On writing sequels in your book series

I did it. Well, almost. 

I’m nearly finished with the final edits to my first novel, Awakening. It’s book one in a new adult romance series set hundreds of years in the future and filled with passion, tension and political intrigue. It was a labour of love that, from concept to publication, will have taken about six months to create.

In these final weeks, I figured I’d want to take some time to focus solely on how best to promote Awakening, but those character voices in my head keep on talking, so I decided to keep on writing as well. 

In a series, you think ‘OK, I’ve already done the hard work up front in book one; set the stage, established the characters and got the wheels in motion for the plot to take flight.’ And you have. The challenge in a sequel is how much to remind your readers about what happened in book one without boring them with these details in book two. Do I have to reintroduce all the character quirks and motivations? Do I need to describe the world I’ve created to the same extent? Where do you start? 

After doing a bit of research, it became clear that I had to get out of my head a bit. Step back and approach the sequel as a separate work from its predecessor and one that has a life of its own. While it should build on the characters and story in book one, a sequel should feel connected, but not tethered to its past. I had the realization that I should simply use book one as my highly detailed backstory for book two and pepper exposition throughout the novel as I would any stand-alone book. 

I’m looking forward to showing you how it all works out…But first, I have to finish those edits to Awakening

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