Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Discussions (4)

The Sequel Slump

As an aspiring author, I do a lot of reading about publishing and have come across a lot of articles about how important a sequel is in a writer's career. I generally like books with sequels because I like spending time with the characters I love. However, I've noticed that while some authors do it right, some fall into some pretty crappy traps.

Here are a few things I cringe about when reading a sequel:

1. The unraveling of a relationship- I know the writer needs to unwrap the perfect bow they created for book. The easiest way to create tension is between the hero and the heroine who finally got together in the end of the first novel. So they make the guy become distant or leave or etc. I hate this because it is so common. Some books that are really bad about this are:

2. Our intelligent heroine decides to all of a sudden make stupid choices. I hate rooting for my girl and book 1 and then yelling at her in book two because she's making choices she would have laughed at someone for making in book 1. If I praised the heroine for using her head, I really want this to carry over.

3. Reverting back to the same as if nothing has changed. At the end of the first novel, my heroine has truly learned something. She realizes that she needs to trust people and she's going to start being more honest. Then in book 2, she's even more secluded and unwilling to trust anyone than in the first book. Don't act like there was never a book 1. Book 1 is what got me to buy book 2!

4. Not answering the hanging threads from book 1. First of all, how dare you leave me dangling... just to leave me dangling again. Dig up some new questions for me to ponder about and answer the old ones.

I'm sure there are more that I just can't think of right now but these are some of my huge pet peeves in sequels. Just because those few up top happen to have some of the things I dislike doesn't make them bad novels. They are just good examples of books that have made me hate these patterns in sequels. 

Here's my picks (thus far) for sequels that have got it right:
Violet and Jay have to go through some trials but they do it together. Plus, Violet is still my smart and vibrant girl from The Body Finder!

Again, Ms Stiefvater found a way to make tension without killing off Sam and Grace.

We still got to see our beloved Aislinn and Seth, just through different eyes!

So what are some of the things that bug you about sequels? Do you have any pet peeves like me?


  1. Definitely the characters changing from strong, confident people, to whiny needy wimps. LIke in Crescendo, I felt Nora went from a normal happy person, to a girl in love to an insecure wreck. WHY?

    Shiver - Linger are amazing books, can't wait for Forever.

    Great post, you make some very valid points. :D

  2. I wasn't upset with Desires of the Dead as a sequel so I have to agree with you! And New Moon of course is a classic tale of everything you have listed for #1.

  3. I agree with you on points #2 and #3. #1 and #4 don't bother me so much, especially if the books are part of a trilogy or a series with a defined end. The unraveling of a relationship is often part of the story arc, so I don't mind seeing it; I'd rather have that than a perfect relationship with no conflict whatsoever. And I don't mind loose ends that aren't tied up in the second book... but only if it's part of a trilogy. In a long series (or one without an end in sight), not having anything explained is just frustrating.

  4. My daughter thinks that all middle books are just a version of The Empire Strikes Back. Good things happen in the first book. Bad things happen in the second book. Good things happen in the third book. What do you think?

  5. You're spot on with this post - all of these bug me in sequels! #1 I can kind of understand, because they need to ramp up the tension, although it's so overdone to just make them have an argument and then be estranged for most of the book. #2 and #3 bug me more...I hate it when the heroine starts making really stupid decisions! And when you feel like everything accomplished in book #1 has just been wiped away, like it didn't even happen. Thanks for articulating some of my major sequel peeves, Amber!

  6. I find that I get SO disappointed with sequels nowadays. It's really hard to impress me, especially if the first book was great. I have lowered my expectations greatly and don't expect much from them, if I even bother to read them.


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