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POINT OF VIEW: Driftwood, or the Art of Writing a Sequel

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I just embarked on a new first for me – writing a sequel.

My novel Skythane came out in February, and the next one, Lander, is due out in February 2018. So I’m working through the new one now. And man, it’s hard! LOL…

The Netflix effect has been in evidence now for a couple years in series fiction – the idea that the author should have the whole series ready to go when the first book launches, so they can release them quickly, one after another, to allow people to binge read the series and not have to wait too long for the next book.

As a writer, I hate this idea.

It works for Netflix because they’re a multi-million dollar company, and they bring in a stable of writers, actors, producers, gaffers, caterers and the like to the party to make these binge series happen.

Individual writers don’t have those resources. We sit alone in front of our laptops, writing day in and day out, using any little scrap of time we can scrounge from the EDJ and our ongoing responsibilities.

What if you spend two long years writing three books in a series, and the first one flops?

And yet…

Now that Skythane is out in the public domain, I am locked in to what I wrote in that book. That’s okay – I’m the one that wrote it, after all. But I can’t go back and erase inconvenient bits that don’t fit the direction I want to go in for book two. I don’t have a blank slate to work with; instead I’m looking at a gnarled piece of wood and trying to figure out how to make it into a beautiful piece of sculpture.

It would be so much easier if I’d written all three of those damned books at once. *grin*

Writing a series (and making it work) is a special kind of craft. I have faith that I can do it. I’ll find Lander’s story path, following my outline and folding in all the little bits from Skythane so they all make sense.

But that Netflix thing is looking pretty enticing, just about now.

How do you feel as a writer about using the Netflix model vs. going it book by book? And as a reader? Do you mind waiting for the next book in a series you love?

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1 thought on “POINT OF VIEW: Driftwood, or the Art of Writing a Sequel”

  1. Great post! 🙂

    As a reader I hate waiting for the next book in a series I love. I’m far too impatient for that, and I often lose interest. For example: I read and loved Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth in 2012 when Insurgent was released. I was so irritated that it ended with a cliffhanger and that I had to wait an entire year for the next book. I bought Allegiant when it was released in 2013, but to this day I still haven’t read it. By then I’d lost interest. So from that perspective, maybe the Netflix method is the way to go?

    As a writer I plan on staying away from series. Maybe I’ll write something loosely connected (like a group of friends or something equivalent), but never two books about the same couple. And never ever a cliffhanger (I hate them!). That’s a solemn vow 😀

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