Monday, September 3, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Writing a Sequel/Trilogy/Series

Untitled1 Seeing as the last post about writers attacking writers, this was the main reason people got attacked. For a recap, here are two of the responses that people have given:

  • “If you try to sell the first of a trilogy, and you are not an experienced writer, I can practically guarantee you will do a poorer job than if put as much work into a truly stand alone book. Why? Because for one thing, you'll be holding back for books two and three. Second, you'll leave dangling plots to bootstrap your second book -- bad idea.”
  • “Forget sequels until you are published. Thinking of sequels will corrupt your writing, if you start leaving loose ends to carry into a sequel. Publishers balk at any mention of series or sequels by unpublished writers. They want to see writers with more than one idea, not ones trying to capitalize on the same characters and setting. And if you leave little coupling points in your story, they WILL notice. It makes your story look ragged.”

There were other responses, but these two were ones that got attacked for being rude. Now, my take on this.

You want to write more than one book that relates to a novel then go right ahead. What is the harm? Why should we as writers hinder other writers from doing this? Most of us cannot even begin to think of getting published yet because novels need to be written and edited first.

I, as a writer, have written a sequel to a novel and plan to write a 4-novel YA series. Is it set in stone? No, because I am trying to finish the first novel and get a feel for that. The first novel must be great because it has to set the scene for the rest of the novels, and it has to be good enough that if the rest of the series is not that great it can be a stand-alone novel.

Writing a novel is hard enough, why be assholes and bitches and try to stop people from writing? I want more people to write novels. It is a fantastic feelings and something to be proud about. I am proud of writing a novel. I am proud after every novel I have completed. So, in order to see what I could find about writing a second book or series I found a lot of mixed reviews. A lot of people say that this will not get you published.

Here is one comment that is confusing that I found:

  • Now don't get me wrong. If your primary writing goal is to have fun: more power to you! Write a fifteen book interconnected series and don't let anyone tell you your front lawn swallowed a neighbourhood dog. If, however, your goal is to be published, writing a sequel to an unpublished, self-published, or under-published book is probably not your best strategy. Placing a book these days is really really hard. Placing a sequel to an un/self/under-published novel is virtually impossible, no matter how good it is.Unless, of course, the sequel can stand on its own. And I don't mean squint your eyes, fudge some plotlines, and nudge nudge sure thing it can stand alone. I mean it can completely and utterly stand alone and you can credibly pitch it as the first book in a possible series. In that case, well, just pitch it as the first book in a possible series and don't mention the one in the drawer.

Going back to my “publishable” rant. I hate writers that go: “I am writing a novel to get published and that be my job”.

Hold up, wait a second. First of all, writing should be something you want to do for yourself. You want to write a series and spend all this time in that world, it has to be more for you than for anyone else. You are going to build those attachments and have the same feelings as your characters. Second, it is so hard to get published nowadays you may end up self-publishing at first, or in general. Lastly, thinking that a series will be the only way to get you published you are wrong. Publishers do like a series, more money if it is good, but you must write it first.

I do have faith that people can do it, I just don’t appreciate when people think novel-writing is just a way to earn a living and then attack others. Write for yourself. If you have such a great idea that can lead to a sequel or more novels, go for it. Don’t get self-conscious when people tell you not to. And don’t think: “Wow! This will so get me published.” Instead think, “I have to write another novel because I love these characters and want them to go through this.”

Okay, okay. I am done ranting. To some this up: Write whatever you want as long as you put yourself as the main reason for writing. This is for your enjoyment and should be something you like to do. Writing is not easy, other writers can be down-right nasty and publishing is well, tough. Never give up hope that your novels are/will be great.

3 comments:

Kayfey/Angry Goblin/Inprettyprint said...

This kind of behavior from other writers infuriates me!
I find the task of novel-writing is taxing, arduous, and often a war-within the author.

As writing is a hard enough job/duty/life to non-writing peers to wrap their heads around, one would think that writers would, and should be, more empathetic, would keep mouths shut, or otherwise offer moral/emotional support.

Chrys Fey said...

I really appreciate what you said!

I started writing when I was twelve years old and the series that I created then is the (four-book) series that I am finishing now. No one could ever tell me that writing a series is useless or that trying to get one published as an unpublished writer is impossible because I will not listen. Writing is my life! My series is my life! I am not writing it because I think it will get me published, I am writing it because it burns inside me, and I want to publish it to share it with others who would appreciate it.

The role of the first book of a series is to introduce the story and make it so that readers will want to read more. The books that follow it have to grow and essentially get better. After all, no one wants to read a series where the first book is the best because there wouldn’t be a point in even writing a sequel.

Also, I don't understand why writers are putting each other down. We should be support each other!

Thank you for this post!

Megan Held said...

I am glad people are enjoying the post and share the same feelings I have about this. Writers need to unite and support each other.

To me, writing is personal and different for everyone. We cannot generalize our responses because it does not work.

Keep up with your writing and thank you for reading my post!

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