Thursday, October 23, 2014

the Makings of a Good Sequel

           Uh. . .

            Oh! Yes, so I am trying to start the sequel in the Oddball trilogy.

            Can I say it's not going very well?

            I know what is supposed to happen in the latter half of the book, but the first half is still a mystery. I don't know much about the kingdom they are going to or why they are going there in the first place. Well, I do actually. They are going there because Jaykin has sent them on a mission there.

          But what is the mission?

           Yes, that's the hold up.

           Right now I'm tossing up ideas of what the story will consist of, so far I've thrown these ideas around:

famous scientists
Medieval culture
a lawless kingdom
racial prejudice

          Is it possible to combine these? I would say yes, but those first two, hmm. . . Challenges are good, no?

          So outside of all that, I've also been thinking about what makes a sequel good, and what makes a sequel bad? A lot of sequels are just blah. But when a sequel is good, it is absolute genius!

          I read a post at chasingthecrazies she mentioned that a sequel ought to introduce new characters to capture our interest. I thought that sounded good.

           What about other sequels? Does this happen?

              Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I thought was very good. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The new characters were awesome, creating tension and capturing our hearts (sometimes breaking them). Also the whole idea of the arena as a clock, the underground resistance group. The Hunger Games felt like preparation for the meat of the story's plot: Panem breaking away from President Snow's rule.

           Maybe that is how it should be? When I think about the Divergent series as a whole and then about the single book Divergent. The first book seems like a preparation ground for the real plot. It was, may I say, a sort of initiation.

            Let's talk about movies?

            I liked the first Thor, but the second one? Even better! There was the introduction of a new character. You know, the intern. Poor intern. He had a name, I can't remember, and I feel honest bad for that. But we also spent more time away from earth.

             The Thor sequel took us to another world (and threatened our own with alien invasion, but that's tangential ;).

this made me laugh way too much
             In ways Catching Fire takes us to another world. It shows us Katniss' new life in the beginning then dumps her into a new arena. In Insurgent, Tris occupies different faction headquarters and then later becomes a prison in Erudite headquarters.

            How to Train Your Dragon 2. I know its animation, but that was a really good sequel, especially for an animation. There were new characters. They took us to another world. But what I thought was really cool, and unique (especially for an animation), was that the characters grew. They literally grew up and matured. They took on responsibility and their present and past achievements were acknowledged to that they were raised to a higher level of status.

           The How to Train Your Dragon sequel showed growth and developed maturity in the regular characters.

this killed me
          At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss is no longer a little girl who is only staying alive for her sister and thinks that District 12 is the worst there is. She realizes in Catching Fire that things are bad everywhere, and people are not always what they first seem. She is more aware of what is going on in the world and is able to take a more mature outlook on it. She is also made the symbol of the rebellion (more or less against her will). In Insurgent, Tris is no longer the skinny little Abnegation girl who people overlook or mock. She is stronger and assertive; few would challenge her. She is also nominated to be a Dauntless leader, though she declines it. In the second Thor, Thor has grown wiser, and has gained better sense of who he is and what he wants in life. 

The checklist of a great sequel:

1. New characters

2. It should look like the first book was written for the sequel, not the sequel was written for the first book.

3.Take us to another world

4. Growth and developed maturity in characters

What do you think? What do you like to see in sequels?


  1. Ohhhh, I love this. This is absolutely excellent advice! I never got to writing sequels. :| I have a few in mind for some of my books, but I just...don't know? I never got to them because I always chase a NEW idea. But I so agree with the new characters! And a change of space. Both kind of the story be enough on it's own. I think all books need to have a plot that is somewhat beginning and ending in that book (like, obviously with heaps of subplots and partial plots from the rest of the series and stuff). But it drives me crazy when a book absolutely can't stand on it's two feet. Like it's got only a partial plot in the first book, or the second book feels like a time filler for the third's conclusion. That sort of thing. Heh, I'm rambling! Anyway. I LOVE this post! You're perfectly right about all of these. Good luck for Oddball's sequel!!

    1. I know! Some trilogies or first book/sequels feel like they all should have been just one book. But the book was too long so the author just chopped it up in random places to make it two or three shorter books.

  2. I've never written a sequel. I'll keep these tips in ming when I do. :)
    The new characters idea is spot on! That's exactly what I want to see when I read sequels. And also the tip, the first book should look like it was written for the sequel, is brilliant. I've never really thought about that before today.
    Hope you have a great time writing Oddball's sequel! :)

    Carly @ Books and Etc

    1. New characters are amazing! Characters are life and new life is the best. ;) So glad you stopped by!


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