23 April 2016


**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

“So once we find someone who plays bass we could actually start playing.” 
“Make sure he’s cute.” 

Finding a quote for today's post was rather difficult. When I first wrote Uneven Lines, I had zero intention of writing any sequels. It was always a stand alone book in my mind. Consequently, there aren't really any lines in it that hint at a sequel. The line about finding a bass player for Jordan and Eric's band was just supposed to be a joke. I had no idea that person would a) eventually exist, b) actually be a love interest for Jordan, or c) turn out to be a "certified cutie" (possible Book 2 description). Or that he would bother me relentlessly about the sequels when they weren't even supposed to exist in the first place!

But let's rewind. At what point to you decide to write a sequel to a story? I guess it's probably different for every writer, for every story, even. You may know a particular story needs to be a trilogy before you even begin writing it. For me, that was never the case. I just came up with a story and I wrote it. It was never supposed to be anything else. But then the main character decided to attach himself to my brain. I started thinking about what would happen to him after the story ended. It wasn't always terribly interesting; most of these brainstorms were just for fun. But eventually an idea for a second book started to form in my mind. I was considering things that I never thought I would when I was writing the first book, characters whose existence was never even mentioned, but would actually be so important in Jordan's life. So I had Book 2. Well, an idea, at least.

My hesitation for writing Book 2 was mostly based on the fact that I had no idea when or if this series would end. Should I just keep writing Jordan's stories for the rest of my life? Or was there a place to cut it off? I didn't want to start Book 2 without some sort of endgame in mind. And at the very least, I knew UL could stand on its own without any sequels.

But then suddenly I had an idea for Book 3 , and I totally blame Adam, the aforementioned cute bass player. He's the one who threw the ideas at me and they stuck. Which, interestingly enough, is exactly what Jordan did to me with the first book. My characters tend to control things more than I do. The thing about Book 3, though, is that it would completely tie up the series. Instead of having no end in mind, suddenly I had a trilogy. It seemed perfect and yet daunting at the same time.

I worry about how people will react to the sequels. If they think the first book is good, will they think the sequels are as good? I certainly think the sequels will have a different tone than the first book. Jordan is fifteen in UL, but he'll be twenty in Book 2 and twenty-two in Book 3. I think Book 2 goes to some very dark places, whereas Book 3 does the opposite, there's a lot of happy fluffiness. Do all these books actually fit together? Will anyone even care to read them? Will they wish I had just left the first book alone?

I can't really worry about the sequels too much without getting the first book done. I know I want to write these books for me, and I will. I know I want to publish UL, but I'm not so sure about the sequels yet. I guess I'll have to write them first and see how they turn out.

Should I write the sequels to Uneven Lines? When do you decide to write sequels to your stories?


  1. Why not write the sequels? Just because you write a story doesn't necessarily mean you have to publish it, if it turns out you're ultimately not happy with it or whatever. Or, you might really surprise yourself. You won't know until you do it.

    I decide to write sequels when the story tells me it should have one. Maybe no one will want to read them, but I'll write them anyway.

  2. I suppose as long as the characters are in need of more story, I'd write the next book. I didn't decide to write a sequel to my middle grade story until some kids wrote and asked for more of the adventure. I don't think that's a good way to decide. If I had it to do again, I'd plan that second book while writing the first. It would be easier to keep the continuity. As it was I had to read that darned first book again! Good luck.

  3. I think it's BEST if you know when you're writing book one if it's going to continue. Even BETTER to know where your characters are going and who they actually are. The example that comes into my mind is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. She had many of the characters firmly fixed in her mind for the first book. Yet, my favorite character, Ranger, was a very minor character in the first book. Clearly, Janet didn't know when she wrote it that he would become a major player in future novels. Consequently, his personality is markedly different in book one than the rest (because she didn't have a real clear bead on him when she wrote book one). Has that detracted from the success of the series? No. In point of fact, to me, it's a bit of insight into the writer's mind. We often don't know our characters until we do.

  4. Never read more than one book of a particular series due to time constraint though I wish to read all in one go.. sadly it never happens..

    Talk to me once more - The Solitary Writer

  5. I think it's proven that readers like series. Go for it.

    Susan Says

  6. If i love the first book, i will definitely buy a second book in the series. :)
    Joy @ The Joyous Living

  7. I didn't expect my series to become a series, but when I neared the end, it clearly was. If the stories are there, I say: write them! As soon as you feel like you're reaching to squeeze more story out of your characters and world, then it's time to move on.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  8. I'm not a big fan of writing sequels for my own work... It feels like cheating, somehow :) Did I or didn't I tell the whole story in that one go? And if I didn't, then it shouldn't have been "finished", should it? But that's just me :) Like Samantha said above, if the stories are there, write 'em.

    Happy A2Z day off tomorrow—and kudos for staying on track with the Challenge!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs (and member of co-host Damyanti's team, D's Company )

  9. I never planned to write a series for any of my books. And I didn't, for a while, even though people hinted that they'd like to know more about a certain character or similar things. Then a funny thing happened. One of my characters sort of talked me into writing a sequel of her story. So, I did. I'm now editing it for the publisher. Then an idea popped into my head for another story. My crit group is reading it chapter by chapter. It's not finished yet. No more sequels. But this character has a story inside him, and ... No series though. Just a sequel. Great post.

  10. I'm not all that into trilogies (except of course for a rather famous one!) and as for writing a trilogy, I wouldn't know where to begin. I like series, where I can pick up any book and have a separate story that isn't necessarily connected to the others, though the characters may be the same, but not always, like the Discworld books.

  11. I'll often pitch something as a series if I plan for it to be one. At that point I have to do an outline for the second and third books. I've found that often I'm told "We want to see how the first book does" before they'll commit to a second one and because it takes so long to get a book to shelves, that's just too much time, especially since I write for young audiences that age out of their genre so quickly.

  12. I am nowhere near qualified enough to give you any advice here. However... if you have the ideas and you have the time to expand upon those ideas, GO FOR IT.

    My work in progress I see as a series. I have at least four books planned - easily more. But at this point, who knows if the first book is even viable for publication. *sigh....

  13. Sure you must move with the sequel.. All the best.

    Here are my takes with T
    Teej (Festivals of India)
    Tears Deceitful (Poetry)
    Do spare some time.

  14. I think sometimes the characters themselves will let you know if you should write a sequel. If the ideas are there and you are enjoying spending time with the characters then go for it and see what happens.

  15. I think if there's a story left to tell, you should write it. If the character isn't completely done, or it has more points to get across, go for it.

  16. I'd say write the sequels. The first book can stand alone and of the series I've read, first books usually do. I think it's like a safe guard if the series doesn't take off by publishers. If the book doesn't sell well then at least the story arc is finished.

  17. I think about sequels from time to time, but I keep getting bogged down in other projects, that they aren't even on the horizon yet. But I do know that reoccurring characters are a great thing if you find an audience for the first book.