Everyone probably expects me to tell you the benefits of writing sequels and their ridiculously easy marketability. For that, head elsewhere. For the horror of writing the sequel, head here (Love this article, by the way). I got something new and fresh. It’s about the funness of writing sequels. That’s right. I’m making words up as a flibble along.
When I set out to write The Unpeople, I designed it to NOT be a standalone. I knew where each of my three books had to go. Each had a different theme. Each already had titles (titles I am willing to negotiate, should I ever get published…but the final title must remain as I want). Though this is fun, it’s not what I’m blogging about today.
I’ve struggled to get Book Two up and running. There are two main reasons, I think.
First, there are no deadlines. I write my novels using NaNoWriMo. Without NaNo-nutters I can’t seem to keep my word count up.
Two, Book Two will be a huge experiment for me. I know what you’re thinking. Sequels need to be consistent with the original “success.” However, anyone reading The Unpeople will not hate me for what I’m doing. I’m experimenting with timelines and POV’s. But Dr. Collins remains one of the main characters. And, I think the feeling of the story remains. That said, some things have to change.
Book One is about national identity and how it’s not “the people” who choose identity. Instead, national/ethnic identity is built by political leaders. Also, democracies are not free from utter disregard for humanity.
Book Two goes a different route.
But the FUNNESS!!!
The funnest part of writing sequels is revisiting a scene from Book One. When another character in Book Two experiences a scene from another perspective and hears the same words uttered in Book One. It makes you feel kind of funny inside.
Part of you say, “Quoting your own book is cheating.” Another part of you says, “Wow, you’re doing what almost every other TV series does at some point.” How exciting!
In The Unpeople, a student comes to Dr. Collins and asks if she’s still going to teach the Sign Language seminar. That student waves Collins outside to a massive group of infected and affected alike. They applaud and Collins is floored. This is an important moment for Collins, and for everyone else in the community.
In Book Two (“Trail of Wretches”), another character comes back to this moment in his young life.
Perhaps it’s just me, but this weaving of two characters together over the span of two books is giggly fun. You might say, “Why don’t you just add the poor sap to Book One?” To which I say, “He’s already in Book One. But he is not important to the story in Book One. He is however, crucial to Book Two.”