5 Ways to Start Working on a Sequel

terminarch plot cover revealI’ve planned to release the sequel to The Terminarch Plot in April of 2016.  However, I have had several life issues that have kept me from getting started with it.

Everyone likes a series, and when we writers hit on an idea for a viable series with several books planned it is sometimes difficult to remember that excitement that we had when we first thought it up.  Hanging up on a series after writing and publishing the first book is the worst thing a writer could do, and will ruin any credibility that writer has for the dear people who read the first one.

After much deliberation, and even a couple of mad and foolish moments where I thought seriously about hanging it up, I have hit on a few methods by which I was able to kick myself in gear toward writing it.

Here they are:

  1. Go back to the beginning – Re-read your first novel or the last novel in the series to get back into the world you created.  Go back and read all the notes you took and planning you jotted down when making the first book or the latest book.  When you read it, read as if you have never read any of it before.  Read like a reader.  You will find yourself thrown back into the characters and world that got you so excited in the first place.
  2. Brainstorm Possible Outcomes – Think of three ways that the original novel could have ended that are different than the way it ended.  This will kickstart your brain into thinking about the sequel.
  3. Talk to Your Readers – I happen to have some beta-readers who read the first novel.  Not only are they local or a phone call away, but they are a valuable resource in the planning of the next book.  When asked, they will give details about how the story should continue, and what they most want to see happen in the sequel.
  4. Deep Plot Changes – Think about each of the major characters who survived the first novel (Yeah, some of them die.  It happens.)  Which characters could be tragically killed off in the sequel?  Which characters would you like to send toward an unexpected plot twist?  Which characters might actually become evil or good in the next novel?  How much has your main character grown since the last novel?
  5. Thematic Progression – What was the theme of the last novel, and how can you add to or modify that theme for an idea about what the next novel might be trying to express?  Think of ways to develop the themes of the previous novel to express a new theme in the latest offering.

If you have any more tips to share about kick-starting the next novel in your series, post below!

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

4 thoughts on “5 Ways to Start Working on a Sequel

  1. Good, practical advice. Allbest as you write your next. I’m bookmarking this to remind me as I start my next (after I finish the first). I am writing it with the thought that it will become a series.

  2. If part of what’s distracting you is thoughts of a different kind of book you’re excited about writing, you could try the Hollywood trick of taking the new storyline and seeing if you could possibly adapt it to become the sequel. Might lead the plot in some really unexpected directions.

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