National Novel Writing Month.
Better yet, the month before National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoPrep almost feels like you’re gearing up all October long to go on a hike – a mental, creative hike.
But, for a notorious planner like me, the prep is required. NaNo is a 30-day journey to a 50,000-word goal. 1,667 words a day.
To say it’s a lot is putting it mildly – especially for a chick working full time, raising a family, and being her fabulously petty self. Luckily, I’m using the month of October to determine where each and (almost) every one of those 50K words is going to end up in my next novel.
Just shy of three months after releasing my latest novel, The Follow, I’ll be working on its sequel for NaNo.
But here’s the thing: I’ve only written a Book Two (Cougarette in the Country) once.
My last two attempts at sequels for BrewGirl and Savage respectively…well, respectively sucked balls. They are REAL works in progress that I’ll finish eventually. But I’m more than ready to write about King and Shauna again! That world was sexy and troubled so, of course, there’s more to the story.
Using the followup to The Follow as my NaNo project meant relearning how to write a sequel. Here are some tips I’ve learned from my NaNo prep:
The most common way to prep to write a sequel is to – DUH – reread Book 1. But how are you reading it? Are you reading it for leisure or for work? Let’s face it, at least one person liked your Book 1 so it being an entertaining story is a given. Reading your Book 1 this go-round is about work. Jot down details and events about your characters that may carry over into your sequel. Build scenes in familiar settings from Book 1 that would still be great backdrops.
Let Characters (and Conflict) Grow
Your readers don’t want to read about the same shenanigans. By the end of Book 1, your characters should have matured or evolved. Be sure bring that enlightened cast into a new set of problems they haven’t experienced before. PRO-TIP: A great source for new conflict is finding any unresolved drama in Book 1.
Let a Bad Bitch Roam
I’ve read TOO many sequels where the villain from Book 1 is redeemed as an angel…only to fuck over the main character again. Or – even worse – they really are nice now. Like, they magically grew a conscience in Book 2. Blah. Your villain (especially your most conniving one) should remain evil. Readers will see right through the lazy writing of a 180 in a reviled character.
Readers Be Like, ‘It’s OUR Story Now, Boo!’
You should write what’s in your heart. Absofuckinglutely. But, in the case of the sequel, your awesome Book 1 readers own a piece of that story, too. They will have certain expectations & desires for characters. And while you ultimately need to write the story YOU want to write, try to keep your readers in mind before you kill off a main character within 3 chapters (unless that’s their kink in reading your books.)
CLICK HERE for more of my NaNo musings!
Any tips on crafting Part Deux books? Post ‘em in the comments below.