Monday, July 25, 2005

Sequels

I've been thinking about the topic of sequels lately. Book sequels.

I get asked a lot during readings, "Fred, are you going to do a sequel?" It's probably the next most common question after the typical, "Are these characters based on you/your friends?"

Anyway, my take on sequels is this... I don't write a project with the intention of writing a sequel or continuation. To me, a project, novel, movie, etc... should be complete and self-contained within itself. The story should resolve and have a beginning, middle, and end. I think it's only fair for the consumer for a book to be complete and not with a deliberate cliff hanger.

Now, I know several writers who have made their careers out of writing books on the same character(s). Their fans and readers love to follow the lives of those characters. That's cool. I have no problem with that. In fact, when I share my opinion on writing sequels, many audience members say they love them and want to check in every now and then with the characters... to see what they're doing now. They say they want me to write more about the Down For Whatever boys -- Keith, Marco, Rafael, and Tommie. That's nice to hear how much readers like sequels. I guess it means they relate or like the people you've created as a writer.

In fact, I follow(ed) a few writers' series and enjoy them. As a teen, I loved the VC Andrews books... that whole Flowers in the Attic series. Some series just turn the characters into caricatures... and campy soap opera books. Sometimes that's fun. But I wonder if the creative process is fun. Don't know...

For me, as a writer, it would get... I'm not sure if boring is the word, or feeling stuck in a creative rut-- not sure... if I were to write about the same characters over and over and having to think of new predicaments to put them in. I'd just as soon go get a job writing for Young & The Restless, which is a never-ending story... and would actually be a DREAM job. But that's daytime drama, not novels. I love the idea of pushing myself to create new settings, characters, and types of novels. My first few may end up being similar in genre, but I aspire to write many types of novels... even something a little more literary and complicated.

Now I'll probably end up eating crow in a few years, when/if there's a time when consumer or publisher demand says... write more about the Down For Whatever boys. So when/if that time comes, please don't say Fred was talking smack about sequels and now he's writing one.

Writers... readers... what's your take?
fs

3 comments:

Rashid @ Old Gold Soul said...

I posted my response in my blog....I agree with you in some ways, but disagree in others. Basically, I'm not against sequels, but I am against leaning on them as a crutch.

fratman1906 said...

When the vision is completed, move on to other projects. Sequels for profits are soon discovered by savvy readers. On the otherhand, if there are several stories that need to be told, then that is preferable to writing a "War and Peace" novel - LOL. Shem hotep.

T. Zac. R. R. said...

I like some sequels but I prefer fresh new work. I like your comparision to writing for the Young & The Restless. That is what I really don't like about American soap operas. The never ending story, eventually it gets tired. The new seasons of Spanish Language Novellas are much more interesting. While I admit I'd love to find out what else happens to the guys in Down For Whatever, a book with a new cast of characters is more appealing. Though cameos are always cool.