The seduction of the sequel…

I do love it when I discover an author with a back catalogue the length of my arm.  There is nothing more satisfying than coming to the end of a novel safe in the knowledge that I haven’t got to wait twelve months for the author to produce something new; I can just delve straight into more of his or her wares.

That said, there is one thing more satisfying; when that book is a sequel.

I’m not sure where my obsession for the sequel first began but I suspect it was Enid Blyton.  I was fascinated with the Far Away Tree series and the Naughtiest Girl collection.  So much that I had an imaginary friend called Katy who I went to imaginary boarding school with.  I feel it’s safe to say I developed my imagination at a very early age…

 

I loved the Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy, nothing compared to Harry Potter who I first discovered at 19 (when Rowling had only got as far as Prisoner of Azkaban and I did have to wait year upon year for a new edition!) and in my early twenties I discovered Rebecca Shaw’s Village collection only to find she had a Country collection too which kept me well entertained in the wee small hours of night time breastfeeding.

So, imagine my delight last year when I discovered M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.  Twenty-five cosy-crime novels about a retired PR executive, Agatha, who takes early retirement to the Cotswolds.  Perfect.  They are light humoured, contain intrigue, suspense and a romantic element too; I couldn’t ask for more.  And seeing as Beaton is also the creator of Hamish Macbeth, a nineties favourite TV programme before, it is a wonder I hadn’t discovered our Agatha before.

It’s got me thinking though; why do I love a sequel so much?  Why do I want to return to the same characters, the same setting time and time again and not discover new characters and new adventures?  I am a creature of habit and I do love familiarity so it is quite possible that this is why I want to return to the same place again, but I think it’s more than that.  I have always been one of those people who never wants a story to end.  After I finish a novel I am often left wondering what happens to the characters next?  Even when there’s a happy ending, my mind wanders to what the characters will go on to do.  Stay in the same setting or move away?  Have children? Get married or divorced? I think it’s fair to say I bond with some characters, I care about them and I want to know what they’re doing with their lives off the page, even when I’m not there.

Which brings me to my own writing.  I love the characters in my first novel, I crafted them, I developed them, I even plotted on a map where each one of them lives.  In my head they are already having adventures in a second novel but I just can’t get the first novel published.  I’ve had some really positive comments, it’s come runner-up in a competition, I’ve even had compliments about the characters.  It’s just the plot that doesn’t quite grip enough.  So what do I do?  Do I rewrite it (for a third time!) in the hope I get it ‘right’?  Or do I just write a sequel and see where that takes me?  Because that is the great thing about series of novels; you don’t necessarily have to read them in the order they were written.

IMG_3748 (2)
My imaginary village of Clunderton.

Answers on a postcard please.

Yours, confused of the Cotswolds.

Lx

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2 thoughts on “The seduction of the sequel…

  1. Blow something up. That usually works for me.

    No seriously, I always think the best plots come from characters. What do they want and why can’t they get it? Why are the consequences of them trying to get it? What could go wrong and how will they make it right again? At the risk of sounding like our dear friend Julie, why why why?

    Oh, and I love the map!

    Like

  2. Hmmm, you raise an interesting point; perhaps I can fix the plot issues in the first novel as the publishers all LOVE the characters, just the plot not so much. Thank you! X

    Like

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