HELP!!! I’M TRYING TO WRITE A SEQUEL, BUT I CAN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING! I JUST DON’T HAVE THE SAME INSPIRATION WITH THESE CHARACTERS AS I DID IN THE FIRST BOOK! I GET HALF WAY THROUGH, AND JUST CAN’T SEEM TO GET THROUGH IT BECAUSE IT BADLY CHANGES THE CHARACTERS PERSONALITIES AND THE DYNAMIC OF THEIR RELATIONSHIPS!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE???
First of all, you don’t have to shout. Do you know how many internet etiquette laws you’re breaking by typing in all caps? You’re breaking one; Do Not Type In All Caps!
Okay, on to your question… I’m in the same boat. I know that there has been a lot of people asking about Soul Siphon’s sequel and I tried to give the audience what they wanted. However I couldn’t get anywhere with it…
What was holding me up? Well for starters, I spent a lot of time writing Mary Kelly. I was very careful to portray her in a way I think would be like who the actual historical MK was… if she was resurrected and lived for another 130 years. However I couldn’t replicate that in the second story. Why? Because all the mystery behind her was gone. We know about her soft side now, we know that her bitterness was shield against her own problems. I kept trying, but I wasn’t happy with how she was coming out.
The second issue was writing the devil. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get her (yes, HER) right. I wanted her to be flamboyant, outgoing, and an all-around like-able character, but that came off too much like a certain TV show we all know and most of us love.
So I tried again with the devil, trying to make her lose her memory so that the one lacking her previous history isn’t even and the group is left with the moral conundrum of what to do with the devil, who may not actually be the devil. Again, it went nowhere and I couldn’t get her right in a way that would have made people like her.
So… sorry everybody, the Soul Siphon series is… at this point in time, defunct. Will I revisit the universe at some point, yes. I still have things l’d like to do there, but I doubt it’ll be in the form of a direct sequel.
So… unfortunately Khimbay, I can’t help you as I don’t have an answer to this problem either. My solution is to simply wash my hands of the whole situation and simply say ‘That’s it, no more direct sequels.’
This is something I did with Damnation. I refused to drag the characters from Divinity back out into another adventure when the characters already been possessed, beaten, one had been tortured, raped, and murdered, while the others had been put through LITERAL Hell. I know they’re characters that I just made up, but to me, that’s just cruel, and I’ve honestly seen how mean-spirited writing hurts a story.
However, I knew I wanted to do a follow-up to show the effects of what happened in Divinity and needed to find a way around that. So I created new characters and wrote a whole new story around the events of the previous novel. Yes, a few of the old characters made appearances, but they were strictly cameos.
I’m actually planning on doing the same thing with Drakin: The Story of Raiya after its published. There will be other stories (hopefully many) that take place in the same world. Yes characters from The Story of Raiya may make appearances (if they survive), and will get honorable mentions, but the follow-up stories will not be about them. A post-apocalyptic world where humanity is recovering from literal decades of bloodshed to the point where they were facing extinction, opens up the possibility to a plethora of stories that can be created. The potential is there and the characters are waiting to be written… and I personally can’t wait. I plan on spending a lot of time in that world. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a familiar face or two along the way.
So that’s my advice to you, Khimbay and I apologize for going off-topic a little. If you don’t want to write a direct sequel, but do want to do a follow-up? Write a new story in the same universe. It’s technically still a sequel.
Hope this helps, but maybe our readers have other ideas, so I’ll open it up to the floor. What does everyone think? Do you have advice for Khimbay? Let me know in the comments.
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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Catch you on the flip side!
KHIMBAY – I think this is a common problem, although every story (and author) is different, as are the reasons. I’ll add my 2-cents to Jim’s and see if something between us helps.
Brief background – I”m a Discovery Writer (a Panster). I write mostly short fiction, although I’ve completed one novel. I write most things in Pantser mode, and my stories usually require a rough draft, two clean-up revisions, and then they’re out the door. Sequels are a different matter. Even if I start writing a sequel that way, it always results in more planning and revising to make it work.
I’ve already set aside a sequel to that novel (my normal process – the first draft is finished and I needed to step away from it), but I also write two short fiction series, and I’m struggling with the 9th story in one of those right now. I’ve had to spend more time thinking about the plot in each sequel than in the original, “inspired” starter story.
First off, if you’re not feeling inspired or excited, then consider why you’re writing a sequel in the first place. Is it the universe you love, the characters, or a business decision? Knowing this will help you decide your route.
If it’s about the universe, then Jim’s idea to write new characters sounds good.
I write my sequels because I care about the main characters – Jim’s idea about writing new characters may work for you, but wouldn’t for me – if that’s your case, then stick with the characters you have.
For just general blockages, I’ve had to do a lot of out-of-sequence writing. When the words just wouldn’t come, instead of trying to write the story in the sequence it’s happening in, I’ve jumped from one disconnected scene to another as they came to me, then figured out how to join them in the proper sequence. I’ve even written some scenes backward from how I knew they had to end to their beginning.
When all else fails, I let my characters talk to each other through my pen, and see where they want to go.
Hope some of this helps. Good luck!