It surprises people sometimes to hear that I’m not diving instantly into writing the sequel to Salvaged. I’ve outlined Quarantined, I know what happens, but I haven’t written more than a few scribbled notes on it.
Why not write the sequel?
Salvaged has had a few nibbles. It may be the book that gets me an agent. It may not be the book that I sell to a publisher. (FYI, this aligns with advice I got from an agent at a conference.)
If it’s not the book that gets me an agent, or gets me published, then all of the work of writing the sequel would be time and energy I could spend on other pieces.
I have lots of worlds in my head, and though I love that world, and could tell a million stories from it, I also need to honor some of the others for a while.
Why some writers write sequels right away:
If you’re self-publishing and not trying for a traditional publishing route, then writing the sequel right away makes good business sense. If readers enjoy book one, you want to have book two on the shelf to sell them immediately while they’re still excited.
It can be easier – keeping up momentum, holding the world in your head without a break. These things can be easier for sequel writing. This is the reason I am most tempted to try to fiddle with it.
I know one writer who wrote her sequel immediately because she felt like she had to prove to herself that she could do the plot line justice that she set up in book one, or book one wouldn’t be marketable. Okay. Good reason.
There are plenty of valid reasons to type THE END at the bottom of one work and start hammering away at the next. I get it. They just aren’t mine.
What I’m doing instead:
I’ve been toying with a collaboration on a film script for about 2 years, and that finally started getting serious this spring. I’m working on that – and all of the fun a collaboration entails – through the end of this month. There might be more work on this project later, but that will require funding.
I’m editing short stories and getting them beta-read so I can start submitting to magazines again.
I’m toying with the idea of jumping back into my comic book script, word-sprinting flash fiction and other short stories, considering writing a role-playing game, and fiddling with a lot of smaller one-off projects.
Frankly, I need the break.
My day job is taking up most of my brain space and energy, since I switched positions in April. I’m still climbing the learning curve. I don’t have the capacity for anything big right now.
However, aside from giving myself a bit of slack, it’s also the clear next step in the Become-A-Published-Author career plan. Though sending query letters aren’t exactly like sending a resume, it’s similar. And right now, I don’t have any work experience. Getting published “clips” – short stories in magazines – is one way to add experience to that application. I’d been working on it concurrently with Salvaged, now it’s my short-term focus.
I’ll probably gear up for another novel-length draft in November, and it will not be Quarantined unless Salvaged gets a lot of traction mighty quickly.