1. The sequel should be fatter.
Seriously. I don’t want to buy a sequel to find the book is smaller and thinner than the first. For some reason, I feel wronged. If a reader liked your book enough to buy the second that means they like you! And your writing. So make it fatter – with substance of course.
DEMON GLASS, the sequel to Hex Hall, was definitely fatter. Yay!
2. Introduce a new setting or change up the setting.
I might love your first book, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it again in the sequel. (Unless it’s awesome like Hogwarts. But let’s not pretend we’re J.K. Rowling.) Follow the writing advice to surprise your reader with the unexpected. But a word of warning: the setting has to be just as awesome or more awesome than the setting in the first.
In DEMON GLASS, Sophie moves to London. Can you say awesome? A private boarding school for wayward paranormals was pretty cool. But London? Way cooler.
3. Introduce new characters.
Okay, I do want some familiar characters, like a best friend or a love interest. But, yeah, I mostly want a new and more interesting cast that outshines the first. Characters I loved from the first book will become a little old and boring in the sequel.
In DEMON GLASS, Sophie’s best friend goes to London too. And of course, Archer, the love interest is there. But we get to meet her dad! Who was an incredible character with lots of mystery. And we meet two new peers who leave us wondering if they are good or bad.
4. A new villain/antagonist is a must! And a new story conflict.
I’m sorry, but if the villain from your first book makes a comeback in the second novel, or was never really vanquished in the first – that’s just kinda lame. I don’t mean to be harsh. But you want your sequel to propel you onto the bestseller list, not leave your readers doubting you. (Please no pointing out Voldemort. J.K. had a more prominent and different antagonist in every book.)
And DEMON GLASS succeeds in this area too. That’s all I’m going to say.
5. Go bigger. Bigger stakes. Bigger external and internal conflict.
Just like stakes rise in a novel, so stakes must rise in a trilogy. Each book should have a bigger impact than the first. Seeds of backstory, plot threads, and any foreshadowing from the first book should blossom in the sequel.
What can I say about this sequel? The last third of the book was incredible. Everything went bigger. External plot. Internal character arc. The stakes. The love story. The father-daughter relationship. Sacrifices made. You’ve got to read it. Here’s an example from the book, of Sophie’s thoughts on Archer: ‘…everyone I knew wanted to kill him, and everyone he knew wanted to kill me.’
So, if you want to know how to write a sequel that rocks and will draw more fans and possibly send you to the bestseller list? Well, than you can guess my advice. (Read DEMON GLASS)
Have you read any good sequels? Share. What else is a must for you in a sequel? Or do you totally disagree with me?