I read a post yesterday on the BookEnds blog (I have a link on the side there) about sequels. Someone asked whether it's useful to write a sequel to a book that hasn't been published yet. Jessica from BookEnds replied that no, you really shouldn't waste your time writing a sequel. By all means write an outline, but leave it at that. Because if the first book is never published, you haven't wasted effort on writing a second, and if it is, you'll have plenty of time to write that sequel after.
Well, I agree... sort of. I mean I can't fully agree since I'm in the middle of writing my own sequel to a book I haven't published yet. But I understand what she's saying. Daze and Knights (my first Jessica book) might never get published. Although I don't quite cut it off in the middle of the story, thus making a sequel necessary, I have written it so that you're left wanting more (hopefully) and in a way that you couldn't really read the second one before the first. The second one (currently untitled) doesn't stand on its own. So even if I finish it, I could never query it. The only real difference writing it makes is that I could change my query letter line from "I have started a sequel" to "I have finished a sequel". Big whoop-de-doo.
1- It's hard not to envision where you want your books to go, especially if you plan right off the bat to make it a series of books instead of just one.
2- My vision of what I wanted to happen in each subsequent book changed drastically from what I had first planned while writing Daze and Knights. Most of this is due to Jessica's relationship with Lord Alric, which I never planned to be as intense as it turned out. After talking with my sister who read my second draft (poor girl), she insisted that I couldn't omit Alric from future books (which I had originally planned to do). After our conversation, and a lot of brainstorming, I changed my views for future books. Those views became quite fixed and made me excited for what was to come.
3- My idea for book 2 was an idea I've had for a long time, long before Daze and Knights was born (or even conceived- haha!) So naturally I spent time- in my head of course- tweaking it to fit with Jessica. While doing this, some very clear scenes played out in my head, so clear that they were impossible for me to ignore. In fact I remember some of those scenes coming to me during one of my three-hour drives to Cardston to visit my parents. I just had to write them down.
All three of those reasons maybe aren't quite enough to explain why I'm now taking the time to write something that might just be so unnecessary as to render it obsolete. The biggest reason therefore is this:
4- My original idea, which led to my new idea, which led to some very fun and some very heart wrenching scenes, led me to dah-da-da-daaaa: unshakable excitement. I can't help writing it because I'm just so freaking excited about book 1 and 2! I'm excited about the differences between the two, the differences in the worlds/time periods, the HUGE difference in Alric. I'm just so fired up with where this book is taking me and where it could go in future books that I Just. Can't. Help. My. Self. (Yes I know myself is one word).
No, I won't write any future Jessica books, although I could. I already have 3 different time periods I want her to visit, and different ideas for what might happen in each. One of those three would be the last book of the series (if it became one) and I have written an outline for that. (I find that when ideas come, it's best to write them right away, even in note form, or I'll completely forget them. On the day that I was practically seized with what would happen in the last book, I did just that- writing a page of notes of what I see happening, at least right now. Things would probably change if I ever got to that point.)