I just typed ‘The End’ on my follow-up book in the Born Series, Revolution of The Born. Yes, I do type it every time. I also delete it when a certain majority of the editing is complete. But after you’ve written 70-100 thousand words, those two really help.
The question is, now what?
Generally speaking the story is never over for me. No matter how many characters are left or how this portion of their story has ended, there is always more. Their voice still plays and they wake up tomorrow to face another day in their literary world. The story goes on, whether or not it is to be written.
So now that I’ve typed ‘The End’ there is only one thing to do. Begin again.
When I’ve just finished a book and I know there will be a sequel to it written at some point, I have to go on. I need to capture their voices as they are today. I need to glimpse that next part of their story and feel the continuity of it as it continues in the next book.
I think this step really helps me as a writer. It helps me be invested in the rest of the story. It helps the next book blend seamlessly with the current one. It also helps the feeling of loss recede as I leave voices I love behind and move on to the next story and new characters (or return to old ones.) I know I’ll be back and when I’m ready to come back and continue I’ll have a voice there, waiting to speak to me and take me back to that place.
Sometimes I write follow up books back to back, but generally I don’t. The next part of their story usually requires time to simmer and develop before I can come back to it with the fervor to finish. I don’t usually have a problem recapturing the pace or setting, even the plot is already forming as I walked away, but it helps to ‘feel’ the characters where they were. There is usually an emotional element to the end of a story and that drives the characters forward. It’s that emotion I want to commit to words while the feeling is fresh inside me.
So after the end I always go back to the beginning and save a file that will be opened in six months or a year. The End is never where the story ends. Not for me.
So, writers, what do you do after ‘The End’? Do you begin the continuation of their story? Or do you move on to new characters and fresh voices right away?
And for the readers, do you like to feel the continuity between follow up books as if the story picks up right where it left off? Or do you approach each book as a new story all its own that has only been built on the elements of a past story? Do you like each book in a series to stand alone? Or rely heavily upon past knowledge?
Happy reading and writing everyone!