Sequel Psychosis

So I have been caught up lately in something I’ve decided to call “sequel psychosis.”

Basically, what this means is that every time I read something of mine, I want to write more of it. That wouldn’t seem like a bad thing, not necessarily, and if someone was reading it and enjoying it and wanting more, that would be something to be happy about it, right?

The trouble with it, the reason that it is a psychosis, is that there is too much going on already. There’s life, which always has plenty of chaos no matter what point one might be at in it. Then on top of life with its complications of work and family and friends and hobbies, there’s writing.

That is to say, when I got all of these sequel ideas lately, I was already knee-deep in three novels. I have Even Better than Dreams, the current serial. I have the third part of Fire and Water, the one I’m calling The Flood, and the sequel to the recently published The Consultant and the Cat.

However, as I was rereading and doing some editing, I wanted to jump right back into the sequel to Inheritance. I wanted to start in on a sequel to Merits and Means after reading it and attempting a summary for it. I had the start of a summary for its sequel.

Then I wanted to do a third for The Lady in Black and Back in Black because I missed Alec and Stasia and reread their story.

I managed to resist all that. Then I gave Liana Mir a prompt that lead to two stories, and when I considered that with a story I wrote and didn’t think I’d ever publish…

I lost.

I caved.

I wrote a sequel to that.

I am psychotic.

Old Friends Want New Sequels

Recently, I had to correct the mistake I made in leaving the notes I’d complied while rereading my stories ignored for up to five months. These are my editing notes: typos, poor word choice, missing words or explanations, those sorts of things. All of that I try and pay attention to when I’m reading so that I can help the editing process along. Rereading and editing is my process.

The danger in that, of course, is getting caught up in the stories again. I reintroduce myself to old friends, and the longer it’s been since the last time I read the story, the more I miss the characters.

Now I would love to tell more stories with all those old friends. It’s been too long, though, and I don’t mean just in the sense of how long it’s been since I’ve read the story.

I have this distressing feeling that I would not be able to capture the true essence of the characters after this long away.

Last time I tried to do something with Frankie and Rico from In the Family, Frankie was nothing like herself. Attempts at sequels for The Geek and the Fed and Tearing Down the Pedestals left me with two stories at the same time that were out of character.

On the other hand, I was able to pick up The Lady in Black, The Consultant and the Cat, and Criss-Crossed Paths after years of abandonment and finish them. I think the difference there may be that I had started them by hand, and I had to type them before continuing them, so the flow was still there, the mindset and understanding of the characters.

Starting the sequel to Tearing Down the Pedestals almost immediately after finishing it did not keep Chel and Tremayne in character, though.

So I’m not sure. I don’t know what that elusive quality is that would allow me to pick up where I left off with the characters (or even jumping ahead a little) and keep going.

I want to find it, though. I miss my old friends. I want to continue having adventures with them.

One Story Is Not Enough

A lot of the time, when I finish a story, I spend a while lamenting the end of it.

It’s a bittersweet thing. The story is so much fun along the way, the characters are like friends, and then they’re gone. I don’t mean that they die because stories don’t mean everyone dies at the end–not usually, at least, though that’s the best thing to tell someone if they ask you about how a movie was or how it ends.

No, the characters still have their lives other than the story, but usually, unless I go back to reread their story, they don’t come around.

Occasionally, I get sequel ideas. A lot of the time, it’s more me wanting to get back those friends, and there’s no real plot there.

Some of them are more full-fledged, and they are ready to start right after the first is done.

Nickel and Dime is like that. I ended it yesterday, and I was immediately ready to move on to its sequel. Parts of that were so clear in my head that I was not about to stop.

Other sequels aren’t as easy to pin down. I keep thinking that Thyme and Whim should come back in an alien invasion story (yeah, so you’re so laughing now) and that Dennison should show up at the villa to disrupt Frankie and Rico’s lives, that maybe Jax should have his own story and continue Franklin and Mira’s a bit. I think there’s only one I finished recently that doesn’t have any potential sequels, and that’s the spoof. Still, the ideas I have for the others haven’t developed into anything I’d actually be able to turn into a book.

Maybe a moment or two for some of them. I was considering small stories in a collection as a possible idea. Most authors would maybe give some holiday stories, but as I don’t celebrate them and actually loathe most holidays, that won’t happen. Still, a collection is a possibility.

It’s just that one book is too short a time to spend with a great character (or two or more) and sometimes you want to see more, even if there’s no long sequel, no second story to tell.

You won’t find me telling stories about their kids, though. No, that’s a personal pet peeve of mine. I hate the stories that turn it all about their kids, even if the kids are grown up. So I won’t go down that route.

A glimpse or two or a sequel, that I can do.