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Book One is complete and off to the publisher, and you are looking at the notes for Books Two and Three. Well, the ideas you wrote off to the side as Book One metastasized into a full manuscript over the last year. If the publisher who asked to see the first three chapters really, really likes the book and requests a sequel, you want to be ready (thank goodness you attended that convention and got her business card).
Jenny Bravo ran into the sequel question after completing her first book, These are the Moments. Unlike you, she was even more behind the eight ball because she never even considered doing a second book until the fans of the first book asked for more. She shares “Ten Crazy Realities About Writing a Sequel” from her experience.
As an editor I highly recommend following the advice under #3.
“3. You have to remember things that you don’t.
Details, my friend, Details are the clincher.”
After taking a break, reread your original book. Look for the hooks and hints of what to expect in future books you gave yourself without knowing you had done so. That gift the werewolf ex-boyfriend had sent which bounced out of the trash can never did get picked up. The bartender who carefully listened to the main character’s sob story wasn’t what she seemed; the question is friend or foe? A throw-away line in backstory becomes the plotline for Book Two.
Other advice about how your options are both amazingly broad and equally restrictive, needing to respect the readers, and enjoying working in an already created world can be found here: http://jennybravobooks.com/blog/writing-a-sequel.
WRITING EXERCISE: Look over one of your completed works (flash, short, or novel) and find a throw-away line or action which can create a primary or secondary plot line in another story. Would the same main character be used or is a different point-of-view (POV) character needed? Write five sentences fleshing out the basics of the plot line.
READING EXERCISE: Pull from your completed reading pile (you know, the shorter pile beside the to-be-read pile) a Book One and Book Two. Review Book One to see how it fed into Book Two. What are the hints and hooks placed in the first book? Think about each one: did the writer set the hook deliberately or was it organic?