IWSG: Writing the Sequel

InsecureWritersSupportGroup The Insecure Writers’ Support Group posts the first Wednesday of every month.

I’ve done it now. My YA fantasy novel Changers: Manifesting Destiny is due out from Evernight Teen some time this summer. (It’s in editing now, and I’m also waiting to see the cover.) Thing is, it’s ostensibly the first in a trilogy. Which means I’m on the hook for two more books.

I’ve outlined what needs to happen in the second book (Changers: The Great Divide), and I’ve begun writing it, but . . . It feels so much weightier to write a sequel. There’s more riding on it, and I keep asking myself whether it’s good enough, which strangely was not a question I asked myself while writing the first book.

What’s keeping me sane right now is having a second, unrelated project—a Regency romance—going at the same time. Yes, it’s more work, but it somehow actually helps relieve the pressure a bit.

So what causes me to seize up when writing a sequel? I do this, too, when writing new Sherlock Holmes stories, and I think it’s the pressure to “live up to” the others. Whatever that means. It’s such an amorphous, subjective thing. But there’s an expectation—one I put on myself more than anything others put on me—and it paralyzes me a bit.

Still, I must trudge forward. Don’t want too much time to pass between books. Of course, if the first book doesn’t do well, maybe there will be no call for a sequel. But that’s another worry for another IWSG.

Meanwhile, please do check out my short story “Aptera,” which was published today on Aurora Wolf. It’s a contemporary tale of mythological sirens. Read it here.

9 thoughts on “IWSG: Writing the Sequel”

  1. By writing the first book, you’ve set the bar higher for yourself. The question has gone from being “Can I write this book?” to “Can I write another book that’s just as good?” As long as you hold yourself to the same high standards you held yourself to for the first book, I’m sure the next one will be just as good, if not better, than the first.

  2. Yay! Congrats on the first book!

    I can see where you would be struggling. I’ve never written one book let alone a sequel! And I know how harshly I judge movie sequels. (I rarely read book sequels.) The good thing is that you recognize that book 2 has to be just as good if not better than book 1, so you are already on the right track. Now to write it…

    I recommend just getting ideas on paper and then sorting it out/editing it to death after you have something. Don’t lose yourself in a worrying hang up. πŸ™‚

  3. I sympathize. I always feel that expectation to write something better, especially in a series. You can do it!

    I popped over and read your story. Fantastic! Love the peek into the modern life of sirens.

  4. I completely understand. The last one I wrote wasn’t technically a sequel, but it took place in the same world as the one before, and I stressed a lot over whether I was doing it justice. I hope it gets easier at some point!

    1. I think, because we’ve all been told that series sell better and that’s what our careers hinge on now, the pressure to write series—and do it well because there’s so much competition—is higher than ever.

  5. I’ve totally had this happen with sequels! And just in hopping through IWSG today, you’re not the only one mentioning it. What helped me was hiding my word count, and just writing each day until I was done, whether that was a page or lots of pages. And now I’m writing the third in a series, so more pressure, LOL πŸ™‚

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