I’m writing my first sequel. It’s hard. Like make my brain scream and bleed. Hard. For one thing, I didn’t expect the original story to be published. I know. I know. I’m the writer/blogger who says “You can doooo eeet!” And I believe that. I didn’t believe, however, that my first attempt at writing a cozy mystery would live to see the light of day. Sure, I read a ton of cozies. I’m flat out addicted to Janet Evanovich and Gemma Halliday. There’s something about a smart, funny, non-detective woman solving a crime that pulls me in every time. I can totally see myself and a bestie having coffee and deciding how to break into an abandoned warehouse to see if the bodies are in there. Because my friends and I are random, and silly. We are not fearless. But we are curious. When I open a new cozy, I fall directly into the role of heroine and imagine my friends in the secondary character roles. We have a great time in my imagination regularly. You should join us sometime.
Anyway, so, my cozy was picked up along with two sequels. FUN! Then I started writing the sequel and had no idea what anyone looked like or where the buildings were located. Not fun. Who was the mailman again? I didn’t make preparations in advance for a sequel. Sure, I had a blurb pitch, but that was it, very hooky and vague. A great teaser. No details. *hangs head* I had to go back to the beginning and do the work I should’ve done in the first place. Take a lesson from me: If you think you might make a sequel, do the legwork now. After writing my cozy, I wrote a YA SyFy, and two sweet romances. Then I revised the YA SyFy, and scribbled 50K for Nano. By the time my cozy sold, I barely remembered the plot line, let alone any details about the world my heroine lived in.
If you don’t do this already, let me suggest you make a couple charts somewhere. Just in case. For easy reference.
1. List everyone’s first and last names. Their obvious features, hair, eye color, fashion sense, height etc. List their profession. Education level if that’s important. Their family situation and How they related to other characters in the story. Also where they work or live.
2. List the streets mentioned in your story. What’s on which road? Where are those buildings in relations to the other buildings in the story? Your MC can walk a block for lunch. She can’t walk someplace for lunch you mentioned her driving 40 minutes in traffic to during book one.
3. Time frame! When did the other story take place? Be as specific as possible and begin your new story at a point that makes sense from your last story.
You can make these lists/charts as involved as you want, but any details you take the time to document will help you oodles and bundles when you start a sequel. I promise you this. The extra effort now will go a long way later.