I have sent my first round of query letters to literary agents for my novel Shadowed Soul. In the meantime, my characters are still bugging me so I started the second installment.
Writing a sequel is trickier than I thought.
First off, I haven’t written a full novel in five years. I wrote Shadowed Soul and started editing it, but being pregnant and then a new baby shoved my novel aside. Earlier this year I pulled it out again and did some major rewrites and edits, but the whole story was done so all I had to do was improve it.
Like having a second child, I’m all the way back to the beginning and sometimes wonder how I pulled it together the first time. I know I can do it, after all, I did it once.
I find recapping the major points from the first story a challenge. I don’t want to over do it, yet, if someone doesn’t read the first story, they need to be caught up. I don’t want to do an information dump so I’m trying to weave everything in as I go. It really is a balancing act.
Continuity between the two stories hasn’t been much trouble at this point but I understand how it could be a challenge. Since I just finished intensely working over my first manuscript (I swear I’ve read it a hundred times), most events are fresh in my mind, though I have had to peek back at some minor details to ensure everything is consistent.
If you are thinking about writing a series, right off the bat, keep a detailed list of characters and traits while you are working on your first story. This seems like a no-brainer to many but not everyone does it. Keep details for everyone, even minor characters that will be in the story. You never know when a minor character will decide to take a larger role later on.
Keeping descriptions of other things that play a role in your novel is also recommended. In my novel, Shadowed Soul, there is an agreement between the vampires and hunters. I have written out everything in the agreement, even if all the details don’t make it into the novel. That way I have it handy when I need to refer to it and it saves me from contradicting myself.
Have you written a sequel of any of your stories? If so, what challenges or helpful advice would you like to share?