Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Standalone with series potential

Sorry for all the revisions talk, but it's what I'm currently doing and it is hard. *noms some chocolate*

As of now my WiP is a standalone (obvi), but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about a sequel. Emphasis on *thinking*. I haven't outline a sequel and don't intend to, (unless I get an agent and it gets an editor and they say go for it), so that whole business is waaaay down the line, if it even happens at all. But right now I'm working on the ending, and with the thought that maybe some day there could be a sequel, I'm starting to wonder if my ending is too "wrapped up". I've gotten a few notes from CPs saying they thought it was too wrapped up, attributing it to a different point. But maybe it's too wrapped up because there should be a hint at a sequel.

Now this is a fine line. I want my story to feel complete, that my MC's journey is over. But maybe there's an unanswered question or two. My MC solved her problem, but maybe there's a bigger problem, lurking in the end pages, that never gets solved. Would it still feel like a completed ending then? Or would it be too obvious that there could be a sequel? Fine line.

So that's what I'm working through right now, how to make this manuscript a standalone with series potential.

Have you ever come across this problem?  How did you solve it?

8 comments:

  1. Every story tells its own arc. Beginning, middle, end. Even the middle book in a trilogy has its own story arc. Then there are series threads - some of which may not be resolved until the end of the series. Those develop over the course of multiple books.

    My recommendation to you is to tell a tightly bound story. There's always room for more stories in the world, and if there aren't tell a new story. If this is TDoC you are talking about you could craft several dozen more stories just from the world you have cut already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jason! (I am talking about TDoC.) I just wonder if things are so wrapped up that it's a bit hard to believe, like things fell into place too easily. But I totally get what you're saying about telling a tightly bound story.

      Delete
    2. As I recall your ending, you've just cast society into what looks like a great return to normal, but there's no such thing. My thoughts were that while the immediate crisis was over, a much larger one loomed by nature of what happened during the crisis.

      My reasoning was that those who hoarded/scrounged would have the greatest edge coming OUT of the crisis, which means a shift of power, which leads to unrest.

      Delete
    3. It was a return to normal, but I'm not sure if that was believable. I thought that maybe it felt too coincidental. But you're right that there's no such thing as a return to normal and that there could be unrest everywhere, which could lead to so many different things.

      Delete
    4. All of this is deeply my opinion, but there's no normal to return to. People during the crisis learned to scrimp, save, and even create energy, which means when things return to "normal", those people now have the most power in the literal and figurative sense.

      People with power don't like to give up power. They don't like other people acquiring power. And then you have politicians, who don't like power that can't be controlled, limited or rationed.

      If you assume that one particular gang WASN"T actually in it for pure goodness (starts with an A) and in reality, they meant to take a cut of the power themselves, then things are no more neatly resolved than any other novel.

      I look forward to seeing what you do with it when it arrives in print and you have fans clamoring for a sequel.

      Delete
    5. Yes, absolutely, there's always a shift in the dynamics of the society.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  2. This is something I thought a lot about while writing my current WIP. My first book ended with a lot of questions left unanswered. A couple of agents still loved it, but I also had one agent contact me who liked a lot about the book, but HATED that I left so many open threads.

    So with this new book, I was conscious of resolving the plot (in this case, catching the villain). However, I left some emotional threads open, left the characters in an emotional place that they don't necessarily want to be in so that there's plenty of room for them to grow in a sequel. I think this works, but we'll see when I query in a few months!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of leaving emotional threads open, which is something that I tried to do. I also think of HP1 where the philospher's stone was found, but Voldemort was let loose (though this is different because we knew from the get-go that there would be 7 books). I was thinking about resolving the immediate plot, but leaving an over-arching plot still open. Though with both your and Jason's comments, I'm rethinking that, because I do want things to feel completed.

      Delete