I have always envied series writers for their ability to keep a story going for 2+ books without losing the will to live, or losing the plot along the way.
I tend to stick to 1-book plot lines or poetry: nice and quick with no afterthought. But now, I am writing a sequel for the first time (more in theory than in practice at the moment), I need to know the secrets!
There is so much more to consider when carrying on a novel to the next book:
- have the characters developed?
- is there a time lapse?
- will it be a continuous plot?
- are you restricted by a previous timeline?
- is there some very specific details mentioned before that can’t be changed?
- where is it set, and why has it / hasn’t it changed?
- why is there a need for a sequel: what did you leave unanswered?
- what does the reader expect to happen?
- what do you expect to happen?
There’s a lot to consider, but there is one very important question when writing a sequel or a series: WHY?
Why are you carrying on? You’ve finished the first book – so why does there have to be more? Is something left unresolved? Did you end on a cliffhanger? Are there too many unanswered questions?
You need to know the answers to those questions before you start writing – that’s why it’s so hard: because you’ve knowingly constricted yourself to an already established story, now you have to carry it on.
Make it a good one!