Sunday, September 23, 2007

Continuing the Story

This is highly presumptuous of me, considering STW hasn't yet been submitted, let alone sold. And I'm not egotistical or clueless enough to be completely certain this will happen.

But what do you do when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning, strangely wired and unable to go back to sleep?

You wander the house. You make coffee. If you're a smoker, you smoke. If you're a TV watcher you might surf the channels (I'm not, and I didn't). You might blog, which of course I did. Then I sat outside and watched vapor rise off the grass as the sun slowly rose through the trees...

And then I went back inside and started a sequel.

Nothing may ever come of it, but I'm pleased with what I have so far. There are so many more directions in which Shawna could take me, or I her. Or maybe we can simply embark on a journey together.

The thing about sequels is, it's like reconnecting with old friends. You know their thoughts and desires, their likes and dislikes, their secret passions, flaws, insecurities, you know their whole freaking history. All you have to do is string the sentences together, add more goals, more conflicts, more situations, more ideas. This could prove an insurmountable task, or it could turn out to be surprisingly easy. Or somewhere in between.

I've toyed with the idea of sequel for Before/After many times. Readers have given me several reasons for this: 1. they felt the story needed more "closure" in regard to Martha's relationships with several people she loved, and 2. they genuinely want to know "what happened to her next." I've been reluctant to take her any further because life doesn't always have "closure" and I believe the end of the story makes people think. I'm happy with that.

Shawna, on the other hand...

I'm not going to make a firm decision until I find out if this novel will be published. This might not happen for quite a while. Obviously, it needs editing; no first submission is "perfect." I'm happy with that, too. To me, editing is by far more exciting than writing the first versions. It's amazing to watch the story comes together in way you never expected, to tweak and polish, to cut out worthless scenes that add nothing to the story, to add brand new scenes that draw the rest of it together. To sit back and say wow! To feel that incredible sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing you've created this world, these characters, and yeah--this works!

So for now I'm merely messing around. But the possibilities are there,. So is the excitement. :)

This doesn't apply to those of you who are writing or have already written trilogies, but how many of you are planning a sequel? How far do you think you can take your characters?

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