Posts Tagged With: sequel

Chasing Nonconformity Is Approaching!

What do George R.R. Martin and I have in common?

We both take obscenely long amounts of time to finish our books.

But while Winds of Winter is still nowhere near being finished, I’m psyched to announce that Chasing Nonconformity is at the final proofreading stages, and should be published in a matter of weeks!

Feel free to throw your baby in the air in celebration. If you don’t have a baby, acquire one. This is not the time for half-measures. This is the time for VICTORY!

So here’s the official update: The sequel is done. My mother/editor is currently proofreading it for the second (and last) time. Yes, she gets two rounds of proofreading. Then I proofread it. Once that’s done … publication time!

We’ll start off with the ebook, and then proceed to the print book once I get the print cover from Ravven. Speaking of which — if you’re interested in grabbing a signed copy of the print book, shoot me off an email at michellishelli@gmail.com. I’ll write a post about that when the print book actually goes live, but basically it will be ~$10 for the book + shipping. And obviously I’ll throw in assorted swag. What is life without swag? No life I want to live, I can tell you that.

That’s all for now! Thanks for checking in, and have a fabulous weekend.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Inspirational T-shirts spotted in Asia:

Find more here: http://imgur.com/gallery/gLaWg

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Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Chasing Nonconformity Cover Art Situation

You may not be aware of this, but the cover art for my sequel, Chasing Nonconformity, is actually ready and raring to go! The only thing we need now is a good opportunity to reveal said cover.

And I have hit upon the perfect opportunity!

As you know, I am running an IndieGoGo campaign. It’s going pretty well — we’re only $50 away from hitting the initial funding goal! So in order to encourage that last little leap, I declare this now:

I shall reveal the cover art for Chasing Nonconformity once I hit my funding goal!

So if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a signed copy of Imminent Danger, this campaign is the best chance you’re going to get to acquire one. You want the $25 “Sign ‘Er Up, Captain!” perk, which nets you the signed book, plus whatever other goodies I throw in. Obviously the book can also be purchased once I re-publish it via Createspace in December/January, but that won’t be signed, and how will you eventually sell the book for millions of dollars in a few years if it isn’t signed? HMM?

Well, that’s enough promotion from me for today. Thanks for listening to me ramble!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Might have shared this already, but it’s just so gosh-darned cute.

 

Categories: My Works | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Finished my first re-read / edit of Chasing Nonconformity!

That’s right, people — it’s done! Well, this draft, anyway.

As you may recall, I finished my third and final re-write of Chasing Nonconformity (the sequel to Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It) back in March. I vowed to put the manuscript aside for a month or two so that, when I returned to it down the road, I would be able to read it with fresh eyes.

And my plan worked! Sort of. You see, the first person on my “people I force to read the awful first drafts of my books” list is my mother. This is partially because I love her and value her opinion, and mostly because I know she won’t mock me behind my back for the rest of my life if I hand her a terrible manuscript. Not that others have done this, but you can never be too careful!

Anyway, she’s going on vacation starting today. So last weekend she called me and said that if I can get her my edited draft by Friday, she would print it out and bring it with her to the beach. Square deal. So I edited and edited and edited, and … voila! Edited manuscript! Woo!

I had a ton of fun re-reading it — my dear space explorers get up to a lot of shenanigans, and it was awesome to re-live them. I re-worked the first two chapters a bit, as I ran both past my critique group and got some great feedback. I’ll definitely be running future chapters past them, as who knows the craft of writing better than other writers?

The slight problem that resulted from this editing spree is that I discovered the book is approximately 125,000 words. Yikes. By comparison, Imminent Danger is only about 94,000 words — and that was after we cut it down from 110,000 words. Obviously sequels are allowed to be a bit longer than the first book, but once you get over 100,000 words, it’s getting pretty darn long for a YA book. I get the feeling I’ll be doing a lot of chopping in the next few months. Alas!

As a special teaser, here’s a screenshot of the front page of the manuscript:

chasingnonconformitytitlepage

So after I get the manuscript back from my mother, I’ll go through it again for another round of edits. Then I send the manuscript off to my preliminary beta reading team — a select group of people who I know will both A) provide a quick turnaround, and B) provide useful feedback. Then more edits. Then a second beta reading team … then more edits … then probably back to my mother again … then a round of copy-editing … and then done!

I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the summer, but that’s a bit unlikely, as my best friend’s wedding is coming up in August, so I’ll be somewhat occupied with that. Still, fingers crossed!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Check out more awesome animal puns here: http://imgur.com/gallery/KPQaq

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Guest Post: Charles Yallowitz on Sequel Writing

Tips on Writing a Sequel

First, a big thank you to Michelle Proulx for letting me write a guest blog in honor of the July 31st debut of my second book, Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.  I think that covers the shameless self-promotion part of the program.  Wait.  Feel free to buy and read Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, so you’re ready for the sequel.  There.  That should do it.

So, you want to write a sequel.  It’s a common malady for fiction authors.  You love your characters and you have subplots that need more time to run their course.  You have a new villain that you want to use. That infomercial at 3AM gave you the best idea for another story with the same characters.  There’s also the chance that you had a series planned all along and this is the natural progression of your career.  In the end, the sequel is there and you’re ready to write it.

My story is that my books are based on a college Dungeons & Dragons game.  I knew from the beginning that a series would have to happen.  Each semester had a different quest as the heroes moved through the dice rolls.  Then I realized I had to put some work in and altered a lot before I sat down to write.  The big difference is that characters don’t evolve too much over the course of a single adventure in a game.  In fact, many players have their characters stay the same in terms of mentality and emotions.  I had to shake things up and put growth into the story, which is why I take sequels very seriously.  You need all of your main characters to change in every book even if it’s minor.  For example, one character might go through a life-changing event while another learns a new skill.  Both are growth, but one is definitely heavier than the other.

I would say one of the most difficult parts of writing a sequel (and I’m writing the 5th book of the series here) is balance of characters.  Specifically, your old characters versus your new characters. You have your original heroes that you need to keep some focus on and retain what they had in the first book.  You must also put them in situations that test their strength and develop them beyond their original forms.  This takes a lot of work because you don’t want to go too far or spend all of your time on it.  Yes, these are the characters you started with and they have seniority, but they also have fans and reputations that your new characters are setting out the gain.

The balance with new characters is that you need to highlight them without overshadowing your old characters.  They need to merge into the preexisting group, but not so flawlessly that it’s unbelievable.  Think about how you make new friends and try to work off that.  You might even want to go with a new character that the old ones have trouble getting along with.  I introduce a very powerful spellcaster named Nyx in my new book.  She is temperamental, rude, and difficult to get along with at first.  It makes for an interesting story because she butts heads with the main hero of the first book, Luke Callindor.  This gave me the opportunity to delve into the tolerance and friendship making ability of these two characters.  In the end, I create a very tight and clear dynamic between them.

Here are some simple tips about writing a sequel:

  1. Change is good and necessary in terms of characters.  Yet, you must always stay true to the character.  If one of them goes evil then it has to make sense that they do it.  The noble Paladin going evil on a whim won’t win you any sales.
  2. Reference past books, but don’t harp on it.  You need to find a way for the new characters to learn about past events.  I write in present tense, so this is done through dialogue.  I also use the occasional ‘told off-camera’ trick when it can be used.
  3. Never be afraid to check back to your first book to make sure you have your facts straight.  If you mention that a city has a specific symbol in the first book then double check when the characters actually go there.
  4. Give the villains a reason to hate or fear the new characters.  You need your villains to acknowledge your new character instead of holding onto the old grudge.  Otherwise, your new hero becomes a secondary character.
  5. Spell the series name correctly.  You think I’m joking here?  Well, I am, but better safe than sorry.
  6. Don’t be afraid to shake up the foundation.  The fun of a second book is that you can change things in the overall world.  A city can be wiped out or a secondary character from the first book can be killed.  The fun of a sequel, which can lead to a series, is that you now have the reach and time to do world-changing events.
  7. Most important!!!  Have fun.  Don’t look at writing the sequel as a stressful situation where you need to outdo the first.  Have fun with the writing and exploring your beloved characters.  You’ve given them more than a spotlight, but a life path that can go on for a few books if you wish it to.

Those are the big points about writing a sequel.  If this inspired you to write a sequel or plan a series then I’ve done my job.  Again, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Book 2 Final Flat

 

 

 

 

 

You can check out Charles Yallowitz’s debut novel, Beginning of a Hero, by clicking here.

 

And you can check out the sequel (release date: July 31, 2013), Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, by clicking here.

 

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

How do you write a good sequel?

I actually got on this topic because of the following video:

Now, I would like to clarify that I am aware Phantom Menace is a prequel, not a sequel. I do understand the distinction. But it’s basically the same concept — you’re continuing a story that’s already been established.

So here’s my question to you — how do you write a good sequel?

I am currently reworking the sequel to Imminent Danger, that book I keep babbling about that I will be self-publishing sometime this century. And I’m racked with self-doubt (“wracked”?) because it has to be as good as the first book, but I’m not sure how to make it that way. As the fast-talking man in the Star Wars video says, sequels/prequels need to be new and original, but they also have to evoke a feeling of familiarity. So how do we achieve that delicate balance?

My current strategy is to write the story I want to write, then get someone else’s opinion on how it holds up as a sequel. I can’t be a good judge of that, because I wrote it. I’m too close to it to see it clearly for what it is. I think that’s where George Lucas went wrong – he was so confident in his own artistic brilliance that he disregarded other opinions, hence the mediocrity of Phantom Menace and, to a slightly lesser extent, the other two prequels. I’m not going to lie, I actually do quite like Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (parts of them, anyway), but there’s no way I would ever call them better than the original trilogy.

Another thing I’ve tried doing is going back and reading the first book and writing down the things that I liked about it, the things that made me laugh, the things that made me “awww!”, etc. Then (hypothetically), I will take that list and apply it to the sequel.

I don’t know. What makes a good sequel? How can you ensure a sequel’s as good as the original? Can an author be trusted to reliably evaluate their own work?

Cool news for Chuck/Thor fans:

Zachary Levi (Chuck!) has been cast as Fandral in the upcoming Thor sequel. Fandral, to remind you, is Thor’s Asgardian friend, the skinny, blonde, mustachio-ed guy with the rapier. Or was it a legit longsword? I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m extremely excited because I love Chuck, and I love Thor, and it’s going to be awesome having them together! Click here to read the article and watch Zach’s interview with Leno.

Image cred: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/UPDATED-v0-4-Star-Wars-Opening-Crawl-After-Effects-Template-SEE-FIRST-POST/topic/9001/

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

I’ve finally submitted my manuscript!

This image has nothing to do with the post. I just like it because it’s awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official. I have finalized the manuscript for Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It. It is written, edited, revised, and submitted to iUniverse via their incredibly complex submission form.

So what does this mean?

Step One: Editorial Evaluation

To quote Rebekka, my iUniverse “Check-In Coordinator”:

Your project is now ready for its Editorial Evaluation. Your project will be assigned an Editorial Consultant and you should hear from them within 2 – 3 weeks (once your Editorial Evaluation is finished). It’s helpful for you to understand that the Editorial Evaluation is a general overview of your manuscript, which focuses on key industry-standard areas, based on your genre of book. Some of these might include: point of view, grammar, plot points, etc. At the end of the Editorial Evaluation, you will receive a 10-15 page form, which highlights areas of possible improvement in your manuscript and gives you pointers regarding how to make your manuscript more marketable.

Now, my hope *fingers crossed* is that there won’t be many suggested changes. I hope this because I have had approximately 15 people read the manuscript and made a zillion revisions based on their suggestions, so there really shouldn’t be all that much left in the book needing fixing.

Of course, these are professional editors reading the manuscript, so they’ll probably catch something or suggest something that my myriad proof readers missed. I’m cool with that. As long as they don’t tell me to “re-write the entire book” like one super-helpful reader did (*sarcasm*), I’m good.

While I wait for the Editorial Evaluation …

I bite my nails and hope it turns out well! No, seriously, I will probably get back to editing the sequel to Imminent Danger. When last I checked in on it, it was titled Interspecies Relationships and How to Make an Already Complicated Situation Worse. As that is somewhat of a mouthful, the title will be one of the first things I change.

My big thing with a sequel is making sure it’s as good (or nearly as good) as the first book. Because is there anything worse than reading a sub-par sequel to a book you love? Famine is worse, probably. Poverty. Child soldiers. Slavery. But you get my point!

And what is there in store for us, your loyal blog followers?

I just switched to “FAQ” mode. Whoops. Anyway, I really want to start posting excerpts from the book, which y’all may or may not read at your leisure. That won’t happen until the Editorial Evaluation gets back, however, so until then … expect pretty much the same. Random thoughts on writing, links to various photos/videos that probably no one but me enjoys, etc.

Woo!

Thanks, as always, for letting me ramble on. Speaking of Ramble On, that song has an entire verse about Lord of the Rings. Talk about awesome.

Right. So that’s my news, as well as my random link of the day. Happy Thursday!

PS: Can I even say PS in a blog? Right. Moving on. Does anyone have an opinion on vlogs? Good? Bad? Annoying? Would anyone watch an unknown author ramble about her publishing experience for 3-4 minutes? I won’t force you to watch any vlogs if you say yes.

Categories: My Works | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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