Challenges of Writing a Sequel

Challenges of Writing a Sequel

Steven Donahue

I have written seven books so far in my career, and all of them have been published, either by a publisher or by me. All of them are stand-alone stories, though some do leave room for sequels.Amy the Astronaut and the Flight For Freedom is one of them. Published by Hydra Publications in 2013, I originally wrote the story in 2005. That was a long time ago. Now I am writing a sequel to that young-adult, sci-fi novel and I have come up against some serious challenges.

One is to craft a unique story that can logically follow the events of the first book. I have outlined the plot (no spoilers here!) and I am currently working on the first draft. It’s fun to visit this universe again and the characters that inhabit it, but I feel a great deal of pressure to deliver something that will satisfy those who have read the first book, and those who have not. So, I have included some short exposition at different points in the story to help fill in the blanks for new readers, but I have tried to keep them brief so as not to bore those familiar with the background.

Another challenge is to find a way to drive the narrative using new events that do not stray too far from the original story, but also avoid using the exact same plot devices. For instance, in Amy the Astronaut and the Flight For Freedom, twelve-year-old Amy Sutter steals an experimental spacecraft called the Liberty Bell in order to launch a rescue mission. The trick this time is to get her back aboard that same ship without having her steal it again. So, I came up with an idea to accomplish this in a brand new way.

What I didn’t expect to happen during the writing of this new installment was for me to make continuity errors. Yet I did. For some reason, I could have sworn that the name of Amy’s mother was Heather. Luckily, I went back to confirm that, and it turned out that her mother’s name is Pam. Boy, I was way off. Heather was actually the name of a character from my first book,Amanda Rio. So now I find myself checking everything I write to make sure it matches the facts from the original story.

So here I am, writing the second book. Many characters from Amy the Astronaut and the Flight For Freedom are back, with new trials and tribulations. Some new faces appear, adding drama and tension to the tale. Yes, it is a struggle to work new ideas into this universe that has, for me, existed for a long time, but I am enjoying the task of expanding on what I wrote before.

After I finished writing the first book in this series, I developed several ideas for future adventures. I have made adjustments to them over the years and I am happy to finally have the opportunity to revisit this potential franchise. Series books are hot now, and I think this is the perfect time to expand on Amy the Astronaut and the Flight For Freedom. I just hope that readers will feel the same way.

About Steven Donahue: Steve was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine for 14 years. His first novel, Amanda Rio, was originally published in 2004. He released three novels in 2013: The Manila Strangler(Rainstorm Press), Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom (Hydra Publications), and Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure (Createspace). His fifth novel, Chasing Bigfoot(Createspace) was published in 2014, and his short story Grit was also included in the anthology Hero’s Best Friend by Seventh Star Press in 2014. In 2015, he published his sixth book, Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of the Underground Railroad (Createspace). In 2017, he released his latest novel, Solahütte (Createspace)

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