How to Write a Sequel: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Sequels aren’t just a continuation of your story; you must give the reader something new. You must have a new plot line, conflict, and character arcs. I have put together some articles and podcasts with tips and advice that I think you will find useful when writing your sequel.

  1. How to Write a Sequel that Satisfies: Simple Guide – Now Novel

Writing a sequel may delight your fans. It’s an opportunity to build on story arcs, characters – the world you’ve already created. This article from Now Novel discusses how good sequels must improve on their precursor, balance character consistency, continue threads of conflict, renew established worlds, and find good stories to tell in the source material. By following eight steps you will be on a path to writing a great sequel. These steps are to brainstorm sequel ideas, research what makes a balance good sequel, growth and consistency, mine prior books for new conflicts and arcs, avoid what readers dislike in sequels, vary challenge, tone and mood using new settings, pay fan service to what readers loved, and imagine your sequel as a standalone. The article explains each step and shares exercises to try.

  1. Writing Sequels: 7 Rules for Strong, Successful Sequels – Writer’s Digest (writersdigest.com)

Writer’s Digest shares 7 rules to ensure success when writing sequels. Writing a sequel is not the same as writing a series. With a sequel, writers are often starting from scratch with a new, independent plotline. The 7 rules include don’t just pick up where the last story left off, give the reader something new, make the stakes different, play with expectations, include at least one great new character, don’t be afraid to let beloved characters go, and identify what made the first book special, then offer more. Each rule is discussed and examples from literature and film are shared to demonstrate each point.

  1. 5 Rules for How to Write a Sequel to Your Book – Helping Writers Become Authors

You might think writing a sequel can’t be much different, you know the characters after all. Don’t be fooled. This article shares five of the most important tactics for the writer to consider when writing a sequel. Firstly, your sequel’s opening chapter still must have a hook, not just a continuation of the final scene of the previous book. And, you will have to reframe your protagonist, plot, and theme to make this story unique. Secondly, an important point to consider is how to share the events of the previous book in this one. Treat the events of book one as backstory unless and until those events become the pertinent context in book two. Thirdly, how to up the stakes without being repetitious. Where the readers might want more of the same but from a different angle, the stakes must be an evolution. Fourthly, the story must be seamless, make sure you identify the important plot questions, characters, setting and thematic questions throughout. Lastly, how do you continue to develop minor characters? You don’t need to use every minor character in your sequel unless there’s a reason for them to be there.

  1. Tips for Writing a Sequel That’s As Good As The First | Publishing Xpress : Publishing Xpress

This short article is useful because of the questions it asks of you to see if a sequel is in your future. It also explains how to hold your reader’s interest, bring something new, and give them what they love.

  1. Inkitt – The Writer’s Blog search for sequels

A sequel follows different rules and your readers will approach the story with different expectations to a series. You should take inspiration from the first book but don’t troll your old work for new ideas, build something new and expand. Characters must have something new to offer readers, they’ve grown, and their goals have changed. It’s important also to consider that a new story needs new characters. Bring in some fresh blood and see how they interact with your protagonist.

  1. 10 Best Tips For Writing A Sequel (jennamoreci.com)

Jenna More shares 10 tips for writing a sequel. You must give yourself a general guideline for your sequel. Use the first book to your advantage, plant seeds in book one, and foreshadow conflicts. You want each book to stand on its own, but the stories still need to be connected. A sequel must be its own story, and you must resist the urge to summarise. You can remind them of important events as they are necessary. It needs to be a new story – something with different stakes or new characters, new character arcs are important too. Yes, the protagonist changed in the first book, and they need to change some more in the sequel.

Podcast

How to Write a Sequel to a NYT Bestseller with Dr. William W. Li • The Author’s Corner Podcast (theauthorscorner.com)

In this episode from The Author’s Corner Podcast, New York Times bestselling author, Dr William W. Li shares his process for writing a sequel.

YouTube

Planning to write a sequel? 4 tips are shared in this clip.

This short clip explains how to write a sequel that works as a standalone novel too.

Although you have your characters and your world from your previous book, the sequel needs something more, something to make it different. Your readers might love your characters, but they don’t want them to see doing the same things. The plot and the challenges for your characters must be new and interesting. Your characters who will have changed throughout their story arc of the previous book, must also change during this story. I hope you have found this week’s column useful. As always, if there are any topics you would like me to cover then please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel, The Lies Beneath – to be published by Poolbeg in 2023.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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