Sequally Troublesome

Writing my first book was on the whole an enjoyable experience. I don’t think writing professionally would be something worth pursuing if I didn’t get some enjoyment out of writing. To be able to put down the characters in my head was at times great fun. This is not to say it was without it’s problems.

It came with tremendous anxiety when it came time to publishing and afterwards I have lived with constant self doubt that what I’ve put out there is pretty crappy. But I think I’m doing a fairly good job of dealing with it.

Now though work has begun on the sequel and it’s equally troublesome. There’s a continuation of self doubt, yipee! But it does come with new dilemma for me work through, one that’s less psychological and more creative process driven.

Do you assume your reader has read the first book?

I had always quite liked the idea of creating individually readable books that revealed more if you had read more of the books. I am almost certain that was entirely inspired by Terry Pratchett. But my own novels are a little bit different, where Pratchett focused on altering protagonists depending on the book, my protagonists remain the same. Pratchett’s novels where the stories of the Discworld, whereas mine are the stories of one particular group of people.

So clearly I have to carve my own path. But the question to which the answer currently evades me is, how much descriptive work do I do in the sequel?

When the characters are new it’s beneficial to describe them, when the environments are new it’s beneficial to describe them. But what about when there’s a chance your reader has met this character before? Or when your reader has mentally been to a location before? And therein lies my dilemma, meeting the middle ground between writing for a reader who has read the first book and writing for a reader has hasn’t.

But I aim to persevere and find a way.

S. Hansen

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