Mar 25 2009

Novel-Writing Tip of the Day: Be Careful with Sequels

Published by at 1:32 am under Novel-Writing,Writing Articles

When a first-time novelist says that he’s writing the first book in a series, that’s usually code for “I’m not going to resolve anything.”

For example, the story builds up to a “climactic” battle that doesn’t actually vanquish the villain. The main sidegoal is to get the girl, but the hero doesn’t manage to accomplish that, either. After reading hundreds of pages, your audience will want some resolution.  If your novel can best be summarized as “to be continued,” then what’s the point?

Here are some better ways to set up sequels.

  1. The hero achieves his initial goal, but the problem is more complicated than he had believed.   For example, we are set up to believe that John is the main villain.  Over the course of 300 pages, the hero struggles against him and narrowly defeats him.  At the very end, though, we learn that he was only a lieutenant to the true mastermind.  This gives us some resolution because the hero has accomplished what he set out to do.
  2. The hero achieves his goal in a standalone novel, but unanticipated complications arise in a later work.  In the first novel, the hero defeats the villain and woos the heroine.  The end of the first novel will feel satisfying because it appears to have resolved the underlying problems.   The characters live happily ever after… well, not quite.  Your next novel skips forward a few months and reveals that the hero is quite unhappily married and that the villain from last time left a nasty surprise. This sort of sequel is easiest to write if you give yourself some minor loose ends to pick up later.

94 responses so far

94 Responses to “Novel-Writing Tip of the Day: Be Careful with Sequels”

  1. Yogion 25 Mar 2009 at 2:15 am

    In my series, Belinda gets trained by a villain organisation, and the Big Bad from the first book is one of them. When he gets defeated, the organisation sends Belinda after the good guys, and it ends there. Is that okay, or should I cut out the last bit and leave the audience wondering what role does Belinda play?

  2. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Mar 2009 at 3:30 am

    In my story, Cable is defeated and his father relocates his headquarters to Sydney. Cable will later appear as a villain without a secret identity. Isaac doesn’t get Amy-Belle (mostly because he doesn’t want her, haha) and she tells his secret to her friend Morgan before being taken to Greece by her parents. Amy-Belle will reappear later on, possibly with a part on a soap opera and a celebrity status. (It’s not uncommon for Aussie teen soap stars to get a part on TV through contests, and Amy-Belle would have everything going her way because of her mother being a model) She leaves Isaac on relatively good grounds, though there is still some resentment between them.

    That solves these problems:

    Blackmailing girlfriend
    Psycho supervillain
    A hit out on Isaac from the mob boss

    It creates these problems:

    Morgan knows his secret, and is a bit of a gossip girl
    Cable can come back at any minute
    Amy-Belle could exploit his secret to stay in the limelight

  3. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Mar 2009 at 3:32 am


    I’d say it’s okay. It would be a good ending.

  4. scribblaron 25 Mar 2009 at 3:52 am

    In my story, everyone dies. I think I’ll just write prequels.

    Oh, now I’ve spoiled the ending…

  5. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Mar 2009 at 4:08 am

    Don’t worry about spoiling stuff. I’ve spoiled plenty of things about mine, including events from the first, second and third books.

    I plan on a series, but my ideas only reach as far as three books so far. I have small ideas that I could use for a fourth, but I’ll worry about that later.

  6. Lunajamniaon 25 Mar 2009 at 4:13 am

    I wrote a trilogy, and in each novella, the problem is eventually solved though sometimes in heartbreaking ways. The real problem is that I have not killed off the main two villains yet. I have no idea how I should kill them.

    In the fourth book that is not part of the trilogy, the new main character’s family dies and then everything is screwed up because in the trilogy it says her now-dead father would rule over one of the bad guys. Unless of course the prophet meant that one of the family, not the actual father, would defeat the bad guy and rule over the galaxy?

    I definitely have a bad time with villains. I’m horrible at writing them/their motives-I finished the trilogy and even though it’s shown he hates a race and wants to annihilate them and almost does, I still haven’t come up with a reason why-and killing them off.

  7. Wingson 25 Mar 2009 at 8:05 am

    In the end of mine (spoiler) The Specials defeat Scarlet, but when they try to remove his powers his consciousness is taken into the Titan’s diamond with him. In book 2, the Diamond is found and by possessing another human, he returns.

    More later,

    – Wingsy Wings Wings

  8. Kynnastonon 25 Mar 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Quick question. Can I only ask for help?

    Or can I offer my advice as well from author to author?


    I’m very opinionated, I’ll warn you before hand.

    I’ve disclosed some info about my books here too. I guess we’ll just all have to keep each others secrets or warn our readers that this entire page is one giant spoiler alert! 🙂

  9. Marissaon 25 Mar 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Everyone can help one another, here. 😀

  10. Ragged Boyon 25 Mar 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Feel free to help or recieve help. That’s the purpose of the site.

    It’s okay if you’re opinionated, as long as you’re at least a little polite to others.

  11. scribblaron 25 Mar 2009 at 12:54 pm

    🙂 Actually, I was having a laugh… my book is about the Titanic… everyone dying isn’t much of a spoiler… hahahahem. Oh dear…

  12. Kynnastonon 25 Mar 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Well I had a very long and wonderful piece of advice, but somehow it went missing.

    What it boils down to is this:

    Make sure that no matter what happens, when you write the last words on the last page of whatever book you are writing, your work can stand alone. Because, you never know what will happen with the publisher or the buying market. The publisher may decide that they don’t want to do a series or a companion novel. Or maybe the first book doesn’t sell so well.

    Whatever happens, the end of the book has to answer more questions than it poses. Of course there will always be the what-if’s. Who among us hasn’t closed a book and wished there was more to it or that a particular book would last forever?

    I think the key is that the reader shouldn’t be left with a crazy anticipation for the next book to come out. Instead they should just have a very strong hope.

    I hope that made sense.

    My first go round was much better.

  13. Lunajamniaon 25 Mar 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Kynnaston–yes, that made sense. 🙂

    That part about wishing a book would last forever is particularly true.

  14. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:34 am

    I wish the Maximum Ride series would last forever… Then again, Max and Fang would never get together if it did… Argh! Why must it be so complicated?! Haha.

  15. Lunajamniaon 26 Mar 2009 at 4:46 am

    I got tired of ‘when are they going to get together’ and the sudden interest in

    ****** TON OF SPOILERS****************

    Global warming and stuff. It irritated me because suddenly all the Erasers are gone and the ‘bad guys’ are completely lame. All of the gang has new awesome powers, but for no apparent reason except to give them awesome powers. It went from interesting plot to “save the world from global warming!” and lame, horrible villains. And saving fish? What the fudge?

    Anyway, sorry … [/endofrant]

  16. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 7:19 am


    What is this, Maximum Ride?

    On a more serious note…

    Are you saying that no one wants to read about the “Save the World from Itself” stuff or just that it was a let down from the previous expectations of the former books?


    A Slightly Worried Kynna

  17. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 7:24 am

    Seriously? This is retarded. My computer is jacked up. Will someone please delete that so I don’t look like an idiot??

  18. Lunajamniaon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:10 pm

    It was a cool few books, it had an interesting plot and interesting characters, and then suddenly the issue of

    *******************MORE SPOILERS*****************

    Global warming and instead of saving the world from a serious bad dude, they’re combating this weird half-robot guy made of boxes or something who tries to auction them off. And there are robotic erasers ’cause the other erasers died. It’s just odd. It isn’t true to the other three books, the characters don’t sound like themselves, so I have many issues with it. It’s like Patterson sold out a good plot and everything because he knew that everyone was so worried about global warming and environmentalist stuff, so he just stuck that together and made another book or two. With a horrible plot. And really–the kick-butt bird kids are, supposedly, in the next book, going to be trying to save fish. It just goes downhill.

  19. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:37 pm

    My question:

    Save the Earth from Itself theme

    We like this, no?

    Maybe not for his books, but for others…

  20. Holliequon 26 Mar 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Meh. I don’t really like it, to be honest. I think global warming has been blown out of proportion, so when a whole book revolves around how terrible and destructive it is I tend to be really skeptical and picky. I can still enjoy stuff where it’s a theme, though (I liked The Day After Tomorrow). And I don’t mind environmental awareness – be green, save the panda, etc.

    I read the first Maximum Ride book. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t impressed enough to buy the others. I found out that . . . (spoiler) . . . the MC had killed her brother and that her father was the one who had helped them escape, except they were allowed to escape purposefully. That was just bleh. I saw half of that coming a mile off, and there had been no indication of the other half at all. The whole thing just annoyed me.

    I may be misremembering, though. It must be years since I’ve read it. Still, I remember not wanting the sequel.

  21. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Ah. sweet.

    You had me worried for a second. My saga is all about being Eco-friendly. Not so much the prequel. The companion trilogy will get slightly back on track, but the focus will be more on creating a “Utopian” like state.

    Obviously I have big plans for the Sullivans.

    But don’t worry, I’m not one of those “to be continued” writers. Each of my stories has a clear end.

  22. B. Macon 26 Mar 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Inserting political themes where they don’t belong is a serious turnoff. This might surprise you, but the typical reader doesn’t want the author’s political views. Since I’m into political science, I already know that. (There’s no one on Earth more politically irrelevant than a political scientist).

  23. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I feel it belongs.
    I didn’t even mean to do it at first. No one is more un-enviromentally aware than I am. I had to do TONS of research for it.
    Not fun, but it did change me.

    Sebastian wouldn’t let me not write about it. He’s so controlling. i hate it. 🙂

    I’ve kind of got a Daniel Quinn/My Ishmael thing going on.

  24. B. Macon 26 Mar 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Ack. I was referring to Patterson’s work rather than yours, Kynna.

  25. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 6:02 pm


    No worries. I handle criticism well.

  26. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:04 am

    Here’s how I rate the Maximum Ride books:

    The Angel Experiment: 9/10
    School’s Out Forever: 10/10
    Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports: 10/10
    The Final Warning: 7/10

    I think the fifth book will get around an 9/10, judging by the sample released by the publisher on the website. The beginning is much better and the characters seem more like themselves.

  27. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:06 am

    Looking back at the first three books, it becomes easy to see that the global warming theme was being set up. I just think the fourth book changed direction too quickly and had too much preaching.

  28. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 6:07 am

    I think I might pick these up on my way home from work today… Or maybe tomorrow before I get my taxes done. It has occurred to me that I am among the older ones of this group…

  29. scribblaron 27 Mar 2009 at 6:15 am

    You mean you’re not fourteen?

  30. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 6:47 am

    Why would I be fourteen?

  31. Fitzon 27 Mar 2009 at 6:59 am

    I think that was a joke.
    scribblar, I love your sarcasm.
    (If that wasn’t a joke, I apologize)

  32. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 7:47 am

    I got that it was a joke (unless it wasn’t and then I’m confused)

    I was curious as to why fourteen would be his choice. Is that the going age here?

    I thought it was at least 16-17.

    I suppose 14 is decidedly normal for Superhero fans…

  33. Ragged Boyon 27 Mar 2009 at 7:50 am

    The typical age here is probably in the upper-teens.

  34. Fitzon 27 Mar 2009 at 8:03 am

    What do you think of a story where the protagonist, who the reader follows in first person becomes a villain? (Don’t worry it’s not completely random “I want to be evil now!”. You’ll be able to see the progression leading up to the change) So another protagonist (Point of View Change) is needed to defeat the hero from the first story in a second story. Both characters will be genuinely interesting people with flaws and such (the second guy isn’t a two-dimensionally perfect hero), but right now I think I have more ideas for the first guy and his development from innocence to villainy.
    My question is should I combine the two stories into one book, write the first story and make the second story a sequel, or write the second story and make the first one a prequel for those who want to know more about the villain from the second and how/why he became so villainous? Should it depend on how long the stories are? Should I write them both and then decide? Should I not even worry about part two until I finish part one?
    Sorry if you can’t understand what I’m asking here. I may have worded it a bit awkwardly/organized it messily. Also, I’d be happy to give more information if you think it’s necessary. Also, I’m new to this “asking for advice on this website” thing, so tell me if I did anything wrong.

  35. Stefan the Exploding Manon 27 Mar 2009 at 8:13 am

    I say it depends. If your idea is to do a rise and fall type of story, then you could make it one continuous story. However, if you do switch points of view mid-story, try to ensure that the first character has a strong presence in the second half of your book. I personally think that the first story seems more interesting so maybe you should write that first, then see if it can stand on its own or if it would be more complete with a second story.

  36. Fitzon 27 Mar 2009 at 8:20 am

    Thanks Stefan. I wasn’t really thinking of making it a rise and fall type of story, but now that I look at it, it does look that way. I think I’m going to just worry about writing the first story for now and decide where the second one should go/if I should even bother with it. The first one seems more interesting to me as well, especially since I’ve got some great ideas for it. I think the second may have been more of an unnecessary “what if?”afterthought.

  37. Tomon 27 Mar 2009 at 8:51 am

    So… kinda like if you watched Star Wars Episode 3 then watched Star Wars Episode 4? With Anakin and Luke?

    Well, it worked for George Lucas!

  38. Ragged Boyon 27 Mar 2009 at 8:59 am

    I think the first story is a little more interesting. Would you could do is have your second hero, watch as his friend(?) turns to the dark side. You could even have the story shown from the second heroes perspective. Everytime he’s on a mission he sees his partner sinking deeper and deeper, but for some reason he can’t stop him.
    I think that’d an interesting read.

    Hey, Stefan, is it pronounced ste-fin or steven?

  39. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:02 am

    I personally am a big fan of the villain side of the story.

    I’m actually planning a whole series of books from the POV of classic villains from fairy tales. (the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid, the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, various stepmothers) At first I was planning to make things more clear on their reasoning behind doing the bad things to the classic hero, switching the roles completely.
    But now I’m thinking of just reveling in evilness in all its glory… muhahahahaha!

    I’d say if you can make the villain’s side a stand alone story it would be great!

    I’m 20. (I know, old compared to you youngsters. It’s like a quarter of the way to dead…)

  40. B. Macon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:09 am

    I think he confused you with Lunajamnia, who joked yesterday that she writes like a 14-year-old.

  41. Ragged Boyon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:13 am

    I, too, am a big fan of villains. In my Masquerade story, I plan for supervillains to have a major effect on the world today. Most of Europe is under tyrannical control, Austrailia has been wiped off the map, and Africa is in an intense apartheid-themed civil war. Because so many funds are being used to halt villainy, America’s economy is in shambles.

    As you can see, there will be times when the villain wins for a change. I wanted Scar to win so badly in Lion King. I love Scar.

  42. Lunajamniaon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:49 am

    You wanted Scar to win? *Gasp*

    On another slightly-related note, ***SPOILER FOR SECOND LION KING****

    I didn’t understand how Scar suddenly had relatives in the second movie. No mention was ever made of them in the first movie. And then suddenly, there are these random starved-looking lions and lionesses who believe that Scar should have been ruler. ‘S like, where did that come from?

  43. B. Macon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:49 am

    I agree that our average commentator is somewhere between 16 and 20 years old. However, I suspect that our average reader is probably a few years older.

    Here’s a surprising bit of data: according to Google Analytics, 4000 visitors to this site have made 100+ visits each. But we’ve only received comments from about a twelfth of them.

  44. Tomon 27 Mar 2009 at 9:59 am

    It’s called ‘lurking’. I see it on forums all the time. I’ve even been to a forum where they enourage lurking.

  45. Fitzon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:04 am

    Ragged Boy, I like the idea of having it from the second hero’s perspective, but I would have to make him extremely weak-willed (Is that a word? Opposite of strong-willed?), submissive, and helpless. Or there would have to be some reason as to why the second hero doesn’t try to stop him. Maybe he’s an unwilling slave/servant/prisoner who is dragged along? I’ll think about that.
    However, I also like the idea of putting it in the first-person perspective of the guy transforming into the villain because I want to let the reader see the guy’s thought processes. He will be a very reasonable and logical guy who finds a way to justify even his most obviously evil actions. Some readers might not even realize that character is evil because he justifies it so well. He’ll start off as an ordinary, pretty innocent guy, but develops slowly into the corrupted evil villain. He will use his logic and reason to convince himself that what he is doing is right. He doesn’t even think of himself as evil.
    Oh man, I’m really getting into this!

    Thanks everyone! This has really helped me.
    Also, The Lion King rocks!

  46. Fitzon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:09 am

    Haha, yeah I might have been one of these “lurkers”. I had been visiting since when there were only 5 review forums, (I think I found this place in December) but didn’t actually comment until that proofreading contest came up. I thought it would be a good way to start getting involved with this place.

  47. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:42 am

    @B.Mac Ah. That would explain it.

    I think my main reason is most of the time the villains are so much more interesting than the heroes. The hero choice is done to death, it’s always “for the greater good” “for the well-being of the world” “Because I’m supposed to…”

    Villains are so much more flexible. They can make more interesting choices!

  48. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:46 am

    I think I started commenting after I read almost every article. And then I noticed the comments. You guys were all so interesting, I had to be a part.

    Yeah Lion King 2 was crazy. Absolutely no mention of them in the first, but it would stand to reason that Scar would have had followers too. I personally like the second movie almost as much as the second. They both had amazing songs

    Have you seen LK 1 1/2? I loved the meer cats!

  49. B. Macon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:55 am

    Villains are also more proactive. In 9 out of 10 cases, Superman is responding to Lex Luthor’s plans rather than the other way around.

  50. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:14 pm


    Where would we be without villains?

  51. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 27 Mar 2009 at 7:17 pm

    The superheroes would have to content themselves with getting cats out of trees.

  52. scribblaron 29 Mar 2009 at 2:31 am

    It was a joke. 14 was random.

    The supers could rescue people from fires. Or car accidents. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, aeroplane crashes. Computer problems.

  53. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 29 Mar 2009 at 3:14 am

    I wish someone could save me from my homework. Where the heck is Supernerd when I need him? Haha.

  54. Stefan the Exploding Manon 29 Mar 2009 at 6:43 am

    It’s pronounced ste-fern, RB. Without the r sound, of course, but the general sound is the same.

    Has anyone noticed that Scar had a disturbingly violent death scene for a Disney movie? He got fed to the hyenas, I think. Those guys really freaked me out when I was a kid.

  55. B. Macon 29 Mar 2009 at 7:03 am

    Hmm. That note about Scar’s death is probably the most random tangent I’ve seen in the last week. However, it will please you to know that Ragged Boy previously noted how violent Scar’s death was.

  56. Chulanceon 29 Mar 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I plan to write a long series of superhero novel’s anyway for example the main villian won’t be beaten until the final novel, when their is a final a battle. Although each novel has a different plot for example he has a plan to rule all the dimensions/ universe’s forever and have ultimate power. So one book may focus on capturing a person who can warp reality and the heroes may finally capture him only for him to die in the next novel or something. I won’t bring in the main villian till the middle of the series.

  57. C. S. Marloweon 06 May 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I got all the plot for the first novel worked out, started writing, and just a short while back the plot for the second one rugby tackled me. With the ending of the first, the protagonist has successfully broken out of prison, found their partner and figured out who the spy in the organization is. However… the headquarters has also burned to the ground, some of their friends are dead and they’ve got the empire chasing them again. Anything I should descend into a mad panic about?

  58. B. Macon 06 May 2009 at 6:25 pm

    If the main thing they’ve accomplished is breaking out of prison and eliminating the spy, it probably won’t feel like they’ve accomplished much. They were out of prison when book 1 started, right? I think readers (and publishers) would prefer that they accomplish something important in book 1 that they didn’t have at the beginning. That will make the ending feel more satisfying. For example, the original Star Wars movie ends with the destruction of the Death Star.

  59. C. S. Marloweon 07 May 2009 at 12:22 am

    The break out is the first major part of the book, and she was breaking out of prison for several reasons. Obviously because most prisons are not a lovely bundle of sunshine, but also because she’s searching for her partner, who she does find. Hmm… I’m still wondering if the spy should have some form of major plot going on though, because it may be boring for them simply trying to work out who it is (though, most of it’s a mystery) and obviously they’d have to defeat that plot.

  60. B. Macon 07 May 2009 at 1:34 am

    How does the empire fit into this? Perhaps they could win some important intermediate victory against the empire? For example… perhaps the prison is inside of an important fort. Their plan is to get themselves thrown into the prison so that they can throw open the gates and help the rebels take the fort.

    At the very least, they could walk away from prison with some crucial tool or knowledge that they didn’t have before. (“I had to get thrown into prison so that I could speak with the inmate that knows critical information X” or something like that). Etc.

    Could I recommend giving them some reason to get into the prison? I think that would sharpen the plot.

  61. C. S. Marloweon 07 May 2009 at 8:33 am

    They didn’t get *in* to the prison on purpose. The empire’s utterly paranoid, and it seemed like they might end up running off to go join the rebels, so they threw them straight into prison before it could happen. The protagonist wasn’t actually interested in the rebels that much- and still isn’t. It’s a reluctant hero sort of thing. By the point that the story begins at, the hatred and the paranoia has escalated to such a level that it’s become a case of ‘if you’re not one of us, you’re one of them.’ Unless they pick a side, they’ll be attacked by both of them.

  62. B. Macon 07 May 2009 at 8:54 am

    Hmm. Could you give me a two-sentence synopsis of your book? I suspect that the two-sentence synopsis will sound kind of bland because being hauled into prison makes the heroes reluctant and passive.

    Reluctant heroes are really tricky. They worked in Shawshank Redemption and The Trial, but I can’t think of any examples that are more applicable to mass-market fiction. (Do you have any in mind?) In superhero fiction, I suppose there’s the Sentry, but he’s kind of the most-hated character in the Marvel universe right now

    Han Solo was a reluctant hero in the first movie, which presented an interesting contrast with Luke. Then again, Luke was a significantly more important character.

  63. C. S. Marloweon 07 May 2009 at 9:04 am

    Well, I can do my best on the synopsis thing…

    Isis is a vampire who breaks out of prison to track down her husband, and in the course of her adventures, picks up a streetwise teenager to guide her through the parts of the world she doesn’t know well. When she finally finds her husband, he has long since dedicated himself to the rebels, and she is dragged in after him.

    And yes, reluctant heroes are tricky, I agree. She starts off reluctant and gradually becomes more involved with it- I was trying to show how her character grows and matures throughout the novel. She starts off quite naive about the world and really quite lazy/selfish. She doesn’t want to become involved because it might complicate her life.

  64. C. S. Marloweon 07 May 2009 at 9:08 am

    (looks up at previous comment) Except, I think that makes it sound vaguely like a comedic adventure storyline, and it’s really quite serious…

  65. Ashleyon 07 Mar 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Sequels, as mentioned here, can be very poorly done. But uh, I was planning on making a long plot with my characters. Actually, it’s not much of one big plot, but rather several ones put together. Like a life line. I start out with two pairs of characters that basically live on complete different ends of the continent, who have different lives, but live int eh same alternate world. So there ends up being parallels and such, but they don’t both become main characters until the largest plot that I have. And well, I’m not sure if this will work.

  66. Wingson 07 Mar 2010 at 7:08 pm

    To be fair, most of the time my sequels are created by either an idea that would only work outside of the first plot (The Third Book of the HTSTW trilogy was mainly created because of the Pyric Survived idea…and to see the teenagers of HTSTW as adults) or because the characters of the work really want a sequel and bother me until they get it (Darken: That idiot Metalhead gets three books AND sidestories and I get ONE novel?!? Where is the justice, damnit?!? WHERE?!?).

    …Yes, I carry on arguments with my characters. It beats smoking. 😉

    Back to the topic at hand, I try to put a convincing Sequel Hook at the end of each of my novels (HTSTW: Crimson may have survived, there are more mutants besides the Specials; TAWNBT: Pyric is still alive; Third Book: …NO! I have to work on my other books!). In retrospect, I appear to enjoy the idea of making the villain survive, the only series where this hasn’t occurred has been Darkstar Rising because *spoiler, maybe* Shift dies. Since Twisted Fantasy didn’t have a villain in the usual sense, Hunter’s Abomination had a Villain Protagonist, and the only other works I have are the sidestories to the main novels and the realistic fiction collection, I apparently like making my heroes suffer. XD

    …I’m a bad person. 🙁

    – Wings

  67. B. Macon 07 Mar 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Hello, Ashley. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “long plot.” Like a series of novels upfront? If so, I think it might be easier to get a publisher on-board if you pitch it as a standalone novel and mention at the end of the query that you could make it into a series if they’re interested. Publishing a series of novels takes more money/commitment than a single novel, so I would recommend hooking them on the first book. Then, once you’ve actually spoken with the editor, it may be easier to convince them to take on more from you.

    “I start out with two pairs of characters that basically live on complete different ends of the continent, who have different lives, but live int eh same alternate world. So there ends up being parallels and such, but they don’t both become main characters until the largest plot that I have.”

    Umm, okay, but an editor might ask “why bother having them in the same book if they don’t affect each other much?” It may make the story feel disjointed if they’re off doing their own thing for many, many pages. However, that’s a very subjective call, I think. For example, it takes Harry Potter like 75 pages to begin to introduce most of the main side-characters in the series and I don’t think that was a problem. So, perhaps, as long as the plot is constantly developing, it’ll be okay if Main Character B takes quite a while to get on-stage. However, I fear that the switches from Main Character A to B and vice versa will be very problematic. If the readers fall in love with A and then A disappears for lengthy segments, readers may get angry.

  68. Ashleyon 07 Mar 2010 at 8:23 pm

    That’s true. Huh, I’ve never actually thought of that. It’s a good thing to keep in mind.

    I personally think my main problem is not being able to stick to a single novel long enough. I’ve started both background stories for both pairs, but neither of them are finished. I feel like I have a time line on my hands. Like how one thing effects another and it all ends up at one major point. Sort of like how WWI and the Great Depression lead into WWII. But that’s not really a good example…

    About the parallels, the idea is that there are both pairs, Lexi and Xander and Christopher and Estella in this case. Christopher and Estella both have powers, while Lexi and Xander don’t. I plan on writing theirs as stand-alones for now but continue writing my main one afterward. The plot works with all of them working together. My main problem with this is that there will end up being a lot of main characters and POV changes.

    Also, sorry for the typo in the first post. I hate it when the spell check doesn’t pick those up.

  69. defon 24 Mar 2010 at 7:02 am

    I tend to write mulitiple things at once, but a recent story has captivated me.

    It is about a boy named Josh who is struggling with depression after two of his friends were killed at his sophmore homecoming. Worried that he will never be the same if he dosent get help, his mother sends him to Harrison Academy, a boarding school know for helping troubled teenagers.

    At first Josh doesnt want to be at the school, and he is openly cynical of everything his classmates and the staff do. However, he meets a girl named Ashley, who, for reasons he cannot explains, makes him feel better. When they are paired to do a history project, he reveals to her that his is an Omai, a race of people who can trace the origins back to the Mesopotamians. They also claim to have special powers steming from the “life force” of the earth. Josh supports these claims, but, believing that he had no use for his own, stopped using them, and can no longer access them.

    For about a month, he lives peacefuly at the school, forgetting about the outside world and even coming to terms with his depression. His attraction to Ashley increases, and he finds himself spending all of his free time with her. However, they are attacked by a group called The Scions of Oblivion, who believ an ancient artifact is buried under the school. The man leading the attack is one of the friends Josh thought was dead.

    The two fight, and the threat of his death awakens part of Josh’s power. However, Eric, Josh’s attacker, overwhelms him, and is stopped only when Ashley trys to protect Josh. Eric claims that he is touched by her courage and will honor it by giving them two weeks to find the artifact.

    After his lose, josh decides to regain his power and begins training. Later there is a huge showdown between Josh and Eric, in which Eric is defeated and dies. Unfortunately, their fight uncovers the artifact, which the Scions use to open a rift that contains a very powerful demon. Josh is caught of guard and incapacitated, and Ashley is taken by the Scions as a sacrifice to the entity in the rift.

    When he wakes up, Josh chases after them, crossing into the rift. The demonic force in the rift super charges his power, and that of the Scions, and an epic battle ensues in which two of the Scion leaders are killed.

    Josh is unable to stop them from releasing the demon, though he does save Ashley, who he pushes through the rift as the rest of The Scions escape. Josh stays to fight the demon however, and is successful, but when its energy fades, the rift colapses, and he is trapped inside.

    i was planing on ending the book there, but id like to do a sequal, as the Scions of Oblivion are not completely destroyed. However, i’d only have Ashley to go with, so i was thinking that half way through the story, i could reopen the rift, and bring Josh back into the story Since he didnt technically die)

    what do you think?

  70. Hopefulon 30 Jul 2010 at 9:04 am

    What if he were to leave him as good as dead? The villain is left phased and unable to affect anything. The worst that he could do is screw up a taping of the Today Show (or any other live taping).

  71. NicKennyon 16 Aug 2010 at 5:14 am

    And I thought I was so clever coming up with my plot. It’s 1 all over!

  72. ekimmakon 08 Dec 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Trying to get a sequel for my novel (Did I mention? I finished it!)

    The plot of the first book goes like this

    First 4 chapters introduce the main characters

    In the fifth chapter, A villain puts the city bridge in jeopardy. Individually, they all decide to show up and stop him (Because the bridge links all the city up).

    Sixth chapter, their identities are known to the government, which can only end in their arrest. The next few chapters are spent getting that knowledge away from them.

    Rather than break up, the heroes choose to investigate the consistent blackouts through the city, and find out about a villains plans that involve the bridge, that will result in much worse consequences than destroying it would have.

    So, a few chapters are spent on the final conflict on the bridge.

    The last chapter is their decision that, rather than go back into hiding, they choose to become a superhero team. They find an old superhero base, and make it their headquarters.

  73. ekimmakon 08 Dec 2010 at 10:47 pm

    So that’s the plot of the first book. I’m trying to figure out what the second books plot is. I have plans for numerous future books, but I can’t come up with an immediate sequel.

  74. Sean Higginson 08 Dec 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I would ask myself a few questions – are you planning to keep the same villain through your entire series (a la Harry Potter – directly or indirectly Voldemort is the villain in each of the books)? If the answer to that question is no, then I would definitely choose someone new for the second one.

    Has the teams relationship with the government changed since the last book? Maybe they’re blamed for the bridge incident, or large amounts of collateral damage. Will this tie in to maybe a primary conflict within the second book?

    Finally, what unresolved conflicts do the characters have amongst themselves and are any more likely to come into play?

    This is just my humble suggestion of where to start. Answering those questions and you can get a play on some necessary conflicts for your sequel and then work from there.

  75. B. Macon 09 Dec 2010 at 12:51 am

    Congratulations finishing your novel! So, here are some preliminary ideas based on what I’ve seen so far…

    If the most important aspect of the first book is the group coming together, one possibility for the second book would be doing a major case, maybe one that threatens to tear the group apart. (For example, maybe bad blood develops between several of the members, or one of the teammates has a personal history with an outside force that makes it harder for him to go along with the rest of the team, etc).

    I agree with Sean that, since you’ve established the government as a minor obstacle in the first book, it’d be pretty easy to work them in as a more prominent player in the sequel(s). For example, maybe there’s a competing team of heroes either sponsored or run by the government.

    Maybe there’s some combination of events that increases the preexisting conflict between the government and the team of protagonists. For example, maybe the mayor’s facing a tough election bid and then the heroes become a political issue by botching a major mission. So the mayor metaphorically throws the heroes under the bus. “The only reason the police lost control of the situation was because [the protagonists] got in the way.” So, depending on what the mission was, the heroes might have to round up a group of villains that got loose, but they might ALSO have to worry about the police coming for them.

  76. Nicholas Caseon 10 Feb 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Another way, you introduce a ‘minor’ goal in your first novel, that runs into a major one in your sequel. For instance, my novel, Portentous: The Last Hope, has Nora (A minor but important character) tell Dunimas (The main protagonist [if that makes sense]) what will happen if Haden (The antagonist) destroys North America. She also says at the end that he’s not the only Xian/Gargan/Human (Aliens/Human hybrid) hybrid(Xargan). Dunimas realizes that he has a younger sibling and sets off at the end after he engulfs Haden in a massive energy blast and sends him into the sun.

  77. Anna G.on 27 Mar 2011 at 11:43 am

    Hey, first time posting anything on this site… I write fantasy, not superhero stories, but I’ve still found most of what’s on here extremely useful.
    I’ve been writing/planning/rewriting my novel for a couple of years now, refining the plot and characters a little more with each draft. At this point, it has been everything from a prophecy-driven, ensemble cast work to the character-driven storyline I have since switched to.
    The problem is, until a few days ago I was planning out a five-book series, but then made some huge plot changes that make a series difficult. But I still have too much story/character development planned for a single novel.
    What should I do? Is a two-part series as awkward as it seems to me? Should I cut my plot down until it WILL fit into just one book? As I said, this has been my pet project for a long time, and I feel like I might have tunnel vision.
    Any advice you guys can give me would be really, really great!

  78. Mynaon 27 Mar 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I think a five-part series would be way too long and hard to get by with publishers, but if you can’t squeeze it into one book, what about three? Then it becomes a nice trilogy, and assuming the first book has a plot in itself (instead of an opening to the overall conflict, like in some trilogies, which means nothing happens in the first book at all >.>;;) then you can probably still get the first book published. (One problem with authors trying to get a deal for trilogies and sagas is that the publisher becomes wary–if the first book doesn’t sell, why would the others? etc.) Best of luck!

  79. B. Macon 27 Mar 2011 at 1:13 pm

    One possibility would be doing a single novel but leaving some possible plot threads subtly available for a sequel. (For example, Shrek 1 ends with a Happily Ever After after the two leads get married, but Shrek 2 focuses on some of the challenges that have arisen now that they’ve gotten married). One aspect I like about that sort of structure is that each installment tends to offer more resolution. As Myna noted, I think a lot of series proposals are dead on arrival because the first installment is just a prologue or setup rather than an interesting, satisfying story in its own right.

    I think publishers are generally more wary of series by unpublished authors because they require a longer-term commitment to an unproven author*, but if you feel like it’d be a lot more compelling as a two book series, you could do that. I’ve never worked with a duology, but I doubt it’d require vastly more commitment on the publisher’s part than a standalone would.

    *Some unpublished authors do get series published, though. They’re just held to a higher standard.

  80. Anna G.on 27 Mar 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Myna and B. Mac, thanks so much for your advice. You’ve given some things to think about as I work through this. I’ll certainly keep in mind that a series will be more difficult to publish, and what you said about sequels, B. Mac, was very helpful.

    Being able to get feedback like this is truly fantastic. Thanks again!

  81. ekimmakon 09 Apr 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Still working on the sequel. Haven’t written much down, but I’ve got a lot in my head to write. I found the hardest part was the introduction, so can I have some feedback on it? (It is a first draft, though)

  82. ekimmakon 09 Apr 2011 at 6:32 pm

    A single scream rang out in the night. The young woman ran, ducking through dark alleys, doing anything that might put some distance between her and her pursuers. Men in white lab coats pursued her, grinning predatorily to each other, confident that their quarry would not escape.

    Michael watched from above. He was careful as he followed them, making sure that they wouldn’t notice him from up on the rooftops, but making sure that he was fast enough that they wouldn’t get too far away. His plan was simple. Let them capture the girl, follow them back to their hideout, save the girl, and find out whatever he could about the White Coat’s activities. And things were going perfectly until the cars drove up, cornering the girl on the street.
    Why don’t things ever go according to plan? Michael thought to himself.
    The girl was quickly surrounded, glancing around herself nervously.
    I have two options Michael surmised, leaning on the nearby billboard. I can follow the plan, let her get captured, but probably lose her in the cars… or, I can step in now, save a total stranger, and almost definitely lose any leads tonight.
    The White Coats had begun to move inwards, cutting off any chance of escape.
    “Looks like we have another fine specimen.” One of them said.
    “With some very nice legs.” Another one sneered.
    Michael scowled. Ok, definitely stepping in. I’ll simply interrogate them afterwards.
    He stepped up onto the edge of the balcony, clenched his fist… and nothing happened.
    Michael turned away from the scene, giving his fist a good shake. Nothing.
    “Oh, come on.” He muttered. “Stupid claws never work when you-”
    A bolt of electricity lanced past him, searing through the supports of the sign. Michael turned back.
    The girl was panting heavily, but that seemed to be all that happened to her. The men around her were lying on the ground, their clothes charred and their bodies twitching erratically. One of the cars and been sliced in half by electricity, and all but one of the lights had been shattered.
    “Well… that was unexpected.”
    Michael stepped back to consider things. There goes my lead for the night. But she may know something about this. Maybe I should-
    The billboard fell on him.

    The girl had calmed down now, and glanced around her. She was wearing a sky-blue biker’s jacket, dark blue jeans, and only just realized the carnage she had caused.
    “Oops indeed.” A voice called from behind her.
    Sparky turned around. The guy behind her was wearing a red biker jacket, with the hazard symbol for flammable materials on the back and the sleeves. Next to him was someone utterly covered in filth, and if Sparky hadn’t known better, she wouldn’t be able to tell it was a girl.
    “Razer. Roach. I can explain…”
    “I hope so” Roach said, looking at the bodies of fried White Coats. “I thought you were going to get caught, then kill them. Seems to me it doesn’t work the other way round.”
    “I couldn’t help myself.” Sparky said sharply. “I just got so worked up, and then…” Electricity began arcing between her fingers. Roach took one step sideways, ending up behind Razer.

    “Look,” Razer said, throwing a weary look to Roach. “If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to.”
    “No, I can handle it” Sparky insisted. “What, are you worried about me?”
    “No” Razer said flatly. “I just have better things to do all night than this. Like sleep.”
    Roach grinned. “Says the guy who broke the land speed record when he saw the *Mumf*”
    She was cut off midsentence by Razer, who stuffed his hand over her mouth.
    Sparky wasn’t listening, she had already begun walking off. “I can do this” She said to herself. “I just need to stop… thinking… about it…”
    The final light exploded, and the street was plunged into darkness. Razer snapped open his lighter.
    “We’re gonna be up all night.” Roach moaned, before the two began following Sparky.

    Thin steel claws sliced up out of the billboard, cutting off part of it and giving Michael a way to climb up. I’ll feel that in the morning he thought angrily, before pushing them back into his hands.
    Okay, I may have deserved that. But overall, I have no leads to where the White Coats are, or what they’re doing. The girl is gone, and it looks like those guys are dead. It’s too late for me to keep looking, so I might as well go home…
    … and I have no idea where I am, apart from being somewhere in the Industrial Sector. Just perfect.

  83. bretton 10 Apr 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I have plans for a Trilogy of Aldmen novels. The sequels are in entitled Injustice and Home.

  84. B. Macon 11 Apr 2011 at 2:23 am

    Hey, Ekimmak!

    “The young woman ran, ducking through dark alleys, doing anything that might put some distance between her and her pursuers. Men in white lab coats pursued her, grinning predatorily to each other, confident that their quarry would not escape.” It might be helpful to avoid the repetition of pursuers/pursued. PS: I like the phrase “grinning predatorily to each other.”

    I think you’ve created an interesting contrast between the woman’s pace (she’s running frantically) and the men chasing her without much sense of hustle.

    “Michael watched from above. He was careful as he followed them, making sure that they wouldn’t notice him from up on the rooftops, but making sure that he was fast enough that they wouldn’t get too far away.” I feel like this might be too expository.

    I feel like Michael’s internal monologuing/strategizing is a bit heavy-handed. “His plan was simple. Let them capture the girl, follow them back to their hideout, save the girl, and find out whatever he could about the White Coat’s activities. …. I have two options Michael surmised, leaning on the nearby billboard. I can follow the plan, let her get captured, but probably lose her in the cars… or, I can step in now, save a total stranger, and almost definitely lose any leads tonight.” For example, “I have two options… I can follow the plan, let her get captured, but probably lose her in the cars… or, I can step in now, save a total stranger, and almost definitely lose any leads tonight” can probably be shortened to something like “He pounded his fist in frustration. He’d probably lose her if she was taken by car, but saving her now would almost certainly blow his leads tonight.”

    Minor grammatical issue. “Looks like we have another fine specimen.” One of them said. First, the period after specimen should be a comma because it separates the line of dialogue from a dialogue tag (“one of them said”). Second, I think this could be shortened to something like “Another fine specimen,” one said.

    I like the billboard falling on him. It’s a quirky touch that suggests nothing is going his way tonight. (Personally, if a billboard fell on me, I’d regard that as God’s way of saying I should call it a night. And check for internal bleeding).

    I feel like the girl’s clothes (“a sky-blue biker’s jacket, dark blue jeans…”) could be incorporated more smoothly. As it is, I think the phrase detracts from what she’s doing. (One possibility to make them more relevant… Maybe she rubs off her sparking/smoking hand on her jeans?)

    Sparky, Razer and Roach are introduced very quickly into the scene. I had a bit trouble keeping track of how many people were present at that point. (One possibility: Are Razer and Roach both necessary here? I feel their roles are sort of redundant at the moment).

    “I hope so” Roach said… When a line of dialogue ends with a tag (like “Roach said”), it should end with a comma. “I hope so,” Roach said…

    “Look,” Razer said, throwing a weary look to Roach. “If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to.” The way he looks at Roach, I assumed that “if you don’t want to do this” is directed at Roach as well.

    “Says the guy who broke the land speed record when he saw the *Mumf*” — Haha, I like this bit of spunk.

    “I can do this” She said to herself. –> “I can do this,” she said to herself.

    “We’re gonna be up all night.” Roach moaned… -> “We’re gonna be up all night,” Roach moaned…

    Rather than expositioning that he’s screwed (“I have no leads to where the White Coats are, or what they’re doing. The girl is gone, and it looks like those guys are dead. It’s too late for me to keep looking, so I might as well go home…”), it may help to have him stick around at the scene for perhaps another paragraph or two. If he’s working to figure out where to go next but nothing pans out, I think that would help show how screwed he is more powerfully than just telling us. For example, he might try to see if the cars have any identifiable markers, but the license plates might have burned up in the electrical fire, the scientists are burned beyond recognition and aren’t carrying IDs, and the cars are liable to explode at any moment. I think readers would sympathize with his frustration then.

  85. ekimmakon 12 Apr 2011 at 2:48 am

    It’s good to get some feedback on it. I didn’t realize how many grammar errors there were. Should I maybe cut Razer out of the scene, and just have a reference? I’m thinking something along these lines:

    “Do you think Razer’s having anymore luck than we are?” Sparky asked. There was a huge fiery explosion several city blocks away.
    “Nope,” Roach said. “But I reckon he’s having fun.”

  86. B. Macon 12 Apr 2011 at 9:16 am

    I like that use of Razer, although it may cause one unintended change to the plot. In the original version, the protagonist had no leads at the end of the chapter. If he knew that Razer was involved with the explosions a few blocks away, that’d give him something to investigate.

  87. JVKJRon 28 Nov 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I’m in the middle of writing a book, and I’m planning on it being the first in a series. So I’ve been looking around this site, and this page just sort of makes me worry if the ending for the first book isn’t as good as I figured it was…

  88. Qwertyon 12 Apr 2013 at 2:29 am

    I have a question. I’ve recently finished a revised outline of my novel and I’m well into writing the book, but I’m wondering if you have any advice for the ending:

    To explain, this book is the first in a series, and at the climactic battle at the end the villain remains unvanquished. In the article above I read that if a novel meets those requirements (not solving the main goal by the end), the ending should at least achieve some side goals. I was wondering if the following side goals would be enough to bring a somewhat satisfying end to the story.

    First: The villain sends a mutated monster to destroy a group of [mostly] innocent people, and the heroine stops this monster in a climactic battle.

    Secondly: The villain, who is watching this battle from the sidelines, realizes that the heroine (who is one of his minions) COULD turn against him if she wanted to; and this realization sets up boundaries that will define their relationship in the next book. In other words, the heroine and the villain are at a sort of stalemate at the end of the book. They’ve both proven themselves to be powerful, but neither of them honestly knows which one is more powerful than the other.

    There are two main goals of the book that are left unresolved, though: First, the villain is left unvanquished. And second, the heroine has a goal to get into the villain’s lab and change herself from a superhuman back to normal; she sacrificed this goal in order to stop the monster the villain had released.

    So, does this ending work, or should I rework it in some way? Any advice is appreciated.

  89. B. McKenzieon 12 Apr 2013 at 7:19 am

    Goal #1: If this comes across to readers as a really big deal (i.e. NOT something that sort of randomly emerges in the last several chapters of the book), I think this could work. But I’d like this to have more of an impact, perhaps something along the line of the protagonist and supervillain parting ways.

    Goal #2: I suspect most readers would want more here. 70,000 – 80,000 words is a long time to establish that a supervillain is suspicious of his underlings. She’s betrayed him by stopping the mutant monster he sent out to kill a group of people, right? Why is the villain so passive about just watching this happen?

  90. Vixis Shiar'Deluson 17 Nov 2015 at 11:59 am

    I noticed that the way you described the second version of setting up a sequel as how the Batman : Arkham series is structured.


    Arkham Asylum:
    -Batman successfully stops Joker
    -Batman, Joker, and several others are injected with a version of Banes Venom
    -Asylum is deemed incapable of holding inmates

    Arkham City:
    -Inmates have all been moved to a superstructure where all villains and thugs are sent to reside
    -Joker is dying from overuse of the Venom, forces Batman to help find a cure as Bruce is also dying
    -Joker dies from overuse of Venom and accidentally destroying part of the cure, Bruce did get to use it

    Arkham Knight: (Haven’t finished yet though…)
    -Crime appears to be very nearly non-existent after the Clown Prince has been killed
    -Scarecrow, who was barely stopped in the first two, has taken control of all crime and systematically takes over the city of Gotham
    -The cure appears to not have worked, as Bruce and several others appear to be suffering from delusions that are causing them to become similar to the Joker, and Bruce is haunted by a manifestation of his guilt in the form of the Joker.

  91. Vixis Shiar'Deluson 17 Nov 2015 at 12:01 pm

    What follows is a brief summary of each book in what would be my series. I just wanted some insight into whether or not the way each ends and how it leads into the next seems acceptable, or if there is more that would be desired.

    ‘Virus Core : Experimental Unions’

    A base near the border between Human and Novae areas of control is attacked, but is repelled by security forces led by Alfred and Matthew. Alfred is taken on as Jason’s apprentice and helper. Wilbur follows fleeing Stillborn forces using stolen weaponry, and Matthew attempts to detain him. After mounting a disastrous yet successful rescue mission, Matthew and Wilbur are detained. One of the saved people, Jaizon, switches bodies with a friend of Wilbur’s, and later one of Alfred’s aides. Jason forces Alfred to mediate on Matthew and Wilbur’s fates, and Wilbur is forced to join the military, while Matthew is forced into civilian life. Wilbur continues the search for his mother, and nearly gets his entire group killed when they identify a very dangerous location and he leads a charge there. He is apprehended and taken to the capital, though experimentation begins on him, it is not made aware to many people. Jaizon convinces Jason to run for presidency in the upcoming election, and begins forcing other candidates to fail. Matthew realizes what Jaizon may be, and confronts Alfred. They agree to figure out more, and Jaizon takes control of a fairly high military commander-ending the book with the death of Alfred and Matthews primary lead.

    ‘Virus Core : Schisms’

    Jaizon continues to expand his influence in both Human and Novae spheres as Matthew and Alfred continue their investigations into who Jaizon is now. Alfred identifies an energy signature that is present when Novae switch bodies, and that allows him to identify Jaizons new body. He also begins experimenting in how to use his energy control to use a similar possession technique. Jaizon realizes that he is being had, and begins defaming Matthew through media, and attempts spy on Alfred using a proxy. After this fails and Alfred attempts to confront him, Jaizon attempts to have Alfred removed from power, but fails. After this, Alfred refuses to help Matthew anymore, insisting that he will gain Jaizon’s trust and then eliminate him himself. Experimentation on Wilbur is continued until he regains control of his abilities, and escapes. He attempts to help other who are being experimented on, but fails. He does successfully escape, and treks back towards the place he last knew his mother to be. In the end, Alfred opts to allow Jaizon a victory in exchange for the safety of people at Jason’s inauguration, causing Matthew to be detained for attempted murder and treason.

    ‘Virus Core : Downfall’

    Matthew attempts to speak to reporters whilst imprisoned, but is only listened to by tabloid journalists. Alfred continues his work with and for Jaizon, and visits Matthew several times. During one such instance, Jaizon attempts to have both of them killed using remotely placed explosives, but fails. In that same time, he also attempts to attack Jason at his residence. Jaizon’s proxy is arrested, but Jaizon wipes its memory and it goes down as a drug and rage induced frenzy. Alfred attempts to confront Jaizon’s primary body, but is arrested while trying to prove what he is. In that instance, Jaizon also locks Alfred’s possession ability, warning that attempting to leave his own body will result in his death. Jaizon convinces Jason of a plan to reduce the Novae ability to control areas they have conquered by supposing an attack on Virus Cores, the names for openings in the earth that feed to the core, where the terraformation device is located (these holes are made in strategic locations so that heat from the core can be released into the atmosphere, increasing surface temperature and eventually killing humanity). Jaizon uses his contacts to locate Wilbur within the capital, and he is detained for his prior actions, and for deserting the military. Wilbur, Matthew and Alfred are sent on what amount to suicide missions in Novae territory in the US and France in an attempt to shut down the terraformation device in the earth’s core. However, before they leave, Alfred warns Jason that there is someone attempting to mount a coup. Jason mostly believes that it is unlikely, and focuses on other presidential matters. Jaizon prepares to enact his plan to take control of the capital, increasing Novae force strength north of the border before forcing an attack. During the fighting, he attacks and takes control of Jason, and forces him to kill his son Xander, this universes equivalent to Superman. Alfred successfully reaches his virus core, and kills the overall leader for the North American Novae, Nixial. Afterwards, he converts his body into its ethereal energy form, and descends to the core, where he begins fighting for control of the sentient terraformation device. Matthew and Wilbur escort refugees south of the safe zone to safety in the north, and then approach the virus core. They are allowed to leave by Vixis, the EU commander for Novae (who hates and fights against Nixial). However, they refuse, and attempt to fight him. Matthew dies in the fighting, and Wilbur very nearly does too. However, Alfred, who has gained some control of the terraformaiton device, saves him. Using the terraformation devices projecting abilities, he uses a shadow of himself to possess Matthew and assist in the fight. At the conclusion, Alfred fades from existence and the terraformation device dies. Before fading away, Alfred tells Wilbur that he is the only person left that can stop Jaizon, and that he has to do to it, despite having no will to go on. Matthew uses his energy siphoning abilities to rip Vixis’s life force from his body, and sees the Novae story. Reluctantly, he returns to North America.

  92. B. McKenzieon 19 Nov 2015 at 12:45 am

    “What follows is a brief summary of each book in what would be my series. I just wanted some insight into whether or not the way each ends and how it leads into the next seems acceptable, or if there is more that would be desired.” Unless you’re already a published novelist, my suggestion would be starting with a single novel that can stand alone on its own, maybe putting some thought into a few loose ends that you could leave yourself for a potential sequel at this point but otherwise pouring your time/energy into getting a single book published. Unless you’re already deep into the development/submission cycle for your first book (or already a published novelist), it would probably be 10+ years before a potential sequel could hit shelves.

    My cynical take is that (especially for authors that are unfinished) planning out a multibook project mainly adds several layers of things that can go wrong in an industry that is already extremely prone to project failure. (Potential complications: Asking a publisher for a multibook contract is a bigger commitment for a publisher, a harder and more complicated sell for you, pacing is more challenging, many authors will lose interest/steam in a project after 10+ years, and any time the author spends thinking about books 2+ is at best a distraction from book 1 and at worst a catastrophic maelstrom of paralysis-by-perfectionism).

    For authors that are already published, these concerns are much less serious. (Most professional novelists took ~10 years to get their first book published, but any subsequent books are typically much faster, and I’d also have more confidence in an experienced novelist’s ability to plot/develop an arc of novels without wrecking the pacing).

  93. Vixis Shiar'Deluson 23 Nov 2015 at 10:23 am

    That’s why I was asking for help with the summaries and subsequent sequel summaries. I wanted to know if you felt that there was enough resolution to merit it being a standalone book.

    Would one not be able to sell it as an individual book, and suggest sequels along the way/once the first book is published? Depending on popularity and sales and whatnot, I don’t think that publishers would be opposed to extending or renewing contracts, if the first book is successful of course.

    I am a bit of a perfectionist at times, but I don’t let it bleed into my work too much. If I sense that I’m starting to needlessly nitpick, I stop for the day until I can think more clearly.

    I know that I’m not a published author, but I am ensuring I plan out what goes on throughout each book before I write it to make sure the pacing is good. I actually planned the series out as a single book, and later on had to decide on where to split it.

  94. Kindraon 08 Jan 2019 at 4:57 pm

    For the first in my dozen-long series, Stolen Winter. There are, of course, spoilers.

    Things it resolves:
    * Frost is ‘rescued’ and returns home
    * Arun’s name is cleared (connected to the above)
    * Arun is now more social
    * Tor’s regard for Eluth goes up even more and she gives her a promotion

    Things it doesn’t:
    * Much about the cult is still unknown
    * Flare has disappeared

    The unresolved items are very understated. It’s mentioned fairly early on (chapter 4) that this cult has been pooling together all available resources but it’s unknown WHY. And given the cult’s hostility to the Kingdoms (kidnapping Frost, attempting to murder Arun and co in all but name) the answer probably isn’t a good thing.
    Flare on the other hand is revealed to be a member of this cult and one of the people who actually kidnapped Frost. So her being gone means they can’t question her and she can tell the rest of the cult the heroes are on to them. Plus her absence means her sister Flame is too busy looking for her to help out the protagonists in later books.

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