Prequel? Sequel? New Story?

So, do you write a prequel, a sequel, or a new story?  How do you decide?

I’ve read many books by authors that write stories then go back and write stories that tell the history that happened before the story they just told.  Sometimes I like to read these and sometimes I don’t.  I guess it depends on how much I fall in love with their world.

Sometimes I enjoy reading sequels, if the books are not cliffhangers and I don’t have to wait six months to two years to read the next episode.  BUT, I don’t really like the story to go on forever without any discernible ending.  For example, I started reading the Wheel of Time series and really enjoyed the first five or so books, then I became tired of the never-ending story and stopped reading them.  I would ask my son (who continued reading them) when each book came out if it was the last.  Nope.  No chance.  When I found out the series was finally coming to an end, I bought the last couple of books and put them on a shelf to wait for the last one.  When that one comes out, I’ll re-read them all.  Until then, I won’t bother.

I enjoy new stories set in the same world, universe, or with the same characters more than a never-ending continuation of one long story.  I also enjoy totally new stories.  One of my favorite writers was Andre Norton.  Her books were all stand-alone, but she did several books with the same characters or the same world.

My novel,  A Singular Gift, started as a stand-alone novel.  After writing it, I had some requests for more stories about my main characters, Jean and Wayne.  So, A Singular Chance came to be.  Another suggestion came that I write a prequel to the Singular Series.  I am working now on A Singular Inheritance, which will not be a full novel, but a long short story. This story goes back to Celtic Ireland.  I plan to make it for free on Smashwords and for .99 cents on Amazon.  The charge on Amazon is only because they won’t let authors put books for free.  However, if they get enough comments that the book is available elsewhere for free, then they will lower the price to match the lower price elsewhere.  Kinda convoluted, don’t you think?  Anyway, when I get it finished, I’ll ask friends to help me make it free on Amazon.  Next in line to work on is A Singular World, which will finish up Jean and Wayne’s stories.  Then, I have about three books in some way related to things that happen in the Singular Series, but with different characters.  AND about five or six stand-alone (at least for now!) book ideas are waiting in the wings.

So, prequel, sequel, or new story?  I’m winding up doing all three!  How about you?



Filed under About writing

6 responses to “Prequel? Sequel? New Story?

  1. I like it best when each book in the series can stand alone:) I always think that if you have enough ideas for a story then write it and only write the sequels because you also have enough of new ideas, not because people want them but because the ideas come the same way that they did for the first one:) Sounds like you have a ton of great ideas! Happy writing!!

    • Sue

      I like it best when each book in the series can stand alone:)

      Actually, I do to, even though I do sometimes read continuing stories, such as The Lord of the Rings. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Scott Marlowe, another Magic Appreciation Tour author just blogged on a similar topic, but from the perspective of someone deliberately writing a series. I’m in the same situation as he is. I started with the intention of writing a trilogy, although each book will stand alone in terms of a major plot line that gets resolved. The main character will have a primary challenge in each book, but the challenges build on each other to complete an over-arching plot line.

    However, I see nothing wrong with the approach you took. Some readers prefer each book to stand completely alone, even if you have other books set in the same story world. Some readers won’t even read a true series unless they can acquire all of the books in that series. Some writers recommend that you actually write *all* of the books of a series before you release any of them!

    I don’t think there’s a “right” way to do this. We write what feels right and hope we find readers who appreciate what we’ve done. Anything more is gravy.

    • Sue

      I don’t think there’s a “right” way to do this. We write what feels right and hope we find readers who appreciate what we’ve done. Anything more is gravy.

      I totally agree!

  3. I rarely like prequels because too often the story feels forced. But it’s like anything, when it’s done well, it works. I have three sequels planned for my novel, then I’ll move on to other worlds.

    • Sue

      But it’s like anything, when it’s done well, it works.

      I’ve seen some writers do another whole series with prequels!! Thanks for the comment.

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