Writing a Sequel That Works as a Standalone Novel

Award-winning author Carla Norton wrote her first crime fiction novel, The Edge of Normal, as a standalone book. She wasn't considering a sequel at the time, but did have an idea of how the story could continue. When Norton's publisher requested a second book, she was delighted to have the opportunity to continue the story of her main character, a recovering kidnap victim. Writing a sequel does come with its challenges, Norton says. A sequel has to written in a way that satisfies both new readers and readers that have read the first book. The trick is to find a balance between having enough backstory from the first book that you can make new readers feel like they are caught up, while not repeating too much from the first book and alienating your loyal readers. Most importantly, she says, is that each book in a series needs to work as a standalone novel.

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  • Yes, I understand what you are saying. There has to be a moment when you decide to write a sequel. I have had my readers ask me for the sequel. What happens to Judith they say?I know I have to write it, yet there is a fear of knowing Judith again. In a way I have let go of her she is no longer part of my life- she has gone. My novel was painful to write for many reasons, maybe that is why I am reluctant to write the sequel.

  • liked what you said  but mine is really bad. its a hang on  your seat kind of story. every where you turn your not sure who to trust.