It never fails. There’s a great story out there, everybody likes it, and then comes the sequel. We all feel obligated to read/see the sequel because we liked the first one, and more often than not, we’re disappointed.
And yet, we writers are just as prone as anyone else to venture into sequel territory. It’s inevitable when we’ve gotten to know our characters and world so well. We want to go back there and see how everyone is doing. But how do we avoid the yawn-inducing sequels that we despise?
I have a few things to consider before starting the sequel. These should help us make sure it’s a good one.
Were you planning on it from the start?
If your story is one of a planned series, you’re very much all set. Your sequel isn’t the product of wishing to go back to a world you left. Rather, it’s a premeditated act of sequelness. Pick up where you left off in the previous installment and get to it. Seriously. You have people waiting for this one. Continue reading 3 Signs of a Good Sequel
In my book Finding the Core of Your Story, I talk about how to write a logline for a series. I note that there are a couple different kinds of series. One is “Continuing Adventures” and the other is “Serial.” The first is the idea of episodic installments, where you could pick up anywhere and understand what’s happening. The second is a series where each installment builds on the last, creating an overarching story.
Soon after my book was released, I received this question from Katie Daniels:
You say there are two kinds of series – serial series and continuing adventures. But what about series that are both? Actually, this being the 21st century and all, most continuing adventure shows also have an overall arc. Often times the first season will be all standalones, but the more sure a show gets about it’s viewership the more they’ll bring in longer storylines, and oftentimes they turn into a serial series. Should these simply be considered a Serial series? But what if they’re still standalones?
My answer turned out to be instructive, so I thought I’d share. Continue reading When Series Types Overlap