And we’re back! You know I get lost in projects and disappear, but the benefit of that is always returning with new experiences under my belt and knowledge to share! So, let’s get into this guide to writing sequels for beginners (or any artists at any level of their journey looking for dope tips and tricks).
Of course, this is in reference to novels, but if you are an artist of any kind, feel free to pull what resonates in reference to any project series you’re working on.
A Guide to Writing Sequels for Beginners (3 Tips & Tricks)
- Thoroughly Review the First Pieces of the Project
Whatever you are writing this continuation of, review what has already been created and leave no stone unturned. You need to know where you plan to take the readers, but it is just as important, if not more, to not lose sight of where you’ve already taken them.
It’s almost too easy to forget small details. Especially when you go through an entire process to write a book, containing numerous drafts and, if you take my advice (which you should), a few sporadic breaks. Even as the writer/creator of the world depicted in your stories, you need a refresher to ensure the continuation is spot-on.
I just recently finished the sequel to my novel, DRIVE. I made sure before starting, to completely re-read DRIVE although I had just released it not too long before. I took notes on everything from the biggest plot drivers to the seemingly smallest bits of info. And as I wrote the sequel, ARRIVE, I was grateful I had refreshed my mind about every-single-thing.
Check out a snippet of the DRIVE sequel, ARRIVE, here.
Beyond anything else, you want to be sure there is strong consistency and everything flows well for your reader. Having all the information in place and being organized ensures that.
2. Verify Your Intentions
Are we ending the series here, or keeping it going for another book to follow? Either way, what is the point? What are your readers meant to receive from this next journey on which you are taking them?
In order for you to piece together the right story, you have to know the right result you are aiming for. Do you want readers to reach the last page begging for more, or do you want to leave them satisfied and fulfilled? Don’t leave them begging for more or standing on questions that will go unanswered if you don’t plan on continuing the series and don’t leave them feeling dragged along and barely making it through the story (ever! But), especially if you expect them to look forward to another book in the series.
You never want your readers to feel duped or as if their time was wasted. And one thing that helped me determine what I wanted folks to take away from ARRIVE was looking at my ideas for the story from the POV of a reader.
If I read the story, would I feel satisfied? Would the ending do it for me? Would the story keep me engaged? These questions were key in helping me either add more to the book or take out unnecessary tidbits.
3. Do Not Rush the Process
You may worry about getting this book out before momentum from the previous releases runs out. Or you may feel immense pressure to get out this next installment so readers of the previous books don’t have to wait too long for it – you are so thoughtful for that!
However, if you rush through this, your readers will be able to tell that you did and you will do nothing but leave everyone, including yourself, unsatisfied with the finished product.
I released DRIVE in May 2020. I wanted to release ARRIVE in May 2021. ARRIVE won’t be released until the end of July 2021. Life got in the way.
There was a whole pandemic, I moved to a new apartment, went home to Cleveland for a couple weeks, etc.
I felt soooo much pressure to force myself through my creative process just to try and get something out by the time I wanted, but that did not sit right with my spirit. If you ever need to choose between creating something you’d be proud of and meeting a deadline, I hope you always have the freedom to choose the former.
It is important to always prioritize quality. This is what makes your creations worth returning to – the fact that you put your heart into what you share with the world. True fans of your art and lovers of your work will never give you a hard time for only offering them the best.
If you have a deadline in mind and you are not contractually obligated to reach it, don’t stress yourself over it. Stay diligent but give yourself grace and do your best to get it done, but no sooner than the amount of time it takes for you to have a finished product you are 100% satisfied with.
Fellow creatives! I hope this article and the tips shared about writing sequels for beginners, or writers at any stage in their journey, provided something helpful. Please share your process in writing novel sequels or creating works of art as part of a series, in general. I am so interested in hearing other perspectives. Beginner sequel writers! I hope this advice from my personal experience is helpful in some way, shape, or form. If so, please let your girl know, I would love to hear from you!
Everyone! Feel free to check out DRIVE right now, and ARRIVE on July 27th (eBook available for pre-order on Amazon here) on Amazon and right here on my website!