Writing Saturday; Sequels Part 3

3:00 AM

Old and New Friends
In the pages of a sequel you will meet old friends and new ones.  Some of your characters will return for book two, while others will not, and still others will appear for the first time. Today we are going to explore the work of secondary characters and how they work in sequels.

Some more change
Likely as not some of the secondary characters will return for book two. However, like your main character, they have changed.  The first book and its story affected them just as much as your main character, we just didn’t follow them.  It is important to show that change in them to give an authentic feel to the book.
Let us go back to the story about the boy who played with matches and ended up burning his family home down in book one and in book two he developed a paralyzing fear of fire.  One of the secondary characters that is in both books is his father.  Let us say that boy’s father was frustrated with his son in the first book, but in the end, he forgives him.  In the second book, we should see that not only the father-son relationship has been restored but he is trying to help his son overcome his fears.

With that said, don’t forget that things from the past can make an appearance.  The boy’s father might still have a moment every once in a while that he struggles with forgiveness.  His frustration might show from time to time, especially when things lost are remembered.

When you leap, where do you land?
What if you take a big jump?  What if you skip months or even years?  How do you show major changes within your secondary characters without spending too much time on them? In the last book of the Destiny trilogy, it opens three years after book two.  The opening scene is a Christmas party in which all the main characters from book two are guests.  This gave them the perfect setting to reminisce and to show the readers how they have changed.  If your sequel skips ahead, make sure you have a good setting to show the change.

New friends
Most likely, you are going to introduce some new characters in your sequel.  One of the things you should think about is not only how they interact with your main character but also with your secondary characters.  For instance, if you introduce a strong-willed man, what effect will that have on the pliable child? Will the beautiful girl and the plain one get along, or will the plain girl be jealous.  Exploring the interaction between existing characters and new ones can make your book so much better.

Join me next week for the last in our series on Sequels; Things to watch out for

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  1. Wonderful post Sarah! I'm still stumped as to what to do with my last book in the series. I have NO clue what to do with my characters! :?