Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Category: Writing Process (Page 1 of 5)

Writing a Sequel

I’m preparing to write a sequel to my NaNo story. It’s a second sequel I’ve committed myself to and let me tell you, sequels are the worst.

Okay, I’m not being fair, they’re not the worst. But the process of writing a sequel is a little more complicated for me. Every time I’m writing The First Book, all I have to focus on is writing the best book I possibly can. And sure, I need to remember about foreshadowing and drop hints for the greater plot, but that can be fixed in editing. Prep for The First Book is less involved, because yes, you’re building the world and the characters, but it will get polished and truly fleshed out during writing. Sometimes during writing, my concept of something will change completely, and that’s okay. There’s almost no pressure beyond FINISH THE THING…

With writing a sequel, there’s already established characterization, past events that need to be addressed, further character development that needs to be progressed, rules for magic and supernatural, already established, that I need to follow.

In a way, writing a sequel is not unlike writing fanfiction. There’s source material I have to follow. And while at the moment, I can still go back and change things in Book 1, if I really (REALLY) want to, I try not to develop this habit. Because, hopefully, there will be a time when Book 1 will be published and going back will not be an option… And if I’m taking that option away from myself, it means I’m adding even more things I need to keep track of while writing Book 2.

Not to mention the curse of all sequels (in TV known as the sophomore slump), where the follow-up is not as good as the original. But no pressure…

So yeah. Sequels are the worst. And I’m writing this one as a distraction AND my Nano project. ‘Cause who needs sanity, right?

Context is key, so is the approach (a.k.a. Alex realized she knows how to English)

I try to police myself on Twitter these days, otherwise, it would swing between two huge subjects: current rage-inducing events and my hunt for the mythical beast, The Agent. It’s the introvert in me, not wanting to spiral into the extreme. It does mean I’m turning to my good old coping mechanism: The Distraction.

On Twitter, it’s all the funny stuff (and puppies). The Agent Hunt (yes, I’m capitalizing that, what you gonna do about that?) is a little harder because it requires my action. Which means the distraction has to be equally active and engaging.

Result?

I decided to start on a new writing project. Something shiny to keep me occupied. A perfect solution really, especially with NaNoWriMo coming up, as it promises to keep me busy until it’s time for Christmas. (Side note: in a twisted kind of blessing work has been keeping me super busy as well, but that wasn’t intentional on my part, so I don’t think it counts).

The new project is a sequel to my previous NaNo story, a supernatural YA story about a bisexual witch. It’s fun and though the story is a bit intense, is has low stakes attached to it, as it’s different than what I usually go for. It’s the perfect distraction. It does require me to read the first book in the series though, which (FINALLY) brings me to the point.

That book I have to read? It’s a first draft. It’s a first draft written during NaNo. So it goes without saying that it’s horrible. The number of typos, placeholder words (where I couldn’t remember the word in English and so I wrote it in Polish instead) and in one cringe-inducing moment, a POV change – it would drive anyone insane.

But what I also realized: It’s good! It’s fun!

It was the kind of epiphany I needed. After spending ages on The Novel I’m currently shopping around, I was doubting myself. There were moments I almost convinced myself I don’t know how to English. After 4 rounds of edits, I was exhausted and nothing I’ve ever written seemed good enough. So reading something fresh that reminded me I love writing and I’m actually not bad at it? The perfect way to get my energy levels up, get my stress under control and my enthusiasm up. Perfect timing, really.

Now, don’t get me wrong. When I start editing that NaNo draft, I will no longer be impressed with myself (editing does that to a person), but for now, I’m gonna enjoy the high.

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