's so annoying to read the second book in a series and get your taste for the first book soured. Your good advice makes me pumped to read the books to which you applied this skill. :)

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    1. Allison - you nailed it. I hate to read those second books and think, "Did an entirely new author write this?" It's like they forget their MCs voice at times. Ahhh....but I certainly have much to learn myself. Hope my sharing will help others!

      So glad you stopped by!

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  11. This was a great post! There's a lot of love/hate with sequels, and you're totally right about not changing the characters too much in a sequel, or having added-on chapters to the first book. I've read books like that :P How annoying! I really want to read Glass Girl more than ever now...it's been on my list for a while, but now I'm like, I have to read this book!

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    1. Hi Anastasia - First, what a regal name you have there. I sincerely hope it's not just a screen name AND that you use both names together, all the time. That makes me smile.

      Second, I'm glad you stopped by that found something worthwhile here today! Stay in touch!

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  12. Thanks so much for this helpful post! I'm wrestling with this very question at the moment with my WIP: to sequel or not to sequel? Your advice definitely helps.

    I love your title, btw. Immediately intriguing! And thanks for hosting this generous giveaway, Stephanie!

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    1. Georgina - wrestling pretty much sums it up. I felt like I was wrestling with myself, with my characters, with my agent, with my readers. To sequel or not??? In the end, I'm awfully glad I chose to go ahead with Perfect Glass. Mostly because it tells a vastly different story than the first book. Each of them could be standalone with very few tweaks and I think that's what sets them apart. I wish you the very best as you make this hard decision!

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  13. Fantastic post, and definitely something I needed to think about, since I'll be starting my own sequel soon. Thanks so much!

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    1. Glad you found something useful, Hannah! All my best to you and your writing!

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  14. I love the book covers! Did you design them yourself?

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    1. Hi, Kara! Thanks! No, a designer in Spain named Angela Llamas designed the covers. She did a great job!

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  15. Hey Laura! *waves* Nice to see you in other places besides the Playlist Team. :P I'm really enjoying Glass Girl right now.

    Thank you for the great post! I'll probably end up writing sequels. Haha. I suppose it has something to do with my main genre which is fantasy. So... yeah. :D

    ~ Bethany

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    1. Hey, Bethany, my friend! Thanks for all you do for Playlist Fiction! Yep, if you're in fantasy, it's pretty much a given that you'll be 'sequeling.' What with the world building and all that goes into fantasy, sequels and series are a natural thing. Glad you're enjoying Glass Girl!

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  16. Hiiiiiii! *waves like Bethany* I absolutely adored the sequel, by the way. Henry and the orphanage broke my heart. *sniffs* And how did you know I was wondering about sequels?! This is perfect! Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi, friend! So glad you liked both books! Your reviews touched me deeply... :)

      How did I know you were considering a sequel? Because I'm an omniscient kind of person. You're also thinking about eating a donut right now.

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    2. Hahaha :) I wasn't, sadly.

      I am now though. LOL

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  17. Actually I wonder if I could find a difference in a planned sequel in comparison with a 'spontaneous' sequel? What do you think about that?

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    1. Great question . . . it certainly depends on the writer's talent. Sometimes, though, it's obvious. A painful one that I've heard people discuss is SCARLETT, the "sequel" to GONE WITH THE WIND. It wasn't written by Margaret Mitchell so I don't suppose you could actually call it a true sequel. But it claims to be the sequel so, as readers, we have to judge it as such. And I've heard it's simply horrible and should never have been written. I'm curious if others at GTW have sequels that stand out to them as books that weren't meant to be. I wasn't thrilled with Pandemonium. I felt like it was just a placeholder and that trilogy should've just been two books. What do you think?

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  18. Great post, Laura! I love your book covers, especially the second one. They're beautiful! :D

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    1. Thanks, Caitlin! I like the second cover, too. A little background - I know the couple on the cover. They're great friends of mine and they're very in love. He is living in Peru for the summer helping mango farmers while he teaches them about God. And she is living in Kenya for the summer helping get orphaned children off the streets. When you know their background, it makes that cover really expressive considering the subject of the book. So glad you like it!

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  19. Great post Laura! I'm only halfway through my first draft of this book, but I don't think the whole story will be finished at the end of this. So maybe a sequel? Probably? I'm nervous to write it--like what if it doesn't live up to the first book? But we'll see. Thanks!

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    1. That's always the fear -- what if it doesn't live up to the first book. Here's the thing, you simply have to make it so. You have to give it the complexity and love that you gave the first book. If you can't do that, or don't have enough of a story, maybe the first book is complete (or would be with a little tweaking). All my best to you! I'm positive you'll make exactly the right decision for your characters!

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  20. A-Mazing Post, Laura!!

    Wow. Did I need to read this. So timely as I have left my second baby under my pillow for weeks now and am a little nervous to go find her and make sense of the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds. I love how you've affirmed a lot of what I've been thinking. This is my second take at the sequel actually. First time was a charm. I had so much fun, almost too much, writing the story. Then someone, won't say who, *cough* the Agent *cough* looked at it and said, "Umm. No." So… I left it alone for months. Tweeked Swimming, and worked on other books. Then one day, it came to me. It was so simple. There all along really. And now I'm thrilled to dive back in as soon as the hubbub of our launch dies down a bit.

    And I know I've said this before, but seriously, you and the whole Playlist Team, have totally made me a better thinker and writer! Now that's something I cannot put a price on!! So happy to have you in my life! :)

    hugs,
    Raj

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    1. We're so glad to have you in OUR lives, Raj! It's a great feeling when the plot for your sequel just drops in your lap and you have that "Of course, why didn't I think of that months ago?" feeling. I'm glad you're at the point and ready to go with your sequel. Looking forward to reading Jesse's story!

      Guys - you need to all look for Rajdeep Paulus's debut novel - Swimming Through Clouds - when you get a chance!

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  21. This is a great post. I don't actually like sequels much, because too often, the sequels are never given the care that the first was, since they're under a deadline and all that. That said, I write stand-alones, but if it seemed to work, I wouldn't mind writing sequels. So far it hasn't really worked out, though.

    I so want to read Glass Girl! I've been waiting, though, because in July-ish I'm going to start a new book similar to it and I don't want to be too influenced. Maybe it'll be a back-to-school gift to myself, then. :) Thanks for the post!

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    1. Isn't that interesting! When writing, I'm very careful about what I let myself read, too. That's smart of you! I agree about the rushing of sequels in most situations. But, if you have a whole other story to tell that just happens to share a setting or characters with the first book, you MIGHT have a sequel on your hands. :) I think sequels are overdone, though, especially in YA, so great care should be taken. All my best to you!!

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  22. The covers are gorgeous! Second, I'm in the middle of rewriting the first book in my trilogy and this really helped me get my head cleared again.

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    1. Zara! Glad you stopped by and found something useful. At least, maybe, you can learn from my mistakes. :)

      I've always thought the middle book of a trilogy would be THE HARDEST book to write. I said earlier that I wasn't thrilled with Pandemonium. I felt like it was just a placeholder and that Oliver could've done with just two books instead of three. That second book has a lot of pressure on it! All my best to you and your writing, Zara!

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  23. Hmm... I may have to think about this. I just started a new WIP where my MC is twelve, but I've realized I think I want to continue her story until she goes to college. I'm not sure if that will happen, but a sequel is definitely an option.

    THanks for the post! Your books sound like a really good read :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Maya. I love your name. . . I got to be in the presence of the beautiful Maya Angelou once and that's an evening I'll remember my entire life. When she speaks, the room feels like lightning is pulsing around you.

      I know there are many series out there that take young characters all the way through college, so there are plenty of examples for you. I wish you the best as you make your decision!

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  24. Very helpful post! I have completed two novellas which aren't technically prequel and sequel, but they are closely tied together. (I actually wrote the one that occurred later in time first :P) Will definitely need this to look back on!

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    1. Hi, Lena. Some people don't write in fiction in a linear way. There's a huge tradition of that - especially in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I've always been interested by people who see their stories in a non-linear fashion. You must be fantastically creative. I wish you all the best on your writing!

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  25. Wonderful post! It gave me a lot of food for thought. :) In the middle of wrting one book and editing another, I've got this 2-book series going on in the Victorian era. I sailed through the first draft of the first book without hitch; totally happy with it (unti I edit it - then my feelings might change :)). But this sequel to it - I ran with it for awhile, but came within sight of the finish line, and my interest plummeted. I am so disappointed with it. I can hardly gain the courage to at least finish the first draft. And yes, the first book in the series needs a sequel - of some sort, at least. I mostly write Christian historical fiction. :-)

    However, I love series! :) I love returning to the same beloved cast of characters over and over again.

    Great post! Thank you so much!

    Wielding the dedicated pen,
    Patience

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    1. I can tell, simply by your choice in valediction, that you write historical and that you're very clever... :)

      Sometimes you do have to put the sequel up and think about the meaning and the goals for a while. You'll have an ah-ha moment when you realize you know exactly where you want it to end and it all makes sense. It will be stronger because you are "patient."

      love, laura

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    2. Ah, thank you! This made my day! :-)

      And thank you for your kind words and advice! I shall certainly wait a bit and think about it. I know the ending for the sequel (she gets married), but I believe that the plot is stretched too thin. I'm cringing at the thought of revision. :( Yes, I must have patience - I always told my mom I was named wrong, and that my name should be Impatience. ;-)

      It intrigued me that you could tell I write historical... :-)

      Thank you again, and blessings for your writing!

      -Patience

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  26. Thank you so much for coming by to share with us! It's so appreciated and helpful!

    It is exciting to learn that you have another book coming out! That's wonderful!

    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks! Guess what! Perfect Glass released last week so both my books are out there floating around and being read. Yay! I wish you all my best and hope you have a beautiful summer of reading and writing!

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  27. This post literally came at the exact right moment for me! I'm deciding on writing a sequel and your tips have been so so helpful!!

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    1. Summer - I haven't often literally given the right information at the right moment for anyone. I'm usually in a corner processing and by the time I have advice, it's past due. So I'm thrilled this was serendipitous for you! I wish you well in all your work!

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  28. "Don’t treat the sequel as twenty new final chapters of the first book." I love that, because if anything nags me about sequels, it's when they just rehash all the issues from the first book. Or when they just get stretched out so they're practically just filler, which happened to one of my favourite series, which was depressing. And I've never thought about it before, but I thought this was really interesting--how sequels usually don't work out well for contemporary novels. I think the reasoning behind that should be considered by fantasy writers a lot of the time, too. Like in those series where bizarre things keep happening to the main character, all unconnected and coincidental? Something I'll want to keep in mind, so thanks for this post!

    I'm a fan of your covers, too, by the way! Quite wizard.

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    1. Quite wizard... Can I borrow that?

      Yes, I'm wondering if you're talking about Lauren Oliver's trilogy by chance? If not . . . there are so many trilogies where that middle book just seems nonsensical and streeeeetttched out for no reason.

      They don't typically work well in contemporary, especially literary contemp, because they signal an inability to tell a story in a book-length project. We need beginning, middle, and end in one book!!! Maybe you're right about fantasy needing to think through these issues, as well. I don't write fantasy so I always assume the decision for sequels is sort of a foregone conclusion for them. Maybe not.

      I'm glad you stopped by and got a kick out of my covers. :)

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  29. I've never really thought about why to write a sequel before. This was helpful and thought provoking. Thanks! :)

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    1. Glad I was able to bring up some new questions, Margaret. I hope it will help your process in some way. All my best to you!

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  30. Haha, I have a page of notes called "Emergency Trilogies." I typically come up with stand-alones, but I've seen examples (Stephanie Morril, wink, wink) of publishers asking for sequels or trilogies, so I write a basic plot idea in preparation, just in case.

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    1. That's hysterical! Emergency Trilogies. I think I'll use that in every day conversation now. "Wait a minute, I need to file that under emergency trilogy." Publishers do like sequels and series because there's a built in group of followers/readers that will give the book a better chance at success. Sometimes they work and sometimes, well . . . we all have examples in mind.

      Signing off now to make an emergency trilogy file!

      All best to you!

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    2. Wonderful! Glad I could provide a useful phrase.

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  31. for me, sequels actually are something I need to tell myself to NOT do. It seems every book of mine wants a sequel, and, if I did so, I'd have too many trilogies to keep track of.
    But all the same, this post was SUPER helpful!
    thank you!

    oh, and, "HI!" ^__^

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    1. Hello, Miss Ashley! What's with your last name. I have NEVER met a Tahg. Is it Scandinavian? I like it. Maybe I'll use it in a book one day.

      I'm sure your brain must be in hyperdrive all the time. So keep writing!!

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  32. Laura, I recently bought Glass Girl and can't wait to read it. Glad to know there is a sequel. When I love characters, I always want MORE!

    Thanks so much for the fabulous post! :-)

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    1. Thanks for hosting me, Jill! I always love talking with GTW! Your followers are the coolest on the Internet! Thanks for buying GG! That means so much to me. Have a great summer!

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  33. Sequals. I like some and dislike others. Some stories I'm like no, just not that great. But stories like Alians ( not realy a book a movie, but still it's a story) Alians sequal was better then the starting story. All depends, but sequals are fun a lot of times because you get to continue on with the adventure. Great post!!

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  34. Thanks, Jacinta! Glad you stopped by. You're right--sometime the sequel is so perfect that there's no question about it. Sometimes you wonder what the author was thinking. When they're good, though, it's fantastic to live with your favorite characters again.

    Best wishes to you!

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  35. Hi! Your books look really great. To be honest, I've never finished writing one whole novel yet so I haven't really given much thought to writing a sequel. This post certainly gives me something to think about for the future, though. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Hi, Jill--Glad you found something interesting here. Don't rush through this time of learning to be a novelist. Once you get into it a bit, you'll know if you've got a book that warrants a sequel or a series. Your characters will tell you! Best wishes to you!

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  36. Hi Laura,

    It must have felt amazing to receive those letters! I have to admit, I have actually designed wedding dresses for book characters too!! The drawing is on Beaulah Pragg's writing blog:

    http://chroniclesoftyria.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/julianas-wedding-dress/

    Beaulah is a lovely author who is writing her second book!

    Please enter me for the Rafflecopter competition- those books sound SO GOOD! If I won, I get the feeling you would be received a lot more fan mail in your letterbox!

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    1. Hi Tierney - great name. It did feel great to get those letters from readers. In fact, I spent most of those weeks in a bit of a haze imagining my words as having such an effect on readers. It's all a bit overwhelming, to be honest. I can't wait to look at the wedding dress you designed for a character. How awesome a concept is that? I bet you made the author feel like a star! Well done, you!

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  37. Hey Laura! I do really like the book covers, especially the cover of Glass girl, where you can see the face of Meg. You can really tell she's hurting inside from her body language, and it makes you want to read the book. :D Thank you so much for writing it! :D

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    1. Hey, there, Selah! I'm glad you like the covers and I hope you like the books! I really like the girl on the cover of Glass Girl. I think the model is somewhere in Europe. I love her earrings especially. And the way her hair blows across her face. We knew it was the right photo as soon as we saw it! Hope you're doing well!

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  38. Great post Laura!! I'm currently writing a sequel or at least trying to and I think it's pretty fun!
    Thanks so much!!

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    1. Fire. Well, wow. I just love that you call yourself fire on here. That's most awesome. I hope you have red hair and freckles, too.

      So, I wish you all the best on your sequel and I hope that my small-time advice is helpful to you in some way! Cheers to you!

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  39. Thanks for such a great post, Laura! I'm thinking of writing a sequel to a novel I wrote last year, so this helps a lot! Thank you so much! :-)
    God bless,
    ~Koren
    A writer for Him.
    PS- Those covers ARE intriguing! :-)

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    1. Koren - so glad you found something worthwhile in my words! I wish you blessings on your possible sequel endeavor! I'm glad you're a writer for Him...

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  40. Wow, this is an interesting time to have this post, because I'm actually considering writing a sequel to my book right now. Problem is, I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with a plot. *shrug* Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

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    1. Lexi - I'm glad this post hit you at the right time. I mulled over possible plots for so long . . . until I finally hit on it and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it all along. Perhaps that will happen to you soon and your sequel will be born! All my best to you!

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    2. thanks! I hope so because I really want to write it! :D

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. Glass Girl sounds so good, that I've asked my library to order it. I'm looking forward to reading it! :)

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    1. That's awesome! Thanks. I know a lot of libraries offer ebooks now for download. Hope yours does. Playlist Fiction, the line that published Glass Girl and Perfect Glass, chose to offer these books as ebooks only. Let me know if you have trouble getting it!

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    1. Thanks, Robin! I'm kind of fond of them myself! All my best to you...

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  43. I love times a thousand times the way you write, Laura. I have to read Perfect Glass. And this is such great advice. I'm struggling enough right now to figure out what to put on the page of what I'm writing, though, so for now I'll just smile and wave at that sequel.

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    1. Ha! I love times a thousand the review you did of Glass Girl! You have quite a way with words and I have no doubt we'll be seeing your name on a book one of these days! Blessings to you, Emii!

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  44. Thank you so much for the reminder that every book needs to have its own plot! I'm currently working on a trilogy. The last two books are all planned out and never have a dull moment, but the first one is just the ground work for the next two. Now I just have to figure out the plot for that one!

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    1. Emma - Sounds like you did everything in the right order (unlike me... :) I wish you all my best in figuring out the progression for the first novel! Blessings...

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  45. I do not think my book could live without a sequel! haha. I loved getting more advice for writing sequels...I am really gonna need it :)

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    1. Hi Eden! I am out of town and typing on my phone so this will be short and sweet. I am thrilled for you that you already know you will need to write a sequel. Best to know that early on. I'm sure you have things in hand. Blessings on your writing! All my best...

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  46. Laura! You're absolutely amazing!!! I'm a huge fan of you after one blog post, so I wonder what beautiful dilemma reading your books would put me in. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Lydia! I always put an exclamation mark in my salutations too! I think that is normal in Russia actually... I do hope you will read my books so we can continue this conversation. Keep in touch! All my best...

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  47. Glass Girl and Perfect Glass are on my 'to-read' list. They aren't the usual genre I like to read, but Imma give it a shot ^^

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    1. Lisa! Imma be grateful if you give my books a shot. Sometimes it's fun to get out of a genre rut. I am finishing a book right now that isn't my normal and it has changed me. I seriously feel like kissing the person who recommended it. Blessings on your writing!

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  48. Great post! :) (Sorry if this posts twice, my accounts being weird)

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    1. Guess what! It only posted once! ;) Thanks for hanging out with me in this post! Cheers...

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  49. Hi! Books books new books!

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  50. I like sequels, though I wonder if I should even bother writing mine after I'm completely finished with my current WIP (which is soon) or start something new. I do love my characters but I think I'm already waiting for new voices.

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    1. Hmm...a question only you can answer, really. Maybe start a different WIP and if your former characters call out for you incessantly, it's possible you should consider giving them a sequel. But hear this -- it's totally okay to write stand alones. In fact, in literary circles, it's preferred--great authors tell a story in one novel. But if you write fantasy /sci fi, etc., that's a different "story" altogether. Best wishes from me to you!

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  51. I just finished Glass Girl! I loved it. It was a really cute story... I fell in love with Henry. He was a just perfect character. *sigh*

    Thank you for doing a post! I had always wondered how to write a sequel after the first book was done.

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    1. Rachel K - Thanks for reading it! That's awesome! Hope you'll look for Perfect Glass now to get the rest of the story... All my best--

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  52. I have almost never considered the option of not writing a sequel. The books I love the most are always in series, so that was not a question of mine. But I like to know that you questioned it. Something that would be planned to me might not be for everyone else.

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    1. Well, hey, there! Glad we've connected on twitter. :) Yes, it's definitely a genre-specific thing. Fantasy/sci fi/spec fic seem to demand series but contemporary realism usually veers in the other direction. So for writers of realistic fiction, it's definitely a question we must ask ourselves before proceeding. I'm so glad you've known from the start that your books would be parts of series!

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  53. You're book is now on my list to read :)

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    1. Hey, Shadow! So glad I was added to your list! Stay in touch!

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  54. Laura, I so enjoyed reading this post! Partly because I so enjoyed reading Meg and Henry's story (I can't imagine Glass Girl without Perfect Glass!) and partly because I'm writing a sequel now, too (in two alternating first-person POVs, too). Thanks so much for this great advice!

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    1. Hey, Rachelle! I love the two first person POV idea. It was so much fun to write Perfect Glass for that reason. It's not easy, though, as I'm sure you've discovered! Have I told you how thankful I am to know you? All my best--

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  55. I am not a writer by any means, but I like the advice you have given! I absolutely love "Glass Girl"! I am so excited to read "Perfect Glass"! :)

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    1. Hey, Christine! Thanks so much! I'm glad you stopped by and THANK YOU for giving these little books a shout!

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