Tuesday, September 11, 2018

0 Jodi Meadows' Thirteen Easy Steps to Writing a (Fantastic) Sequel

Writing a book is hard. Writing a good book is harder. And writing a sequel? Cue panic. Trust me, I've lived there. Which is why I was super excited to see the title of this post when Jodi Meadows sent it in, because Jodi is one of those authors who not only delivers a great first book in a series every. single. time. but she also makes every sequel better than the previous book. (And by the way, As She Ascends, the sequel to Before She Ignites, is no exception. If you haven't started the series yet, get on that, quickly! As She Ascends releases today.)

Anyway, back to excitement. I thought Jodi had all the answers about sequels. And she does. Sort of. At least she has the truth. The whole truth.

So. Want to know how the whole sequel thingy works? The secret to all those fantastic follow up books? Here's the brilliant Jodi Meadows in her own words!

Thirteen Easy Steps to Writing a (Fantastic) Sequel

by Jodi Meadows

At this point in my career, I've written a few sequels. I thought I might share my process in thirteen easy steps:

  1. Figure out where the book begins. 
    • Write five or six different opening scenes.
    • Scream. 
    • Back up until you've bumped up against the end of the previous book and you can back up no more.
    • Eat chocolate.
    • Find the right beginning and wonder why you didn't start with chocolate.
  2. Write the first couple of chapters.
    • Too many infodumps.
    • Too much backstory.
    • Too much laying out motivations ten or so times on the page.
    • Whatever. Leave it for the next draft.
  3. Write a few more chapters. 
    • Oops. There's a mistake in the plan.
    • Cry a little.
    • Rewrite the beginning.
  4. Momentum!
    • Ahhh, now we're on a roll!
    • Write write write!
    • Feel good about yourself!
  5. Midpoint.
    • Realize that all the momentum was because the characters were being cute and none of it was plot and now you're halfway through the book and basically nothing plotty has happened since chapter three.
    • Apply more chocolate.
  6. Panic.
    • Talk to anyone you've ever met about the book.
    • Read seven "how to write a book" books. 
    • Complain to your agent that you'll never finish this book.
    • Agent sends you to go finish your book.
    • Stress clean the house.
  7. Pull yourself together.
    • Okay, you have talked to everyone.
    • They patted you on the head and said it'll be okay. 
    • Plot problem has been figured out. 
    • It's time to do this. Like, really do this. This book will be written.
    • Feel hope for the first time.
  8. Rewrite the beginning. Again.
    • Look, it's much better than it was. 
    • There's plot on every page now!
    • And you've only stated the motivations twenty times for yourself rather than fifty.
    • No, really, all the rest of this is second-draft problems.
  9. Oh crap, deadline!
    • Okay, the deadline is coming and you're only halfway through the book.
    • But don't panic. 
    • Okay, panic a little. 
    • You'll just have to write really fast. 
  10. Write the entire second half of the book in two weeks!
    • Who needs sleep anyway?
    • At least you know your plot now. 
    • And have stopped putting the same information. 
    • Ignore all doubts.
    • There's really no time for doubt. 
    •  Exacerbate your caffeine addiction.
    • Remember when you used to have a life outside of writing this book?
    • No, wait, don't remember that. You don't have time. 
  11. This is fine. All of this is fine.
    • No, really. 
    • Just keep writing. 
    • It will be over soon.
    • Yay it will be over!
    • Oh no, what will you do once it's over?
    • Life will be meaningless without this book.
    • There has always only been this book.
    • And once it's finished, you will have nothing useful to do ever again. 
    • Just imagine the deadline is an immovable object and you are the unstoppable force.
    • This will surely end well. 
  12. Finish the first draft!
    • Yay!
    • But also unsettledness.
    • And aimless drifting. 
  13. Receive edit letter.
    • This is the best book ever! How dare that editor--
    • Oh wait. 
    • This is the worst book ever!
    • Time to start over from the beginning. 
    • Okay, what is the point of this book anyway?
And that's it!

Writing a sequel is fun and easy, and definitely won't give you an eye twitch. Enjoy!

About the Books

Before She Ignites
by Jodi Meadows
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/12/2017


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Purchase Before She Ignites at Amazon
Purchase Before She Ignites at IndieBound
View Before She Ignites on Goodreads

* * *

As She Ascends
by Jodi Meadows
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/11/2018

Mira the Dragonhearted is on the run with her friends following a fiery escape from the prison where she’d been condemned for speaking out against dragon trafficking.

And she wants answers. Has the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sold out the Fallen Isles to their enemies? Did her own parents lie to her? Will she lose control of her power and hurt the ones she loves?

The only way to find the truth is to go home again, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust. Home, where she must learn to rise above her fears. Or be consumed.

Purchase As She Ascends at Amazon
Purchase As She Ascends at IndieBound
View As She Ascends on Goodreads

About Jodi Meadows

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). She lives in rural Virginia. Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

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