I was actually hoping you could help me out with a problem I was having. I’m currently writing a book that will be part of an established series. It’s been a pretty good run so far, but I’m worried because this next book actually takes place before the one I just published. I got this idea fairly late in the game, but want to include it. I’m just worried about publishing my books out of order. What should I do?
Prequels and bridging stories are always tough. The hardest thing about them is creating an engaging story, despite people already knowing the outcome. In many cases, unless you’re writing a series where each novel surrounds a different cast in the same universe, I’d recommend avoiding it altogether. However, if you can find a way to tell a story within a story, you may have something there. My advice to you is to look at your story outline and then go back and read the other book. Is too much already revealed? Is everyone going to know what’s going on the moment they open the cover? If your answer is yes, you may want to consider abandoning it or releasing it as sort of a free addendum to the book you already have out. That one is really up to you.
However, if you think that you can make a good story out of the in-between years, then by all means, go for it. The space between one story and the next could easily be a story of its own. Don’t worry about writing out of order. Though it may be slightly confusing for some readers, I think most will pick up on what’s going on. There’s no rule saying that series have to be written in order… look at Lucasfilms!
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I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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