From the blogger who brought you “Name”… “Read”… and the blockbusting masterpiece “Homeschool”… comes a continuation of the commentary on continuation itself. “Sequel” is back – and this time… it’s a sequel.
Clearly, the end of my last blog piece on this topic didn’t feel like The End. There was another aspect of this “story” that I felt merited discussion – namely, the experience of writing a sequel versus its original.
As of this piece’s typing up, I am in the middle (or, well, maybe in the first third) of drafting a sequel to the novel that demands near-future publication, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”. I wrote “Ballad” as my project for my first-ever National Novel Writing Month. For someone who typically took a couple of months to craft a twenty-five- to forty-thousand word novel, cranking out 50K in thirty days or less proved an appealing and only slightly daunting challenge. “Ballad”s production was a wild ride, my untried characters and I flying along together by the seats of our pants and hosen, with naught but a lengthily drawn-up plot outline to keep us careening down a fairly straight course. It was great fun, and I immensely enjoyed collaborating with my Merry Men for what I expected would probably remain a standalone book.
Then, in the following months, I, the Men, my writing buddy Tirzah, as well as a growing number of various other characters of hers and mine, took to chillin’ out in an immaterial Sherwood Forest together. The place turned out to be kind of a hotspot for character growth (much to my bullheaded chagrin… and Tailor and Tirzah’s delight). Allyn-a-Dale, in particular, underwent some remarkable evolution, and I had occasion to delve deeper into the psyche certain other members of the outlaw band, also. It eventually got to the point where to not write a second book and share some of this stuff with “Ballad”s future fans would be a literary sin (and that’s not authorial arrogance speaking, that’s Tirzah shouting), so here I am today, trying to make a sequel happen.
Is writing a sequel easier than writing the original? Some aspects of it can be. Certainly, characterization may come more easily, since I’ve already got some time with most of the cast under my belt. And if I haven’t spent too much time away from the preceding work, then getting back into the rhythm and tone of it for another round will tend to be less problematic than the often rocky start of a completely new project. But on the flipside, I’ve got the additional pressure of wanting to make the sequel good. Bare minimum, on par with its predecessor; ideally, even better. The challenge set before me is to make this second installment feel both agreeably familiar and delightfully new.
And as I embark on the creation of what I’ve codenamed “Ballad 2”, that’s exactly what it feels like.
It feels great to hang around Avalon Faire again (and beyond?… You better believe it!). It’s a joy to listen to Allyn think and speak in graceful poetry, and to get high off of Will Scarlet’s incurable enthusiasm. It’s exciting, knowing the curveballs I’m planning to throw at the Sherwood gang, and having no idea what sort of curveballs they’ll end up winging right back at me! Hey for the writing process! (…I cheer, tossing my immaterial cap in the air.)
Now that I’ve gotten myself good and wound up, I’m going to call this blog piece a wrap and get back to where I left a pair of my outlaws about to get into some misguided monkeyshines. Until next time, readers!
To be continued?…