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Book II - Where Did U Start?

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Debby, I've heard of that happening with other writers, too, and they went on to sell many books at the same time.

So the rule is there's no one big rule that fits all situations. Listen to your instinct and since we can't count on the publishing world to validate our writing, it's always good to write the book that makes you the happiest. It's all about the writing journey anyway; every moment along the way is where you can find the real joy.

(And when things go right,  it's coo to see your books on shelves in bookstores)
#31 - March 13, 2009, 09:41 AM


I just had to pop in here and say that my experience was similar to Jen's. I wrote LAMENT and really felt like it was the book that I was finally going to get published. I sent it out and while I was waiting, I wrote a mostly standalone sequel. By the time that I sold LAMENT and revised it with my editor (much to its benefit, I should add), the sequel was absolutely not relevant. There are still great ideas I want to plumb from that sequel, but there was absolutely no place for them in BALLAD, the real sequel to LAMENT that I ended up writing after the revisions for LAMENT.

So basically I wasted that time writing a fake sequel when I could've been brainstorming on a brand new idea. I learned my lesson and started a completely new project after LAMENT, which ended up selling within a few weeks of being sent out -- not something that would've happened if I'd started in on yet another sequel! I think writing a sequel before you're under contract is always going to be a dicier proposition that forcing your brain to start on something new. Plus a new project will give you objectivity on your characters from your first book and stretch your writing brain. There's a real danger when writing a sequel to your first book that you're just writing your own fanfiction -- that's what I was doing when I wrote my first fake sequel to LAMENT, back before it was under contract. :D

I always, always, always recommend starting something new.
#32 - March 13, 2009, 10:58 AM

Wow.  I just finished a totally different premise too.  Now I'm starting the sequel to CROSSED OUT.  I wanted to do it all in Dylan's POV but Stephanie is being persistent and wants book 2 to continue where I left off.

My question is do the rest of you who write series do you have a 'Bible' of your characters, places, situations?  I'm thinking maybe I need to do that too.
#33 - March 29, 2009, 07:47 AM


I'm not in the same league with many of the posters here (still unpublished), but when I began this process, I drafted 4-1/2 books with the same characters, each book starting right after the one before it and covering a year in the life of the MC and friends.

I've not worked on any of the later books, except for a scene here and there, while I get the first book ready for submission to an agent.

So I don't know if I'll ever have to write the later books (or finish writing them) or not.

Oh, I envy your situation and hope I'll have a similar dilemma soon.
#34 - July 03, 2009, 06:04 PM

Suzy Scribbles

There are about 5 months between my first and second books, a few weeks between books 2 and 3, a couple of months between 3 and 4, and so on down the line. I bring recurring characters back when I feel like it, and also add new ones for variety. Each of my books are "stand alone" stories and resolved by the end of the book. In fact, when my editor asked the publisher to put numbers on the books (1 - 6), they refused. They didn't want the books labeled so kids didn't feel like they had to read them in order (and, honestly, the publisher wanted to be able to drop a book if it didn't sell well and not have a number "gap"). Always thinking, those publishers!  :lol

Readers do like the fact that they can choose any of the books and have a complete story, without losing out on any back story. If back story is needed, it's usually woven into the current plot in a natural way.

#35 - August 29, 2009, 03:58 PM


My book is written in a diary format, so I'm picking up book 2 on the very next day as a new diary entry.   At this point, it looks like each book will cover an entire month and contain about 30 entires.  

I'm keeping the same 4 main characters and plan to add a couple of new characters in each book just to keep things interesting.    
#36 - September 15, 2009, 06:05 PM
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 06:07 PM by Shadow22 »


I started Book two--AWAY--about two and a half weeks after THE LINE ends.
#37 - December 30, 2009, 09:00 PM

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I've written several Book II's and usually jump into the story shortly after the ending of #1. There's a difference, though, in whether you're writing for a continuing series or adding companion novels to a book the could be a single title. For longer series, I usually have an ongoing drama that runs through the series or at least a few books, like in THE SEER at the end of book 1 (DON'T DIE DRAGONFLY) they discover the grandmother is ill and needs a lost remedy and this search continues to #5 where it's resolved.

I enjoy books like HUNGER GAMES which are meant to be short series, continuing an arc of drama that doesn't completely get resolved in the first book. This style of continuation is usually a trilogy and more like one long book split into 3 parts.

There's no definite answer on how to write your 2nd book, just tell the best story you can to keep readers reading. The biggest challenge will be selling the first book. Good luck.
#38 - January 03, 2010, 07:09 AM


Book 2 of my Reality Shift series (book 1 is due out later this month) starts two or three weeks after the end of book 1. The entire 10-book plot arc takes place from September through February.

I have another series, as yet unsubmitted, in which I've spaced out the books more, about 4 months between each book.
#39 - January 03, 2010, 08:03 AM


This thread is packed with pertinent info!... a lot of enlightening knowledge being shared!   :thanks everyone !

I am not only a newbie to this message board, but I am also a   :stroller newbie-writer.  So forgive me if my input is not up to your standards.

My thought is that a sequel is like your future ... you cannot predict it.  The past has to be established first and this brings you to your present time.  Then you can have "hindsight", which creates or bolsters the wisdom needed to go forth.
#40 - January 13, 2010, 08:37 AM


I've done three series so far, and in each case I started the second book in a different way.

The Pine Deep Trilogy (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man's Song and Bad Moon Rising --Pinnacle Books) takes place in a thirty day period.  Book 2 picks up hours after book one and zeroes things down to the emotional reaction of the central character.  He saw something at the end of the first book that was, to him, impossible.  So we open with him trying to make sense of it.

The Joe Ledger series is different in that each book is a stand-alone.  Same cast of characters, but no story threads from Patient Zero (St Martins Griffin, 2009) overlap The Dragon Factory (March 2 2010).  So I pick up the story with the first moment of crisis of the new storyline and fill in the necessary backstory to events in the previous book at the point where it's necessary to fill it in.

In my YA series featuring Benny Imura, there is a event that happens near the end of the first book --Rot & Ruin (Simon & Schuster, Sept 2010) that leaves a mystery unresolved even while the main first-book storyline is dealt with.  In th epilogue Igive some hint as to where the next book might go; but when we step into the second booj --Dust & Decay (2011)-- some months have passed.  Our heroes haven't rushed into the next phase of their adventures because to do so would be to leave behind everything they know and have.  They have to work up to it again, which allows me to explore the different movitations for what makes people go on an adventure --or a quest.
#41 - February 28, 2010, 10:12 PM


I've been giving thought to turning my stand-alone into a trilogy. Thanks for asking!
#42 - June 12, 2010, 07:51 PM

is kooky.
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I am SO (and make that "so" a 740 font) glad this thread popped up and I read through all the comments. I hadn't thought of the possible futility of writing into the next draft before settling the first one.  :girl (And I already have a trilogy behind me. Le Duh)
#43 - June 12, 2010, 08:46 PM
« Last Edit: June 12, 2010, 10:25 PM by Aimee Walker »
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog -


I wrote my first book as a standalone.  Started in on the second one and am now mapping out the others in the series.  With the second book I just sorta do what I always do which is think about it and take random notes for a month or two and then dive in.
#44 - June 18, 2010, 06:43 AM


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