The Challenge in a Sequel

With my first book published and having calmed down from the excitement that came along with it, I started working towards the sequel. I have the overarching plot across all the books in my mind and knew all the key events that had to happen in each book. I was excited to write fresh new words instead of constantly revising. But I have to say that writing the sequel has proven to be far more difficult than I initially imagined. I’ve spent so long just sitting in my chair and staring blankly at my screen, trying to will the words from my mind onto the word document.

The biggest issue I think comes from the now grounded level of creativity that comes from a sequel. With the first book, it was a simple task to re-work something so that whatever I felt was interesting could be fit into the novel. I could re-write a character’s background or re-write the entire culture of a land. But in a sequel, with those facts grounded, it feels like the creative freedom is far more restricted. Its not to say that this is a bad thing, in fact its fantastic to see your world realized and working within the constraints of the now established fiction. Its just learning to write within those confines is more of a challenge than I initially thought.

One thing I’ve been doing is, while trying to determine the plot of this book, is working on a different standalone novel. In a way its taking a break from writing by doing more writing. A friend of mine suggested I try working on different books to cast my net out wider to a broader audience which is a fantastic idea. But I wasn’t ready to completely shelve my series to start a new story. However working on a completely different title, it helped me to develop ideas for the original series.

I’ve also taken some time to really flesh out newer characters. Who they are and what their goals are. Drawing those characters out has also helped me to realize what kind of culture I want for their respective homelands (based on their attire, weapons, and overall appearance and mannerisms). It’s also helped to flesh out the scenes in my books as I struggle with writing out what I envision. Now that I have a better idea of how they would react to differing ideologies especially.

Hope this helps!

– Raphael

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