book sequel

Book Sequel: How to Generate Great Book Sequel Ideas

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

May 29, 2024

Looking for book sequel ideas? Creating a captivating world with interesting characters and developing a compelling story around them is a challenge all authors face. But sometimes when the last line has been written and the editing has been completed, you may have that aching feeling that there is still more of the story to tell. Sometimes, readers chime in and want to know what happened to their favorite characters or ask to find out what happened after the end of a beloved tale.

As an author, you may ask yourself if this is for your book’s characters and storyline even before the ink dries on the manuscript. However, creating a book sequel can be challenging. Knowing when to consider writing a book sequel and looking to the best idea-generating spots to come up with a winning book sequel concept can help you decide when to continue on your book’s story and how to source ideas to keep the characters and their storylines moving forward compellingly.

When Should I Think About Writing a Book Sequel?

Whether your initial literary concept included a book sequel or you are considering writing one, a few tell-tale characteristics can make this decision easier.

  • If you are passionate about the story and the characters, writing a book sequel gives you and the reader an opportunity to explore where the story might lead and how the characters will develop and grow. A strong connection to the story and characters as a writer often means you have more to say about them, so looking for the right book sequel content allows you to keep the characters and their storylines going.
  • When you can write with continuity, you might want to consider writing a book sequel. If you want to change up a character, swap out storylines, create a new feel or look for the world created in your initial book, then you may not want to look to a sequel since readers can be confused about big changes.
  • If you notice holes, gaps, or incomplete storylines, a book sequel can be an excellent way to create a more complete picture of the plot and character arcs.
  • When reader feedback leads you to write more, it might be time to consider a book sequel. Even if you never thought about your story as more than a single book, fans may let you know that they want more from a character or a storyline, setting the stage for a hotly anticipated book sequel.
  • If you already know what your story needs to keep going, you will want to pen the next installment. Not every writer knows exactly what a sequel should be about, so if you already have a good idea about where to take your characters and story, it’s time to begin writing!

Ways to Uncover Book Sequel Content

If you don’t have a clear idea of where your characters, their storylines, or the overall direction of the book should go, these seven areas can spark your imagination and help you discover the right path for your sequel.

 1. Ask What If?

A creative strategy for developing new content for an already-penned novel is to ask leading questions about your characters. Think about the “what ifs” they might take and consider the implications in their plot lines and how their actions will affect the other characters, themes, or story resolutions you have already introduced to readers. These questions may lead your writing in an unexpected direction or uncover new facets of a character’s personality that you had not previously thought about, surprising and delighting readers.

 2. Create Changes in the Universe, World, or Setting

One of the most interesting strategies to create sequel content your readers will love is to make alterations to where your characters and their story live in your books. Swapping out settings or making changes to their universe can spark a new direction for their story and create a wide spectrum of opportunities for new stories as well as the introduction of new characters in your book.

The popular book  War Horse  by Michael Morpurgo describes World War I from the horse’s perspective, but Morpurgo continued the series by following these battle-experienced horses back to normal life on the farm in  Farm Boy . This drastic setting change set the stage for a whole new way to appreciate the gentle hearts and minds of the brave creatures readers had come to love.

 3. Develop Thematic Sequels

Readers are drawn to many books for their compelling thematic content, and writers can lean into this interest by creating a sequel based on a specific theme. Whereas an initial book may focus on finding love, a new book sequel might turn to the theme of navigating challenges in marriage, losing love, or even the perils of loneliness. A book series can be planned out based on these thematic changes, showing beloved characters facing new but familiar situations in each installment in the series.

An author may not even realize the thematic sequel potential of a book they have written until after the ink is dry on the book while other authors look at their story plans with the distinct perspective of taking their characters through different thematic plot lines. A famous example of an author who released a thematic sequel many years after an initial book’s publication is Harper Lee’s much-anticipated Go Set a Watchmen. This follow-up story to the wildly popular To Kill a Mockingbird delves differently into the issues surrounding societal changes through the lens of a grown-up Scout, the main character in both books.

 4. Introduce New Characters

Writers looking for fresh content for their book’s sequel often turn to the addition of new characters to create new conflicts, present unanticipated challenges, and sometimes create a new love interest in a sequel. This introduction of new primary and secondary characters often leads known characters’ storylines in new or unexpected directions, creating a whole host of new opportunities for an interesting book sequel that the readers will love to discover.

5. Listen to Reader Feedback

Readers give authors feedback on their work in a wide range of ways, from book reviews to social media posts to the number of books an author sells. But when readers clamor for more content about a character, a setting, or even a universe, authors can use that feedback to develop subsequent sequels.

Often a specific character will resonate with fans and authors will learn that writing a sequel focusing on that character, whether they are a main character or just a supporting one, will be a hit with readers. Taking the reader’s interest to heart and writing a new adventure with that character or storyline is a fantastic way to involve your fans in your writing. Social media teasers noting that you hear your fans and are creating a sequel that they are asking for can help drum up excitement before your book is even finished.

 6. Present New Conflicts and Challenges

Look for new and surprising problems that your characters can face within the universe that you have created that will be a strong basis for a book sequel. Sequels in the popular Hunger Games series all were premised on new challenges the main characters would face, beginning with the Quarter Quell introduced in Catching Fire, a surprise edition of Hunger Games that the characters faced in this exciting series.

 7. Reveal Past Events and Backstories

Complicated character backstories and intricate worlds give writers plenty of material to create a sequel that readers will be excited to read. But a sequel can be the place where an author reveals bits of a character’s past not previously divulged or even hinted at in the first place. Your creativity and imagination can create interesting histories, known or still a secret from your characters, presenting an exciting sequel for your readers.

This unfolding of information about a character, a setting, or a universe is the perfect opportunity to widen the scope of your book’s subject areas, introduce new characters and explore new themes. After the initial popularity of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, readers and critics alike hung on to the appealing back story of the main character Harry. The author’s first sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets let the reader in on more of the mysterious history of the Potter family as well as hinted at upcoming secrets to be revealed in future sequels, setting the stage for one of the literary world’s most famous series.

Authors can take a page from Rowling’s playbook by using subsequent sequels to disclose the how and why of their characters in future books that will keep readers on the edges of their seats wondering what new details each upcoming book will divulge about their favorite characters and stories.

Bringing Your Book Sequel to Your Readers

Creating a beautiful book that continues the characters and story you have already written is a great way for you to keep your readers excited and involved in reading about beloved characters and storylines.

Whether your sequel is just in the concept stage, or you are putting the finishing touches on your next manuscript, working with a trusted printer like Publishing Xpress will help you deliver a gorgeous book to your readers. Publishing Xpress is ready to help you bring your sequel to life no matter which direction you choose to create the next installment in your story.

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