Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WiP Wednesday: To Sequel, or Not to Sequel?

While I've been letting my last round of revisions to Evangeline rest, I'm finding I can't quite switch gears to work on Strings or my urban fantasy. They're just too different.

Instead, I've been thinking critically about a sequel.

Now, I'm the first person to advise other writers not to expend too much time and energy thinking about sequels when you haven't sold the first novel yet, but I'd like to know if my novel has series potential. If I'm ever in the position of having an agent offer to represent me or my novel, I'd like to be able to tell them whether or not it does.

So I've been doing some outlining and figuring out the plots and subplots I'd like a sequel to include. Which has led to an even greater understanding of some of the motivations of the characters. After so much editing and rewriting and revising on this project, which I officially began in November of 2008, actually planning a new story for the characters has been really refreshing.

I haven't drafted anything new, aside from passages of Evangeline, since October 2009, and just the act of "outlining" (which, if you're familiar with my earlier posts on the subject, is more akin to "telling" the story's main plot points and subplots longhand in my notebook) has made me excited about the characters again after so many months spent revising. Not only has it got me thinking critically about a new story, but I've been thinking more critically about the original one, too. I can't wait to read my manuscript one last time before it goes back to betas. Thanks in advance, y'all. You know who you are. ;)

What about the rest of y'all? Do you think that even plotting a sequel—if that's how you roll—is a waste of time? Anyone else found it helpful?


Shannon O'Donnell said...

I don't think it's a waste of time at all - especially if it's re-energizing you. I say run with it! :-)

KM said...

I've read that plotting a second book is a good idea if you plan on having one. You should write/edit/perfect the first novel and plot the sequel before you pitch. It also gets your creative juices flowing, and you don't want to squelch those. :)

Dawn Embers said...

I don't think it's a waste of time either. I don't see a big problem with even starting to write the book, but that may just be me. Sure, writing like all 7 books before even the first has sold may be a bit much. But starting a single sequel while waiting isn't that bad. Especially for those that don't have a ton of ideas (I've read their blogs, they are out there somewhere).

Plus, while you have all the time in the world to write the first book. If the contract asks for a second book, there is a much shorter deadline. So, it can be convenient to have a little bit done, to work with. Maybe... Makes sense to me at least.

Abby Annis said...

I think you already know my answer, but I'm gonna tell you again anyway. ;)

For my current WIP, I've always looked at it as a series. The full story is just too huge for one book. So the last time I thought it was finished, I started the sequel. Now a lot of what went into the opening for #2 has found its way into the rewrite of #1. Just starting the sequel helped me get a clearer picture of my story and where it needed to start and what needed to included up front. So, waste of time? I'm going with no. :)

And just so you know, I would ~~♥LOVE♥~~ to read a sequel to Evangeline. I was so sad when it was over.

Laura Marcella said...

As long as you're spending more energy on your current WiP, since that has to sell first before a sequel can come to fruition, it's not a waste of time at all to work on a sequel. It could give you ideas to make your first novel even better!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

When I finish a novel, I think up a broad synopsis for a sequel and write the first three chapters. That way if an agent and publisher both like my novel, I have something to show them. AND I have laid a foundation for the book, so I will not feel adrift at sea, Roland

jessjordan said...

If you're half as excited about the plotting as you sound in this post, then no way is it a waste of time! If nothing else, it'll help you love Evangeline even more.

Carrie Harris said...

I definitely found it helpful! My editor asked me about sequel potential, and it was nice not to have to stammer over the question. Having said that, now that I've gone through edits, I'm rewriting a lot of the sequel. So it may have made a little extra work, but I think it was worth it.

Glad to hear yours is going well!