So I know I’ve touched on this already, but given how much I love this and how much thinking of it sooner may have saved me time and frustration during the publishing phase, I thought I’d go into a bit more detail.

When I finished writing Divinity, I thought to myself, “Now it’s done, perfect, an epic story that will no doubt catch the minds and attention of readers.”

I began submitting queries to literary agents, with some modest interest. One of the few that actually set up a phone interview asked me one simple question; Do I plan to write a sequel?

Like an idiot, I said no. It was a complete story and there was no way I was going to trash the ending by coming up with a forced narrative for the characters to follow. I knew the moment that those words left my lips, I had lost this agent’s interest. To the agents, book publishing isn’t about the art of the story, it’s about making money and how profitable a book can be. Which is exactly what you want an agent to be all about as they’re the ones who are going to bring you in profits on your book.

I knew that if there were any chance of getting Divinity published, I’d have to adjust my strategy, like it or not. So I went about trying to write a sequel. The first attempt saw the two main characters from Divinity on a side adventure that wasn’t mentioned during the first book… it didn’t make sense and chronologically didn’t fit. Having no suspension of disbelief in timeline errors, I moved on.

The second one basically dealt with the church secretly seeking revenge against characters from the first book for past events. I abandoned that one almost immediately as when I create a happily ever after, I keep it happily ever after… damn it!

The third attempt dealt with the descendants of a few of the characters… which I’ll be honest, I still have a copy of and may make that a sequel at some point down the line. However, certain elements didn’t make sense and I really need to completely rewrite it.

I admit that I became frustrated and was about to abandon the whole idea… So at that point, I sat down and started playing Final Fantasy, an old favorite of mine. One thing I noticed about the game was that, while some characters continued to appear from one game to the next, the story was completely different and the main characters weren’t carried over from one game to the next. Could Square-Enix be on to something there?

That’s when I pulled out an old fan fiction story I wrote a long time ago and looked through it. As I reread it, I began to think, “If I changed the time period to Italy, during the 1500s, changed a few points about the characters, names, and a few super natural elements… could I make this a sequel to Divinity?

At first, I thought that I was absolutely crazy! There was no way that it could ever work… was there?

I took that story and began to rewrite it. The more and more I added, the more it became a reality. That’s when I started adding in characters from the previous stories for brief cameos.

BOOM! I had my sequel. It was a story that was influenced by the previous book and shared many of the elements, but was otherwise a completely independent story that augmented some themes from the first, while creating brand new ones.

Characters from the first book would make appearances and influence the story, but their appearances would not tarnish the first in any way and would be relatively short. Some may just get an honorable mention whilst other, more significant characters would take up an entire chapter, and the rest may not make any appearance at all.

Another major shift this second story would take would be in the overall tone. Where the first story would lean more towards a heroic, clear cut, good guy story, the second would be a far more dark and grotesque. In the second story, we would would be dealing with anti-heroes and villains suffering from the Darth Vader Complex (See my post on Character Complexes.).

So if when you ever write a story and attempt to get it published, if they want a sequel out of you, this is a very easy work around if you don’t want to ruin the first story with a forced sequel.

1 Comment on “Indirect Sequels…

  1. That’s a good way to approach it. It can be tough to find the balance between your ideas and what the publishers think it marketable. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and good luck with the agent hunt.


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