This is a blog series I am writing about the process of authoring my next book from Inspiration to Publication. As I do not currently have a title, or working title, for the next book it, and the blog postings, will be titled Project X.
Good afternoon, Java-Mates! As you can see from the title, I’m revisiting the What’s in a name posting from the very beginning of this series.
After spending the weekend contemplating my future project I began thinking more and more about Freedom’s Treasure. As I mentioned in the last post I am preparing to write the sequel for it. Writing a sequel feels like a different kettle of fish. First of all, there’s already information out there about characters. Yes, I’ve done most of the research on them so that’s already there but I have to remember things from the first book in order to not contradict it. The characters have to expand. That’s good for some of the secondary characters. There were minor complaints they were flat or one dimensional.
Second, it’s hard to avoid formulaic plots once you’ve gone past your third book. In romance it generally goes: boy meets girl, boy and girl discover something (dead body, treasure, one of them’s in danger), boy and girl creatively begin to solve mystery, boy and girl get into disagreement for drama, boy and girl get back together and solve the mystery, happy ending for all.
I apologize for spoiling the formula for good books but seriously,think of the books you’ve read in the past…
What keeps each book different from another is the version of the mystery, the method of the disagreement, etc. The basic underpinnings are generally there, however. And of course each author’s unique style can bring a fresh eye.
They say Edgar Allan Poe created and wrote every murder mystery there is. He basically invented and perfected the genre. We may be able to say the same for Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber and others when it comes to romance. Thanks, ladies!
How do you start a sequel? For one, you want to engage readers who haven’t read the first. It’s not fair to new readers to make them go all the way to the beginning of a series to completely understand the characters and motivation. Each book should work as an introduction that can encourage readers to go back and read previous books.
You don’t want to treat it as a completely new book either as, like I wrote earlier, some readers are familiar with the characters already, as am I. It’s a wavering line. As a lifelong reader I can say with authority that I really enjoy when references are made to the first book that make me laugh at an inside joke. So there’s something else to think about, how to make the original readers laugh without annoying new readers who don’t get the joke.
Am I over-thinking this?
Third it has to be an honest sequel. Grasping for a new plot line in order to keep characters active can come off blatant and disrespectful. Fortunately I had an idea about the sequel when I ended the first one. As part of keeping it honest, however, there will be a few changes I hadn’t expected about a sequel. My main characters get to go to secondary. I hope they don’t mind the demotion but a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.
Which reminds me of the awful feeling of guilt I’ve been subjected to. I am God to the characters I’ve created. Yes, it’s my job to put them in harm’s way but, sheesh, sometimes I just want to give them a break and have it be all easy and hearts and flowers. Never going to happen.
The Redux Part: My working title is going to remain mine. Because of how I’m using it to remind myself of where I want the mystery to go I feel uncomfortable sharing it here. I don’t think anyone is going to steal my idea. According to the Poe fans, the idea has been done anyway. No, it’s more I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. I’ve made an alternate name for the Blog. It will be Liquid Gold Blog Series: (fill in the title here)
I’ve been meditating and concentrating over the weekend and I have a first line. It works for me. Tomorrow will be the first official Liquid Gold update. I’m almost as curious as you are.