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First Drafts: The Dreaded Sequel

Sequels are hard, ya’ll.

I know… I know… All books come with their own challenges.

But.

Writing Defy the Sun was a whole different bear. I’d heard the horror stories; the purgatory other authors had fallen into while writing series sequels. I was not going to let that happen! I did the research. I read the articles. I made notes! I was prepared!


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Or so I naively thought.

You see, as prepared as I tried to be, nothing could have equipped me for how Book 1, Beware the Night, completely morphed into a new story during revisions. At the end of the day, while I love how much Book 1 evolved, I was left with virtually nothing of what I originally thought would be Book 2.

So, I was indeed starting at square one.

Long story short: Two editors, four outlines, two chapter-by-chapter summaries, a couple editor Skype sessions, and copious amounts of coffee and chocolate later, I was ready to draft. And I soon found out, outlining had been the "easy" part. Drafting was no picnic.

Drafting a sequel is a precarious balancing act.

  • You need to include backstory. Remind your reader of the world and characters and what went down in Book 1—but not so much that it’s overwhelming or boring or slows the pace to a screeching halt.
  • A sequel should keep the general atmosphere and tone of Book 1—but at the same time, feel like a whole new story.
  • When writing a sequel, introducing new characters and new locations is great at keeping the reader interested—but don’t bog down or overshadow your original story or premise with new, shiny things.
  • Not to mention: PRESSURE! What if the sequel isn’t what readers want or expect? What if I let my readers down? The self-doubt was real and obnoxiously loud.

You get where I’m going: it was often hard to see the forest from the trees while drafting this ‘lil sequel of mine. And on a six-week deadline, no less (Remember all of that outlining? It took a good minute or two.)!


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But… I did it. I finished drafting the story in six weeks. Silver lining? In comparison to Beware the Night, revisions were a cinch! :bows down to the editing gods:

And, guess what? I LOVE IT. I’m so proud of this story and how everything came together in the end and I cannot wait for you all to read the conclusion to Veda’s story.

Defy the Sun goes on sale March 10! Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Author spotlight

Jessika Fleck

Jessika Fleck is a writer, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter—she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do …

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