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Return of the Sequel Part II (or, How do you write more?)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by lazykbys_left, Jan 3, 2006.

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  1. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2005
    In the past, I have received replies to one-post vigs - at least, I thought they were one-post vigs when I posted them - saying, "I look forward to seeing how this story continues." In a similar vein, I've been asked if there will be sequels.

    This tells me that a) I suck at writing endings and b) if I continue the fic, someone will read it. I don't have to tell you how much of an incentive the latter can be.

    My problem is that usually, when I finish writing a story, I'm finished with it. I'm fresh out of ideas on how to continue the darn thing. With the exception of the times when the readers' comments gave spontaneous birth to plot bunnies, I come up with nothing.

    So . . . how do you write more? How do you come up with new ideas that fit existing characters and situations?

    - lazy
     
  2. BrentusofGath

    BrentusofGath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2005
    I'm fresh out of ideas on how to continue the darn thing. With the exception of the times when the readers' comments gave spontaneous birth to plot bunnies, I come up with nothing.

    Not exactly a direct answer to your question Lazy, but if, (apart from the times you get more plot bunnies,) you truly can't come up with any new, why don't you turn it into a Round Robin? Or at least see if any of your readers is interested in that idea?

    I wouldn't know about that problem personally, I'm not that popular, it's just an idea that immediately popped into my head when I read the question. :)

    Hope that helps
     
  3. Eirate_rules

    Eirate_rules Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2005
    In the past, I have received replies to one-post vigs - at least, I thought they were one-post vigs when I posted them - saying, "I look forward to seeing how this story continues."

    Omg, same thing happened 2 me when I wrote my first fic. My one post viggie kept going and came out with a lame and predictible ending.
     
  4. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    My problem is that usually, when I finish writing a story, I'm finished with it. I'm fresh out of ideas on how to continue the darn thing. With the exception of the times when the readers' comments gave spontaneous birth to plot bunnies, I come up with nothing.

    Perhaps that is telling you that it's done. No matter how much your readers want, it's really up to you to continue the story or not. I got talked into continuing a story that I thought was over. My readers like it but I would have rather done other things.

    If you really think you need to continue the story, why don't you talk it over with your beta reader or else one of the readers that you trust and brainstorm a bit? Think about what the characters would do next. Were there side characters that were interesting and could be explored further? Get silly with the brainstorming, too. That can really help because the silliness might morph into something you can work with.

    But above all else, do what you want to do with the stories.
     
  5. RK_Striker_JK_5

    RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 2, 2003
    On occasion I bang my head against a wall. ;) Seriously, though. Usually, it only takes one reader saying 'more?' to get my mind working. I look at the fic from different angles and see what I haven't used before.

    If that doesn't work, then I look around my room at my anime or manga. They usually have ideas or angles that I haven't thought of yet.
     
  6. BrightFeather

    BrightFeather Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2005
    That's happened to me with one post wonders more times than I care to admit. Sometimes, depending on what kind of mood I'm in, :D it makes me want to rip my hair out and yell, "What part of 'The End' do you not understand?"

    The thing is, weather or not you continue it is, ultimately, your own choice. If you feel that it's the ending, then by all means, it's the ending. What I really hate is when you've finished even a longer story, your beta readers can't find anything wrong with it, and after tweaking and sweating and playing with it, you finally post... then after the last part is up, you get stuff like, "This has a vaguely unfinished feel to it. What happens next?" :rolleyes:

    BrightFeather
     
  7. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Sometimes a story is just a short thought, bound and wrapped neatly. Other times there are many parts to the package and you end up with sequels. I wouldn't feel discouraged if you don't have more to the story.
     
  8. Bale

    Bale Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2005
    This is a situation I have run into myself, and I have to agree with what Dianethx said.

    In deciding whether to write a sequel I think that the two key questions writers need to ask themselves are:

    1) Does the story lend itself to having a sequel?

    2) Is there a reason for writing a sequel other than simply having a sequel because your readers want one?
     
  9. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    May 25, 2004
    I tend to think on a larger scale. When I first wrote my fic [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Message.aspx?topic=15972420&brd=10475&start=16749204]The Jedi Wars - Struggle Of The Sith[/link], I left it open just in case I was going to do more afterwards. Personally I didn't think anyone would read it...let alone ask for sequels. But I was happy that it was well recieved and I could go ahead making the rest of the trilogy. And really, that's what you need to do if you want to make sequels, think of it as a movie that will go on with further sequels. When you write you story, see if you can break it up into three or more seperate stories. In essence the story will be one, but when you break it up, you can have as many sequels as you like.

    You have to be prepared as a fan fic writer or even just as a writer in general, for the eventuality that people will be drawn in to your work or enjoy your characters a lot. If you're not sure on how to shape the story further...then ask those that are giving you feedback. Remember they want to see the fic get made as much as you do and I'm sure will be very willing to guide you on what direction or plot points they'd like to see the characters go into next.

    I really don't have a problem writing sequels myself. I always think well ahead to the next story as I'm writing the current one. But hey, thats me.
     
  10. To_Mega_Therion

    To_Mega_Therion Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2005
    I think, for a lot of the time, the stroies that have good sequels need sequels to complete the over-arcing story. Look at the Matrix, it was a very good stand alone film ,and now it is a less than good trilogy. So, you really need to plan on writing sequels before you write the first to make it work properly, or maybe leave the ending with a cliffhanger and just go from there. Or, if all that fails, you could just do a seperate unrelated adventure with the same characters, but in the same style as the first and call it a "further adventures of" rather than a sequel. :)
     
  11. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    I've recently started the sequel for Burn!Burn!Burn! and quite honestly I had no intention of beginning it until later this spring--I was going to write the prequel first--THAT was the plan. However, I kept thinking about my characters and was attacked by a big scary plot bunny while visiting my parents. However, I did leave some intentional "holes" in the first story to provide bits and pieces for the sequel.

    As far as setting out to write a sequel or feeling compelled to write a sequel? Some stories don't need them, but some do. I leave it up to the story itself. It's sometimes best to just let a good story go--you don't want to hurt the original with a substandard sequel.

    With regard to looking for inspiration generally, when I'm stuck I dig out old National Geographics and look at pictures or play around on iTunes until I find something that makes me think. However, for a sequel inspiration should come from the original story itself--reread it and see if it captures you.
     
  12. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    May 25, 2004
    Personally I think it's a good sign if the readers are wanting more. It means they are ready to read more of your futher works and might tag along to see what else you create for them.
     
  13. Jaya Solo

    Jaya Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 12, 1999
    My muse makes me write more. :rolleyes: Or the characters do. Either way, I usually get bitten by a plot bunny, sometimes by my readers, sometimes by my padawans, sometimes just something that happens. But I'm probably more inclined to do sequels. Maybe it's just how I write or something.
     
  14. SilSolo

    SilSolo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2004
    That happens to my supposed 1-shots all the time.

    By the way, does anyone else find it interesting how SW fics tend to be incredibly long while the stuff for other 'verses, especially TV shows and cartoons, tend to be series of shorter fics?
     
  15. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    So . . . how do you write more? How do you come up with new ideas that fit existing characters and situations?


    I just get some really random ideas--usually near the end of a fic, I come up with an idea for a sequel. Sometimes I write it, sometimes I don't. It can be anything--just an idea while writing a post, or a comment by a reader.
     
  16. Eleventh_Guard

    Eleventh_Guard Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Requests for more don't necessarily mean that you wrote a bad ending. It could just be encouragement. And I have two stories at FFN that were marked as complete and labeled as one-shots, with one chapter each, and a couple people still put them on Story Alert, which emails them automatically when a new chapter is added but does nothing else. :confused:

    I only do sequels if I get particularly inspired to do so - not a continuation, but a separate story in its own right, one that is enriched by the previous story but can be read without it. That's happened, but not often, and I want to write a sequel to my sequel now, and complete a trilogy, but can't come up with anything more than later-era vignette ideas. Gonna give it some more time to germinate and if nothing happens, write the one-shots.
     
  17. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    So . . . how do you write more? How do you come up with new ideas that fit existing characters and situations?


    Well, I've ended up sort of like George Lucas--my idea is usually far to big to put into one story and it has to be broken up into several.
     
  18. unknown_shore

    unknown_shore Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2005
    I wouldn't say people asking for more makes you a bad ending writer. You might just have a bad case of good writing and compelling characters leading people to want more. ;)

    I'm not sure how much help I can offer; writing long stuff seems to be my lot in life. As for continuing things after an ending/one-shot - well, as long as the characters aren't all dead (and sometimes even if they are!) there's always more adventures they can have. At least, that's how I always look at it. I seem to write things in threes - whether it's one long story broken into parts or three actual standalones.

    As for getting new ideas... I listen to music a lot. Sometimes a lyric will stand out in my head for some reason and I'll write around that. I probably shouldn't admit to this but I have sometimes been inspired by episodes of TV shows (Buffy comes to mind) and made a little adventure of some sort stemming from it.

    Where is your character at the end of the vig? What does he do immediately after? Five years after? Did he get married, is he on the run? If you've already got existing characters and have trouble finding a plot, sometimes you can look at the characters themselves and go from there.

    With that said, though, if you feel your story is truly ended, then leave it be.
     
  19. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Hmm . . . interesting. You've certainly given me food for thought.

    Thanks for the advice, everyone! :)

    - lazy
     
  20. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2005
    I've had sequel requests for songfics. Honestly, I write WIP's exclusively, and sometimes get blocked for the next chappie of any of my works, and generally stink at writing endings. Last month, I wrote an angsty little one-poster over in 'Saga', and it ended up as an anxty little two-poster by reader request. If I need ideas, I just put on some music, and it'll either come up with what I need or spawn a songfic bunny.

    Edit: Or I just ask my readers what they'd like to see. Sometimes they'll have a few good ideas.
     
  21. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2005
    More than once I've been asked to continue vigs. For the first time, I've actually obliged, mostly because I loved the vig that I wrote because it was just so... odd and weird. And I like odd and weird.

    To continue it, I found a part in the middle of it that just ignited new plot bunnies ("Oh! They could do this! And this! And this! How exciting!") and I went from there. Examining my fics can usually sprout some kind of plot bunnies. Also, I get plot bunnies like crazy whenever I watch or read something, so I usually do that when I'm stuck. I got a whole new story arc for my continued vig just by watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special and I got new plot bunnies for This Time Around when I watched ROTS.

    Anything inspires me, really. :)
     
  22. GrandAdmiralV

    GrandAdmiralV Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    May 30, 2005
    My sequels really aren't sequels. Well, I guess they are in the larger sense of continuing with characters I might have developed previously, but I always try to make sure they can stand alone so that you don't have to have read everything to know what's going on. This is why I've firmly resolved to never write a trilogy. Three novels with connections amongst them, sure, but each would be its own independent entity.

    I get inspired by tons of stuff -- songs, things I see on the news, conversations I have with my husband. Sometimes the inspiration comes from my readers. And of course, it's a lot easier to write a sequel when people are asking you for it!

    That said, because I don't have enough on my plate yet, I've just started writing the sequel to my Boba Fett/OC story and will probably have it posted in the next week or so. Call me crazy. :cool:
     
  23. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    May 25, 2004
    When it comes to epic stories....you bet I think in trilogy form. It's the only way to break apart the story and make it feel connected. It just shapes out better for me that way, sequels bring about a flow and give room to expand the characters and the story together. But too each their own...not everyone likes that kind of format.
     
  24. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    So far, I have never had any interest in writing sequels. When I finish a story, it's over. I know that the characters' lives go on, and sometimes I do imagine what happens next, but I never feel any urge to write it down. I have thought of doing connected stories--with the same characters--though I have never done anything other than thinking about it. But I don't think of that as sequels. And, well, with short stories, there's lots of open space.

    With novels, provided I ever actually succeed in properly finishing one-- No way.

    I think I might not be so resistant to sequels if everyone and their dog in science fiction didn't have to write a kriffin' trilogy. It's gotten to the point where a stand alone novel is an anomaly. Everything has a sequel, or so it seems. And I think I quit writing original fantasy because the thought that I must write a trilogy of like, 600 page books makes me cry. No, a trilogy of sleek, 50,000 word beasts is not going to go over.

    And, so far, no one has asked me to expand something I think is finished, here on the boards, or in my other writing. Of course, when you put THE END in all caps after a short-short story, it's hard to be more clear.
     
  25. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2004
    I think you should take it as a compliment. It means that your reader has become involved in the characters and situation you have created and would like to see more. Now that doesn't mean you should feel like you have to write more, just that you might want to consider the possibility. Don't write a longer story if you don't have a direction in mind. You can't get to your destination unless you know where you're going and it will only end up frustrating both you and your reader.

    I've had a few viggies I thought were complete, done, finished! And then they taunt me and get real nasty until I give in and tell more of the story. Sometimes I continue to ignore them until a good plot bunny finds me and sometimes I get one right away. Each story is different.

    Anyway, just be glad someone liked your writing enough to want more of it! [face_laugh]
     
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