If you’ve finished your first book, you ought to be working on your sequel. Your second book is a fun, yet completely new challenge. Unlike the first story where you have a fresh slate, a sequel requires coming up with something totally new – but staying true to the original story.
Personally, I’m finding that the sequel is harder. There’s a fine balance between entertaining old readers, but keeping new readers informed. So today, we’re going to talk about how to weave your story into your sequel – without info dumping.
1. DO NOT info dump
Info dumping is the idea that you give all the information a reader needs in about two or three pages. Do not do this, do not do this. you’ll only bore readers to death, and there are several other ways to go about this.
2. Think About How You Remember Things
Filling readers in and summarizing what happened in book one can really be done in the narrative. One of my techniques is to remember specific incidents within the context of my character’s memory. For instance, if I give my character a piece of jewelry that has specific memories attached to it that meant something in book one, when she finds it in book two, I take the time to give a brief summary about that in book one.
Connor is still so much a mystery, and I wonder how much of the allure is just that and nothing else. Sure, I’ve heard agents talk about him before, the agents who were there when he deserted. All the women, Jess included, agree the man is fine. But Jess hates him a little for getting me caught up with Rossett.
Of course, I argue that I was working the case on the FBI side, not just on the other side. Rossett was going to find me, with or without Connor. Then again, she may hate him because working with Connor was the first time I questioned the FBI and decided to do my own thing. Some agents call him and his ex-girlfriend “rogue agents.” Chasing after this mysterious group sometimes feels like my own version of going rogue.
Here, Cassie is talking about a memory that prompted her to remember about Connor, a man who was very important in the first book.
In a sequel, you have to remind readers about book one, but how do you do that correctly? #amwriting Click To Tweet
3. Dialogue is a Great Way to Share Stories
When we talk, we tell stories. If you want to shake it up and share a bit from the first book that isn’t in the narrative, have your main character verbally tell the story.
I totally looked for a quote on this, but kind of gave up. I’m much more a “tell it in the narrative” girl.
4. It’s Okay to Cover it More Than Once
In a book, you have a lot of words. It’s okay to remind the reader of details from the past more than once. I’d say probably no more than three times in a manuscript, but make sure those reminders are memorable. Remember, you have to remind your readers of key events that happened a book ago.
Between book one, your sequel, and any other book your reader may have read in between, that’s a lot of words. The point of summarizing is to remind your readers enough so they can fully enjoy the book ahead.
Do you have any tips for weaving a story into your sequel?