How to Write a Sequel to a Short StoryWriting a sequel to a short story
There are 7 principles for powerful, succesful sequences
Editorial note: This is the first time that this paper has been published in Writer's Digest Magazin. However, how can you make sure you succeed in continuing? So why are there so few great episodes? Among the films Toy Story 2 and 3, The Dark Knight and Aliens are among the fewest. The Da Vinci Code was a great sequel to Angels & Demons (The Lost Symbol did not attract the same attention).
Please be aware that the next episode in a story is not necessarily the same as a sequel, as the overall plot of a story is usually designed in a first step. A sequel often starts authors from zero with a new, autonomous plot, often in reaction to readers' demands.
Conclusions can therefore be hard to draw. So how do you write a sequel without letting down the supporters of the album? Don't just go back to where the last story ended. One of the most evident places to start a sequel is the place where the preceding story ended. They liked the story and they think they want it to go on as it was.
Of course, the trouble is that the story is over. Though they don't know for sure, what they really want is for the reader and viewer to experience the same feeling as in the first story. The irony is that they can only sense as they did before if you, the author, give them something refreshing and different.
That is the actual challange to write a sequel. Obviously, it is the challenging part of any new projects - but it is particularly hard to write a sequel because the pressures are so great to do more of it. This first story is, after all, a tried-and-tested one. It is paradoxical: the more different your continuation is, the better your chances of succeed.
Some of the best episodes re-invent their personalities and the main story. The dissolving of pausing plot strands and sheets of characteristics from the first production is the least important part of a sequel. New storylines and new drawing sheets are what you want. When I framed The Order of the Poison Oak, the first sequel to my novel Geography Club, I began with a different attitude, selecting a sommer camps that felt different from the first time I read a schoolbook.
Another framework for the story is a good beginning - but it's not enough. There is a great trend in continuations to give us as much as possible of it. That is, restore the initial action - but on a larger-scale. That can give history the delusion of being "different".
Godfather Part II, for example, still tells the story of Michael Corleone's descend from father of a father to a coldhearted beast, but also daringly tells the story of Vito Corleone backwards, making him a case for the downsides of US imperialism. Sometimes "bigger is better" works, as in The Hobbit's sequel, The Lord of the Rings (originally composed as a separate volume).
Here too, however, writer J.R.R. Tolkien expands his sphere of influence enormously to take into account the destiny of all of Middle-earth; he also brings his attention nearer by concentrating on the close relation between Frodo and Sam. Hobbit is the story of a person who discovers an unpredictable ability, but the Lord of the Rings is about another person who realizes that no one can be successful alone.
Humans come to continuations of loved works with much luggage - specifically, expectation. Overcoming the associated frightening is a great way for the author to confuse these hopes. Add at least one great new personality. Get ready to record at least one very catchy new main character: someone who is different from all the other personalities we've known.
Attempt to make this person as different as possible from your primary heroe. It' almost guaranteed the story to be fresher. The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, another continuation of the Geography Club, is Vernie Rose: a very self-confident, very bossy 72-year-old girl. Since almost all the protagonists were teens or 20 year-olds by then, she couldn't help but turn things around.
Don't be scared to let go of your loved one. Yes, reader and audience are attracted by the character to a sequel. Keep only those character in your sequel that have an important plotter feature in front of and in the middle. While it is important, at the danger of disagreeing with my previous counsel, that a sequel confuses things, it is also important to recall what made them like the game first.
It' one thing to change the bets, even change the game. It' difficult to think of a sequel to a spooky story as a romance film. Look at what it was about the first work that made it so succesful that it is worthwhile of a sequel to begin with.
Exactly what did everyone experience and why? Figures? Attempt to locate exactly where the spell occurred and make a point to honor it in your sequel. The writer of many popular episodes, Brent Hartinger (brenthartinger.com) is his latest novel, Three Truths and a lie, a sinister and independent YA mystery.
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