I had nothing in mind to write for today until I skimmed this post on Chuck Wendig’s site (take care if you’re allergic to swearing, since Chuck doesn’t hold back). It’s a guest post, though, so should not be too upsetting.
Except if you’re writing the first of your planned series. Or the fourth in your series…
Brooke Johnson: Five Things I Learned Writing The Guild Conspiracy
There’s a lot of good sense in that.
But hey – you think writing the sequel is bad?
Okay, if you thought your first book was IT, then writing a sequel must be a shock. If you finished it thinking, ‘hey, I could write another in this world,’ then you should be okay. If you’re a complete nerd like me and wrote the first thinking you were writing a trilogy, then the second was… well, as difficult as the first, with attention needed to cutting things you wanted in, but were more about showing how much you knew about this world than helping the reader enjoy the story.
Let me tell you, that writing books seven and eight are REALLY hard. There are so many characters already in your world, and if time has moved on and you haven’t filled in the gaps in your minor characters’ lives, then you have to do a LOT of cross-checking and working out feasible parallel lives.
Or am I over-thinking this?
No, I didn’t think I was! But it’s a bit like historical fiction, I think – you have to get your facts right!
The problem I’m stuck with is a comment from one of my reviewers (I think it was Renee at MDBR) that there are a lot of people in the first book. I started doing one of those ‘lists of characters’ for each Princelings book (it’s on the Princelings website as well) to guide readers through. (Reminder to self: I must put a bookmark in the kindle files when I next update them, for Kindle’s new page-marking facility.)
I think the list of characters for books 7 and 8 will be, let’s say, ‘long’. Willoughby the Narrator goes travelling and telling stories at many different places, some of which we know, and some we don’t. Dylan and Dougall, not surprisingly, since they are the Princelings of the North, travel virtually the length of the country, meeting characters old and new. And wherever possible, I like giving characters who turned up in other books bit-parts or cameos in the others.
But yes, writing the sequel is hard, especially when it’s the sequel to the seventh sequel. Just as long as it’s as good or better than the first, I’ll be happy. I hope you will too.