This is the first time I’ve gone through a book as a sequel while I did edits. It’s a very interesting process which is a bit different than the first. The characters are established, so it’s more making sure they’re consistent in their actions with the first book (having grown) than it is ensuring you get that proper voice. They’re familiar people to me at this point.
The world building is the same– already done, already established. So it’s about making sure that the feel is the same as before.
So in a lot of ways, it’s easier. It’s familiar ground that’s been done before, but on the other hand, it’s more difficult because expectations are there.
It means the timelines have to be perfect, the consistency has to be perfect otherwise the readers are going to cry foul.
I had to go through the first book several times and hunt for references I know I made. I have a nice world sheet where I have names/dates/references handy, and as I mentioned last week on the blog before I set about this I made sure I had a timeline made (which I posted up for my Patreon subscribers to be able to see) . All of that helped me get into the mindset to pick apart the details of the world.
For me, I already know the structure of the novel is fairly sound. Before I ever set pen to paper — I’ve gone through a process where I have written a brief summary of the plot, then outlined it, then revised the outline. So keeping the flow and plot holes to a minimum have already been done even before my first draft starts. I may add or subtract a scene here or there if I go through and read it and some vital information was missing or the pacing feels off or redundant, but because of my detailed process to begin with, I don’t have to worry about it much on that level. It may vary depending on your process in this regard.
But the consistency and details are what’s super important.
Larry Correia actually posted some nice advice on his facebook the other day. He said he likes to go and listen to the audiobook of his work before going into a sequel like this — and I think this is great advice. The reasoning is the audio, hearing someone else read it, gives you a perspective where you’re enjoying someone else’s work even though it’s yours. It lets you envision the details more clearly than if you were going into your work alone. If you have this capability on your first book, I would certainly advocate this for the sequel.
The act of creating a nice note sheet for world and timeline purposes is something that is good as well. You hunt through your prior manuscript for this information and it helps a lot.
I find often I have to go back and reference it, as well as my prior work. There’s a lot of “find and replace” involved to make sure names don’t change and ensuring those little things are present.
There’s no shortcut. Hard work is required. Don’t skimp on the details. That’s your most important task. And I need to get back to it!
If you like my blog and are excited about this world, make sure to read For Steam And Country, available on Amazon.